This summer I got to lead my first team to Haiti. It was very special for me, since it was on my birthday. I got to spend that day in Haiti, which I have not done in seven years. I led a team of mostly teenagers from the Christian School at Castle Hills High School, and we had a great time! At first I was very nervous, because I had to meet with the parents and did not know what they expected from me. Fortunately, when I met them things went well. I was still nervous, because I had no idea how things were going to happen in Haiti – if the students would like it … and what if they didn’t eat the food there? What if they wanted to come back to the U.S after being there just a day? My head was filled with “what ifs”! I forgot that the plan of the trip was not in my power, but in that of God Himself.
When we arrived in Haiti, we spent two days in the first village, Gressier, before we went to the mountains. Arriving at the airport in Port-Au-Prince, all I could think of was, “God, don’t let the students get scared of the roads and the driving here.” We got into the cars, and everything was great … until we headed up the hill in the village. That’s when the suitcases started falling on me in the back. My companion and I could not help but laugh! After that, everything went well, praise God! The moment I eased up on my nervousness was when we arrived at the village. The children did not even give us time to put the suitcases down before they were upon us. I got chills! That is one of my favorite things about going to Haiti – the way the children welcome us. They were all over the students and, right away, I could see some of the students carrying children in their arms. I was delighted!
During our two days there, we played games, told them stories about Jesus and the Bible, and even presented some of the stories in a skit. They had a lot of fun watching us trying so hard to act, especially me. I played Joseph and had to wear a robe-like outfit. I know they all thought I looked pretty funny. Our final activity was a carnival in which they could play games and, if they won, get prizes. That was a great success! The next day, we packed and got ready to go to Dèyè Mòn. Then, the panic kicked in again.
Vilaj Mèsi Dye nan Dèyè Mòn
The drive to Dèyè Mòn is about four and half to five hours, and there are some bumpy roads! My panic rose again, because I didn’t know how a group of students would handle being on the roads in Haiti for five hours. Surprisingly, they loved every second of it. They were amazed by how beautiful the country is, and the best part was seeing their reactions when they saw the blue Caribbean Sea!
When we arrived in Dèyè Mòn, it was no different from the first village. We got the same welcome from the people there, if not warmer! We started the next day with Bible stories and some crafts for the children. It was a good day! The next day, the girls painted the new team house and the guys and I put some gutters up in the new houses added to the village. On our last day there, we did more crafts, told more Bible stories, and presented the skit. Everyone was very happy, especially with me, wearing a wig and lifting Baby Jesus like Simba. The children went crazy over that! We ended our last day in Dèyè Mòn with a hike, and it was far beyond our expectations! There were about 60 children from the village with us, which was overwhelming!
During our time in Haiti, many of us learned more of the importance of trusting God and letting Him take care of everything – especially me! Some of the same things happen, every time I go to Haiti.
Many of us try to picture how everything will happen, but that is never in our power. God continues to show us that we need to plan well, but then to simply trust in Him. It was amazing to see God works in this team and the kids. One reason the team was so good was because we were almost the same age as the children in the village. (Well, except for me, but my energy level is second to none! ) We had powerful relationships with the children, and they opened their hearts to us… and we opened ours to them. I believe it was that which caused two of them to give their lives to Christ!
The two children who gave their lives were children we know very well in the village, but God had this group in mind to bring them to Him. I believe that was the main reason He put this group together.
On the day we left Dèyè Mòn, I saw something amazing happen. I looked at both groups, the mission team and the children of the village. Everyone was sobbing! So many tears, I did not know what to do or say! All I could think of was, “God has built something special between us. This is how we are supposed to love and care for each other.” I can’t imagine what life would be like if that was the case in every day of our lives. We had such a strong bond with the children there, in just three days. I want to live there forever! There’s no money or prosperity there but, believe this, the joy in the villages is worth more than we could ever pay! Besides, who needs money and riches when one can feel the glory of God and be surrounded by people who love and cherish you for who you are? Finally, the original goal was to give God glory for what He has done, and I am confident that He’s happy with the outcome!