From a Missionary’s Pen

After years of Haiti calling me I finally came to meet her. She was tired and naked. I feel for her. But she pushed back! She pushed me so hard that I have been outside of my comfort zone for days. I will be back to get to know her better.

…Haiti is not for the faint of heart…

Yvette

MD

This trip was so eye opening in so many different ways. Some would think electively coming on a trip like this is crazy, but for me it was just what I needed. It shed light on just how many good people there really are in this world and I’m so fortunate 12 of them were on this team with me. I truly believe that the influence this team has on others is what I’m most thankful for. Thanks for letting me be a part of it!

Colleen

“Everyone of us has in him a continent of undiscovered character.” – Charles L. Wallis
The quote above could not be more true in regards to my experience in Haiti. This trip has tapped into a bit of my own undiscovered character. I am a better, more humble person as a result of these last 7 days. I cannot thank Haiti & Pastor Lubin enough for this character-building and eye-opening experience. It is one I will never forget.

A mission team member

Being in Haiti makes me sweat. It also makes me feel whole and happy. The Haitians are a beautiful people.

A mission team member

Haiti is known for its beautiful beaches, majestic moutainsides, and heavenly sunsets. People often think of Haiti as a poor country but I have witnessed a people and a country that is truly blessed by God. A people whose praise cannot be silent due to what we would call a lack of resources. They are not measured by what they have; in fact they are truly a rich, royal people. The Haitians are some of the hardest working people I have ever encountered. They are truly thankful for everything they have. With every patient I treated or helped in the face of sickness, lack of medication and disease, I only felt love. There was no complaining or asking for more than we would give. In some circumstances we could not fix every medical condition yet every person walked away with a smile. I witnessed no greed or hate, only love and community. The country of Haiti brings joy to me and it restores my soul. What an amazing team, a powerful week we shared. I am truly blessed and filled beyond measure. Thank you BEM, our team, interpreters and people that support us. It is my honor to serve with you. Ps 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He had chosen as His own inheritance.

Susan

RN

Haiti has impacted my life in big ways. The people of Haiti have reminded me that joy does not come from the possessions we own. As Americans we are fooled into thinking that we’ve got life under control, or that we’re living the good life because we have the means to provide. The American life is pretty easy comparatively, but the people of Haiti have shown me that easier is not always better. Life for the Haitian people is hard, but they are content, hardworking, and joyful. We often lack those character qualities. The Haitians are generous with everything they have and give sacrificially to those around them. Short term trips to Haiti can be exhausting physically and temperatures can be very hot, but at the same time be refreshing to your soul. Although I worked hard this past week, I experienced freedom from running the “rat race” way of life and witnessed much beauty amongst the poverty. My joy in the Lord has been restored as I depended on him for strength. It’s much easier to give all your energy, resources, and love through the Spirit’s power working in you, for people so grateful for anything they have and in need physically of so much. This country is incredibly beautiful and its people have captured my heart with their joy and kindness. They have taught me many lessons this week regarding dependence, joy, and perseverance, all of which I am grateful for. I look forward to the day when I can return so that I can pour out my life again like an offering unto the Lord and his people. To whom much is given, much is required. I pray that my heart remains forever willing to obey whatever the Lord asks of me as I seek to love my neighbor as Christ has loved.

“Oh, Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalms 34:8).

Tami

Cedarville University 2016 Team

This trip really brought home to me the fact that you don’t have to be great or do something “big” to be a part of God’s overall plan. I learned that it is sometimes the small things, like carrying rocks for several hours, or a hug, or giving a kid a soccer ball, that make an impact on people’s lives. This trip may have been short, but we felt God moving in it. I would love to come back next year and would encourage others to come as well. I can’t wait to see what God chooses to do here next, and I would love to be a part of it.

Rose

Criminal Justice student, Cedarville University

As I sit on the back porch listening to some of the music we shared at morning devotions, I am drawn back to the ‘feel’ of Haiti.  The morning sounds, the smells, the heat, the sweat, the lizards on the walls, fruit trees heavy with fruit, the morning noises of breakfast preparations and people outside on the road making their way to market…they all make Haiti so real and so authentic to me.

Authenticity is really the theme of this post.  For me, it is what makes Haiti, well, Haiti.  Life is so very, very REAL in Haiti.  The daily struggle can be so challenging to Haitians in ways we cannot even begin to understand.  Clean water to drink? Every drop costs you sweat equity.  Food to feed your family? Another daily, moment by moment struggle.  A roof over your head? Shoes for your feet? Container to hold your cooking oil? Over and over again I am startled to realize that something simple in the US is just not available to Haitians. You could make a list of everyday items we take as a given in our lives.  From the normal everyday items such as a toothbrush, a comb, a pair of socks, or a bar of soap to the items that are a bit more complex…a bike, a pair of reading glasses, baby aspirin, or multivitamins. All of these are readily available and accessible in the US. Yet in Haiti, this is simply not true. Many people spend their entire lives without ever owning a simple toothbrush. Can you even imagine?

So when we hold a clinic in a remote village and there is a communal outhouse for a group of homes and a church, I give thanks that I don’t have to use the trees.  When that outhouse is three sheets of corrugated metal standing on end with a piece of a flag draped across the fourth side, I am happy I do not have to ‘hold it’ until we get back to the mission house.  When I go inside and see a blob of cement about 12 inches tall with a hole for an opening to the latrine hole in the ground, I try to figure out how exactly I am going to get the job done.  When I see two large (ok, huge), black spiders skitter away down the sides of that hole in the ground…well, I grit my teeth and do my best and say a bit of thanks that I have semi-privacy in a space away from the crowd in which to do my business.  In reality, I am humbled.  Humbled to think that while I may feel a bit creeped out by the circumstances, many people much older than me use this latrine day in and day out.  And here is the ‘authentic’ part: these people are grateful to have that latrine. Do they wish for something better? Probably. But do they spend their days whining and moaning about it? Nope.  They spend their days caring for each other, loving God, filled with joy in each other and following the teachings of their pastors.  They are truly authentic.

We show up and share some knowledge to help them live better lives. This is a major event for the village. Our job is straightforward for the most part. Diagnosing medical conditions, sharing antibiotics, worming medications, vitamins, blood pressure medication, reading glasses, flip-flops, toothbrushes…all gifts from Americans they will never meet. Sent with love and heartfelt wishes for a better life for these amazing people.

One particular event drives this point home. I wish for you to keep this event in mind the next time someone cuts you off in traffic and you feel that surge of irritation, or when someone lets a door shut in your face, or takes too long in the checkout aisle for your tastes…all of life’s little irritations that seem to drive us to irrational anger. Think about this.  Think about the elderly man who came to a clinic in a remote mountain village, Ca Sud.  He was pretty old, and he saw the doctors, got his prescriptions and came to sit in the pharmacy to get his medications from me.  Dexter (thanks Dex!) pointed out that this man was using a child’s umbrella for a cane. Yes, you read that correctly.  This elderly man, living in a rocky, mountain village, was using an umbrella as a cane.  I handed him a real cane. When he realized it was his to keep, his face nearly cracked in half with a huge, toothy, beautiful smile.  I took it back momentarily to wipe the never-ending Haitian dust off it and to write his name below the handle in big black permanent ink letters.  My interpreter read it for him and I repeated it.  He held that cane in his hands and fought back tears.  His life, so difficult as it was, had just become better in ways I could not imagine until I saw him use the cane to stand up and he threw his arms around me to hug me. This man’s gratitude and love flowed freely from his crooked hands and weak arms.  His smile and warmth crossed all language barriers and the authenticity of his feelings came slamming across my heart.  I swallowed my tears, wished him well, and turned back to my waiting patients.

Authentic, real, alive in every moment, glowing with love for God and for the Americans who come to offer some help.  These are the real Haitians we are touching with our love and these are the Haitians who in turn impact us deeply in our hearts as we accept the gratitude they offer to us.  It is mind-bending to ponder, wrenching to witness, and life-changing for me.  I hope this helps you understand, even just a bit, of what this work in Haiti means to me.

Susan

UCONN Professor