Lenten Reflection by Paulette West, Executive Director UMVIM, SEJ
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission April 22, 2011
It is finished...A reflection upon returning home from Haiti
I find Haiti one of the most difficult places to serve. It was hard for me to be there again. Perhaps for me, part of the difficulty lies in facing and acknowledging my own shortcomings, weaknesses and sin. When Jesus spoke those words, "It is finished" - I think to myself, "But it is not finished; just the beginning." Perhaps what was finished was the suffering and death required for new life. I realize that whatever I struggle with, sacrifice or give is nothing when compared to the struggles and sacrifice of Jesus. His mission to show us the depth of God's love and mercy wasn't finished but just the beginning of what He expects of us.
As I reflect back on the week serving in Haiti (April 1-8) and think about Easter approaching, I realize that the only hope for Haiti is resurrection- new life. In the year since I was in Haiti following the earthquake, there is still devastation and rubble in many places, still tent cities, and still the poor masses; but there are also many glimpses of new life taking place. As I think about last week, I am reminded of the places where resurrection is taking place. Life continues around and despite of the destruction. Security walls are being rebuilt; schools and churches repaired. Returning to College Bird, no longer is there a structure ravaged and fractured - the rubble has been removed and temporary classrooms give students an opportunity to learn. A year ago at Grace Hospital, a malnourished infant boy lay in a crib in a military tent because the buildings were crumbling and unsafe. His face remained with me as I worried and wondered if he died. During our tour of the new temporary structures, Roberson shared that he too thought Paulo would not survive; but was thrilled to share that his health improved and the mother that had abandoned him returned to take him back three months later. New life and hope for a future. On Tuesday with the announcement of the new president, you could see the sense of hope in the celebration of the people in the community. A chance for changes where corruption and oppression end and new opportunities and hope may exist for the Haitian people.
Our mission in Haiti was finished; but it is not finished for Haiti as it is not finished for us. When He said "It is finished", Jesus may have only been referring to the fact that his death accomplished the mission that God had sent him. But his resurrection meant so much more - new life and hope! The love I have can never compare to His love for the world yet I know that I am called to share His love with others. So how do I embody and share this incredible love? I'm afraid I don't always do it well. But I will continue to try because I am one of the Easter people.
The hope for Haiti is the resurrected Christ; the hope for all of us is found in His love. May you continue to share the hope and love of the resurrected Christ with others in all you do.
Paulette West, Executive Director
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