How do you even begin to put words to an experience that has affected you in such an intimate way? God Himself is indescribable and unexplainable and so to capture the changes that have taken place in the hearts of each individual person this week is difficult, but I’m going to attempt to anyway. Going into this trip, I had expected to see some things that were difficult or to have some moments in which I was not entirely comfortable, but what I had not expected was to fall in love with the people of Haiti. Seeing people who have so little, but are still so happy, so thankful, and so welcoming to us was incredible. Everywhere our group went, we were greeted with genuine smiles. Whether this was from the children or adults we were serving or from a complete stranger passing on the street, the happiness that radiated from these smiles were nearly tangible.
“How is so much joy in such a poverty stricken country even possible?” I found myself asking. If you try and come up with a rational answer to this question, you simply cannot. The only conceivable answer is through the strength, love, and grace of God. A saying I read somewhere goes “If God is all you have, you have all you need.” I have never met a group of people who have exemplified this more than the Haitians. This realization starts to make you begin to search inside yourself and maybe re-evaluate some of the things you thought were important in life. For me, there was no definitive epiphany or “ah-ha” moment. As we are taught, God works in mysterious ways, and throughout the week I found myself being changed little by little without even realizing it at first. The small moments of a child falling asleep in your arms, “dabbling” in Creole, praying with the elders, or simply singing songs and joking around on tap-tap rides became the big things. Each night during our circle time or word of the day, these small stories prompted some pretty significant revelations and surfacing of emotions that had been locked away for a long time. I think we all began to recognize that it’s impossible to deny the miracle that God has created in His people and that when He is calling, you must open your heart and let Him all the way in. On one night in particular, we discussed the word “surrender” and how important it is to surrender your life to God and His plan. For me, I know that there will be times where I may stray away and not want to listen to what God is telling me and even in the times that I do follow His plan, it will probably be hard. But hopefully little by little, one small step at a time, I can strengthen my faith and commitment to Him. Each of us on this trip will have different struggles and obstacles upon returning home, but God is patient and merciful and through Him we can overcome.