Saturday, October 5, 2013

Haiti -- the long version

My dear friend Laura Walton asked me to write a post for the HMM (Hispaniola Mountain Ministries) blog to talk about my experience in Haiti. They are the group who organized our trip and many others to the Dominican and Haiti and Laura is their Director of Communications! I jumped at the chance -- then she said (those dreaded words that I am never good at) it can be short -- EEK!! So I gave her the short version, but wanted to share a little bit longer version here for my peeps who keep up with us on the B.L.O. double G. So, without further ado: HAITI
As I looked back through my journal from our trip, there were several things that stood out to me.
In the weeks leading up to our trip, we prayed weekly (and some weeks twice a week) for our trip…..we became so close as a team and it was beautifully covered in blankets of prayer. During these prayer times our team grew closer and closer and I could always feel God’s immediate presence in our midst. It was beautiful! I would continue to feel Him as our journey truly began!

Many times people will tell you that when you go on a mission trip we ourselves are changed just as much the people we serve, and I would have to agree.  Upon our arrival, one of the first things I remember us doing was going over from the Dominican into Haiti. It was Sunday, and we got to experience a church service in the church on the Promised Land Compound. As Tim told us many times, Pastor Vilma is so important in his community and I can see why. We saw the church building where they had been meeting, which was little more than a thatch shack where they were now holding Children’s Church. About 20 little children from 3 to probably 15 were reciting Bible verses aloud that they had memorized. This was amazing. We then went to the church building where the people were meeting and although we could understand very little of what was being said, Jesus Christ’s presence was felt inside the four walls of that church. As the people sang, it was such a beautiful testimony of their faith. The words they sang came alive and you could see what strong faith they had in their Lord and Savior. They didn’t have other distractions getting in the way of that and it was beautiful. And when they prayed, they prayed out loud all at once, and it seemed to me God met those prayers before the sound reached the roof – yet another a beautiful sound (might be something we want to try here at our church sometime).  

One of the first mornings we were there as we were preparing for our first day of “work,” God spoke to me through the devotional book “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. Here is a part of what I read on May 27th: “Seek My Face at the beginning of your day. This practice enables you to “Put me on” and “wear me”….Thus you are well equipped to face whatever people and situations I bring your way. Clothing your mind in Me is your best preparation for each day. This discipline brings Joy and Peace to you and those around you.” NOW, since we were coming into contact with people and situations that we had NO IDEA how to handle – like poverty, starvation, sickness, and on top of that we were physically and emotionally drained, this devotion was just what I needed to hear. I have never seen a lack of basic human need as I saw in Anse A Pitre. There was a house on the compound that was only straw and the people living there had no possessions. There were several babies and a mom, dad, and grandmother. Even under these conditions, there was no sadness in their eyes. All the people and children we were with each day were happy. And this happiness wasn’t worldly happiness but joy. Part of this was because they didn’t know a lifestyle any different, and part of this was because they knew Christ and were taught about Him in their church and school.

We were around the school children each and every day. All the teaching is oral, very few had money to buy paper and pencils. From tiny little ones to High School age, it was a joy to hear them speaking and reciting their lessons. As we held them, played with them, and loved on them, we were showing them Jesus, and we let the little children come to us, jump on us, play with our phones, and gave them all we had.

As we interacted with the people of Haiti, DR, and each other, So much love could be felt. And as I said earlier, I feel confident that Jesus was among us. Hopefully instead of playing with us, they saw Him in our eyes.

In Haiti, I pray that I left joy, love, and hope.

In Haiti, I know that God turned it into a joy and hope that these people know only He can give.

In Haiti, our doctors in literally saved lives of many of the people they treated.

In Haiti, God saved lives of the spiritually sick, who will now spend eternity with Jesus.

In Haiti, we saw poor and poverty like never before.

In Haiti, God saw rich and strong faithful who put EVERYTHING in Him and this will continue to grow like never before as these people are witnessed to through words and actions and see our God at work in their lives.

In Haiti, we heard the voices daily of many crying out to be healed of their suffering to the only One who can heal their broken spirits and their country.

In Haiti, God hears the cries of His faithful, and answers them, and blesses them with lives where TRUE FAITH is alive and strong. Their faith is in Jesus Christ and in Him alone.

In Haiti, God worked through our mission team to do some great work. But the greatest thing He did was to let those people meet Him through our actions (because words literally meant nothing) while we were there. We came home, and He stayed.

He is creating beauty from so much brokenness. And in a country ravished with poverty and sickness and corruptness, I saw SO MUCH BEAUTY. The people, the children, the land, THE WATER (PTL!!), the animals. Many people could look at this and see ashes, but God has consumed this land, these people, and turned them into such beauty. Made me think of one of my favorite songs, Something Beautiful, by NEEDTOBREATHE. Listen here!  If you don't have time to listen, it says,

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees, I'm waiting for something beautiful.

Coming home was hard, because it seems like there was so much to do. Like we did so little. But Tim said this on our last night there: “Even if you start something, God can finish it.” I know God has some very special things in store for the people of Anse A Pitre, the DR, and other cities in Haiti through the work of HMM. Many lives have been saved for eternity. I feel extremely blessed to have been a part of this trip and hope that when these beautiful people of Haiti think back to our time there, and all the other people who have visited them and shared God’s love with them, that they don’t see us, that they see their Savior, with whom they will one day live in paradise and have beautiful crowns of righteousness for the suffering they endured while on earth.

Like, 1 Timothy 6:17 says, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” I learned the true meaning of this verse from the people of Haiti. They live it out daily. I have never seen this more clearly! My hope is, God willing, I can continue not only to be a part of this great mission to Haiti, but here at home too!

No matter where God calls you to serve, in your home, in your church, in your community, in a foreign country, do it! Each person who “Goes into all the nations,” no matter what nation (home or abroad), is doing great work for the kingdom.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Melanie, for sharing your thoughts about the ways God works through His people to reach the physically and spiritually impoverished. Love your Blog. Charles