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Under This Sky

The beginning of March was the start of a playful dispute between myself and my more intelligent Haitian half.

My standpoint– once a month is a New Moon. On all other days of the month, the moon goes through waxing and waning phases. If it’s a clear sky, you will see it.

His standpoint– in Haiti, some months, the moon is invisible for two weeks at a time.

So, determined to win this argument and put to rest a cultural myth, I decided to examine the sky each night and share my findings. March 1st visible moon, going good for me. March 2nd, no moon. Perhaps there were too many clouds. March 3rd, no moon. March 4th, no moon. March 5th, no moon. All the way until March 15th, not a single sliver of the moon did I see in the brilliant star-filled clear sky.

I had to swallow my pride.

Sometimes we tend to think because things are one way at home that they are universally so. Often they are not. The whole earth is under one sky, but the view is different depending on where you are.

People are people universally under one sin nature; each offered the same forgiveness and grace. But the sky looks different through each of our eyes, and every story is unique.

The Haitian sky has become a thing of great beauty and awe to me. Some nights the stars are so plentiful and close it’s like you could reach out and touch them. Other times a sunset is so brilliant it seems the sky will burn right up in the orange flames.

Once there was a great dark cloud surrounded by tones of purple and terrible lightning strikes all around. (In this area, multiple people die each year from getting struck by lightning.) A few of the boys thought it must be Jesus’ second coming.

Under this sky, there is a great deal of suffering.

I hold a 5-month-old struggling for her life, daughter of a teen mom who is still a dependant herself. The doctors diagnosed her with a congenital heart defect. Some nurses who care for her do not care if she lives or dies. They care for her life as much as a stray dog. We hear from a specialist that it is too late for surgery, even if she could make it over the Dominican border to the only hospital capable of heart surgery that is within reach.

I watch a young addict with a rough past fall into a routine of waking to seek the next high. Throwing dreams into a fire that seems safe, not realizing it’s burning them away.

I turn away from the graphic video circling the news. I feel sick at the thought of it even now. Four SWAT police officers slaughtered in a botched raid in the gang village Village de Dieu (Village of God). They sought to free hostages. Now they are unrecognizable bloody masses of flesh, kicked, spit on, and torn to pieces before the public eye.

Under this sky, there is a great deal of joy.

Farmers unified in learning new ways of agriculture. Fifty men and women of all ages, praying hand in hand for rain after planting together. They watched the rain come that night.

A baby, once on death’s doorstep, now fat and happy. She’s hitting all the milestones that she wouldn’t have if God had not arranged an intervention at the right time.

Choir groups singing and dancing before the church bringing glory to Jesus with all the enthusiasm of a million-dollar lottery winner.

A street boy once hooked on drugs, provocative dancing for tips, and stealing for a living. Newly converted, he’s forsaking his former life entirely. He works for a modest living at a spaghetti joint in town. His employer trusts him without reservation. He speaks of Christ and grace in every conversation.

All of this is taking place under the same sky. This sky of the absent moon for weeks at a time. This sky of hard rains and blazing sun. This Haitian sky.

And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.

Deuteronomy 4:19

Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches the skies!

Psalm 36:5

One Response

  1. Can you be more specific about the content of your enticle? After reading it, I still have some doubts. Hope you can help me.

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Hi! I’m Rachel. Through a series of God orchestrated events I ended up in Haiti, in 2017.  Through years of serving with a ministry there I came to love the country and its people. I met Nelson and we got married in 2020. It was the best decision of my life! 

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