My entire life, I have been a minister’s daughter.
My weekends have consisted of class, service, small group, care group…my summers are filled with mission trips and church camp. It would be an understatement to say that I have been aware of and surrounded by the love of Jesus since birth.
However, it wasn’t until my first trip to Haiti in June 2015 that I really saw Jesus. I have since been on two LiveBeyond trips – one literacy and one medical trip.
There wasn’t one specific person or a certain face, but I left both trips with the distinct impression that I had just spent the week with my Savior.
Maybe it was my encounter with Maizie (after a climb that nearly killed me) when I realized how far she walked, how dirty and dusty her feet were after traveling so far. I wonder if that is what Jesus’ feet looked like as he walked the road to Calvary.
Perhaps I saw Jesus in the eyes of King of Kings. Kind eyes, eyes that told a story without saying a word. I can’t wait to stare into the eyes of my Lord one day…
I know I definitely saw Jesus when I heard some of the staff singing songs to Lancy or when I watched Kè Pou Timoun kids feed Johnny’s Kids lunch. I also hear him every time I pick Sophie’s voice out of the crowd during worship.
I held his hands as I comforted a little boy who showed up to clinic without his parents to get his ringworm treated. I kissed his face as I held Angelo while his mom got her feet treated. I laughed with him for hours as I spent the day with Kè Pou Timoun.
Maybe I am not looking hard enough (or in the right places) for Jesus on a daily basis, but you can’t miss him while you are serving his people. In Haiti, Jesus is not just who we pray to before meals or who we sing about on Sunday mornings. In Haiti, Jesus is alive, working, active, visible and tangible.
It’s not that Jesus is only visible in Haiti or that he works more powerfully there, but I believe that we can see him more easily there because it is where he is needed.
The people of Haiti don’t just love Jesus, they need him. Desperately. Humbly. Unashamedly.
We sing songs with lyrics like, “Lord, I need you, oh, I need you. Every hour I need you. My one defense, my righteousness. Oh God, how I need you.”
But do we really act like we need him? Do we need him when our jobs provide enough money for a house that keeps us cool in the Summer and warm in the Winter? Do we need him when a single family has multiple cars and money for gas to go wherever we want? Do we really need him when we have hundreds of doctors to choose from anytime we get hurt or sick?
There is no real way to describe Haiti or the impact it has on your life until you actually go. But it is the first place I’ve been where the need for Jesus is overwhelming. Christians in Haiti need Jesus every second, every time they walk past a Voodoo peristyle. He is needed to provide food, to heal disease, to comfort in the midst of pain, to father the fatherless, to bring peace.
What a blessing to be surrounded by people who not only share my faith, but who actively live it out in ways that indescribable.
I love Haiti and LiveBeyond for many reasons, but I will always be thankful for it’s impact on my eyes. I am no longer satisfied to only see Jesus in Haiti. I crave his presence; I long to see his face, hear his voice and hold his hands.
Until I can back to Haiti, I am going to do my best to see Jesus in those around me and show Jesus to those who have yet to meet him.
Jesus is homeless.
Jesus is hungry and thirsty.
Jesus is lonely.
Jesus is a difficult teenager.
Jesus is sick and hurt.
Jesus is the lady in line at the grocery store.
Jesus is judged for the color of his skin.
Jesus is all around us, are you willing to see him? Are you ready to really know him?
Haiti has changed how I see, hear and treat people. May we look for Jesus in the people around us. May we speak kindly to those everyone else ignores. May we hug and kiss the people who are dirty, smelly and different than us. May we be forever changed because of our encounter with Jesus.
“He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.
Karlie Duke is the Communications Director for Teen Lifeline in Fort Worth, Texas. She graduated from Abilene Christian University in 2014 with a degree in Communications. Karlie and her husband Josh have been on two LiveBeyond trips since June 2015.