Rony is one of the men I am training to replace me. Of the many reasons why I chose him, his strong faith in God and commitment to his family were high on the list.
Two weeks ago, Rony's 11 year old daughter was hospitalized with vomiting and diarrhea, a common ailment in Haiti. Rony came to work looking flustered and distracted so I sent him back to his family. His daughter died the next day.
I was shocked and sad and angry. We live in the 21st century; no child should die of vomiting and diarrhea! I let God hear my anger at the injustice of such an event, especially to a man as godly and gentle as Rony.
My other TA's went with me to visit Rony. We sat in plastic lawn chairs in his one room house; Rony sat on the only bed. He recounted to us in detail everything that happened leading up to his daughter's passing. He told us with pride how his daughter loved to cook for him at night, and how the other children used to tease her about being dad's favorite.
Her little twin sister sat on her dad's lap. "I'm cold, Daddy," she whispered. He gave her one of his button-down shirts and she draped herself in it. His 12 year old son slipped in and sat on the bed by his father, silently weeping.
Then Rony smiled at us. "Remember what Job said? 'The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.' My girl is dead, but I trust God. He knows what He's doing; He knows why He let us have 11 years with her. Yes, if I can praise Him when things are good, I have to also be able to praise Him when things are bad too." He nodded and said with conviction, "Because of all this, I am going to love God more than I ever have."
I am not a missionary. My Haitian co-workers and friends are the missionaries. From them, I learn that trusting in God is not circumstantial. From them, I learn how to pray in every situation. From them, I learn what faith really is. I do not teach them; they teach me.