How can we simplify?

I came home from this trip to Haiti in the worst “missionary fog” I have had to date- I have made about 16 trips in the past 5 years and never felt so displaced when I arrived back in the US.  Feeling completely disconnected to America with its Black Friday deals and elaborate Christmas trees, I have been finding myself slipping on a slope of unrest.  It is completely overwhelming to leave extreme poverty and after a 2 hour plane ride find yourself in the US with all its glitz and glamour. The distance between my two worlds is not far on a map but different in every other way imaginable. Lack and excess. It is really hard to put my brain around it most days.

Spending Thanksgiving in Haiti surrounded by sweet friends and microwave mashed potatoes and canned ham felt like the best place on earth. The majority of us decided it was the best tasting turkey day feast we had ever experienced.

Sitting on a bucket on top of a mountain surrounded by friends and family felt like the best escape from the hustle and bustle of the States.

Getting to experience Haiti with my husband and 3 of my 4 sons for the first time was amazing.

Being able to pull up 5 gallons of water from our cistern to serve each of the children in our school a cup of Tang was a blessing.

Knowing our students are getting lunch after 3 months when we could not feed them was a huge relief.

Seeing the first bathroom we have been able to afford to build for the 300 students in our school was exciting.

 Hearing my husband preach to a congregation hungry for the Word was…well, the best.

Watching my friend, Victoi, soak up the words of her Bible was humbling.

Seeing my children unite with the Haitian children around the game of soccer was very moving.

So how do I bring the lessons I learn in Haiti back with me? How am I different because of what I have learned there?

It starts with priority. What really matters?  1. Sharing the Gospel 2. Education 3. Clean water. 4. Food

Those are what matter to me for ALL people. They are essential. The rest doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. When it all comes down to it, we have more so we can be a blessing. Show love to others. Give sacrificially. Make a difference.  So my question to you is……

How can we simplify this holiday season? How can we teach our kids that Christmas is not all about them and their presents?  How can we be ok with less so others can have more?

I want to be different than the typical American family. I want to show love to the marginalized and the lonely. I want to go with less so others can have more.

Anyone else want to take the challenge?