In December, Almando and I were given the opportunity to share about what we do in Haiti. You know, how we see God working in and through us and the teams we coordinate and/or lead. We love these opportunities. We love sharing about what God is up to in Haiti and how we see Him using our ministry to change lives. In that Sunday School hour, one person asked a question. A simple question regarding the ministries that we have seen and which ones seem to have the most impact to the community. I could have touched on many different ministries--and I did, for a minute because I have seen so many ministries have great impact--before I landed on one that touches my heart every time: Women's Ministry.
The team was from North Dakota. They asked me after their first trip to Haiti what they could add to their trip to make a difference. I told them: "Reach out to the women." I talked about a tea party, a spa treatment, sharing stories and pictures, and fellowship. Being from another culture doesn't make women enjoy these things any less. You see, women are women--everywhere.
I am going to be honest, being a woman from the US living in Haiti isn't always easy. And it is difficult to find good friends here to share life with--yes, it has been a struggle. Women here, though, still desire the same things I do: fellowship, good conversation, laughter, and sisterhood. How do they get it? Where do they find it? I don't often see the women here going to a coffee shop with "the girls" or planning tupperware, jewelry, or 31 bag parties or going to a class at the gym. Women here get their fellowship elsewhere.
It's about time. There isn't much of it left after you have made breakfast for your family, got the kids to school, cleaned the house, done some laundry--a lot of the time by hand, started lunch and dinner (this is a VERY long process here because of how the food is prepared), and maybe even have gone to the market to buy or sell things. The day goes by quickly and the work is never done. Does this sound familiar to the women out there? So, instead of going for coffee or planning to do something, the majority of the women here find fellowship by serving each other.
My dear friend, Elizabeth, came over to visit one day a few years ago and as soon as she walked in the door she said, "Cassie, my sister, what can I help you with today?" I was confused by this question because when I have friends come over, I serve them. But she insisted that we work together on something. We cleaned off the bookshelves and dusted all the books--something that desperately needed to be done. We talked and sang and laughed together while we worked. We enjoyed each other's company and, at the end of the day, we had accomplished something that needed to be done. This is how it happens. Sisterhood by serving.
I see women washing clothes together. I see them walking down to the community well with empty buckets and talking and laughing then walking back up with full buckets on their heads still laughing and talking. I see them at the market, selling goods side by side. I see them cleaning rice or crushing spices. I see them cooking and cleaning. I see them still desiring relationship--sisterhood--and finding it in each other. It really is a beautiful thing.
These women have the same needs, wants, and desires that we all do deep down. When something comes along--like a tea party or a spa hour (because a day could be too long)--to share life with other women and fellowship with them, it is a gift. To the teams who have come and ministered to these women and developed relationship and shared your life with them: Thank you. Thank you for loving on them and learning about their lives and struggles and joys. Women desire this.
Women are Women--Everywhere.