Confession #22: Betrayal is No Fun

Haitian crowd

Betrayal.

It is such a deep, dark kinda word.

The kinda word you read about in a good book or watch on a thrilling movie.

But I’ve lived a simple life with rather simple people and betrayal…well…I’ve never really been betrayed before. 

I’ve been lied too.

Cheated.

Bullied.

And persecuted. But betrayed?

I’ve never really encountered the feeling.

Until this week.

I’m not going to go into detail, but I live in a country where I unfortunately can only fully trust a few. The locals in Haiti are always telling me, “Don’t trust anyone. Not even me.”

It’s encouraging, I know.

Here in Haiti, I have a handful of people I can fully trust. Which is hard for me, because I am a rather trusting person. In Haiti, however, everyone is constantly looking over their shoulder, watching their own back, and I am told to follow suite.

Reason being?

Extreme poverty – can lead to desperation – which can lead to desperate acts.

Voodoo – is bathed in superstitious beliefs – which means someone is always out to get you.

I say all this because I want you to realize that trust it hard to gain in Haiti. And I trusted someone. And that someone betrayed me this week. And I don’t really know how I am supposed to be feeling right about now.

I don’t want to succumb to the fear Haitians have against one another. I don’t want to believe what they all say: that I can’t trust anyone down here. I don’t want to constantly have my guard up, constantly be watching my back, constantly making sure I please my neighbor so he won’t put a curse on me. I want to trust my neighbor, think the best in people, and have trusting relationships with those I work with in Haiti! 

Is that too much to ask?

Hurt.

Frustrated.

Let down.

Betrayed.

That is how I am feeling today.  And I don’t really like it.

Question to my fellow (and more experienced) missionary friends:

How do you handle betrayal with local friends in the mission field?

~ Jillian 

5 Comments on “Confession #22: Betrayal is No Fun

  1. I was fortunate enough to be a missionary as well in my early 20s. On my own dime (okay, my parents and grandparents chipped in the majority, but being a self-centered 20-year-old I felt like giving my time was more than money) it was easy to get frustrated that the people I was “giving” to were not as appreciative as I thought they should be.

    I laugh now to type that and read it back.

    Many of the people we worked with would start to change their lives and to everyone the changes were very apparent and agreeable – only to have to see them slip back to old and familiar ways.

    Working with people to change their lives is the hardest thing to do. I can see where they can go if they will trust, believe, and take action. And yet they cannot muster the strength to hold on – in the moment.

    I think the most difficult part for me is that I see a part of me within another. I want to champion them to make the change because that means I too can make the change. What I’ve had to learn is that I am not them – they are not me. I make my mistakes and live with the consequences – I must grant them the ability to do the same.

    Not sure if that was helpful, but I definitely have many flashbacks of being there and feeling so hopeless.

    A year after I came back home and entered into college I happened to meet by weird coincidence the daughter of a recovering alcoholic I had worked with during my missionary service. I didn’t think we’d made much progress and had been very frustrated with the whole experience. With tears in her eyes she told me of a long life of struggles and how her father has changed and continues to change and thanked me.

    You are sowing many seeds and you will only get to see some of them sprout and grow. I know I impacted many more people than this one man (and his wife and his children and now his grandchildren will have a loving and involved grandfather because he has changed for the better). I have had to learn in my life that the one who needs the most change is me. Working with others is very rewarding because it is a mirror to my own imperfections. If they make the change, it gives me hope. When they do not make the change, I can better understand why I do not make the changes I know need to be made.

    God bless you and good luck!

    Like

    • Thanks Pete for the advice. This friend was a fellow employee/ good friend, and not someone I considered myself trying to “change”. I guess I saw her as someone I was working “with” and not someone I was working “for”. I think that is why I am hurting the most in this situation. I was even chosen as her Godmother, which in Haiti is a pretty prestigious title to receive. But I have been deceived by her for a long time, and because I am not from her culture I have been unable to read the signs. It has been very painful for me and now I am trying to come to a place of forgiveness. I am praying that God will heal my heart fast and bring justice to the situation in his own way because it is all too much for me to handle. Thanks again for the wisdom from your own experiences.
      Jillian

      Like

  2. Hi Jillian,

    I have never been a missionary, but I think I know the right answer. I think you have to respond the way that Jesus responded when He was betrayed. You should act like it’s no big deal. You might even give her a hug when you get back to Haiti. She expects you to react the way the rest of the world might, but you are different. What better way to show her and others the difference than by being quick to forgive.

    In situations like this I always ask myself, “What right do I have to get upset about being done wrong?” Jesus was and is being done wrong daily, and He continues to forgive day after day.

    Blessings,
    Troy Ramsey

    Like

  3. Pingback: Confession #32: This is No Time for Crying, This is Time for Praying – Jillian's Missionary Confessions

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