Eldercare, Worship and Hope

Aug 28, 2023

Eldercare, Worship and Hope


In my time living in Haiti, I had the rare privilege of living at Grace Village, up on top of the hill in Titanyen, looking up toward the dusty, winding mountain roads and out over the stunning views of the villages and ocean below.


My favorite time of day was sunset. The evening beauty never ceased to take my breath away; as the world around me calmed and quieted, the sky became a silent display no artist can properly recreate. The breeze brought some sweet relief from the heat of the day, and the rooftops were bathed in color.


I stood out on that balcony almost every evening, just taking it in. I knew those sunsets were special, rare, moving. I knew that even though the sun would continue to rise and set, for me, those balcony-view sunsets were fleeting and I wanted to soak up every moment I could.


I recently had a thought about sunsets as I reflected on the communities of elders we care for within Healing Haiti. I often remember sweet exchanges from visits with different elders; prayers, hugs, smiles, tears. I remember the honor of being accepted into homes. I remember the beauty of standing on steep hillsides and packed dirt floors, singing songs of worship and feeling united in Christ.


I remember as the sweat would be dripping down my nose and my eyes would be stinging from the salt, and I couldn’t imagine how my body possibly had any more sweat to produce, that I would experience some of the most meaningful moments of pure worship in my life. I would experience the body of Christ coming together, as teams of people, some of whom had been strangers days earlier, served one another and our dear elders as if they were family.


I will never forget feeding Lindor at an elder party. I did not realize how quickly he had deteriorated. Lindor had always been one of our more feisty and outspoken elders in the program. He was proud of his home and yard, even if he had bachelor pad cleaning standards. He loved his animals. Staff roared with laughter visiting him, and he ended up on team visit rotations more often than scheduled simply because the drivers loved to see him.


However, that day, sitting at that elder party, he was so weak and shaky that he couldn’t get the rice from his plate to his mouth. Without a second thought, I began to feed him spoonfuls of rice. And while his body may have been betraying him, his grin and his attitude were still strong. I loved that goofy old man. He has been with Jesus for almost two years already.


I realize now that I had no idea at the time just how many sunsets I was witnessing. Time spent with those elders, in fellowship, in worship, watching them love their grandchildren and their neighbors and their goats and kittens; these were all glimpses into the beautiful works of the Lord. And for many, toward the end of their days on earth, they were living in a season of spectacular sunset.


We have seen many elders pass away over the past few years. And it is deeply tragic. The state of things in Haiti is unfathomable. Our elders have staff within Healing Haiti who love them and advocate for them, but the reality is that country-wide violence and instability have often inhibited staff’s ability to provide for every elder’s complex and basic needs.


In a lot of felt ways, Haiti has plunged into a season of darkness. It feels at times like nothing will change to shake away the pain and fear that people are living in each day. It feels like too much has been lost.


We cling to hope beyond circumstance. We cling to life beyond death and destruction. We do see rays of light, even if we don’t know where to look for it or where expect it next.


We must look for the light shining in each other. Sacrificial love, hope, faith, a Savior who has conquered death. These are powerful things we carry within us. These are things our brothers and sisters in Haiti carry as well.


Treasure the sunsets and sunrises you experience in your own life and are witness to in others’.


1 John 4:12 – “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”


Post written by Katie Venzke