Kneeling, I clenched her one open hand with both of mine.

Her body frail and tiny compared to mine. Hunched onto a tiny seat, hair falling on both sides of her shoulders, colorful earrings draping from her ears. Tattoos covering most of her uncovered, pale skin. I thought she was beautiful.

I begged for her to look me in the eyes, something she hadn’t done our entire conversation.

“Look at me in the eyes. Please”, more sadness seeping out of my voice than I had wanted to reveal. Like we had been friends for years, I held her hand for another moment.

She finally looked into my eyes. A lifetimes worth of hurt and abuse gazed back at me. Have you ever watched someones eyes well up before you? I wonder who was the last person to hold her hand in the name of her Father.

I pleaded for her to understand how much she was worth.

The men that have hurt her. The things that have been stripped from her. The cold concrete that she lays on at night. The people that have looked past her and over her.

With tears in both of our eyes, she shook her head violently, almost with childlike innocence, promising me that she didn’t deserved more than this.

“I put myself here”, she said bluntly.


Just a few days before, in this same place, a girl had nearly died from an overdose. These types of stories are not uncommon here. A type of darkness I have not experienced before. In Haiti, I’ve met people in mud homes, hungry for days and living in areas without accessible clean water or the money to find medical care. A place where the chains of voodoo run deeper than my American mindset can wrap around.

But this is something new. A world where walking out the front door you are conscious of not stepping on needles. People sitting every few houses, on every corner, like lifeless zombies. Mattresses in shaded places, cardboard turned into homes.

In our America.

I never want my eyes to adjust to this darkness. I never want to stop being brokenhearted by this.

And this is where I find that the darkness of Haiti and our America parallel.

The belief that what you’ve done is..who you are. The understanding that who the world says you are is..truth. The thought that how you’ve been harshly treated is..justified.

This is what defines you.

And like my friend from the street, a beautiful daughter of the King, to look at me with tears in her eyes, swearing that she deserves to be treated less than human.

Deception that the world has poured out on her.

And this is where we (if you are a follower of our Jesus) come in. At least this is where we should step in.

An evangelist we ran into on the street, who they call Philly Jesus (yes, he was actually dressed as Jesus), reminded us that we are not just the salt of the earth, but the “FLAVOR”. We are the spices that bring His place back to life. The light that exterminates the gloom. Seizing desecrated spaces and redeeming them in the name of Jesus whenever possible.

As a reminder for myself, and to challenge you, dear reader –

wherever you are called for this the flavor, bringing out His character, joy and love in everything you do.

To have the honor of looking into His beloved eyes, telling her that she is cared for beyond what she can grasp – this is our bloody battle against the enemy who works tirelessly to make us believe that we aren’t absolutely delightful in the eyes of our Creator. I hope you will join me, bruised, scarred or not..the enemy doesn’t win here.


“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. 

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

-Matthew 5:13-16 MSG