I am 28 years old. Holy Crap. THat number feels so big and yet I dont feel old enough to be 28. I always get senitmental around birthdays and the end of the year. I always go through my jornals and see what the last year held. Interestingly enough, both of my trips to Israel and Haiti were written about long before I knew they were possibilities.
So while 27 went and 28 came and my hopes for those years didn't materialize, God was giving me some of the desires of my heart and I didnt see that until now.
Haiti. I've struggled with sharing about this trip more than any other. In someways, I feel I have nothing to share. I didnt 'do' much. And how do I put into words the desvestation, the need, the hope and the resiliance I saw in the Haitians.
As with most other countries I have been to, Haiti has a piece of my heart. These last few weeks I have felt as if I left more of it there than I thought. I want to go back.
I went with my friend who is a missionary with Reach Global. I love how they have chosen to help. THey are partnering with the Haitians who are already doing the work. They are learning from those who are already in the midst of it, providing support and rescources to expand their ministries.
30% of the country is christian/catholic, the rest practice voodoo. There are 9 million people on this island. This country has a rich and troubled history.
I met up with my friends Steve, Alessandra and Eric in Florida and flew an hour and half to Port au Prince, Haiti. We went through customs in the main airport that has yet to be rebuilt after the earthquake 2 years ago. Most of Haiti is still this way, not yet rebuilt.
Our first day was spent just settling in. We stayed at the "Haitian Queen", the Reach Global base house. Before dinner that evening, we went for a walk up the hill behind the house. We had a view of the city out to the ocean. Incredible beauty! Hot. Muggy. Gross. More sweat than I have ever experienced in my life. Beautiful.
Sunday we went to a local church. After intruducing the foreigners, the pastor told us, You are welcome here anytime. You are in our Fathers house. Its after attending a service like that, where every note the worship leader sang was off key while the keyboard player made up his own song, while we sat for 2 hours on the bench that was made from scraps of wood that was graciously given to the visitors, that I get so frustrated with my and others opinions of what church should look like. It is they who understand what it means to worship.
We were surroundecd by the young girls who kept pinching my white skin, comparing it to theirs while laughing at us because we didnt understand what they were saying.
That afternoon Maxo, one of Reach Globals partners, came over when he heard we were there. He wanted us to teach his english classes that were about to start.
I was not prepared for this and was greatful Steve took the lead.
Monday we went to an orphanage. Ale and Eric took pictures and bios of each child for a sponsorship program that they want to start while I played. Lots of hand games and jump rope. Neither require an understanding of language.
That afternoon we went to another program called My Life Speaks that provides kids with a meal a day among other things.
I could talk about each "partner" they have. Each one has a desire for their community to be changed by the gospel while providing a tangible need.
Tuesday we were back at Maxo's school taking pictures and bios. Again, while I played. My hair was a big facination with the girls. These 60 kids still meet in a building that was badly damaged by the earthquake.
That afternoon we helped paint a house for an American family who was coming that weekend to stay long term.
Wednesday we went to the other side of the Island to Jesus In Haiti Ministries. We met with a group of young pastors. Steve helps with theological training for them. We were told we were going to have to share on the woman's role in marriage and family...
This was by far my favorite day. These young men long to know more and to teach it to their people.
Thursday we went to another orphanage. Many of these children have living parents who can't or don't want to provide for them any more. That evening we watched a soccer tournament for some tent cities in the area while we waiting for the Brazilian team to arrive.
Friday we prayer walked our town, Gressier, with the Brazilians. I love their hearts, their faith and their ability to see and hear the spirit.
Saturday we said goodbye to Haiti and flew home. An hour and half I was back in Florida. There is something so wonderful yet troubling about this country that is so close.