“Did you see it on the news? Was it on CNN on the television?”
I looked at my translator and nodded my head, thinking back to ten years ago. “Yeah, it was! I remember seeing it all over headlines on the news when my mom had the tv on in the kitchen. I remember seeing it for a long time.”
He put his head in his hands for a second and then looked up at me, “Yeah, but you didn’t really see it. You have no way to even comprehend how devastating it actually was…”
This was a conversation I had with one of our translators this past week in Haiti when we were out in a village. We were talking to a woman about why she lived in this particular village and she told us she had moved there after the earthquake in 2010 that displaced 1,000’s of people. I could tell that even though this had happened 7 years ago, the aftermath of the earthquake was still very much present in the lives of nearly everyone we encountered. The earthquake seemed to have touched everyone– whether physically, emotionally or spiritually.
This conversation with the translator really stuck with me as I finished out our trip and went home. The words he spoke and the sorrow in his eyes never really left the movie screen of my mind. When he said that to me, I couldn’t even find the words to respond because I realized what he way saying. And how could I? He was right. I didn’t see it. I didn’t lose everything I had built my entire life on. There was no way for me to really understand, no matter how much I wanted to.
And that’s kind of how I feel about explaining to you what my trip to Haiti was like…How do I explain to you how it felt to walk through a village and see people living in the blue tarps as their homes that were supplied after the earthquake, but are now toxic because they weren’t designed to be lived in after a certain period of time? How do I paint a picture well enough for you to understand that they literally have nothing in terms of monetary gain? How do you comprehend the fact that they have to treat every ounce of water they manage to get, when you simply can walk to your refrigerator and get ready to drink, cold water whenever you want? How do you understand the ache in my heart when I held a little girl who had red hair from being malnourished? She was beautiful, and full of life and kept singing some song in Creole that nobody could understand, and probably had no idea she was malnourished. She just knew she was hungry a lot of the time. How do I explain that to you if you’ve never actually seen it?
Honestly, I probably can’t. I will gladly tell you my stories and do my best to paint a picture of what Haiti was like and what God is doing there in a quiet coffee shop if you would like. But there just aren’t sufficient words for what I have seen to sum it all up here in a blog post. My heart breaks over and over for the people of Haiti. They are so full of light and hopes and dreams. I wish I could fix everything for them, but I just can’t.
One of my absolute favorite parts about my trip was seeing all the ways in which God is truly working in Haiti. I am completely amazed at all the ways God is using Mission of Hope to transform Haiti from the inside out and I hope God allows me to continue to be apart of it in the future in whatever way He sees fit.
Typically, our team had “Strategic Village Time” in a village called Cabaret for most of the days we were there. SVT was basically a way for us to get to know the people in Cabaret, learn about what they needed for better living conditions so we could send back that info to Mission of Hope, and ultimately, lead people to Christ or encourage them in their walk. Our team was split up into two groups with translators and Village Champions and from there we went and met with different people. It was so cool to get to know these men and women. Many had testimonies that were heart wrenching but spoke of hope in Jesus in a wonderfully profound way. Haitians have and continue to face many difficulties, but they are so persistent in overcoming and providing a better life for the generations to come.
The best part about this trip was a conversation I had with a woman who told us she didn’t go to church or know about Jesus. You guys, this whole story I’m about to tell was totally a God thing. So at the beginning of the week, I had somehow ended up with being assigned to ask the spiritual questions. To say I was nervous was a complete understatement. Like, that was a lot of responsibility. I would have been fine with just asking questions about whether they’d ever been to a doctor or not. Butttttt, somebody else got those so here I was. I’ve been a follower of Christ for about 12 years, raised in a Christian home, and I talk about Jesus a lot, so it’s not like this I was completely unprepared. But one thing I’ve majorly slacked in over the years, is actually sharing the gospel. To be honest, before this trip, I had actually never shared it at all. To me, it was always just kind of the preacher’s job. I just told everyone about the things Jesus was doing in my life. But sharing the gospel? Hah, no. Better get someone more qualified to do that.
So anyways, I’m standing on this lady’s front porch and her belly is completely hanging out of her shirt and the child she was holding was nearly pulling the remaining piece of clothing off of her chest. She was eyeing us Americans as if to say she really didn’t care what we had to say and was just trying to get this conversation over with. That is, until I asked her if she wanted to know about Jesus. Up until this point, everyone we had spoken to had a relationship with Christ, so I was basically smooth sailing. No touchy subjects or possible rejection, just encouragement on both sides, AKA my kinda convos!! And then boom. She wanted to know about Jesus. I remember looking at my team and asking “wait, so do I share the gospel?” They nodded in encouragement and so I looked at the translator, looked at the woman, and then shared the gospel in the best way I knew how.
Looking back, it was all such a blur. I was so nervous and didn’t know where to even start. But somehow, someway, Jesus gave me the right words and as I explained what Jesus did for us on the cross and how it has completely changed everything, she started to understand. I could literally see the wheels turning in her head and everything beginning to click. At the end, she had changed completely. She went from someone who didn’t care and gave off a sense of pride, to someone who had been humbled and realized just how much she truly did need Jesus to come into her life. You could just tell something had changed. So at this, I asked her if she wanted to invite Jesus into her life and she nodded her head somberly and then went inside really quickly. After a couple of minutes she came back out in a new shirt that covered her all the way and was much more modest. When she came out she kneeled down and I led her in a prayer to invite Christ into her heart and make him Lord of her life. She stood up and wiped away a tear and we as a team began to explain more of what it meant to be a Christian and just offered some brotherly and sisterly advice about the journey she was now embarking on.
It is an absolutely incredible experience to see the gospel in action and know that someone’s eternity just changed forever because of it.
I tell you this story not for my own glory, but to tell you of how the gospel 100% works. It is real, and alive and active and it holds so much power. Enough power to completely change a life. It was absolutely incredible and her eternity is now secured in the blood of Christ.. All the glory goes to Jesus, because I truly was just his vessel. It was all Him and none of me. I’m just a girl who loves Jesus and tries my best to follow his commands. Most days I mess up and don’t listen. Most days I’d rather do something else than ask the hard questions or do the hard things. Most days I’m just barely an average human being, at best. But I’ve learned that Jesus doesn’t only use the qualified. He uses the completely unqualified. All he’s looking for from you, or me, is an enthusiastic “yes!!’. Seriously, that’s it. Say yes to Jesus and He will absolutely use you. Just wait and see.
I realize you’ve probably been reading for like ten years if you’ve even made it this far, so I’ll draw it to a close here. If you want to know more, please hit me up and we can talk about it! I’d love nothing more than to tell you my stories and give you more information about how you can get connected and go with my team the next time we go!
God is good, Haiti is beautiful in the midst of sorrowful circumstances, and God uses the unqualified. What a life I get to live. I love the roller coaster of following Jesus wherever He leads!
Mesi and see ya soon Haiti!