About two months ago, I took a journey to Haiti. I think about this trip almost everyday. I could easily write a novel about everything I experienced and the dozens of ways I was blessed throughout my week there. However, I have lots of studying/homework/practicing I need to be doing... so, I'll try to keep it 'brief' and post more later!
As I stepped off of the airplane and began walking through the Port-au-Prince airport, I knew I was in a place unlike any I had been to before. Immediately, I was thrown into a huge sea of people, most of them speaking Creole. There was no order in the airport, whatsoever. No luggage spinning around, and no one calling out which bags came from which flight. In other words, absolutely NO organization. The place was considerably dark and easily over one-hundred degrees. There was no electricity. Everyone yelled, pushed and shoved. It was all extremely foreign to me, and set the mood for the rest of my week. The week that changed my life, forever.
When I signed up to be a part of this mission trip, I had no idea what to expect. Having just graduated high school only a few months prior, I had never had an opportunity to go out of the country. However, I felt God calling me to go on the trip, and I assumed I would have an unforgettable experience. Well, let me tell you something. You can watch a million and one documentaries, and hear stories from other people who have been involved with missions in other countries, but it will never truly hit home until you witness it for yourself, in person. Throughout my week in Haiti, I was privileged enough to meet some of the most gracious and humble people I have ever met. I had travelled to help people in need, however, many of the people I encountered, both Haitians as well as my incredible team members, gave me more than they will ever know.
One afternoon when I was riding to a church to lead a Vacation Bible School with some of my fellow team members, I looked out of the tap tap (painted bus/truck that serves as a share taxi in Haiti) and took in the sites that surrounded me. The streets were crowded with hundreds of thousands of people, as well as animals (goats, pigs, chickens, dogs...). Garbage lined the bumpy roads for miles. There was plenty of rubble and half crumbled buildings that were destroyed by the terrible earthquake that hit in early 2010. The air smelled of trash and other odors, all unpleasant. Tent cities seemed to be located all over, along with street shops and small marketplaces. It was an environment unlike any I had ever experienced, but for the most part, I enjoyed being outside of my comfort zone.
I went to a Revival service one evening where Pastor Kevin gave the message. When he was done, I really felt God pulling on my heart. I am not one to volunteer to pray out loud, ever. However, I felt called to say a prayer over the precious people that were worshipping in the church. God gave me the words to speak, and they just flowed out. I had an interpreter translating my prayer into Creole, and the congregation seemed to respond to it very well. I was thanked by the pastor of the church, who also thanked me on behalf of the children I had worked with earlier that day at Vacation Bible School. He informed me that they had asked about me, wondering if I was coming back to hang out with them. It was difficult saying I was unable to do so, but it felt incredible to know I had impacted lives, because that's exactly what I had come to do.
After the earthquake, many jobs were lost. Many lives were lost, too. Money and food is scarce. Malaria is spread through the mosquitos and Cholera is spread through water. Haitians do not have much, yet they strive to make do with what they have. Compared to us Americans, they are very unfortunate, and somehow they are still praising and thanking God for all he has given to them. After going to Haiti, I feel much more informed of what the country is going through. I was able to see their suffering in person and understand a little more about their culture. Our team was able to lead 126 men, women, and children to Christ over the week. We saw 194 others make other decisions/rededications. There were approximately 2,657 in attendance throughout the week.
Haiti changed my life. From the daily morning devotions, to Vacation Bible Schools, to Revivals, to playing songs and having heart to hearts with one of my special team members... The list goes on and on. I have definitely learned to not take things for granted. Even things that seem so small, like getting a glass of water. Americans can just walk to the fridge/sink and make a glass without even considering the fact that there are plenty of people around the world who don't have that resource available to them. We are beautifully blessed and should be reminded of that on a daily basis. We should remember to continually thank our Heavenly Father for blessing us in countless ways.
Songs: Jenny & Tyler - Love Through Me; Sanctus Real - Legacy
Verses: Acts 6:4; 1 Chronicles 16:23–24
Pastor CJ's daughter, Eunice
The Mission Team
Children at the Orphanage
(Christian Light Ministries)
Garbage filling the streets