Haiti Mission Trip Testimonies
In getting ready for the trip it looked like Satan was fighting against us with some folks having to bow out, but that meant something great was going to happen. Jamie, our team leader, made sure the team was well informed and prepared and the group pitched in and supported one another to get ready. We had a great team, got to know each other better, shared some laughs, and I am sure each one of us came back blessed by our time there. Having been to Haiti before, I felt I was prepared for the cultural differences. This time I saw noticeable improvements in the conditions of some areas and encouraged by some of the things I observed. The GO staff was supportive and our group bonded with them right away. One of the best parts was seeing the familiar faces of some children from my past trip and seeing how they had grown, some of them turning from a child into young men and women. I was also encouraged to hear GO has created Pathways, a program to transition them to independence and jobs. I also learned more about Paula Coles and her partnership with GO and how her company provides jobs for the local Haitians and supports children in school.
Although not speaking Creole was a bit of a barrier, at Source de la Grace I had an excellent teacher, 14 yr. old Guirda, who wrote down English/Creole words for me. She was very patient and knew some English so we were able to carry on a conversation and laugh at each other. Another highlight for me was listening to the most beautiful sounds…at night, you could hear the children’s voices singing recognizable praise songs and during the day listening to some of the girls harmonize Christian songs. Being there was so cool in that I was able to be still and just love on these children. At home there are so many distractions with “life” things that sometimes we forget the simple things that are so important. It was refreshing to be in a place where the children praise Jesus and shared their big smiles and hugs with us unconditionally. One young girl at Leogane looked at me and asked (in English) “Do you love Jesus”? I responded “Yes, I do, do you?” She looked back at me and smiled and said “yes.” Awesome.
This was my third trip and although the team only comprised 6 of us, I feel the love of Jesus was shown just as much as the past two trips I was involved with. No one was shy in the way they reached out to the children. And as always, the children desired each one’s individual attention. Even for a few hours, we made a change in their daily lives. As they continue to grow, hopefully they will remember the time that we shared with them and it will make a difference in how they treat others.
This trip was different in one aspect…the devotion time was lead by different individuals which allowed God to speak to each of us in different ways. I always feel drawn closer to God by sharing this time together. Yes we are there for the children, but we also need to have open minds to allow God to speak to each of us and how this hopefully will change us to be more obedient of the Great Commission. I know that each trip I have gone on I have felt the urgency more to serve others right here at home.
I love my brothers and sisters in Christ and I love the time of fellowship, bonding and growing together. I am just glad to be part of a church (Christ’s church) that is willing to do something. Even if we don’t make a difference in the lives of the children (which I know we do); going on a mission trip allows me to be changed, which is always my prayer and desire. I thank God for the opportunity and hope my actions are pleasing to Him. I love you Father!
After meeting several new individuals and feeling slightly overwhelmed, I opened my Bible and asked myself why I was in VA, why I was going on a trip with a bunch of people I didn’t know to a place I’ve never been. 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 was the passage for the day. My answer of why was found in verse 14a. Why was I going with strangers to Haiti, because “Christ’s love compels [me].”
It has been such a blessing to go with the Rutherfords, Tammy, Wiley, and Kevin to simply love on those very precious Haitian children. When we arrived in Haiti, we were greeted by our awesome interpreter Volsey and our wonderful group leader Stephanie. After finally making our way to the van we began our bumping ride to the Jumecourt Inn which we would call home for the next 6 days.
The surrounding area has 3 orphanages (villages) within 15 minutes walking distance, but for safety reasons we always drove. Anytime we pulled into a village, the children would come to greet us at the doors, holding out their small hands eager for attention and love. Simple really. While we Americans are so distracted with objects and materialism, Haitian children crave love and touch. So much of Haiti can become overwhelming and depressing between the high walls covered in razor wire, heaping trash piles decorating the city, and striking poverty level. BUT there is hope. The name of Jesus is spread throughout Haiti. Sunday church is well attended, self-sustaining businesses like Paula Coles are teaching skills to Haitians as well as providing steady employment, and Global Orphan Project and pastors throughout the country are providing homes, meals and schooling to children who otherwise would have nothing. The love of Christ provides so much hope.
We are Christ’s ambassadors and our goal in Haiti was to share the love of Christ with the orphans, mamas and papas, the Haitian people as a whole, and the missionaries there working locally. God not only worked in us, but He also worked through us. What an encouragement this trip has been; and my hope is that I can either return with Swift Creek to Haiti again or even take a group from my own church. Thank you for such a wonderful opportunity and for treating me as one of your own.
The following are some words that came to mind on the April 2014 Haiti trip. (4th time there)
Hugs, Laughter, Beautiful, Hard to leave, Games, Progress, Be still, Cross, Prayer walking, Hold, Listen, Gentle, Speechless, Honored, Chosen, Pain, Hunger, Emotion, Thirst, Kingdom, Holding on, Sacrifice, Jesus, Orphan
I’m not sure why I signed up to go to Haiti; I had always had the desire to go based on the stories I heard from friends of mine that had served in a variety of mission fields. The Spring Haiti trip came at one of my busiest times of the year, but God seemed to work out any of the challenges I was facing and give me a way to honor my wife on our 30th wedding anniversary.
Even though I was warned about the culture shock I would experience in Haiti, I couldn’t get past all the trash ….it was everywhere. After getting prepped to go, I realized that my most difficult challenge may be the very thing we were called to do – just love on the kids……something I’m not entirely at ease with. The veterans kept reminding me – “don’t worry” the kids will pick you, and they won’t let you go.”
Well, the kids did not take to me initially as I had thought, but eventually and little boy and a little girl came over to me with the look of “can I trust you” – then they would say something like “I love Jesus” or they would tell me their name and want me to respond with mine. Still, I felt inadequate as most of the time the kids didn’t seem to really respond to me (?)
Then I noticed at the main village (our hotel was adjacent to this village), there were 3 boys (ages 9-10) that always seemed to be looking for me. Then we bonded, we played tic-tac-toe, we tried to play hangman and realized that wouldn’t work because we didn’t speak the same language – we all had a good laugh.
In the end – God knew what he was doing, why would I ever doubt that? I saw it in the smiles of the kids…..had they been abandoned?, had they been orphaned by the earthquake?,….why were they in the orphanage? I did know they were well cared for and loved by those responsible for their care. I also, realized that just one trip wouldn’t build a relationship, but I had a good start with three young boys and looking forward to going back to see them – no more uncomfortable feelings.
This was my fourth trip to Haiti, there was nothing new or earthshattering for me to report. As always, I like to see the reaction and how God works with the first timers; and, I love to see the diligence and faithfulness of the veterans. God always blesses in so many ways – most often, the blessings flow our way – God is good.
We see new faces, familiar faces and continue to build relationships – the one thing that never changes for me, is that each time I leave part of me stays there.