January 12, 2010. I was working on a computer project with the TV news on in the background. Reports began to flow in about a devastating earthquake in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. A giant earthquake had just happened with several strong after shocks. Estimates of those killed at first (only guesses), all turned out to be low. It was a picture of utter destruction and human desperation.
While I was standing there at the screen my phone rang. It was Dave, a close friend and fellow responder on other missions we had worked on together. He said “What are you doing” I said “Watching Haiti on TV”. He said he needed help to get thousands of dollars of meds to Haiti ASAP. I said count me in.
Thus began the hardest mission I’ve every made. Hours of work, improvising everything, sleeping on a rooftop, scrounging for food, water, everything. A candid picture I snapped in passing, looking at it fir the first time months later, has become my all time favorite mission picture. I don’t know anyone in the photo. But to me it represents the very essence of what the Bible means when it says “If your gift is serving others, serve them well…” (Romans 12:7-NLT)
A young Haitian boy, seriously hurt (one of hundreds in this camp alone), in the back of a makeshift ambulance truck sitting on dirty mattresses with his mom, finally well enough to head home. Who knows what awaits them at home? But patched up by relief volunteers from another country, another culture, another world, he heads back home. He hugs “his” nurse. They have been thrust together by a tragedy, bonding for ever. Both have tears. They don’t speak the same language. They are from different cultures, probably different religions. A volunteer nurse, compelled by her Christian service to jump from her normal routine to help souls in need in another part of the world, without reservation. She hugs the boy with as if he is her own son. He hugs her with a love that cannot be explained.
They are so different. One is rich, one is poor. One is black, one is white. One has an extensive education, the other a simple education. One lives in a country that offers many opportunities, one lives in a poor country. They don’t even speak the same language! But in an instant a lifelong memory imprints on both without words. You can see it comes from the spirit of God directly into each soul, even into my soul and I only took the photo. What power God has put in each of us if we discard politics and culture driven only by a desire to serve God.
It is a picture I cannot get out of my head. It just so accurately shows the power of love to cut through the pain of this world. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT)