I was in St. Marc yesterday with the guy that I hired to help me navigate the crazy world of customs. Anyway, as he was in the office there getting all the paperwork ready, I was waiting outside at a nearby park area. The driver who was with us told me to wait there because he had to go to the store to buy a part for the vehicle that we were driving. There was this young Haitian guy who was trying to explain to my driver about where to go for the part and how much it would cost. He was offering to get it, but my driver said no and walked away. So, this Haitian guy comes up to me and starts telling me that my driver is *%$&*@* Stupid!! He seemed very upset. So, I was a little nervous when the driver told me to wait by myself while he went into town to find the part. I was thinking to myself, “Ok Cody, this might be your first experience in Haiti where you get beat up, robbed, and left for dead.” So, I just prayed God’s protection over me and trusted in the outcome.
So, this guy who was cursing out my driver starts coming towards me and talking in Creole. I was happy that I could not respond with much, since I don’t yet know how to really converse back and forth, so I decided to say the most safe response , “M pa Kompran (I don’t understand)”. But then he asked me if I spoke Spanish, which though not fluent, I can certainly hold a conversation. So, I said yes I understood Spanish, and so we struck up a conversation. He said his name was Tires (pronounced Ti-Rez) who was 23 years old. For 2 hours I was able to hang with this guy speaking in Spanish. It was pretty cool to be able to speak for that long in another language. He was sharing a lot about his life and some of his struggles and such. I just kept trying to point him in the direction of looking to God and seeking Him for all things. He wasn’t simply interested in getting money from me (as I first thought), but more so just wanted to talk. He shared about his many struggles that he has with regards to lack of job opportunities, lack of opportunities for school or vocational training, etc. I still couldn’t quite figure out what he was asking of me. I told him that I didn’t have any money to give him. He said that he was aware of that, but that he just enjoyed talking to me. He said that it would be a conversation that he would remember for the rest of his life. I was like…”ok bro, I appreciate the compliment, but that’s a little over the top now.” During the course of the conversation, I kept telling him about the need to trust in the Lord and that the best thing to do in any situation is to seek God, pray, and read the bible. He said that he has a Creole bible at his house, so I encouraged him to read it so that He is able to understand the ways of God more. He was speaking about how poor he is, and how poor Haiti is, and that so many other people around the world do not have the same struggles. I reminded him that there are many places in the world that have struggle and that God knows the struggles of us all, and I encouraged him to look to the Lord for strength through the struggle. He thanked me for being so sincere and real with him and for not putting myself on a level that is above him as many people do. Since we seemed to be developing a connection, I figured that I had the opportunity to speak into his heart, so I challenged him on the way that he spoke to my driver. I told him that he should not have cursed and that God does not want us to treat people that way. He agreed, but still seemed to justify why he treated him like that. He told me that it bothered him that my driver did not seem to trust him when he was only trying to help. He said, “He did not have trust and confidence in me, like you do, and that is why I got mad.” Anyway, it was just good to talk to him, to listen to his story, and to try to allow Jesus to somehow work through me in a way that He would be touched by the Master’s hand.
When it was time for my driver and I to get lunch, he lead us to a little place where we could eat. I told him in my best Creole that I would like to buy him lunch. He was very thankful, but asked if he could instead use the money so that he could get food for his whole family. I told him that would be fine. Although he did not seem to be dressed in such a shabby manner, I noticed that he was using a shoe string to hold up his pants. The scripture verse came to me from James that asks, “What good is our faith if we see someone in need and simply say God bless you and walk away without trying to meet the need, especially if we are able to do so?” That is a dead faith. So, even though I had practically no money, I was wearing a belt, and I did have 2 other belts at home while this guy had a shoe string. So, just as I was saying goodbye, I subtly took off my belt and said to him in my best Spanish, “I don’t have many things. I don’t have a lot of money. But I want to give you this if you need it. God bless you.” I think he was very surprised. Maybe he was expecting money, I don’t know. But he did say that he definitely needed the belt and he thanked me. It was really cool just being able to be the hands of Christ to this guy who I may never see again, and know that every minute that I spent with him, I was trying to communicate and live out the message of the gospel. Bondye se bon (God is good)