February 16th, 2010

worship in the streetsFlexibily is the first rule of missions. I was taught that in an Introduction to Missions class as a freshmen in Bible college.

Truth be told, while I've participated and lead dozens of short-term missions trips, I always preferred rigidity to flexibility.

Of course, all of that changes when you are working among the poorest of the poor in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere just a few weeks after a major earthquake.

Haiti — a place of chaos and fear for visitors on a good day. And this Valentine's Day hardly seemed like a good day.

As I prepared to help in relief efforts I had sub-consciously readied myself for the worst. With my guard up I wanted to keep my distance.

On Sunday, when Seth called an audible on our day so we could worship with the people in the steets, I had to wrestle with two things. First, I am hard-wired to stick to the plan. Second, I was a little apprehensive about diving into a crowd with several hundred strangers — dancing, sweaty, loud Haitians.

At first, I smiled big and tapped my toes. (trust me, I don't have those moves) I kept a journalistic distance both physically and emotionally.

My mind wrestled with the joy of these people. Thirty days after more than 200,000 people died in “the event” broad smiles of joy mixed with sweat from the sweltering heat resulted in a moment I will never forget.

I was analyIzing the moment as a way to disassociate myself from it. I could sense it but chose to keep my guard firmly in tact.

That's when I saw a matching smile and sweat on Ian. His ears covered in headphones, his shirt sweated completely through, our video guy had made his way to the middle of the crowd.

I had this moment of justification…”well, Ian shouldn't be in there alone. And it does look like fun!” Without any more thought I began to make my way to Ian.

In the crowd was a joy in worship I'd never experienced before. The blaring worship music, me faking the words, me politely clapping… It was an amazing moment. Arms everywhere, tears mixing with sweat. It was a private moment where I danced before God celebrating the great works he has done.

And then my old-Baptist feet started tapping. As the beats continued and the words simplified I got more into it. Within about minute the smile and sweat now engulfed me.

With those people I worshipped like a little child at a birthday party. Bouncing up and down, clapping on the wrong beat, and doing my best to say the Creole words as the pastor lead. I was hardly an example to others… More like a funny sideshow.

Coming to Haiti I had this misconception that I'd be doing the work of encouragement for the suffering and bereaved. Instead, what I experienced was a heart that was reviving.

The joy ofthe people leads me to a revival of my heart.

Now if only I could find that song on iTunes?

  — Adam McLane


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