Back in the day when Carter and Owen didn’t need deodorant and ate less food than I do, I started writing a series of devotions for them loosely based on their “little boy” experiences. My dream was to write 30 devos, have my fantastically talented brother illustrate them and then create a book. Well, the book hasn’t been published, but it hasn’t been a complete waste either. Some of the devos have found their way into publications, and I’ve been able to use them on various occasions. Most recently on our mission trip to Haiti.
My new friend, Paula, and I took turns sharing a short devotion at the beginning of our afternoon sewing classes with the youth. My speaking-in-front-of-a-group nerves melted away when the kids’ school teacher giggled as I talked about my boys coming home caked with mud from the creek. Smiling back at her, I had an awesome moment of realization that she and I are both just regular moms. We simply happened to have been born into very different life circumstances.
Several similar moments over the course of my Mission to Haiti trip changed the way I think of Haitians. Instead of thinking of “the poor Haitians” en-masse, I think of the school teacher with the smiling eyes who used hand motions to tell me she was pregnant with her second child. I think of our translator Billy who sat with me on two occasions and talked about his life. I think about Alix who will soon move from his mud and thatch house to a home with a roof that Corey helped build. I think of our student Marilyn who was by far a better seamstress than me…
Haiti is a poor nation. But that nation is made up of individual people who are not so different from you and me. They just lack the opportunities that we take for granted. I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to take that perspective changing trip.
Below is a copy of the devo I paraphrased for the kids in Haiti, along with an illustration by my brother.
Psalm 51:7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. NIV
“The sun is out!” Michael was thrilled. He shoveled his pancakes in his mouth and went to find James. After a week of rain, the boys were tired of being stuck in the house.
They pulled on their rain boots and hurried out to the creek behind the house. It was like a wonderland of water and mud. Soon they were on their hands and knees on the wet mushy ground digging for worms.
Covered in mud up to their elbows, they played happily letting the wet dirt soak into their shorts and t-shirts. By lunchtime, they had a bucket full of worms and bodies caked in mud.
“Let’s go home and get something to eat,” said James pulling a long worm out of the ground.
“Yeah, and I want to get this mud off my arms and legs. It kind of pinches my skin when it dries,” said Micheal as he worked on getting the mud out from between his toes.
Their mom started laughing when two mud-caked boys arrived at her door. “You can’t possibly be James and Michael. You look more like mud monsters. Let’s go over to the side of the garage so I can hose you down,” she said.
James and Michael watched the mud run off of their skin and down the driveway along with the water from the hose.
“Do you know what this reminds me of?” their mom asked.
“A big mud puddle?” asked James.
“Well, it does look like a big mud puddle, but that’s not what I was thinking,” she said. “What it makes me think of is how Jesus washes away our sins.”
“Oh, like our sins are the mud?”
“Yes, and when we ask Jesus to forgive our sins, what does he do?”
“He washes us clean, just like you are doing with the hose.”
“Right! When Jesus forgives us he takes our dirty sin and washes it away.”
As the boys watched the muddy water flow down the driveway, they decided it felt pretty good to be clean.