Last evening, at 5:45 pm, I participated in the lovely, simple, powerful service of Maundy Thursday. Only 14 people were there, including clergy. We sat in an oval arrangement, with the holy table right there at one end. Père Sonley talked about the significance of the intimacy between Jesus and his closest friends, and that that is the same soul-friendship that Jesus offers each of us with himself. In the same way he encourages deep friendship, at the deepest level of our souls, between all of us here and now. Come let us deepen our lives together!
Today at mid-day I will go to Église Ste. Croix for the Liturgy of Good Friday.
Here is a lovely passage from the letter to the Hebrews, from the readings designated for Good Friday. (I am reading them in English this morning, with the intention of understanding the Kreyol reading better, when I go today.)
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds. Hebrews 10: 23-24
I am by this inspired to write a message that is “provoking”! But, as the author of Hebrews says, “Let us consider how!”
What is the situation right now today in our lives?
Each of us has something heavy on our hearts, I am sure, this Good Friday. And each of us is in some way looking for the Kingdom of Heaven, where the severe limits of this life don’t apply. In the Kingdom, there is Enough for All. (It might be, Enough health and wellbeing. It might be, Enough love and forgiveness. It might be, Enough financial resources. It might be, Enough peace between warring factions. It is a longing for there to be Enough – for there to be more than Enough – for there to be ABUNDANCE of all kinds!)
The plight and the promise at FSRL: the Faculté des Sciences de Réhabilitation de Léogâne: two academic programs: one in Occupational Therapy and the other in Physical Therapy
I am moved to tell you, as readers of this letter, that we have had too little income to meet our expenses at FSRL for two or three months by now. We have had some income, allowing us to pay our staff, which is the priority. However, we have had to postpone payment of our other big bills, for example for rent for our classroom and office space, and for lodging for our volunteers. We owe payments to the Episcopal University of Haiti (UNEPH) and to the Episcopal Diocese. And, this month for the first time, we don’t have enough money to pay a full month’s salary to all our staff members.
HOW do we think about this?
Considering HOW to engage and provoke support is complicated! That is because there are so many kinds of ears listening at the same time.
- Some people might honestly be dismayed that an American OT and her husband have launched a whole team of Americans and Canadians into this project without having first established the financial basis of it. There is some truth to that criticism. But I can say that there is a psalm that addresses that, and it’s in today’s lectionary too : “Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord of Hosts.” (Psalm 69, verse 7)
Once Mother Theresa had a burden on her heart for some children who lived in destitution and hunger immediately outside the gate of a rich man, a Muslim. She went to the man, held out her hand, and asked him to do something for them. He spat into her hand. She wiped off the spit, then said, “That was for me. And now for the children,” and held out her hand again. He was so moved that he immediately gave what she asked for them.
Mother Theresa – always surprising, because she lived by different rules than the rest of us!
I am often, possibly always, aware of at least one part of the equation: that I personally am in over my head with this project. But that does not change in any way the Area of Moral Clarity, providing appropriate Haitian rehabilitation for Haitian people in desperate need. The need and the promise are real.
- Some people have already given to a sacrificial point. People have turned over their inheritances, opened their retirement savings, committed to a monthly gift, gone out on a limb to support these academic programs before we even had students. You know who you are. I hope that you will see this “provoking appeal” as an opportunity to engage more fellow travelers!
- Most of us have many many claims already on our finances. We all need to pay rent or mortgage, buy food for the family, pay for school, pay for healthcare, and on top of that we have other charities we support. I respect that a lot. The Kingdom, in its abundance, relies on thousands of different perspectives on where to give! Maybe your gifts are already doing good work, and if so then God bless that work too!
- Some of us have NO income that is not already allocated to sustain life. That is the truth. And we all have to trust that in that case God’s generosity will come around to help us too, to give us groceries and pay for heat!!
But if after considering ALL this you have room to help, please help.
The Haitian students are the key. By now, the third-year students (7 PT and 3 OT), have mastered many aspects of the specific needs and the path forward for Haitians with disabling conditions.
The third-year students are pushing us to let them start providing care NOW. They are asking for more clinical experiences, right away this week, without waiting to graduate. Some have come to ask permission to go as a group to a health education or health fair event at their churches. Some are planning a collaboration with the Association of the Handicapped of Léogâne (where the earthquake was strongest, right here, leaving many amputees and persons with traumatic brain injury).
There are patients who are more than ready too: people coming to our gates, carrying children, or helping a family member to limp along, asking, “Don’t you have therapy here? Can we come in?”
What can we do? What can you do? I think the starting place is to know what the needs are, and what is the promise for people who are hurting, if those needs are met.
Blessings on your Good Friday, and for all of us, blessings on Easter too!