(Written by Dr. Mike Runion of City View Baptist in Greenville, SC. Mike and his group were in Haiti July 31-August 6, 2011)
“Spots of Light”
Andy and Carol were the most unlikely couple to interact with. Nothing prepared me for the accent in which they spoke or why the two of them came from England to Haiti. Come to think of it, why was I there? Walls Guest house is not the Ritz Carlton. Really, who stays at a Hotel (Guest House) without hot water? At least we were serving Jesus! That seemed logical to me. We had a reason, if you will, from the highest authority —“Go and make disciples of all nations.” Sacrifice seems very rational when it is Christ who says “Go.” I was deeply curious and I must say I liked talking to this couple with their unique accent from England.
In this conversation God reminded me why I was in Haiti sharing Christ. Keep in mind, Andy and Carol were not there from a church, nor were they sent by a Christian organization. They had no religious epiphany or calling. They were admittedly two people who simply wanted to help other people who were less fortunate. Hearing of the cholera outbreak in Haiti they decided to bring in medical supplies to the villages affected by the disease along with sizable donations from constituents in order to help bring healing. That’s it! No agenda other than a humanitarian work to help fellow man. Not even a call from Jesus.
As they sipped their drinks it occurred to me that we obviously had two separate motives, however similar the outcome — to help others. Then the question came I thought they might ask, “What brings you to Haiti?” Understand, we did not bring in tons of medicine nor did we bring in tens of thousands of dollars as they did. I was already mulling over what I might say so that my cause would sound just as important and impressive as theirs. I decided however, just to throw it out there and see what happened. “We are here because Christ has command us to go into all the world and share the good news of the gospel. We are working in two orphanages this week bringing only a small amount of money a lot of love and we are conducting evangelistic services each night to share the love of Christ. In addition, we are going house to house to pray and share the love of Christ with whom we can.” Not even an awkward pause followed. Before I could finish both of them were pressed to the edge of their seat almost impatient to speak. Carol began, “Thank God for what you are doing. Everywhere we go in Haiti we see a marked difference anywhere you and other Christians have been. This is a dark place and everywhere we go we can tell if you have been through a place because there is a ‘Spot of Light’ there. We find ‘Spots of Light’ everywhere we go. Thank you for what you do — you indeed are making a difference in a dark place.” Andy agreed and thanked us for our efforts. I felt as if I had received an accommodation by the Queen of England herself by the time we were through.
Wow! I was taken back a bit by two people from England who had noticed something that I had missed. Indeed, we were making a difference. I know this but it sometimes just takes someone saying it so I can get it! Sometimes while working with the details I fail to see the larger picture. The work God is doing is so much greater than the level we live on individually.
I walked away thrilled having talked to Andy and Carol. Their observation was priceless to me. Not from a missionary, preacher, or churchy perspective but from two people I had not met before whom I did not know who may have or may not have shared the same convictions or faith. However, from their perspective, they shared a heart of gratitude for what a team of missionaries from South Carolina were doing in Haiti - being “Spots of Light!”
Even when stumbled onto accidentally, it is rewarding to discover that in some ways you and I are being what Christ said we are in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world . . . let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” May God indeed be glorified!
Thank you Bill Howard for your vision and obedience to God. You are in every way being a “spot of light” in a spiritually darkened place. In addition, our lives have been made much brighter because of your friendship and fellowship in the kingdom work. Know that God is glorified mightily through your life.
Pastor Mike Runion (green shirt) prays with Bill Howard, Andrew Owen and Patrick Georges while in Haiti.