Our trip to the community of Maliarette in Haiti with The 410 Bridge was a wonderful opportunity to experience the difference between giving for the benefit of the giver and giving for God’s glory. The principle of giving in a way that allows those in need to become self-sustaining instead of dependent on others seems so easy, but when put into practice can be harder than you think.

This lesson was driven hard into my heart on the first afternoon that we were to play with the children in the community. It was suggested that we play games or plan crafts, and so we did. We brought play-dough, markers, paper, balls, jump ropes, and nail polish. We were loaded up for a good time. And a good time it was…at the start. But when it was time to go, the children wanted to keep the markers and balls…just about everything. We knew this was not in line with The 410 Bridge policy on healthy giving. We did our very best to take what we brought with us, but it was so emotionally draining to try to communicate to little children that we wanted our toys back at the end of the day. It felt devastating.

That evening during our team debrief we shared how hard it was to take our materials from the children and decided when we returned the next day we would not bring material items. This would end their temptation to ask and our temptation to give. How did that go? Wonderfully. We came back with games like duck-duck goose, London bridges, thumb wrestling, songs with hand motions, and the big favorite, ride that pony. This game was hilarious. The children began including people outside the circle, and young and old were singing and laughing together as we played.

It was not until a few days later that I realized what had happened. We had come to Haiti with games that could only be played while we were there in the community with the children. After the first day, we then adjusted our game time to provide sustainable games and fun. Games, songs, and dances that they could continue to enjoy long after we returned home. Isn’t that just what we were there to do? Encourage sustainable change? Once this light went on for me, I really had a better picture of true healthy giving. This is just a small part of what I learned during my time in Haiti. Thank you, The 410 Bridge!

 

Ilene Hawkins

West Hills Church

Omaha, Nebraska