It was our first visit, so we were staring at all of them the same way they were staring at all of us.
I don't think it's too often a missionary family shows up for class...to learn.
After introductions and learning everyone's names, we began to settle into the different languages, and we soon learned that this was a very important day. They were picking the name for the club, and on a piece of paper one of the directors had a list of 9 or 10 different suggestions. Each person who'd suggested a name had to explain their reasoning, and as they went around the room, I began to really take in what was happening around me.
Not 15 feet from the front door of our classroom is the most major road in Haiti, the Blacktop as my kids like to call it. Dump trucks, motorcycles, and buses are screaming by. Horns are shrieking. Brakes squealing. A donkey walks by, then a man pushing a handcart, the back axle of some unfortunate automobile. Probably an old tap-tap, I'm thinking. It's hot. The air is damp. There is no electricity. Just 40 or so people, all crammed into one another's personal space, occupying a room the size of a modest living room in America.
Sometimes the engines are roaring so loud you can't hear any of the words being spoken.
Sometimes the exhaust of thick black smoke rolling in the air is almost fumigating.
That's when it dawned on me. I had an entry. A suggestion. A name for the school. I jumped up. Some of them jumped too.
I described everything I saw unfolding in this little room. And yet, here are these people, hungry to learn, eager to push through, not willing to give up....
"There is one word that comes to my mind. How do you say 'Perseverance' in French?"
"Perseverance." They said.
"How do you say it in Kreyol?"
"Do you know how we say it in English?" The room was silent.
"Perseverance! It's the same word for all three languages. When I come to Haiti, there is a language 'barrier' that I have to push through. When you come to America, it's the same for you. The only way to communicate is if you can do what you are already doing right now. You have to Persevere. The school should be named "Club Perseverance."
Now, I'm not sure what they decided on. We had to leave. But I got to preach a message about perseverance the very next day at a church in Jabouin. I arrived early to the chapel. It was dark. It was quiet as a mouse. Church had not yet began. No one else was inside, save this one young woman with a white handkerchief over her head. She was reading her Bible, pouring over the words. There was just enough light coming through the window for her to make out the text. I watched her soak up a sentence, and in silence I could see the questions form in her mind as she digested that truth...
'Oh God, do you hear me too? Can I hold onto this....hope?'
One word came flooding in again,