The hope in the eyes of the girls overflow with natural joy and laughter—the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. Their smiles melt hearts, their laughter is electrifying, and their touch is comforting. They embrace and welcome those who walk into their midst, making one feel as if they had always been friends with these little Haitian girls.
If you walk onto the premises of the Consolation Center, one can instantly feel the most calming and peaceful spirit residing. From sounds of laughter to the smiles and handshakes of all those who pass, you can feel God’s presence in an overwhelming sense.
From the moment I stepped off the airplane, into the densely hot and dusty, I knew that my life was going to change. As I anxiously followed my father, I prayed that my God would change my life and that every step I took would be to serve Him
Words that come to mind when I’m questioned about my time in Haiti are: hope, joy, compassion, and love. Words that one wouldn’t suppose would reflect an impoverished nation and yet these words were clearly what I took home with me. As in all places, along with the overwhelming sense of compassion and hope is an overwhelming sense of despair and darkness; but in the midst of what I saw, the hope drew a veil across the darkness in an awe-inspiring way.
The notes scribbled in beautiful cursive English through the pages of my prayer journal, from my newly formed “little sisters” tell me of how they were going to pray for me. “Jesus loves you and so do I,” a token of hope that spoke from their hearts.
While we sat drawing pictures to translate English to Creole and vice-versa, they paused to sing a song, reminding me that, “This is the day that the Lord has made/I will rejoice.”
(For the record, I learned while I was there that I CANNOT play dominoes correctly. Even with the language barrier they kindly told me that I just wasn’t getting the hang of the game. )
During the church service, the outdoor sanctuary resounded with the voices of men and women, speaking two languages, but singing praises to one God. It was amazing. It’s not something I can describe simply, but an experience that touched me deeply.
One year ago, almost to the date, I was faced with a heavy burden on my heart for missions. This burden had grown in weight, for years I had felt God working in my life and my heart toward missions, and I prayed that the Lord would open this door if it was in His will. God lit a fire in me that burned constantly for people, people in my present life, but particularly in foreign fields. My parents encouraged me to become practiced in sharing my faith, joining friends for evangelism and becoming comfortable sharing the Gospel. Still, my heart was burdened, and I felt an intense motivation to join a trip on the field.
Generally I was unaccustomed to taking colossal steps, but the fire in me for the Gospel wasn’t easily extinguished and I felt that this was a true sensation from God. I searched and prayed, for opportunities that would allow me to immerse myself into a foreign mission, show me the real, un-fictionalized and hard reality of missions, and one that would leave me excited about the Gospel. Quite the tall order, but I knew that the Lord was in control of my footsteps.
Through a series of miraculous events, we found an organization that was located in three areas, Peru, India and Haiti. The first step, out of many in partnership with this country I hope, was through an organization called Global Compassion Network. GCN is an instrumental organization that encourages and promotes self-sustainability, care for the poor and the powerless, and promoter of the Gospel.
With Haiti being a familiar place for my trip partner, aka my Dad, and a country close to his heart we prayed about the next step. I prayed that God would close the door for this trip if it wasn’t in His will, but knowing that if He kept the door open that tremendous things would happen.
Between the months, I prepared for my trip and I was encouraged to fill myself with the Holy Spirit, to become focused completely in Him. In order to show love and compassion to those around us, it’s vital that we make Him our full focus. I desperately wanted to show people the love that I received when I first committed my life to Christ. I desired to provide them with examples of how Christ demonstrates His love for us.
My goal was to show compassion to these people, but in truth I was the one that felt the compassion, I was the one touched, and I was the one who was blessed beyond words. In my journal on Day 4 I wrote, “God is moving in me and those around me in an incredible way, and I’m touched by all that I see and experience. I feel such a connection to this country. What an experience it is to be amidst all of these wonderful people and to see how much hope they have, when it appears that they have nothing. They possess so much in the Lord and are so grateful.” From the dominoes that keep their attention for hours, to the scrambled T.V. that they gather around to watch, they appear to have nothing. But their happiness goes further than materialistic things, it goes to the heart.
To my Americanized expectations, I expected to see disparity amongst the poverty, but instead I saw hope. When I expected to change lives, my life was changed instead. You can’t help but be changed when you’re walking the filthy streets, passing bare-boned women, who don’t have two coins to rub together, but flash a beautiful smile as you walk by. You can’t help but be touched when you cuddle the three year old girl who just lost her mom and doesn’t always smile. How can you not be touched when you have forty-hot bodies crouching over you to see a picture on your phone, for the eighteenth time in five minutes?
Sure, there are unbelievable hardships, beyond what our Americanized minds can cope with. But to know that the Truth stands omnipotent against darkness is what makes these hardships bearable. To see the three sisters who mourned the loss of their mother, was soul crushing, but to know that they were being fed the Word during their grief was a comfort.
When our trip ended, I tearfully loaded up the luggage and headed back for the trek to the airport. I waved and hugged goodbye my little Haitian friends, probably one of the hardest parts of my trip. (If it was at all possible for me to have toted one of them in my suitcase, I would’ve done so)
I waved goodbye to the desperately poor but hopeful country, touched to my heart. As I drove away I had a sense that this would not be the last time I would step foot in the country.
The Lord had guided my footsteps and He had led me to this place, and I loved it. I’m so excited to see where the Lord will lead me in this season of my life and I feel so confident that God will do incredible things in the lives of those in Les Cayes, Haiti. I was only there for 10 days, but long enough to catch a glimpse of the incandescent, love and hope they hold.
This is merely the beginning of one chapter of my journey. I’m holding onto the promise that the Lord will guide my footsteps into a place designed to serve Him, and I’m enjoying it so much. I can only smile in sheer delight at what He is doing currently and what He will do in the future. God is my Everything and I doubt that I could have absorbed the fullness of my trip if He hadn’t been at the center of my life.
If you make Him your Everything, He’ll lead you to beautiful places.