Haitian Missions Trip – Summer 2009

This summer I went to Haiti on a missions trip. In Haiti I was working mainly with the kids in the children’s homes (children’s homes are like orphanages but set up family style with house parents and only about 10-12 kids so that they receive more personal attention). There were about 30 kids in all. We went to the homes in the mornings and had summer school with them. Their teachers worked with them on Math and French and then we taught them Science and Geography. We used little lessons and lots of games and activities to teach them but still have lots of fun. At first the language barrier was really hard but I was working with the younger kids (5-9) so I quickly learned that love and silliness have no barriers. You just chase kids around, spin them in circles and act 5 yourself and suddenly you are best friends. It was really neat to see how the other interns and I connected with the kids even though we couldn’t speak to them. The kids are so warm and loving. And generous-they constantly wanted to give us the projects they had made or random things that they found. This always amazed me because they have absolutely nothing but yet they want to give the little extras away. I learned so much from being with them-their constant joy and how they care for one another and even how they would care for us. (For example, if you sat in the sun they would be sure to instantly lead you out of it or one week I had this random rash and they were all so concerned and constantly trying to rub it off or fix it for me) Being with them was definitely the highlight of the trip-it was such a great experience.

School ended around 1:30 so after that we would take 2-4 of the older girls back to the missionaries’ house to work on their English. Usually we just played card games like matching and go fish but they loved it. All of the older girls were much more reserved so we could never tell if they were having fun or not but they kept coming back every day. We also taught them a song in English that we sang together at church.

The last two weeks I was there we helped at a basketball camp in downtown Cap Haitien. The camp was for kids in 4 different orphanages and then kids from the city that just wanted to play ball. It was interesting to see the difference between the Kids Alive kids and the kids from actual orphanages. You could tell the orphanage kids were just starved for attention. At any moment during the camp I had at least 4-5 girls hanging off of me just because they just wanted someone to pay attention to them. We went and visited one of the orphanages and there were 50 kids just hanging around this house. I never even made it inside because they all just wanted someone to play with them. It was so heartbreaking. The first week of basketball camp I was helping a little girl with Down syndrome. She couldn’t really understand what was going on most of the time so I got to lead her around and make sure she didn’t run away. I have never really worked with special needs kids before so it was a lot of fun. The language barrier complicated things sometimes but she was such a blessing to be with. No matter what was happening, she was all smiles. In Haiti people with disabilities are looked down upon, neglected, and generally just end up dead on the streets so the fact that she got to be a part of something was great for her.

Haiti itself is a very interesting paradox. The people and the country are absolutely beautiful but they are all enslaved by witchcraft and voodoo worship. Even most of the “Christians” still go to the witch doctor. They do not want anyone else to achieve or rise above them so they all make an effort to bring one another down. So generally people just sit around all day or try and sell things on the streets. They have so much potential but they have no desire to reach it because that would cause all their peers to turn against them. It is also rather entertaining that the Bible and God are written about on all their buildings and taxis, not because they believe in it, but because they see it as a good luck charm. They have to please all the “gods” so that their business will be successful or their taxis will be safe. Oh and driving, that is a whole other story. They don’t actually have roads. Just dirt paths filled with potholes. There are no laws, at least no enforced ones, so people drive all over the place-it is crazy. The government there is so corrupt that poverty just runs rampant. No matter how much money is thrown to them it will never reach the people because the government people just use it for themselves.

Whoa, this is getting really long. OK so through all that God has definitely confirmed that he is calling me to be a teacher and the experience has lead me to be much more accepting and excited about that idea than I was before. He has also shown me that I absolutely love speaking other languages, learning about and adjusting to other cultures and people, building relationships and just experiencing life in different ways. With all that, I am pretty positive that at some point, for at least some period of time, I will end up living/working overseas so I am very excited to see what that means and what the future may have in store. And I realized how incredibly blessed we are materially and how that is not always such a good thing because I feel like it distracts us from our relationship with God sometimes. Seeing how on fire and fully consumed by God’s love the Haitians were (the few that were actually for real Christians) was so inspiring. I realized that they truly have nothing else other than God. They know what it means to rely on him for everything because they have no other choice and they are so strong because of that. You can literally see Christ’s love and joy just gushing out of them. They are so content and grateful for what they have. Seeing the passion that they had made me realize how influential the body of Christ could be on the world if each one of us had faith like that. So that is what I am trying to learn now-to rely on Christ for everything and place my hope in nothing else.

Thank you again for everything!

God Bless,

A Life Changed on a Haiti Missions Trip