While I thought that I was going to Haiti to help change lives, they changed mine. I was blown away by their servant hearts and passion for Jesus. Their happy spirits and willingness to love me, a stranger, was what I loved most. Seeing the kids experience different things for the first time and knowing I got to be a part of something so exciting for them is fulfilling in ways I can't explain and can’t really put in perspective the things we take for granted every day. I went there expecting to make a change and in reality they changed me.
I don't even know how to begin to put into words how much going to Haiti changed my life. This was my first mission trip and I had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that God was calling me to pursue this opportunity with a group of people I have grown to love so fondly. I have never felt as blessed as I did while I was at Bon Sam fellowshipping with the kids, the mommies, and the rest of the team. It is a different type of joy that I have never experienced in my life. My steps on Haitian soil were guided by the Holy Spirit. As I was standing on a dusty road that cut down the middle of a nearby village, I knew this was my time; my opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ and be a living example of the selfless love that he shows us every day. And it really doesn't get any better than that.
To say that traveling to Haiti enhanced my life, is an understatement. Haiti changed my life. It changed the way that I see things, and taught me so much about what is truly important! The first time I went on a trip to Haiti I was apprehensive. However, I thought I should power through my fears…after all…the people of Haiti needed me. Little did I know that in reality it was I who needed them. I thought that I would be supplying physical aide, sharing the love that Jesus has for them, and providing love to a culture in emotional need. While I was able to do these things, the thing that shocked me was given to me in return. I saw needy people open their homes and hearts and give their very best to us even if it left them with nothing. I saw people with so little, lift their hands in praise to Jesus for anything that we bestowed upon them. I saw children laughing, playing, and loving on us despite the fact that they lived in hard conditions and had so much need. It made me grateful, and I was humbled and reminded that every good and perfect gift that I have comes from my Heavenly Father and I often neglect to thank him. It was truly eye opening and totally refreshed my perspective. I have since had the privilege of returning to Haiti multiple times and I will let you in on a little secret. I do go for the people of Haiti…for the orphans, the widows, and the hard working young families…but I also go for me. I feel so much love lavished on me and I always return more grateful for the things that God has entrusted me with and for his numerous, unspeakable gifts.
Usually when you go visit new horizons, you plan every detail out as possible. All I have to say is regardless of how many questions I had asked to prepare for the Haiti trip, I was less than ready for the upcoming events that unfolded before me. Haiti was a game changer for me and really opened my eyes to life and serving other people's needs before mine. I fell in love with the kids that just took me in as if I had been family all along and showed their world and way of living. They taught me so much about life, love and hope and showed me that you really don’t need a whole lot to get by. These kids keep you grounded and teach you to be thankful for all that you have back home. Haiti definitely has a hold on my heart and always happy to come back home to my Haitian kids. It’s impossible to not love these kids when they greet you with the biggest smiles and an open heart.