I just got back from an amazing week in Port-de-Paix, Haiti! I am still processing all that I experienced. I saw, smelled, tasted, and heard things that were unfamiliar to me. Yet, there were many things that felt like home; kids playing soccer, women cooking meals, and people going to church.
This trip was one God had promised me for several years. This was my 5th mission trip, but my first as a single woman. During my divorce, I longed to go on such a trip and hold children in my empty arms. But God said, “not now”. I longed to serve people who were also going through difficult times. But God said, “not now”. I longed to see God’s beauty in a new place. But God said, “not now”. Then, about 7 months ago, God said, “Now!” I cannot express how amazing it felt to be in a place of healing in which I could give 100% of myself to the Haitian people. And, this particular trip was working at a school, so this former schoolteacher was thrilled! I knew that I would be in an unfamiliar, yet familiar place: teaching children and serving teachers!
The week flew by as 10 men and women from my church served in different classrooms, helped with an afterschool children’s program at an out-of-the-way church, and held babies who were unable to live with their parents. Our hearts and minds experienced mixed emotions; love one minute and sorrow another. But, my biggest “aha” is that children are children everywhere. The beautiful 8th Grade girls I was honored to teach passed notes, braided each others’ hair, and gave me “that look” when I asked them to take out their Literature book; like girls in any school, in any country. They enjoyed listening to music and their favorite colors ranged from purple to neon green. They loved God, their families, and had bff’s… in other words they enjoyed normal, everyday things. While their situations may often be challenging, they are grateful for everything they have now and hope to have someday.
I want to thank Norma and Roger who founded and run Sonlight Academy, the Sonlight Teachers, and all the Haitian people who opened up their hearts to our group. I am grateful that God allowed me to spend a week with my arms full, helping people who were in need, and seeing beauty in the city streets as well as the gorgeous ocean and lush countryside in Haiti. I am still processing everything I saw, smelled, tasted, and heard… but as I let this settle, I am filled with incredible joy as I know the God I love and serve is everywhere… and that includes Haiti…