The months leading up to Haiti went smoothly. Everything just seemed to fall into place. The fundraising, packing, and overall preparation was a breeze. My passport came in the mail within three weeks time! My fundraising goals were met and then exceeded. In fact I kept having friends and family donate to the trip up to a week beforehand. God’s hand of provision was in all of it. This only reaffirmed what I knew to be true: God was asking me to go to Haiti.
The week before I left was pure torture though. I tend to worry very easily and anticipate what could go wrong. On more than one occasion I awoke in the middle of the night in a panic.
After some intense heartfelt prayers, tears of anxiety and lots of conversations with my family and friends, I took the biggest leap of faith in my life.
Needless to say, Haiti was amazing. I quickly fell in love with the people, language, culture and country.
Typically when we hear about Haiti, our minds quickly remember the devastating earthquake that happened there back in 2010, and the immense poverty that these precious people deal with on a daily basis. But really, that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the country as a whole. Haiti is much, much more than what we hear on the 10:00 news.
The beauty of this country is spectacular. The colors, scenery and mountains make for a breathtaking view. I had not anticipated all the beauty Haiti had to offer. The language, Creole, rolls off the tongue like a rhythmic running river. The local fruit is delectable and puts the bananas and mango’s I eat here at home to shame. (Imagine eating a perfectly ripe banana or mango straight off the tree! Yeah, it was awesome!)
Yet what struck me the most there was the joy of the local people. The Haitian people are so hopeful, joyful, kind, hospitable and grateful… extremely grateful. They face some of the greatest hardships such as poverty, unsanitary living conditions, health problems from malnutrition and lack of medical care, yet their joy and gratitude amazes me.
Back here in the United States (or any well developed first world country) we are so rich in material goods. If we need food, we go to the grocery store, if we are sick we go to the doctor and get medicine, if we need something fixed we call a plumber, electrician etc. Everything is right at our fingertips. The people of Haiti don’t have that. Despite this though, they as a whole, are wealthier in the intangible things of life. Peace, love, joy, gratitude, kindness, hospitality and more. They are rich in the things money cannot buy. I only wish that back here in the United States people could experience this more.
During my week there I was able to help clean a school, conduct Vacation Bible School, go on a prayer walk among the locals, visit a home for disabled men and women and attend a Haitian church service! Being able to minister to the needs of the people there and serve alongside many other men and women was such a blessing.
To give you a taste of what I experienced that week and just what God was teaching me, here are a few excerpts from my journal while there.
I thoroughly enjoyed the church service, although I wish I could have understood it more! It dawned on me that my church at home, back in the affluent United States, was also worshiping God at the exact same time. Nationalities, race, skin color, all cease to exist as we worship the One true God!
It’s still somewhat hard to believe I’m in Haiti! Everyone here is so sweet, hospitable and kind. I love being able to walk out of my room and always see a smiling face.
The Lord has truly challenged me to step outside my comfort zone, and indeed I have. By His strength and grace have I been able to do this though. His love extends beyond the heavens; it is infinite!
Wow! What an amazing day. Today I went and taught VBS at a church in Callabasse. I was able to do the lesson on salvation and told the kids of Jesus’ amazing love and sacrifice. While most of the children already knew about Jesus and His love, it was such a blessing to remind these children of it… After VBS the team had lunch and then did an hour prayer walk. We went out in groups of four and met people at their houses. I was so glad to be able to pray for the precious people we met and hope we were a blessing to them.
It’s hard to believe that today is the last day in Haiti! The time went by so fast! … I praise God for a wonderful, eye-opening trip and know that a big piece of my heart will always be in Haiti.
Haiti was amazing. God taught me so many things, helped me to cross cultural boundaries and shed light on what it will look like in heaven as every tribe, tongue and nation worships the One true God together (Revelation 7:9). He has blessed me beyond measure through this mission trip.
Now my heart is opened wide for missions. Ministering to others, serving those in need, proclaiming the Gospel and being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ is such a blessing. To be able to partner with God in furthering His kingdom is a labor of love worth living and dying for.
I went to Haiti hoping to be a blessing to others; I left Haiti having been the one to receive a blessing in return.
Thank you all so much for joining me on this four part series, To Haiti and Back! May we as Christ followers, have a heart for missions and a love for others in a way that reflects God’s own heart.