This is the first installment of a series of blogs regarding my recent trip to Haiti and what God has been teaching me through the process.
A journey of 700 miles can take you to whole new worlds. Unlike Columbus or Magellan, who had to literally sail the seas to discover new worlds, we have the liberty and luxury to jump on a plane, eat some snacks (assuming you packed your own!!) and emerge in uncharted territory.
Last Sunday I made just such a journey. I found myself first in Port Au Prince and then Port de Paix Haiti on my way to Saint Louis du Noord. Traveling with sixty strangers with Shaun King and Courageous Church out of Atlanta, I was there to help minister at Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. They run orphanages, schools, feeding programs, health clinics and The Miriam Center, for special needs children. We were there to break ground on a new home for the Miriam Center a few miles away from the existing campus which has become too small and too crowded.
As I sat on Sunday night reflecting on my days travel, all that came to my mind was that thousands, no millions of Haitians were fighting for survival today. As I snacked on gummy bears and ate granola bars, how many would die of malnutrition? I had indeed entered a new world.
Riding in the back of a Tap Tap (be grateful for your seat cushions in America) I was made quickly aware of the desperation in Haiti. Even before the January earthquake, Haiti was a place of survival. Few thrive in Haiti. They exist, they survive and they hang on; but almost no one thrives. As you ride the seven miles from the airport to the mission, which takes about an hour, you realize that you are a novelty. Haitians look and stare. Small children wave and yell out, “Blanc, Blanc, Blanc!!!” They are not saying it because we are white, because we arrived as a very diverse group. But, if you are not Haitian you are Blanc.
Perhaps the Blanc feeling I had will never go away. Maybe I will always be an outsider. Maybe, no matter how much my heart breaks or my mind wrestles with the grim reality of life a few hundred miles from my home I realize that I am not fighting for survival. I am thriving. My family has not only enough food for today, but we have enough for weeks. We get to pick and choose what we want.
I have been home about 48 hours now. Part of the team is still in Haiti working on the mission. I will go back; hopefully soon and hopefully with some of you as my teammates. Until then, I will wrestle with the issues of surviving and thriving. I can’t solve all the problems in Haiti, but I do have an answer as to how we can help survive and thrive and how we can thrive more than we thought.
“I have come that you might have life and have it to the full.” John 14:6
For information on how you can be a part of this mission, visit www.ahomeinhaiti.org.