Sweet But Brutal And Back To School

This photo of Joe in Citè Soleil this week is beyond sweet, but it’s also brutally heavy. It’s a reminder for Joe and I (and the entire Upstream team) of the most vulnerable and our God given mandate to care for them. The people we love & serve in Citè Soleil are hurting more than we’ve seen in 11.5 years of serving them.

Violence is rampant, hundreds have been killed in the last few weeks alone. Malnutrition is thriving and is evidenced by starvation laced blonde hair on babies and children that shouldn’t have it.  Families are torn apart as children flee with their younger siblings, searching for safety and for a better day that never seems to come. Some will never see their parents or children again. It's unimaginable to me. 

We have shed a lot of tears over the years, but this is a new level of ache to watch entirely. Picture this: A life saving and sustaining food distribution is in full force as a mother walks home with rice and other things to make meals for her family. Her head carries the joy & weight of what the family has surely been praying for for days on end. As she walks home the rice packs plunge to the ground and explode on impact. Grains of rice strewn all over the filth covered concrete and those who have not eaten in days begin to grab for just a grain or two. How can this be? How can I be sitting in a Sonic drive up sipping on a pointless cherry limeade while these moms and dads are scrounging for simple sustenance. It shouldn’t be and yet it is. I still don't know how to reconcile it. 

I’m not gonna lie. Trauma from Haiti runs deep. We’ve seen too much already, but how do you walk away? You can’t. God has made it abundantly clear to us that we must not shrink back, we must not relent. We test the scriptures that tell us that we should not be discouraged or dismayed. We swim through the deep waters of “I will not leave or forsake you.” as Joe goes into dangerous places again and again. We hear the cries of the poor, we see their tear stained cheeks and we carry the burdens of our Haitian leaders that are in the thick of it. When you say send me I’ll go, you don’t always get to choose where your feet will take you. I mean, I suppose you could say no, but who wants to stand before our great Maker and tell him that they were too afraid, too burnt out, too overwhelmed, too sick of pleading with others to see what they see? Not me. Not us. And hopefully not you. 

The children, their families….they have their eyes on God. He is their lone hope, and for some crazy reason he’s decided that we get to be the ones they see on the streets.  Upstream gets to be HIS hands and HIS feet. What a sobering reality and burden to bear. The Upstream van rolls in with hope riding on its wheels & I so badly wish that you could walk the slum corridors with us. Oh, how I wish you could look deep into their eyes, hold their hands and hear their stories. I so badly wish that you got to have a taste of the beauty that we’ve seen and been given. What we have learned because of our time in Citè Soleil has forever changed us. 

These children and their families are watching us, they are waiting to see how we will respond, how we will use our voices. You may get tired of hearing it, but we need you to know that they are there and that you can be a part of changing their present and future for generations to come, too. You'd think that they would be asking for food when they are starving, but instead they are asking for an education for their children. Thankfully, because of the Upstream family we can give them both and more. 

Want to see what it's like getting ready for and going to school in Citè Soleil? Please watch this:

For just twenty five bucks a month you can sponsor a classroom. You can come together with our other sponsors and send children to school, provide them with a warm meal and walls to keep them safe from violence. You can remind them that Jesus loves them, that they have teachers and a community fighting for them on the ground and abroad. YOU can tell these children that they are WORTHY of your cash and your care. As our shopping carts are filling up with school supplies, as we are donating to or using free school supply drives, as we are sending our kids to school knowing they will eat, and that if we can't afford it it'll be free or reduced, will we consider those that do not have what we do? Will we live and act on their behalf?

If you want to give a one time or recurring donation, it will be used to impact Citè Soleil for the glory of God and the good of the poor. You can do that here. The link to sponsor a classroom is right here. Please use it to change lives with us today. 

Humbled and hopeful,