Like any mission trip and many things in life, Tom Petty had it right, “the waiting is the hardest part.” It is Saturday in Haiti. We woke up early for breakfast after a good night sleep. Since we did not have AC and it was hot last night, I cooled down by soaking a towel in water and laying it over me like a blanket since I was sleeping under a fan. That did the trick! After breakfast, we packed up and headed to the airport where we would pick up a rental car to drive to the other side of the island.
The waiting would begin here as our rental car was not ready at 9am. Fortunately, by 12pm it finally was ready! The good thing was, we had a lot of time to get to know the team, and I was able to train two of the girls that work with Water With Blessings on how to use GIS (Geographical Information Systems) software for the research they were about to conduct on Cholera reduction. I know, it’s nerdy, but I felt myself “having to” be productive. Tomorrow the WWB team will get to practice GIS in a Hattian village as they install Sawyer filters.
Once we loaded up into the rental vehicle, we began our 3 ½ hour drive around the island. We arrived at a Catholic guest house and settled into our rooms. They were tidy, clean and hot, but at least we had a fan in our room. We were served a late lunch which was delicious… baked chicken legs, rice, some vegetables, and a sweet potato/ginger dessert.
After we ate we headed up to our room and I took about a 30-minute nap. My roommate Bryan is a photographer for Reuters and he popped off his bed and said, “I’m going out to take some photos! I haven’t shot anything all day and I’ve got to grab some photos!” I knew what he was feeling. Why is it that the hardest part of many situations in life is waiting? As much time as I’ve spent training mission trip groups over the years to be flexible and not to worry about time, I still get antsy when “we are not being productive.”
Just when a thought like that comes into my head, I’m reminded that sometimes waiting and relationship building ARE the productive times. So, I wrestle on this clean water mission. One side of me want to hurry up and start installing clean water filters so people’s lives can be changed, and the other side of me knows that I have to learn to be patient, listen, look around, and wait, as God wants to change my life.
If it wasn’t for the waiting, I would have missed taking in the drive today that was full of memories from previous experiences in my travels. As I took in the sights of Haiti, my mind flashed back to scenes of market traffic in Monrovia, Liberia. As we existed Port-au-Prince, the landscape looked much like hills of Tijuana, Mexico where I’ve been around thousands of house building worksites. Making our way near the coast I could see beautiful turquois water on one side of the road, and small rural farms and fruit stands on the other side of the road that reminded me of Fiji.
If it wasn’t for the waiting, I may not have walked through the town we are staying in, greeting many people on the streets. I would have missed the late afternoon hour where people were gathering their drinking water from a local canal that was also used for washing clothes and bathing. I wondered how many children would be sick from that water.
You see, it’s in the waiting that God does some of His best work in us. It’s in the waiting where we see and experience things we might not otherwise take in. Sometimes those things are very difficult, and sometimes the waiting can test our patience. But if we embrace the waiting, we have the opportunity to come out better for it on the other side.
On my next post, I’ll take you into a Haitian village that will receive clean drinking water filters through a program called Water Women.