Confession #110: Hunter’s Missionary Confession
This week I finished watching the 5th and final season of Breaking Bad on Netflix. It was a sad moment for me to say the least. I have been enjoying the show for a couple months now, quietly witnessing the life and struggles of main character, Walter White.
If you are not familiar with the show, Walter, a family man and high school Chemistry professor, is diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer in the first couple of episodes. Through a series of events and relationships, Walter’s pride drives him to do whatever it takes to care for his family financially. Over the 5 seasons, Walter becomes one of the most famed and most wanted Meth cooks in the Southwestern US. After making $80 Million in drug money, his plan back fires and he ends up poorer and more broke than he ever was as a simple father and school teacher.
I know this show was big in America. I watched the first season in the states, but have not kept up with it here in Haiti. But I think this time around, the small nuances of the show that passed over my head when I was younger now made perfect sense.
Now I am a father with two children and one on the way. My family is living paycheck to paycheck and we have so many big expenses in our life (like preparing for baby Jake). As a father, and as Walter did in the show, I have a burning desire to care for my family financially… no matter what it takes. Unlike in the show, I would never justify illegal activity to support my family. But like Walt, I do have a talent, and I am in a great position to exploit the opportunities around me in order to make ends meet.
At first glance, Haiti is a desperate and sad place, full of broken systems and corruption. It seems to be a place where people go to do mission trips and remind themselves about how good they’ve got it back in the states. It seems like a place that has spent its resources and is in need of international aid, and a place where Satan has a grip on a large percentage of the population through Voodoo. Now, all of these things are true, but this country is also bursting at the seams with opportunity! The amount of potential energy that is hidden in the mountains, beaches, and people of this country is palpable. Never before has Haiti been on such a high and so ready to change.
As a whole and compared to most other countries, Haiti does not have much to offer the world. One thing it does have though is its proximity to the United States. For many years Haiti has not utilized the tourism industry to bring jobs and money to the shores of this country, but as of late, millions of dollars have been dumped into renovations and marketing. Haiti is slowly rising up in the ranks as a desirable place to go and vacation. American Airlines is scheduled to start flying to a second airport in Haiti (Cap Haitien, Haiti), beach resorts are expanding, business owners are finally catching up to technology to share their services and info on the internet, and you know… I am right in the middle of it all!
Why should I not be taking advantage of the boom in tourism? Why should I not be available to take pictures for local businesses and organizations? Why should I not be trading my photography services to help get my kids into a good school?
Our family is better off because of the work that I do. Now that I have the extra work, we are not having to pull money out of our minimal savings every month to make ends meet. Because I have extra money from my work, I (with the help of my dad) was able to get some solar panels and now can keep my food cold in the fridge (before we were lucky to have 3 hours of power a day). I now can keep a fan on my children and my pregnant wife at night time. And now I don’t have to go out and buy unhealthy street food (the equivalent of $2US) to feed my family for dinner because I could not afford any better. I can provide for them!
Now, let me say this… There are some really amazing people that support us in the states on a monthly basis and that is a blessing I am beyond thankful for, but when it comes down to it, the money is not enough. We are making 1/3 the salary we did in the states, yet still have to manage roughly the same amount of bills and expenses (student loans, insurance, rent, utilities, food, fuel, etc.). How would you survive if you had to support your family on 1/3 of your salary? Let me be the first to say, it isn’t easy.
So here I am making money (and don’t worry, I pay US taxes on all my photography work, because that is the ‘right thing to do’—read this with sarcasm) and I am able to provide the extra that my family needs to survive.
There is a bit of an internal struggle going on within me though. There is a bit of me that gets carried away with this “need to provide” feeling and it often begins to cause problems in other areas of my life. Often times, these jobs, although good paying, take me away from my family and from my first job which is to run Emmaus House with my wife. The difficulty comes in that I don’t just like getting paid (that part is great), but I also have a passion for traveling, experiencing this culture, and seeing new places. But I also know that I need to be home for my family and I know that I need to be working for Emmaus House.
So here is my confession: I want to follow my passions, I want to keep taking pictures for money, I want to support my family financially, I want to travel, I want to meet new people, I want to do new things….. but, I fear that my wants could hurt the things that matter most.
In the beginning of the show “Breaking Bad” Walt wants to get just enough money to cover for his cancer treatments and then support his family for the rest of their lives. I think his calculation came up to nearly $600 K. By the end of the show he had earned over $80 million. At some point he stopped wanting to just care for his family, he also wanted to satisfy his desire to be in control.
I realize that my little photography gig does not compare to this at all, but I still have to be careful. I don’t want to put myself before the needs of my family or Emmaus House. I have to pray that God will bless me with the exact number of jobs and contracts I need, nothing more and nothing less. I have no doubt that God has brought me to this point. He has provided me with the talents, the equipment, the resources, and the drive to have a successful little operation, but I can not let myself get too caught up in it. I need to always remember that my talent and opportunity is not my doing, but God’s.
I will not be stoping my photography… I can’t. What I do want to do though is pray that God helps me to learn how to prioritize my time, how to break up my life so that the things that matter the most get the most of my attention. I have never been much for multi tasking, just ask Jillian. But I pray that God helps me to be the father that I need to be: supporting, loving, able to give them the attention that they need, and a good example for them to learn from.
Whoa… If you took the time to read all of this then I thank you!
If you want to check out any of my photography work here in Haiti check out my FACEBOOK page to learn more.
And for more information on how to support my family as we work for Emmaus House in Haiti, go HERE. Any and all support is greatly appreciated.