I’m back from Haïti!!!!! I had the greatest trip ever, and as promised, I’m going to tell you all about it!
First off, thank you to everyone who supported me through prayers or donations. As I said the trip went well, God blessed so many people through it, and the donations greatly helped with the cost.
Now for what I actually did! After traveling for the entire day of Saturday (including two plane rides and a bumpy three hour van drive through the beautiful mountains of Haïti), my group and I arrived at the church and pastor’s house, where we slept, ate, and had fun doing God’s will for the week. On Sunday, we got up, dressed in our Sunday best, and headed over to the church for some Haïtian worship and preaching. We were told it was a three hour long service, but it seemed so much shorter! Everything the service included was filled with joy and praise for God! Their woman’s choir was fan-tas-tic, and we all wanted to take them back to the United States to sing at our church. One of my favorite parts of the service is the sermon because though it is spoken in Creole, many of the words sound French, so often I can pick up what the pastor says. It’s so neat to find meaning in different sounds that I’ve learned in school. However, though I enjoy the sermon, the offertory is always everyone’s absolute favorite part of the service, which may seem strange to a lot of people. Often we think of offertory as a solemn time where we quietly think of the great sacrifice we give of dropping a few dollars in the plate. It’s not like that in Haïti. The band played an uplifting Jamaican-y tune while members got up from their seats and went to the front to place their offerings in the plates. Some were dancing, some not, but it was certainly a joyous giving! The certain week we were there, the offering went towards the continuing build of the church, so they had a competition between the females’ and males’ offering. The females won of course. (:
The rest of the week my group and I walked around in the community planting fruit trees and praying for people, and out big project of the week was to paint some rooms in a schoolhouse. Both of those activities were great, and on the last day of our painting, there was an English class going on at the school, so we went in tere and talked with the students in English and some Creole. It was cool having them practice their English on us. They were going through the family unit, so a bunch of people down in Haïti know all of my family members (: Each day after painting, we’d have some delicious lunch (all of the amazingly delicious meals were provided and cooked by the pastor’s wife), and then jump into Vacation Bible School (VBS). The memory verse this week was 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all you cares on Him, for He cares for you”, and our skits and activities for the kids revolved around the idea that God loves each and every one of them, and He will provide. Everything went smoothly and the kids loved it, and we all saw God working during that time. On the last day of VBS, we were wrapping up when the wind started blowing really hard, and it started thundering and lightning, and then it started hailing! I thought it was some sort of hurricane, but apparantly it was just a bad storm. They hadn’t seen one that bad in 25 years! It was amazing to witness, and the kids all had a blast. The church flooded to about ankle deep, and the kids began splashing around, which ended up in a big water fight. I held a little girl who was frightened by the storm, but that didn’t stop the other children from putting hail down the back of my shirt! They got a kick out of that. (:
Thursday was our rest day, so we slept in a little and then went to Bassin Zim, a waterfall area near Hinche, Haïti. There we hiked, viewed some caves, and then jumped in the water for a little swim. It was a great time hanging out with everyone and relaxing after all of our hard work. On arriving back at the pastor’s house, we saw that a little market had been set up right outside of the church for us. I grabbed my wallet and promptly spent every last dollar I had in about ten minutes. I love the mementos I brought back for me and the souvenirs for my family.
During the trip, I did gain some spiritual messages from God. In my journal (which I wrote in during the week) are Bible verses, and one stuck out to me, which I carried with me during the week, and have it as my memory verse right now. It is Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to God whatever you do, and He will establish your plans”. As I’m heading off to college and deciding what I want to do with my future, I have some ideas I think God is calling me to do. One of them is to continue going to Haïti every year for as long as possible. In my journal I wrote “Haïti has found a place in my heart and will forever be there, so I want to maintain the relationships I have now. I could never visit Haïti enough. If I go for four more years, it will only be 6 trips. Only 35. Only 112. No number is enough. I think God has Haïti in my future. I’m willing to pay, go, and pray about it. All I need are the opportunities, which He can provide.” It’ll take some planning and dedication to see this through, but it is worth it, and I will strive to go to Haïti every year for as long as I can. A song we sang on the first day also stuck with me. The lyrics are simple, but powerful. “There’s no place I would rather be, than here in your love, here in your love. So set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain, that I can’t control. I want more of You, God. I want more of You, God.” Those lyrics and that verse really sum up what I’ve gained personally from my trip to Haïti. Thank you again to everyone who supported me, and I’ll be creating a video of my trip soon! Until then, here’s a photo.