It’s safe to say that one of the most impactful experiences of my life happened recently. A few weeks ago I went to Gressier, Haiti on a weeklong mission trip. To say how incredibly amazing it was would be an understatement. There are not words to describe what went on in my heart both during and after that trip. Needless to say, my life was CHANGED FOREVER.
A girl named Megan Boudreaux came and spoke at my church one night about the work that she was doing in Haiti. I had heard about her from my uncle (the pastor). She sold her belongings and felt the Lord was calling her to move to Haiti. She she did. I admire her faith so much. She is truly an inspiration. To read more about her journey you can check out her blog: blessedwithaburden.wordpress.com/
Anyways, several months ago she spoke at my church and explained that there was going to be a mission trip opportunity coming up this December. The second she said that, I had this unexplainable feeling inside me. My heart was beating faster. I started smiling and thinking about what it would be like… I knew what I had to do. I applied for the trip. I found out the cost of the trip, and after some prayer… I fully trusted God that He would provide the money for me to go. I knew I was supposed to go. I found out that I was accepted and several of my good friends were too, which was such a blessing! The busyness began! Support letters, thank you notes, shots, and getting mentally/spiritually prepared.
The 3 month wait felt like a yearlong wait, but at last…December had arrived. Before I knew it, our plane was ascending into the air. We were leaving U.S. soil and would soon be landing in Port Au Prince, Haiti. To be honest, the first 24 hours were difficult for me. I had only been on one other mission trip in my life, Mexico 4 years ago. I was comparing this trip to that one, even though I didn’t mean to. I tried not to, but I couldn’t help it. I had learned Spanish in high school, so I could speak to the Mexican children. But I didn’t know an ounce of Haitian Creole, which was very frustrating for me.
I finally prayed that night that the Lord would give me the strength to not compare. I prayed that my heart would be open to Haiti and the people there. Boy, did He answer that prayer! Almost immediately He implanted within me a deep love for that country…more than I could have ever imagined. My eyes were opened to the needs of Haiti. My hearts were opened to the beautiful people and their culture. My arms were constantly open to hug/love on the children and people. I knew that I was there for a reason. After a few days, it felt like home. I felt like I belonged.
Before the trip, I had assumed that I would be more drawn to the little children throughout the trip. I had stated that at the team meetings and was prepared to have that be my specialty while in Haiti. Don’t get me wrong, I love children, but the Lord had other plans. The 2nd day we were in Haiti, I met Francia. Francia is a beautiful, 19-year-old Haitian girl who works at the Children of Hope orphanage that we often visited during our trip. My good friend, Haley, and I went over with our Haitian Creole/English Dictionary to try to strike up a conversation. There were lots of laughs, smiles and hugs. She understood that we didn’t speak Creole but that we were trying.
From then on, we developed a friendship despite our language barrier. We (Haley and I) also got very close with the other teenage girls at the orphanage. There were three of them: Vania, Yrmelda and Mary Frances. Developing relationships with those girls even though we didn’t all speak the same language was such a God thing. I know He put Haley and I in their lives to show them love. We sang with them, danced, laughed, tried to learn Creole, colored, played outside, took pictures and hugged a lot. I even got the opportunity to help Francia serve the food she cooked to the orphan children and help her do the dishes. It was such a privilege to be able to work alongside her and step into her shoes, even if it was only for a few minutes. The Lord also blessed us with an opportunity to do a purity talk for a group of teenage girls while we were there. Although it didn’t quite go as planned, I know God spoke to those girls’ hearts in a way that we may never know.
Overall my experience in Haiti was AMAZING. Its humbling to go to a third world country to bless the people there, but to find that you feel blessed if not more blessed by them. I was in awe of their joyous attitudes and bright smiles in the midst of having very little. The entire trip inspired me to change the way I live in America.
- I can still wake up in America and dedicate my day to the Lord and ask to be His hands and feet.
- I will be okay if not everything goes “my way” and plans change.
- I am incredibly more appreciative of all the things I would normally take for granted: running water, clean water, a sturdy roof over my head, my job, the opportunity to get a good education, loving parents that WANT me, food to satisfy my hunger, the clothes in my closet, my nice warm bed, hot showers, electricity.
- I am working on downsizing and giving away the things I don’t need/use to others in need (clothes, shoes, books, etc).
- I can do a quiet time and be in the Word in America. I don’t have to be in Haiti to give part of my day to Him. He gave me eternal life… the least I could do is give Him some time in my day, whether it be 2 minutes or 2 hours.
- I need to view school and work as blessings… because they are. There lots of people around the world that dream of being able to get a good education and have a good job… and I have both. SO BLESSED.
Coming back to America was very hard at first. I wanted nothing more than to hop back on a plane straight to Haiti. It’s practically impossible for anyone to understand exactly what I went through and for someone to have the desire to listen to me talk about it over and over again. That was all I did for 5 straight days. I couldn’t stop looking through my pictures, reading through my blog, texting the other members of the team, trying to learn more Creole, telling story after story, crying, journaling about it, etc. I was depressed to be in America surrounded by stuff. Just too much STUFF.
I soon realized that if the Lord’s plan is for me to return to Haiti someday, He will prepare me for it and it will happen. I became content with where I was/am and am so excited to see how the Lord is going to use the passion He place inside of me for HIS GLORY. Because in the end, it’s ALL for His glory.
“…whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 4:11b (ESV)