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  • Laura MacNeil Smith

Hunger

“Lord, we are hungry for you.”

This was the prayer from the lips of a 17 year old prisoner. A young man who has been there since we first started doing prison ministry 3 1/2 years ago. Someone who deeply knows and understands the meaning of hunger.

 

Haiti has been in crisis since the middle of August. It’s been the slow burn of countless unresolved problems that is now a fire that can’t be controlled. There is barely any gas in the country, which affects everything from groceries stores and businesses cutting back hours or closing down, to sometimes having days without cell phone or internet service at all. If you can manage to find or afford a gallon of gas, it’s usually mixed with water and $20 usd. With roads often blocked by barricades or protests, supplies and goods can’t be transported—it’s been quite a few weeks now since our little grocery store in town has gotten a shipment of food. We are thankful to be in the countryside where we have access to a lot of locally grown produce at the market but prices have skyrocketed. People can’t afford to live. Things you wouldn’t expect to run out of are getting more difficult to find, like propane for cooking or treated drinking water. School continues to be postponed. The gangs hold all the weapons and all the power.


Are you overwhelmed yet?

I know I sure am.


I have never been a fan of concentrating on the problems or sensationalizing the difficulties—that is not my MO, however the world needs to open their eyes to what is going on here. In the almost 9 years that I’ve called Haiti home, I have never seen conditions quite this bad. That's the hard truth I've been struggling to put into words these past few weeks. This is a time of crisis.


Crisis begs us to believe everything has changed and we must put our purpose and our calling on pause. It puts stress and pressure on us to constantly take action instead of being still before the Lord. But in reality, we don’t need to throw everything away. In fact, our calling shouldn't be discarded or disregarded.


These are the anchors that hold.

It’s true even more so now.

We can be tempted to throw everything out the window when crisis comes, instead of battening down the hatches, setting up camp and holding on to what we know to be true.

The temptation is there to slow down. It would be so easy for us to stop doing ministry right now. To say that things are twice as expensive or that it takes twice as much effort to keep doing what we were doing before, but that is my selfishness speaking, not the Lord. The word from the Lord was very clear to both Matthew and I.

Keep going.


Things are hard, but my calling hasn’t changed.

My purpose hasn’t changed.

Now more than ever, we need to keep going.

Encouragement and provision come daily, in tiny moments. Like Manna from Heaven.

It just might be a really great evening at community Bible study, singing and growing together. Or a successful trip into town without hitting any roadblocks.

Or one of our neighbors, who isn’t a christian praying out loud to open one of our programs.

Or hearing the raw faith of a young man in prison.

And if that young man can still pray and hunger for the Lord in the midst of his situation, then so can we.


 

May our hunger for the Lord never stop.

May the problems and difficulties of the moment never block the road He has asked us to walk down.

May we stay anchored to our purpose in times of crisis.

May we have the courage to keep going.



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