I sat alone on the sidewalk outside the Port-au-Prince airport. My first trip abroad and I was stranded. I didn’t speak the language. Cell phones didn’t exist. No one answered the telephone number I had.
Four hours earlier when my ride hadn’t appeared, a friendly American had pity and took me to a guest house. It was closed. I asked her to take me back to the airport. “It’s closed and there are no hotels or restaurants out there!” she protested. Against common sense, I insisted. We pulled up to the airport and I got out. I thanked her for the hour-long round trip while trying to avoid the look on her face. She drove away. Gone were the shouting people, clanking vehicles, roaring planes, and overpowering exhaust fumes. I only heard sparrows chirping as they hopped along the sidewalk tilting their heads at me. I might be sleeping outdoors tonight.
About 20 minutes after I arrived at the airport for the second time, a lone vehicle turned toward the terminal and pulled up beside me. “Are you Wayne?” the man asked. Keith was my tardy driver, and we became fast friends. I was to shadow him for a few days to consider an assignment developing drinking water sources in rural Haiti.
The next day we set out for a remote village. We drove toward the Artibonite River then continued on foot. The sun was intense, and the rainy season humidity was stifling. I huffed to keep up with the fit, former Army officer. We arrived at the launch for our river crossing. Our ride was a hollowed-out log with just enough room for the two of us, the boatman, and a man with a nervous yearling steer. I loosened my boot laces. On the other side, we resumed our trek past gardens mounded with peanuts and potatoes, mud huts with thatched roofs, and dried corn hanging by the shucks above the reach of rodents. Keith procured two green coconuts so we could re-hydrate.
By day’s end, I was sun burnt and exhausted with blistered feet. But exhilarated! The next season of life was now much less mysterious. It was an endurance test, but ultimately one of faith. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (Jas. 1:2-4).
I returned to the airport at the end of that week astonished at how God in His Providence leads us through trials. By enduring those trials, you learn that God’s grace is sufficient for you, that He is for you and with you. You can consider it all joy because your faith is more complete. That is the perfect result.