At the end of July members of the La Gonave Haiti Partnership will gather in South Carolina for our annual meeting. It is the only opportunity during the year for us to come from all over the country, and to be face to face and focused on our mission in Haiti. When we are in Haiti our mission is to be in community with our Haitian brothers and sisters in ways that encourage and heal. We call ourselves a “ministry of presence” to show how important we think it is to be in community with one another. It is possibly the most important thing we do in the end.
During times like these when Haiti struggles to meet the continuing challenges of rebuilding, adjust to newly elected officials, endure the high costs of gasoline and fuel that affects every single thing they have to purchase, hope can be in short supply. For those of us who work there it is a challenge to foster and share hope as well, because we have to adjust our own measures of progress.
I remember my first trip to La Gonave. Overwhelmed by the need, how necessities that are basic to life were not available, I sat and cried at the thought of how inadequate I felt in the face of such poverty. It was then that I realized that if I had been born there, which could easily have been the case, at least I would not want to be struggling alone. That is why being involved in a “ministry of presence” seems so right to many of us. Sometimes showing up is the most important thing we have to offer.
Problems do get solved in our communities. Progress is made every time the schools open, the clinic sees patients and the churches are full on Sundays. But the need does not go away. I have learned from my Haitian friends that “lespwa fe viv.” Hope, does indeed, make one live. As long as we show up to be with our friends in Haiti, we can all hope for progress. It is life giving for those of us who go, and life giving for those we visit.
As we gather for our meeting in South Carolina we will also enjoy a “ministry of presence” there as well. We will share ideas, failures, dreams and hopes. We will renew our physical connections to one another as well as our shared vision of working side by side in relationship with our Haitian friends. And, our hope will make us live.
For the Partnership