Communication turns out to have been the first tool that God has used to break me in Haiti. For some reason, it never occurred to me – a guy who spent most of the past 32 years as a journalist – that it would be so hard here to do the thing that I have done so easily for so long. Whether in print or face to face, I rarely struggle for what to say or how to say it.
And then I got to Haiti.
Where they speak Kréyol. And I do not.
It probably says something about me that I just never really gave a lot of thought to the complications inherent in the points of that last paragraph. Sure, I told folks the language challenge was my biggest concern before leaving for this six-month visit in support of Supply and Multiply. But we have translators and phone apps to help, and the extent of the complications that would arise from not speaking the language just never really became clear to me until Monday, when the translators were all gone and my phone app wasn’t working and I needed to arrange some simple administrative tasks with our Haitian director.
My frustration grew with every failed attempt at conveying what should have bee simple, straightforward thoughts; none of this was rocket surgery. And finally, feeling my tears beginning to well up, I was able to get Google Translate to work, at which point, I showed Gary this message: “I’m used to being able to do things. This is hard. But God has a plan for it.”
And then I headed back to the missionary housing as quickly as possible, where I could cry privately in my frustration and brokenness, where I could send my wife a long email telling her how much harder things were than I had expected and where I could finally come to the realization that perhaps this, indeed, is all part of God’s plan for me.
Perhaps it’s time for me to be the guy who leaves it all in God’s hands, instead of trying to control it all himself. And perhaps He is doing so by using these communication challenges to force me to rely on others.
Maybe God is building humility in me in this season. That can’t be a bad thing.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 NASB)
— Res Spears