Salt and Light in Haiti

One of JTJ’s board member steps into the tent city JTJ has committed to journeying with and gives his heart to those there

Jay Coulter shares his heart with children of Capvva. © Clemson Saint-fleur  2011

Kids of Capvva enjoy some play time. © Nathan Lee 2011

Kids enjoy a picnic with Jay as their guest. © Jay Coulter 2011

Stepping foot into Haiti is a major step outside what most consider the “comfort zone,” because it is a place where chaos seems to be the normal pace of life. I realized this when I exited the airport and cars of all types were whizzing up and down a dirt road without means of stop lights or any of the usual traffic indictors.

But God is everywhere, even in the chaos. And this sense of His presence and sovereignty is what marked my trip to Haiti. Throughout my nine-day journey, as a representative of Join the Journey’s work there, I could feel Him working—in me, around me, and working to create a new story for the impoverished people I met there.

The focus of this trip was to walk alongside a tent city called Capvva, population of about 2,000, all of whom were displaced from the earthquake and now live in tents on a borrowed piece of land. Join the Journey, where I serve as a board member, has committed to journeying with Capvva, in physical and spiritual way, seeking to inspire change by creating a new vision for life and community and planting the seeds of Jesus Christ to make that change hold firm.

Prior to the trip, much prayer and planning took place. My “mission” was to connect with the people, inspire change, share His perfect truths, deliver compassion (by delivering some helpful goods), and assess the overall situation for continued work there. The Lord allowed me to achieve all of these things—and more.

The essence of my experience was relationships. I got to meet people face-to-face and hear about their challenges and work with a special committee formed to respond to those challenges. I got to worship with the people and hear His Word preached in Haiti’s native dialect, Creole. I got to fellowship with them by means of a Join the Journey-sponsored picnic. And I even was able to juggle the soccer ball around with some of the kids.

The highlight of all these activities was reading God’s Word with those in the tent city. There were two specific instances that had a real impact on my life. First, I was able to give some Creole Bibles to the people in the community after we had a short Bible study. With about the 10-15 gathered there, we read Hebrews 4:12, and I shared that the Bible was the greatest tool that we could give them. I encouraged them to share its truth with those that do not participate in the church service on Sundays. The second instance occurred while I was walking around the tent city and meeting the population that lived there. I stepped into the tent of a woman and she pulled out her Creole Bible. She then proceeded to show me a picture that was inside of her Bible. The picture was of her son, lying on the curb of the street wrapped up in bandages. Through my translator, I learned that her son had died as a result of the earthquake. In that moment of seeing the sadness in her eyes for her son, I finally realized the devastation that the earthquake had on the people of Haiti. We then proceeded to read her favorite two passages: Psalm 23 and Psalm 121. I probably won’t read Psalms 23 the same ever again.

I thank God for making it all possible, the way He carried me each day through the chaos to connect with people that left a lasting impact on me. I pray that my interaction with them was just as meaningful and that my message that Jesus is savior, helper, and hope will cling to their hearts.

God’s work continues in me, as it continues in Capvva. The people there have so far to go on the journey as they try to rebuild. The task of mobilizing out of tents into homes seems nearly impossible but nothing is impossible with God.