“So, this is what the hands of God look like?” I thought to myself after studying the details of the tiny hand I was holding.  Flipping the hand in my own, I observed every wrinkle, freckle, and scratch.  The hands of the creator and savior of the universe covered in dirt and dust?  How could this be?  This hand belongs to a boy named Widenel and as he sat in my lap, I began to understand.
Mr.  James shared with us the passage in which Jesus washed the feet of those who had served Him.  He humbled Himself in adoration of the great faith they had displayed, in the same way we are now serving the orphans.  Mr.  James used this image to illustrate that maybe in our distorted image of God, we feel we understand the ways in which he is at work.  However, this image shows us that things are never as they seem, especially here in Haiti.
This scripture challenged us to view the children from a new perspective, choosing to serve them as if we are serving God himself.  The eyes we behold are not of a helpless child, but those of God.  The hands we hold belong to God who draws near to us, saying, “Come walk with me, child.” I asked Maddie how this message translated in her life and she told me, “It really stuck out to me when James said I should see God in their eyes.  It gives me the comfort that He is in me, too.”  Like Maddie, we were suddenly made aware of the sharp contrast of our view of God versus the reality of His closeness.  The wheels in our heads began to churn as we considered the truth that maybe God is not unreachable in the heavens, but instead staring back at us through the eyes of the orphans we are serving.
God is using the contrast of the orphanage, serving as a beacon of hope for a lost country, to show us that He is in control.  In fact, contrast can be found throughout Haiti as a reminder of this truth.  Contrast is found in the differing shades of black and white that seperate us in race.  It is found in Kaliko, which serves as a safe haven from the harshness of the Haitian streets.  Contrast lies in the way the orphans love us so dearly when they have been abandoned by the ones that love them.  It can be found in the relationship of Pastor Emanuel and Madame Pastor who have graciously opened their doors to dozens of children in need.  We were able to celebate the success of their relationship tonight with a surprise anniversary dinner for the two, which included a poolside feast, as well as cake and dancing.  Contrast can be found in the size of the childrens’ hands and the ease with which they so easily intertwine with ours.  James used the orphanage’s logo, a large hand with a smaller one imprinted in it, to allude to this idea that things are not always what they seem.  While we each view this logo as a symbol of the bond we share with a particular child, Mr. James suggested that maybe the smaller hand is ours and the larger one is God’s.  After all, it is Him that the children need, not us.  I talked with Mrs. Marianna about what this message revealed to her.  She said, “I thought of how often I think look at me and what I am doing.  I was reminded by this image that it is not about me and it is a privelege just to be a part of the story.”
There is contrast in the unity the orphans established today with a neighboring orphanage as they gapped the bridge of tension in an amazing game of soccer.  It can be found in the impurity of calluses and scars on Widenel’s innocent hands and in the way he constantly brushes the dirt off my fragile skin.  Widenel’s act of service mirrors the grace of Jesus as he washed the feet of those who had believed in Him.   Christ is dwelling in the children we are serving.  He is in their laughter, He is in their smiles, and He is in their hearts.  As I long to know Widenel, down to the wrinkles in his hand, I long to Know God in the same way.  Looking into Widenel’s big  eyes, I was again reminded that “things are not what they seem.”

-Claire Jaggers