My experience in Haiti blessed me with so many memories that are to be cherished for a lifetime. I’ve never experienced a place with so much joy, happiness, and love as I did in La Valle de Jacmel. Although I was on a mission to help others, I learned a lot about myself and about the simplicity of life.
Seeing God’s love shine not only in the children of La Valle, but also in the missionaries involved with our group was incredible. Although there was a bit of a language barrier, I left every encounter with the children feeling as though we were such great friends. Spending time in prayer, dancing to music, coloring cartoon pages, sharing glittery stickers, and playing outdoor games were just a few of the activities that made my heart smile.
We returned the next days to find the children waiting for us to spend another full day with them. All they wanted was love and friendship, and that’s just what we shared. It’s very rewarding to be able to do manual labor for others in need. It’s even more gratifying to be able to leave a place knowing that you touched the hearts and lives of 300 new friends. A quote that fits perfectly with my week in Haiti is one from St. Therese of Lisieux, “Merit does not consist in doing or giving much. It consists in loving much.” God had led us down the path to Haiti for a reason–to share His love with others while serving Him.
We were able to share in God’s love with everyone we encountered: the children, adults, and even our hotel staff. With open arms we embraced everyone. Throughout the week, I could see God’s love filling the hearts of people around us, and I am forever grateful for that experience.
The humility that stems from experiencing a group of people so incredibly happy with the simplest lifestyle is something that will forever change you. It’s easy to get caught up in such a busy lifestyle and take it for granted.
As the end of the trip drew near, I became sad at the fact that we would be leaving soon. It was extremely difficult to have to leave and tell everyone goodbye. I could honestly say that each of us left a piece of our hearts in Haiti.