First off: apologies that I slacked off on the blog at the end of last semester. It got to the point where I ended up choosing to spend my remaining time in London doing things, rather than writing about them. I’m always up for sharing photos and talking about my trip if you ever want more info though!
My most recent travel adventure was spending a week in Haiti. It was a challenging week, but I loved going and decided to write a summary blog post of it (I could talk about it for hours on end, but I’ll try to keep the post short!)
A group of about 20 girls from my university teamed up with Life is Hope, an organization that sponsors 5 orphanages in the Port-au-Prince area, on a mission trip over spring break. We arrived in Port-au-Prince, the capital of the Haiti, on Sunday morning. The LIH house is in Bon Repos, just outside of the city.
I, personally, had a rough time at the beginning of the week. I felt homesick and was also discouraged by the destitute circumstances surrounding me. The landscape of Haiti was so beautiful, but it contrasted so starkly with the poverty that seemed to be everywhere, ignored by the few wealthy people in the country. I wasn’t sure why God had called me to go on this mission trip, and even regretted signing up at times. But as the week went on, God showed me joy through the kids and taught me how to trust more deeply in Him. He knew what He was doing when He presented me with the opportunity to go on this trip, and the more I got to know the kids and focus on the work we were doing there, the more I was glad I went.
Each day, we visited one or two orphanages. We played games, colored pictures, made bracelets, and sang songs with them. Haiti is by far one of the poorest countries in the world, but Christianity is the dominant religion there. Especially after the earthquake in 2010, the people began turning to trust God for their daily needs–they really have no other choice but to trust Him because of their extreme poverty. Because of this, our focus there wasn’t to share the Gospel, but to spread the love and joy of Jesus. What we weren’t prepared for was how the kids we visited would share love and joy with us.
The kids had so little, and yet were so content and joyful about what they did have. They simply wanted to be with you and spend time with you. It was convicting to see how happy they were with so little, depending fully on Jesus for everything they needed.
Also at the orphanages, we helped give health check ups to the kids–every six months, the kids are weighed, their heights measured, etc to make sure they are growing and receiving the food they need.
In addition, we did an Easter egg hunt at every orphanage. It allowed us to tell the story of the resurrection, and also to give the kids a new experience. None of them had ever searched for Easter eggs before! Though they may have been unsure at first about scouring the yard for hard-boiled eggs that were strange colors, they quickly got into it and had a blast!
Bonus: they got a yummy snack after hunting for eggs! (Which we usually did at least twice, because they had so much fun!)
On our last day there, we got to take the children of one orphanage to the beach. It was probably the best day of the whole trip. We got to give the kids new swimsuits, and see the absolute joy in their faces as they played in the water. The beauty of the beach was outdone by the smiles of the kids as they got to spend the whole day playing and having fun.
Ultimately, I was so so thankful to be able to go on this trip and meet everyone I did. There is something unique to serving God internationally, and trusting in Him to overcome the language barriers and drastically different backgrounds to make a difference. I grew so much in just one week, and will never forget what I learned while I was there. The people have so much joy, but also need so much help. Living in Haiti for a week will permanently change the way I live and view my life in the US, as I am more thankful for my many blessings and more aware of the global needs of others, physically and spiritually.