I have the immense privilege of leading youth group at my church every Saturday afternoon. Last year, we generally had 50-60 teens attend each week. This year, though, our numbers have jumped to an average 80 attendees. And this week, we had a whopping 100 kids at youth group! Something cool is going on here and I'm very excited to be part of it.
One of my goals for youth group is to instill in the hearts of these young people a love for God that translates into a love for their country. I have always felt that real change can only happen in Haiti when Haitians begin acting. What I and other missionaries can do here is great, but what Haitians can do is far more powerful. So this week, I asked all the kids to write down things that they want to see different in Haiti.
I spoke to them from Nehemiah, a man who heard about a need and decided to do something to make it different. But instead of focusing on the part of the story where Nehemiah overcomes all obstacles to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, I asked them to look instead at the beginning of the book. The first thing that Nehemiah does after he learns of the destruction of the wall is pray. He prays, confessing his sins and the sins of his people. As a body, we knelt in the sweltering sanctuary of Quisqueya Chapel, and asked God to forgive us and to forgive Haiti of its sins: corruption, violence, laziness, pollution, selfishness, Voodoo...
I collected all the papers and with the help of my co-leaders, Ari and Miriam, read a few out loud to the group. Like Nehemiah, these kids are seeing problems and needs in Haiti and they want to see change.
Our youth wants to see "More roads, a better president, no kidnappings, respect for women, more green space, children to be treated equally no matter if they are rich or poor, no stray dogs, all the children in school, electricity 24/7, no more starving children, Haiti to be the 'Pearl of the Caribbean' again, no more hatred, peace, people to have homes to stay, no ghettos, more work for people, no more desperation."
My personal favorite said this:
Ah, to have faith like a child!