Posted: February 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

I often receive e-mails from some that would like to come to Heartline to visit and help out.  We appreciate those that come with a purpose, they certainly make a difference.  Often, I will hear from someone or from a group who say that they would like to come and then they ask if it is safe.  I confess that I get rather irritated when I hear that question.

I usually reply back cordially and ask if God has called them to come to Haiti.  And if the answer is yes, then I tell them it is safe.  As safe as it was for Daniel in the lion’s den and for the three Hebrew men in the fiery furnace and even as safe as it was for Stephen when he was stoned and ultimately as safe as it was for Christ when He died on the cross.

I strongly believe that “safe” is overrated if it means will I be safe physically.  The better question is, “Is it God’s will for me to go?”  If the answer is, “Yes” then how much more safer can you be than in God’s will.  This may not mean that harm will not come your way but what is that compared to being in God’s will.  Was Jesus safe?

BUT I HAVE recently been spending some time thinking about Haiti and have finally concluded after 21 years of living here, that it can be a very dangerous place.  Some may be saying, “Ah it’s about time John got his head out of the sand and admitted that Haiti can be a dangerous place.”

Yes, those of us who live here can be in great, grave danger. We can be in danger of:

  • Becoming numb to the cries of the poor.
  • Not being moved to anger and compassion at the conditions in which many people live.
  • Looking but not seeing.
  • Hearing but not listening.
  • Seeing what is but not what can be.
  • Thinking that we need to change the Haitian culture to look like our culture and that the people aren’t doing it right because they don’t do it like we do.
  • Thinking that living here is a sprint, when in reality, it’s a marathon.
  • Being so practical about what we need to live that we limit God in what we do.
  • Not totally depending on God for God’s work.
  • Thinking that doing is more important than being.

Yes, it is true Haiti can be a dangerous place, perhaps as dangerous as where you live.

John McHoul

  1. Cynthia M says:

    This is one of the most powerful things I’ve read lately.

  2. johnmchoul says:

    We often say that in Christ in Haiti is the safest place for us to be.

  3. debra parker says:

    my husband was telling me this about our family and future ministry locations.
    thanks, John, for sharing.

    so true!

  4. Jess Lehman says:

    Dude. I got shivers when I read this…so so good to be reminded to keep my eyes fixed on Him.

  5. Corrin D says:

    Thank you for these words. I have been eagerly awaiting a new post, and was moved even more than I expected to be. My prayers are with Heartline.

  6. Caroline Tigner says:

    John, you preached on this at PAP Fellowship on my first trip to Haiti and I’ll never forget it! Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Chandra R says:

    Wonderful message. Thank you.

  8. thad says:

    Thanks, John. I’m reminded of my favorite Narnia dialogue. The children ask if Aslan is “quite safe.” Mr Beaver replies: “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

  9. gail gray says:

    Thank you for the reminder. Jody and I have used the sermon we heard you preach on this with our family. Anytime they would get worried and panic about us being in Haiti we would remind them that the safest place to be is in God’s will!

  10. emily b. says:

    this is beautiful…

  11. John,
    What a message. I take short term groups to Ft. Liberte, and every year someone stumbles across the official U.S. Travel Advisory and sends it to me with great alarm as though perhaps I’ve overlooked it. I just got an email “Is it SAFE????” Although we don’t live there, out dear Haitian friends do, and I have often thought that we are the ones in grave danger, sitting here in our mind numbing comfort. Thanks for articulating it so beautifully. Can I have to permission to repost this on our FFL (Friends of Ft. Liberte) blog?

    Thanks for becoming a blogger. You inspire me all the time.

    Annette Crislip

  12. Anne says:

    I love this message, thanks John. I love Heartline too, my prayers are with you guys all the time.

  13. Debby Smith says:

    Safe is not the question. What is God’s will for you and where does he want you to serve? When I was in Haiti in October it was wonderful to just be and learn about the Haitian culture. John great to read your blog.

  14. S Moritzky says:

    Love your message John, The thing I find to be unsafe is how Haiti uncovers the things in me I thought were dead. Like a mirror exposing my weak flesh and feelings, but it is so good to be in His will. Thank you for all you do! You minister all the way to Wa. too 🙂 Sarah

  15. […] by TomVanderwell ShareJohn McHoul from Heartline answers the question that all of us get asked on a regular basis. Except he answers it in a […]

  16. John Meadth says:

    You have “hit it” John – the most dangerous place is being anywhere and yet somehow disconnected from or indifferent to the purpose God has in having you there.

  17. Laurel says:

    Thank you for your bluntness. Pierces my heart and gives me something to think and pray about. I need to step out of the boat that I am in and trust that God will take care of me where ever He leads me to. May the Lord continually bless your ministry!

  18. Andy Bennett says:

    I wish I had found this sooner! I serve at a missionary hospital in Papua New Guinea, another place that people see as unsafe. I’m the one here who is responsible for scheduling and facilitating visits from volunteer doctors and students. Many potential volunteers as the same question. I’ve tried to give them basically the same answer, but I haven’t been able to say it as well or as completely as you do here. I hope you won’t mind if I link it or quote in on our blog and Facebook page.

  19. Viola Ward says:

    When my son went to serve in Papua New Guinea (for 21 yrs), people would actually give me their sympathy about his being there!! I would say to them, “My desire is for him to be in God’s will over there than being anywhere else out of HIS will. As has been said, the safest place on earth is in God’s will.

  20. I have reposted this article twice (I hope you will forgive me for not asking for permission 1st.) and will continue to do so. The message is too compelling not to share. God bless you!

  21. Trish Bonnegre says:

    I loved this article. I hope you don’t mind that I reposted it for my friends and family. Perfectly worded!

  22. […] Haiti: A Dangerous Place? […]

  23. Mark Myers says:

    Loved my time in Haiti and I loved thead words. You are never swee than when you are right where God has told you to be. Blessings

  24. Elaine Bryan says:

    So much truth…I am more afraid of living my life without purpose..of living a life of safety..wonderful, thought-provoking post. Thank you and may God bless you richly….I believe he already has.

  25. carol Pluff says:

    God Bless you John, very good an eye opening reading. People need to Love and help one another without ,wanting anything back. Thank-you carol

  26. Great piece of inspired writing, I Love Haiti and don’t want to be anywhere else. Many people try to do things in themselves, if G-d is not in it you are wasting your time. You usually get what you give in Haiti as anywhere else in the universe. So if G-d be for you who can stand against you and if G-d is in what you are doing you cannot fail.

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