5 Minutes of My Day: Neon-Orange
Marlo and I are having a busy, productive, and fun day together, driving around completing our various tasks for the day while the team is starting up their third day of ministry with VBS at the orphanages. We seldom get to spend as much time together as we used to when we were together at HCO and today we’ve got almost the whole day to complete a to-do list a mile long (picking up the next team, getting lunch for the current team, buying ministry supplies, setting up for a birthday party and handing out payments, etc).
We get to Delimart and purchase all of our items. She’s talking about her future and Haiti, where will she go, what will she do. She’s wearing my favorite skirt of hers, full of bright colors. We get to the car and, as I unlock it, she opens the back door to put up the groceries. A taptap full of Puerto Ricans and Spaniards are next to us and they call out to me as I hear Marlo gasp and say, “Oh no, Bethany.”
Now, understand something: Marlo does not freak out. Never, ever does she freak out (well, unless its due to the ever-so-romantic kiss at the end of Pitch Perfect). But, I can hear the slight twinge of panic in her tone. I turn around from the Spanish-speaking taptap and Marlo is standing near an ever-growing puddle of neon-orange paint. All over the concrete, all over the back of the car. Our rental car. As calm as possible I say, “Okay, make sure the paint can is upright and… just shut the door.” I didn’t want to draw more attention to us. Marlo responds, “Umm.. okay? But, how will that help?” I can tell she’s not sure whether to laugh or not, her eyes wide in shock.
Fast forward a few minutes and, after a quick conversation, we find out our Spanish friends are here with a Lutheran church building a home just down the road from our ministry location. It’s such a small world! (Could you take a moment and pray for them? Thanks!)
As we part ways, Marlo and I begin discussing what to do. We laugh at the ridiculousness of the moment. Trying to speak Spanish in Haiti to a taptap of international missionaries, all the while trying to hide the fact that at that very moment our car is filling up with paint. We finally decide to rush to our phones to call on our Haitian staff. We finally get in touch with Gens, a full-time Haitian staff member with PPM. He’s like our big brother, he’ll know what to do.
He tells us to come to the orphanage where he is working with the team. He laughs and shakes his head as we open the back door and reveal the almost inch of neon-orange, oil based paint standing in it. Before I can say anything, he and two of our security and maintenance men at the orphanage take control. Jean Claude, who calls me sweetheart and treats me like a daughter, stifles a laugh as he opens the back hatch. He’s always making sure I’m doing fine, that I’m drinking enough water, and spending enough time with Eric while in Haiti. I laugh at his face as He starts cleaning. An hour and a half later he is done and it looks like a new car. Beautiful, clean, and with a nice fresh scent of Turpentine…
Thank You, Lord, for the people in my life who take these circumstances and walk through them with me in grace and laughter.
When Gens answered the phone, I knew everything would be okay. It was something as simple as paint in the back of the car, but to me it was much more than that. I was exhausted after a long few weeks of ministry where it seemed like negative thoughts wouldn’t quit attacking me. Satan and his ever so tempting lies were banging on the door of my self-worth, purpose, and, although I hate to admit it, my joy.
I was looking forward to a morning of getting organized and prepared for the next few weeks. To getting everything set for the afternoon with my team in country and spending time with Marlo, talking about the future. But it was in the midst of hour two of my “perfectly productive” morning that the paint spilled. Throwing off my morning, plans, and state-of-mind. It was just what I needed.
In that moment, I had to stop what I was doing and re-evaluate. I remember asking God later, “Did You spill that paint?” It wouldn’t surprise me if His answer was yes.
I had been relying on myself to prepare for the next few weeks. I needed to rely on Christ and others to help me through. It was as simple as that.
After the paint spilled, I prayed the smallest prayer of “re-center me.”
I never even asked Jean Claude to help me and I never thought twice about what to do or where to go. I knew Gens would take care of me and the car. He even explained to our rental guy the situation! Luckily, the rental guy was fine with it: he laughed and said the car was a piece of junk! Haha.
In short, the Lord allowed me to have a simple interruption. Something that caught me off guard and got me back on the right track, trusting Him first.
Father, in everything I do, let it be grounded in You first.
5 Minutes of My Day is a series of the more intimate moments in our ministry. Launching off of something Eric said to me one day: “When you are overwhelmed or stressed and Satan is on you, focus on the little things. The small moments that make you remember why you live this life. Why you love this ministry.” So here it is, the good the bad and the ugly. Snapshots of 5ish minutes of my day.