HARD KNOCK LIFE As we enter the month of December I start to think about everything that I need to do in preparation for the perfect Christmas season. Gifts to buy, meals to prepare, Christmas outfits and family photos, Christmas cards, decorations, parties and yearly traditions to uphold, the list goes on. It’s barely started and I’m already overwhelmed. Sometimes I have to stop and put things in perspective. Just last week, my friend and co founder of FPSM was in Haiti overseeing the installation of a well on our foundation’s property. A well that will bring clean water closer to the people of Milot and help provide an easier way of life to the surrounding community. During my time in Haiti, last month, I was able to witness the struggle of getting water for myself. We needed to fill a large barrel of water so that we could mix cement for our chicken coop. About seven of us jumped in the truck and drove down to the closest well. We decided it would take too long to pump the water from the well and since we didn’t need the water to be clean, we could just get it from the nearby stream. We took buckets down to the water, filled them up and then walked them back up the bank to the road so we could fill the large barrel sitting in the back of the truck. After several trips down to the stream we had a full barrel of water. Because of the intense rain Haiti had received that week, the road leading to the property was muddy and uneven. The thick mud was too much for our truck and we were stuck. The more we tried to get out of this muddy hole, the more difficult it became. We ended up wedged next to a stone post with our large barrel full of water still in the truck and no water where we really needed it. There was nothing else to do but haul buckets of water up and over the hill to our waiting chicken coop. It was hard work just to get water. It took half of our day just to get water where we needed it. This is what life is like every day for the people in Milot. What freedom it is for me to be concerned about the perfect outfits my kids will wear for our Christmas pictures. What freedom it is for me to drag boxes out of my attic to decorate my home. What freedom it is to get fresh water from my kitchen and bathrooms. In the book of Galatians, Paul writes to the people there telling them that they are no longer slaves and that they have been adopted as children of God. They have been set free from their bondage. Yet they still lived for the world. Galatians 4:8-11 says this, “But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain. Sometimes the pressure of this season can feel like bondage rather than freedom. I pray that during this time of year we can all see past our world view of Christmas and celebrate the freedom we have been given through the birth of Jesus Christ. Claire Owen (Guest blogger from Foundation Pierre Smith Mondelus). www.foundationpsm.org

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