I thought and thought while I was away about how to put all that I learned, experienced, and thought during this trip into words for you all. How could I possibly hope to give you even a glimpse of what this week was like for me?
Saturday was a day of travel and getting to know the people we would spend the next week with. I went on this trip having met only 2 people people prior to our missions meeting. I met most of the team during meetings but after a few drop outs and a few last minute additions, it is safe to say the Lord hand picked this team and it was incredible. We may have gone as a team of strangers but we came back closer than a year in America could have made us.
Sunday we worshiped in the existing church building with the congregation we would begin building a church for the next day...
Just before we walked in, I was asked to give a testimony. Many of you have seen me say before that I am a great many things, a public speaker not among them. As I hesitated the Lord brought this scripture to mind: 'Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect' - 1 Peter 3:15
Alright then. A few minutes later I was sharing with my Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ about how I came to have a personal relationship with the Lord and a tidbit of what the Lord has been teaching me at my home church, in my women's bible study group. I shared on these verses from Romans 12:
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
This portion of Romans 12 is called 'Love in Action'. Isn't that the heart behind missions?
Sunday afternoon we went to 2 of 3 orphanages run by a pastor we were working with. This was a highlight of the trip for me...
The pastor told us that it costs about one US dollar per child to feed them a meal. So they could eat three meals a day if they had $3 per kid per day...which they don't always have. I of course thought of myself and my daily sonic drink runs...talk about perspective. I didn't go to Haiti to feel bad about what I have, and I don't. But I'm humbled to realize that even when I feel like I'm 'struggling to get by', I have no idea what it means to go without.
I've confessed a time or two that I'm not a 'kid person' but I would have brought a dozen back with me if I could have. Most of these children will not be adopted. They will live together in these orphanaged until 18-20 when the church people will try to set them up as best they can for success in Haitian society.
It was above all a humbling experience. It's easy to forget how blessed we are amongst our day to day problems but we have so much to be grateful for. I'm thankful that my niece doesn't have to miss a meal. That she's never without arms ready to hold her. She won't have to sleep in a bed without sheets. She will never be raised amongst 62 other children by one person.
This trip renewed my love for adoption. I've shared many a times that adoption is close to my heart as my own Dad was adopted at birth. I believe that we as believers are called to take care of the orphans. This brought that point home to me like never before. I hope one day I will be able to take in a few orphans myself. It's the ultimate visual of God adopting us, isn't it?
Monday started are work week and I can't wait to tell/show you what THAT was like ( I think you'll all be fascinated by my role)... you can anxiously await that later this week.