Three days. Three days was all it took for God to change how I viewed my life in America. In three days I met people that will be a part of my story for the rest of my life. The Lord broke my heart for the people of Haiti in three days.
I continued to photograph the church dedication while the children clapped and sang. I knew that if I didn’t take the time to remember I was worshiping our Creator with Haitian brothers and sisters, I’d regret it. So I let my camera rest around my neck. I found a spot in one of the back pews and took in my surroundings. The open air church had beautiful oak plywood ceilings; to my left, the Leogane Plain filled with sugar cane fields, to my right a dirt-paved village. The boy in the blue backpack sat in front of me. We smiled and clapped our way through the church dedication service and I stopped to take photographs of him periodically. His face is forever engraved in my mind.
Charlie, the co-owner of New Mission’s – an organization that plants schools and churches around Haiti and the Dominican Republic – announced that we were going to take a walk from the school to the beach. Seconds later a multitude of young Haitian students swarmed; all pulling on my hand, all clinging on to me for dear life. They grinned from ear to ear as they acted as our escorts through the little village that separated the church from the shores of Haiti.
When we got to the shore, moving wasn’t an option. A sea of sweet smiles and big brown eyes all kept us glued in our places. One little girl reached up and brushed the hair out of my face. I looked up at Shayna, my friend and fellow Biola student, and she had the same amount of children at her side. They refused to let either of us leave their grasp. That same little girl gently tugged on my pink shirt to whisper something in my ear. Unfortunately, I’m not fluent in Creole or French. I continued to smile at her, praying that the Lord would let her know that I loved her.
I felt something on my foot and got nervous that it might be a crab. When I saw who it was, my heart crumbled. I had gotten sand on my TOMs during the shuffle from church to beach and the boy in the blue backpack decided to brush off the tops of my dirty feet.
The Fall 2014 theme for The Point Magazine is Perspectives. These stories exemplify different perspectives or a way in which God has radically shifted how a writer sees things. We are able to enjoy the blessing of seeing things differently than the people around us. Whether it be negative or positive, we have all undergone experiences that shape us and have crafted our mindset.
This issue of The Point is also a challenge to our readers. We are challenging you to think about the way you view the various topics within these pages. Be bold enough and brave enough to challenge them back if you do not agree. Bring all you experience to the Lord. Wrestle with God! It is OK to listen to others’ perspectives, and it grows us when we allow our preconceived notions to be changed by God’s wisdom. I’m not saying to change who you are; merely allow yourself to let God change your perspectives.
When I let my camera rest around my neck, I let my defense mechanism down. I was vulnerable. When the shield I frequently hide behind fell down, the Lord swept in and moved. He allowed me to see his children as he sees them. I pray, dear readers, that you would be brave enough to let your defense mechanisms down and let our Father in Heaven work.
Alissa C. Sandoval