Perhaps you've been following the saga of the American missionaries who are being held in prison in Haiti, charged with child trafficking in the midst of the chaos surrounding the aftermath of the earthquake. Most of our Facebook friends know that Ted and I have connections with Paul Thompson and his son, Silas, two of the ten who are imprisoned. Paul was the camp pastor at the Commission youth camp during 2000 and 2001, the first two years of the camp. He remained involved in the camp for a time and later became a senior pastor. Though we haven't seen him in person for years, we keep up with him via Facebook. His status updates, often Scripture verses or quotes from godly people, have inspired, encouraged, and challenged me. Paul is a godly man whom we respect and honor as a wise Christian leader.
So my world was rocked last weekend when we heard the news of his arrest. Of all the people to be charged with the horrendous crime of child trafficking! The media blast that followed was outrageous and maddening. Would our own newspeople crucify Americans who hadn't even been on trial yet? Yes, they would. Never mind the fact that Haiti had an extremely corrupt government BEFORE the earthquake; this was too good to pass up. Baptists from Idaho, storming in to scoop up orphans-who-weren't-really orphans. Self-righteous comments followed video clips online, harsh criticism streaming from people who assumed they knew the whole story and were eager to pass judgment on those [insert expletive here] Christians who obviously were evil white people trying to harm innocent children.
Thankfully, God was not taken by surprise at any of this. And thankfully, some folks are starting to dig a little deeper to find out what's really going on. I'm not posting here to try to present another news article--I myself am confused about what exactly occurred and what exactly will happen to those involved.
So why write about it? I guess to help process some of my own emotions from the past week. I was literally so sick about the situation on Monday I could barely eat. I've gone from weepy to angry to passionately defensive on the missionaries' behalf. I've had a hard time getting into "frivolous" activities, feeling somewhat guilty for eating Super Bowl junk food or playing in my stamp room, knowing that Paul and his group--who were on a mission of mercy--are sleeping on cement floors, awaiting judgment in a country where devastation and corruption are running rampant.
It makes me think. What am I willing to suffer for the cause of Christ? Would I be willing to be unjustly accused? Would I accept the tarnishing of my own reputation if it meant that ultimately God would receive glory? (For I don't believe He allows tragedy and trials to come if He weren't able to make beauty out of the ashes.) Would I endure physical, emotional, and mental stress with God-honoring grace? Or would I be so busy defending myself and drawing attention to MY actions that I would miss out on the opportunity to share God's love with those around me?
Since I'm pretty sure that Paul and those with him are probably struggling with some of those issues, I am not only praying for a quick release (and vindication for their righteousness, that the justice of their cause would shine like the noonday sun, Psalm 37:6), but I am also praying that they will remain strong in their faith, standing as witnesses for Christ no matter their circumstances. I know if I were in that situation, I'd find it mighty tough to emulate the Apostle Paul, who overflowed with grace from persecution to prison cell, and I would need all the prayers I could get...not simply to make it through the physical trial, but also to have the same attitude as Christ and be able to give glory to God the Father.
I don't know how this situation will end. I would like to think that those who have been kept silent will be allowed to speak and share their whole story with the world. And I would like to think that God has bigger plans for His story to be shared with the world. But in the meantime, as I watch, wait, and pray, I hope that I will be a little more sober about my walk with the Lord. I hope that I can be His hands and feet, bringing hope and love to those who need it. And I hope that my motivation will never be earthly accolades but instead a pure desire to bring glory to the Only One who is worthy of it.