Monday, September 27, 2010

Storms:::Tents:::Trees:::Dirty Boys

He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness. The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. By his power he churned up the sea; his breath the skies became fair;...And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power? -- Job 26:8-14

A violent storm blew through Port-au-Prince on Friday.

One report said we experienced 65 mph winds.

Trees blew down all over the city, on our campus, and one fell down on our house.

Our kids and a lot of their friends stood in our living room staring out the windows watching the storm.

In those moments as we saw tree limbs falling, limbs blowing across campus, and the wind being a big bully to potted plants and anything else in its path we talked about a lot of things.

“Isn’t it amazing to see a storm this big?  To know that this is just a fraction of God’s power we’re seeing blow across this campus?”

“Humans think we have so much control, and then you see a storm like this and remember that every moment of every day we are at God’s mercy.  He is strong.  We are weak.  It's always true, but sometimes He makes sure we remember.”

When I see a big storm or natural disasters unleashed, it's kind of comforting to think about what a huge God we serve. When you see wind snap a tree in half, it's hard to believe that God loves us with such intensity.  Creation has only shown us a speck of God's love for us. But it's also a little scary when we consider that the things we see on earth are only a fringe of His works.  When I see the wind take down mature, thick trees I can't help but wonder what God's wrath will look like one day, and thank Him that He has saved me from ever seeing it.  If this storm is just a drip of God's power, I would hate to have to stand up against the force of His wrath towards sin one day.  It makes me thankful for Jesus.  It makes me good and weepy as I consider how Jesus felt on that cross, tortured by the weight of God's wrath towards our sin. It's crazy how watching a storm can make you feel urgency about sharing the gospel. Weird how a storm can cause you to beg the Lord to pursue and save.

It was a special, reverent moment watching that terrible storm, tucked in, hidden away inside the house with a bunch of kids who were just the right level of scared.  The scared that makes them quiet.  The kind of scared that makes them watch their mother's every move, every facial expression trying to read her...trying to figure out how they feel.  Strange how a mom's face can puppeteer a child's heart.  It was calm and quiet inside, but it felt like a ticking bomb.  I any moment, I could scream or get a little scared and every kid huddled around me would start crying.

Then a bunch of high school boys came screaming across the yard and landed on our front porch. They were crazy excited.  Jumping around.  Soaking wet.  Boys, drunk on a dose of danger.

Comic relief.  It arrived at just the right time.  All good scenes, once they are good and tense need a moment of relief.  Those boys were our relief.

I talked to the kids about the tent cities.  The storm waylaid our campus.  In only a short time, the storm turned our beautiful school into a total disaster.  Debris was everywhere.  Roofs were leaking.  Trees fell on power lines and smashed vehicles.

We couldn’t even imagine how a tiny tent could hold up to such force.

As parents came to pick up their kids from school we got reports of tents being in the road and personal belongings blown into the street. 

People who have lived here over 20 years said they had never seen anything like this storm in Port-au-Prince.  We are shielded, thankfully, from the hurricanes.  No one was prepared for a storm with winds this severe. 

Once the scary parts had past, the boys wanted to play in the rain and all the water that had collected on campus. In case you don't know this, Haiti is gross.  It's really dirty.  People pee on the side of the road...right in front of you.  Gas station bathroom.  That's what this country feels like.  I was a little grossed out by the thought of my kids playing in the rain water even on our relatively clean campus, but Kirby inspired should check out the mud fight pictures she posted of her kids.  Precious.  I told the boys to take off their white polos and have at it. Asher and McKlayne can't have all the fun.

Check out Ashton's belly. So like him.  Putting the tattoos on one at a time was just a little too much work.  So why not put the entire sheet of tattoos on your belly?  That boy.  He's the poster child for a kid who attends Christian private school isn't he? White polo.  Blue shorts.  Tatted torso.

At first, the older kids on campus pointed and laughed at the Hendrick boys.  Did our kids care? Not at all. They know what's fun.  Pretty soon the pointers and the laughers were inspired.  They left campus totally soaked from all the fun they had.  I'm going to try and avoid their mothers for a few weeks.

I'm sure Ashton is getting worms in this picture.  Good thing we have a great doctor.  The Amazing Doctor Bacak has already received several pictures of Hendrick boy rashes in his inbox.  Even from far away, we still have the best doctor ever. We should all make wagers on how long it will take before Rusty gets a picture of Hendrick boy poop in his email.  Two weeks?  Four weeks?

Thanks for the inspiration, Kirby.  I think this is one of those days that will be gorilla glued on our kid's minds.

Thank God for the times when He reminds us that He is big and we are little.

Thank God for the opportunity for us to see, up close and personal, how different it was to ride this storm in a concrete house, instead of in a tent.  I'm not sure what to do with that knowledge, but I'm thankful it's right in front of my eyes where I can't ignore it.  It's tempting to sit in a concrete house as tents fly down the street and say stupid things like, "Thank God I'm so blessed. Thank God for this house."  Funny how Jesus never said, "When you see great need, sit back and count your blessings."  He said if we see someone in need, meet the need...share...and when you do junk like that, you just served God right to His face.


Kirby said... do you do this to me? Tears are streaming down my face!

I love the like him with his entire torso tatted up! And...Hudson...has it only been a month? He seems to have matured MANY months in the single month that he has been there.

I'm so glad that your boys played in the muddy water...something about that makes you seem so much closer. Counting down the days until you're here.

mandi said...

Good for you! Nothing like a good roll in a puddle to make you feel better!

I'm so glad you guys are safe. Seriously, I knew something was going on over there. God has been speaking to me at strange times to pray for you. Like Sunday night at about 3am. Holy Spirit said "pray for protection against mosquito bites". Straight up woke me up to pray against mosquitos! That's a first!

Hendrick Family said...

You praying about our mosquitoes made me get all teary eyed.