I don’t even know where to begin.
A few days ago, I returned to the U.S. after spending 8 days in the country of Haiti. I didn’t journal at all, which makes absolutely no sense, since I am a journalism major. I just didn’t have the energy to take time each night and write everything down. But there is so much, and I know I need to get it down before I forget about it.
So if you’re reading this, feel free to skim, just read parts or not read any of it. A lot of it will probably just be me blabbing on and on, but I think it’s important for me to get everything out so I can process better. So read, but don’t judge. These are my emotions, my thoughts, my feelings. This is me baring my soul. Take it or leave it.
This past week I have only seen a glimpse of the power of God. In America, I go through the motions, do what I need to do. Eat, shower, work out, go to work, check my facebook, reply to emails, sleep, repeat. In that process, I try to live out Christ’s love as best I can. But it can easily get mundane. I am so comfortable here!
In Haiti, everything I’d ever known was different. Getting clean water was a chore, and when I got it, I drank out of a dirty water bottle all week. I showered on my knees under a rusty spigot that only produced minute amounts of cold water. As soon as I stepped out of the shower, I was once again covered in dirt and sweat. I forgot what clean felt like.
Electricity was only on from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., and even then it was flighty. Air conditioning? What’s that? I slept under a single sheet out of habit, but would wake up soaking wet, drenched in my own sweat from the humidity. Every morning I was up and ready to go by 6:30 a.m. Roosters would start their raspy melodies at 4 a.m. or earlier. Black birds, which the Haitians believe are evils, would screech and caw all night long, and made noises so humanlike it was frightening. Two mornings we were awakened around 4:30 a.m. by a man on the street corner preaching through a megaphone. He was speaking in Creole, but someone said he was talking about death, politics, and who knows what else.
Bugs were the norm. Flying coackroaches as long as your pointer finger were everywhere. Lizards slithered around us. Our morning ritual was to shower, put on a layer of sunscreen, then a layer of bugspray. We discovered that deet, a main ingredient in bug spray, melts ink. So, my toenail polish was gone by the end of the week, as were the words & numbers on my watch. Even with all this protection, sunburns and countless bug bites still drove us crazy, but we almost came to expect it. I’ll give this comparison. Whenever you go to a farm, you usually see a horse in the pasture, covered in flies. Sometimes he’ll swat them, but mostly the horse just lets the flies crawl across his body. I never understood how he could not be bothered by them. But after this trip, I get it. You reach a point where you don’t care anymore.
Through the entire week, I just kept telling myself 6 days, 5 days, 4 days, etc. But then I looked at the missionaries we were working with, Jodi and Jose, and thought, they don’t have a countdown. They are doing this for the rest of their lives. I can’t even imagine how they do it. But actually, yes I do. Through the Father. After 8 days I was emotionally and physically exhausted, yet I was spiritually energized, completely relying on the Father’s strength.
There were so many times during this trip where the only thing we could do was rely on the Lord to get us through. An hour into our 10-hour plus bus ride back to Port-au-Prince, one of the buses got stuck in the mud. All of the men pushed, and pulled, and tried so many different ways to get the bus out of the mud, but it wouldn’t budge. Then, people just started praying. We had no other options; we’d tried everything else. It worked. We were quickly back on the road. Another time while in the Mole, we were doing a sex ed lesson for the teenagers. The rain was beating on the tin roof so loudly you could hardly hear. The teens weren’t paying attention and just talking to their friends. Brad, the translators and the students were so frustrated, because it just seemed like our efforts were futile. Then the prayer began. In small groups and alone, we prayed for the Spirit to move. And it did. A girl came to Christ. I can’t even tell you how real the power of prayer is. I saw it so many times!
While I was over there, I really struggled with seeing the poverty the people live in. They have literally nothing. It’s a natural human reaction to want to help. I was talking to my Father asking him, how you can let this happen? Why do you allow these people to live like this? Don’t you care at all? And he whispered back to me, look around you. See how much I love them.
And I did. Haiti is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The water is crystal clear. We dove down and saw coral reef. The sand is so smooth I wanted to eat it. Right past the beach are towering mountains, majestic and powerful. Lining the beach are palm trees, fruit trees and wildflowers. We saw waterfalls and cliffs. I watched the sunrise many mornings, after I awoke to screeching birds, or men. It really reminded me of being in Pirates of the Caribbean or Lion King. haha anyway, back on topic, the Lord just revealed to me how much he truly loves these people. He is romancing them! He desires their love and loyalty. He has not forgotten about them at all!
Another thing that I struggled seeing on this trip was how the people seem to do nothing. They sit around all day, maybe wash some clothes, find some food. Otherwise, it looked like they don’t do much, unless they are one of the few lucky ones that have a job. I can’t comprehend this at all. I always seem to have a thousand things to fill my day with. If I don’t get my list done, I feel unproductive and unaccomplished. I was telling someone about this and he said to me, “Katie, just their existence is bringing glory to God.” And he is so right! God is being honored by these people when they just chill in their huts and do nothing. He put them on this Earth for a reason. He made all things, and saw that they were good, Genesis 1:31. Wow! While we are called to go to the ends of the earth and fulfill the Great Commission, God doesn’t NEED us to. He will be glorified with or without us!
On Monday, my team visited Preskul, a recently discovered primitive fishing village on the other side of the bay from Mole St. Nicholas. These people live in this tiny little grass huts. They have to walk three hours each way just to get fresh drinking water. So our team set out to build them a water cistern after seeing the village in January. When our truck pulled up that first day, the people came out of their hunts and were clapping, jumping up and down, so excited we were there. Each person was given a creativity kit. Then Brad asked them to draw pictures of what they thought Creation looked like when God created it. They struggled with that so much. They don’t know how to imagine, or think abstractly. I drew a picture and they were amazed, calling it beautiful. And believe me, I’m not that great.
Brad was just supposed to give a lesson on Creation that day, but felt the Spirit lead him to share the Gospel. So he did. 17 people came to Christ. The looks on their faces were life-changing. They were so excited, there was no hesitation that they desired to know their Creator.
The Lord is moving in that place. At times we were scared, exhausted and pushed to our limits. But with the Holy Spirit, we were able to change lives and finish strong. I’m so thankful to be home, but really trying to process everything. This is just a small glimpse of our trip. And mostly just for me, so I can remember it in the future. I might update or add more later. But for tonight, I’m worn out. I leave for Summerfest in a week, so in a few short days I’ll be having another mind-blowing experience. I am so blessed by the Lord. I love my life. 🙂
Thank you so much for praying for our team. It truly made a difference.
I found this picture on one of my favorite blogs today, laurennicolelove.com, and thought it was appropriate, as it talks about feeling the need to accomplish something, when it was all accomplished already. Enjoy.