We have our Youth Group Winter Retreat this weekend. It’s the highlight of the year for the 8th – 12th graders at our church. It’s our first time going since John just started his position as their Youth Pastor in August. There’s been a lot of planning and preparations this week. We’re excited, for sure, but I am struggling. I am having such a hard time getting myself in the “fun – retreat” type disposition. It just doesn’t feel right to me.

Here we are – washing sheets and blankets to put on our nice twin size beds at the camp, packing our warm clothes and comfortable shoes for the outdoor activities, picking fun games for the rainy Sunday we’re expecting, loading up the food for meals and snacks… the list goes on. As I type this I am working so hard not to let the tears that are filling my eyes spill out. I am heartbroken. While we are doing all this, there are people on an Island …

Trapped beneath tons of broken cement… searching for their family and friends… hungry for any food that can be found… thirsty for clean water… tired and needing a bed but finding only the side of the street… grieving the loss of their children, spouses, parents, and friends … staring at the pile of rubble that was once their home … lying on a cot in agony because their bones are crushed but there is a shortage of medical staff and pain medication… wondering if this nightmare will ever end…

Oh my heart aches! I am torn! How can I feel joy and excitement for a weekend of comfortable FUN right now? How can I feel good about loading up my car with groceries from Costco for a group of people who have full cupboards at home? I just can’t comprehend what’s happening. It’s not fair. This is one of those terrible contradictions in life. Is a winter retreat for fun and spiritual growth bad? No, of course not! But, in light of what is happening in Haiti, I feel the unfairness of it all.

So - my heart is torn. This, I suppose, isn’t all that out of the ordinary for this broken world we live in.

** update** I just added a button in my top bar from Compassion International. Please consider donating to the Haiti relief efforts! Even just $1 will help. We all have $1. Also - go leave a comment at Amy's blog - she's donating an extra dollar for every comment she gets up to $200. If all of her followers and all of mine leave a comment - we'll have the 200!!

“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name will trust in You…”
Psalm 9:9-10


Brookie said...

Your heart is beautiful, Lauren. God will give you the joy to serve these youths. Unfortunately, your sadness cannot help Haiti, but your joy can help the youths.

Jenny said...

Very well said Brookie!
Go on that retreat and have fun. Talk with the kids and think of a way that they, as a group, can help the people of Haiti. I bet you'll be encouraged by their compassion and creativity.

Rachel @ Future Pastor's Wife said...

Lauren, perhaps the Lord is allowing you to fully experience the grief so that you can motivate these young people to be on their knees for the less fortunate in the world.

One of the biggest struggles we have with our youth group is they are so self-centered (which I blame on being a product of American culture). We had a lesson on persecution one time and they could not believe there were areas of the world where Christians not only didn't prosper, but died for their faith.

God WILL give you the joy for this weekend, but this could also be an awesome opportunity for you & John and the other leaders to demonstrate a privilege of being a child of God - praying earnestly for those in need. Maybe you guys could even fast for one meal in honor of an in prayer for those in Haiti.

Praying for you and your spirit and your (and John's) direction for this weekend. He will use you mightily in the lives of these young people!

3 Blessings said...

Praying God will use you and the youth you are ministering to this weekend. Seeds will be planted and God could possibly use these students as future missionaries...allow Him to use you for the greatest good.

Thank you for adding my link :)
Love ya friend,

Bobbi said...

I can only echo the thoughts others have shared. You will GO, you will DO just what God tells you...I can tell you listen to His voice! It encourages me to know YOU are teaching these young ones to pray, to care, to feel...by pointing to the heart of Christ!

Kristin said...

I just finished adding the compassion badge to my blog too and then I came over and saw yours....great minds think alike :) I have been feeling the sadness over this too and wishing I could do more than just donate.

I read in my book today that "prayer is the most important tool for your mission in the world", so although it seems like we aren't doing much, our prayers work in mighty ways.

Rose said...

Lauren, it is so heart wrenching to see those suffering the way they are in Haiti. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all and the ones going there to help as well.
Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I so appreciate it.
Hugs and blessings for your day.

dadapedia said...

Amen to what Rachel had commented above. He put this burden in your heart before you go the retreat, perhaps is a nudge for you to touch on this to the children. We live in a prosperous society and we get comfy, take it for granted but forget all this is a blessing and there are people who are suffering - there is something we can do about it.

Alicia said...

Hi Lauren. I can understand why you would be feeling this way.

I think you will be blessed at the retreat. You can all be lifting up Haiti together, and share how thankful we are for the little things.

crittyjoy said...

I love your heart my friend.

I remember feeling the same way when we went on a getaway weekend a few days after 9/11. I just could not understand how we could move on at that point. I guess it's moving forward yet constantly remembering those who are the Least of These.

Andrea said...

I agree with Rachel - this weekend can be one of profound growth for your youth group as you pray for those hurting in Haiti. It may even motivate them to take action to do other things to help as well.

I realize that our sadness cannot help, and yet I can't help but feel that when our hearts are breaking for those hurting, we are feeling the very heart of God.

Jim and April said...

i understand...my heart breaks for Haiti and for the orphans of this world, for people who would do anything to have a copy of the bible, for the people who just want food and water...and here I am going bowling tomorrow with our sunday school class...its so hard to be joyous and have that beautiful fellowship that I believe Jesus wants us to have with our brothers and sisters in the Lord but also be torn inside knowing what everyone else is going through!

He & Me + 3 said...

It is so sad...I understand your feelings for sure. Hubs and I were talking about what we can do just last night. I think what you and Amy are doing is great & that will probably be the route we will go too.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Your heart beautifully expresses so much of what we've all felt during this time. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus in this time... to the children of Haiti and the children that God has placed under your influence.