Confused by the title? That’s okay, I’ll explain… but disclaimer: My thoughts are scattered, so bare with me 🙂
Back in March, I went to Haiti with a group of friends to serve and be the hands and feet of Jesus. I went to help people who I thought were going to be poor and broken. I remember one of my roommates told me that I was going to have culture shock and be so upset with the poverty and destruction there. I braced myself for that, and I was actually shocked at how false those assumptions were. Sure, we saw houses without bathrooms, beds without comforters, places without electricity, children without clothes, families with little food..but we saw a lot more than just that. In that short week, I got a taste of Haiti for what the country really is.. not a poor or destroyed country.. but a beautiful country full of hope.. full of people who are more rich than I, as an American, will ever be.
I remember one of the last nights in Haiti, the Mission of Hope leader told us that she wanted us to go back to the States and share with people the truth about Haiti and how beautiful it is. I’ve been back for a while now, but quickly thinking back to my week there, these were some of those beautiful things:
The people– Oh my goodness. The Haitians I met had the most wonderful hearts I have ever witnessed. Haitians have a way with living life. They embrace it and live it in a way I have never seen before. I didn’t meet a Haitian that got tangled up in a busy lifestyle that we Americans tend to live. They let the days pass slowly to fully enjoy them. The intentionality they had with us was amazing. Our conversations with them were nothing less than encouraging and wonderful. I will hold onto them forever. One day, one of our Haitian friends barely ate any of his lunch, and when we asked him why he hadn’t eaten anything, he said that talking to us during that lunch break was more important than food ever would have been. My Haitian friends have been consistently praying for me and my friends in America anytime I raise a request to them. When asking an older Haitian man who was deaf if we could pray for him before we left his house, he said that he actually wanted to pray for us. Signing his prayer, he prayed for our boldness and strength in our faith, and he prayed that we always remember how strong Jesus is for us. He was so excited to pray for us when we were there to serve him. They cherish relationships more than anyone I’ve ever met here, and they see life a lot differently than we do. They see it for what it really is. Not about the fame or fortune, but about living to glorify God and love people they are around. I learned that the Haitians I met, although might not have a high financial status, are rich in areas that matter. They’re rich in love, rich in spirit, rich in heart, and rich in faith.
The sunrises and sunsets– I love Indiana skies, but the Haitian skies I saw were amazing. I have never seen such a beautiful sunrise over mountains and sunset over the ocean. I think my friends and I took pictures of the sky every morning and every night, but could just never really capture their true beauty.
The mountains and oceans– BEAUTIFUL. One day I was able to sit in the middle of the ocean in a clear-bottom kayak..to my left were the mountains and to my right was just the bluest water I’ve ever seen. I remember sitting out there thinking that not much of anything could have topped the feeling of awe I had out there in that kayak. It was just amazing.
The hope– Haiti has a hope that is almost indescribable. It was a hope I hadn’t really seen displayed in the States. It was a hope that lived every day knowing who held the future and who holds the whole world in place. It was a hope that made me realize that God is way bigger than I ever could imagine. It was a hope that knew no sorrow or doubt. It was one that opened my eyes and heart to see that the way I have lived life as an American for the last 23 years is in no way better or more satisfying than the life of a 23 year old Haitian who has grown up with no air conditioning in the summer or shower to bathe in. It was one that pointed my eyes from worldly things straight to Jesus. It was a humbling but beautiful picture to be painted in front of me.
The list could really go on, but for the sake of time..I’ll continue.
So, ever since I’ve been back in the states, I have longed to return there..to that beautiful country. Even as soon as I got home, I knew that one day I would want to go back, but I didn’t know how, when, or even for how long. I just knew I would want to go and immerse myself again in the culture and continue to see the work that the Lord is doing there.
Well, as I was in the process of figuring out what life after college would look like, I began to contemplate pursuing my desire to return to Haiti. As much as I wanted to go, the fear of not attempting to start a career held me back. After going back and forth, I realized that I needed to commit to the thing that made most sense. Leaving the comfort and only place I’ve lived might not seem like it makes the most sense..leaving the country after graduating college and putting a career on pause might not seem to make the most sense..but when breaking it all apart, it totally did. The reason why is this: I realized that sometimes the route that causes us to feel a bit uncomfortable and uneasy is the best way we can grow more in our faith in Jesus–and THAT is actually what makes the most sense. Growing to know Jesus better and serving Him means more to me than establishing a career, more than making a lot of money, more than saying I can successfully use my degree, more than worrying about missing out on life in Indiana, and more than being comfortable staying in my home town after graduation.
Remembering that everyday is sometimes a bit hard, but at the end of it all, it is so obvious to me.
Well, long story short..I have decided to serve alongside Mission of Hope once more, but for a little bit longer of a duration. I will be going to Haiti in January after I graduate from college, and I will be there for 4 months. I have decided to give those short 4 months of my life to put everything else aside as far as school and work go, and just serve.
So, in a few short months.. 3 and a half to be exact, I am picking up my life as I know it in Indiana and moving it to Titanyen, Haiti. I cannot wait to be there and live life in Haiti for this coming season of my life. I am beyond excited to be reunited with some of my Haitian friends I met in March and cannot wait to meet the many more who I will come into contact with this coming Spring. I don’t know exactly what my time in Haiti will look like, or my time after, but I know that the Lord goes before me (Deuteronomy 31:8) and has already set out good works for me (Ephesians 2:10). I also know that God is good–and as the Haitians would say…Bondye Bon!