It was 3:00 AM and people were beginning to show up in the St. Mary’s parking lot, all of us preparing to depart for New Orleans to catch our first plane for Haiti. I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t really want to be here. I don’t have time to go to Haiti. I’ll miss my dog, and bed, and home. Why did I sign up for this trip anyway?”. I’m laughing now as I write those words because how silly, right? My heart was not, and truthfully had not been for quite a while, in a place that was open to actively receiving God. Time and circumstances had built walls around my heart, and I had made no time in my busy life to work on my relationship with God. Little did I know that throughout that next week walls would be moved and my heart would begin to open.
We arrived at the airport, loaded our luggage and ourselves onto a bus and began driving for what would end up being a five-hour ride to La Valle. Our drive was only meant to take us about three hours but because of Port-au-Prince’s chaotic streets and some unorganized road work along the way, we sat in stand still traffic for nearly two hours. Sitting in that traffic gave me plenty of time to take in what was in front of me. Thousands of people walking through traffic, drivers maneuvering their cars with very little concern for anything in their way, and countless people selling items along the streets. There was no more room for the negative thoughts I was having earlier that morning as I began to experience a way of life that is so drastically different from our lives back home.
Throughout the mission, we were asked to think about words that Jesus once spoke to a blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?”. We were all given this question to sit with, and thinking nothing of it at the time, I jotted my request down, “open my heart, let me see you”.
During our first morning in Haiti, I went to meet the group of kids that were waiting outside the gate of where we were staying. I was quickly embraced by these children who had no idea who I was and instantly felt a shift in my heart begin to happen. There was something so profound about having my hand held by a little girl who I had just met and could hardly speak to. That was Jesus, even if I didn’t acknowledge it at the time. Throughout the week there were countless moments and encounters that gave me this same feeling of joyful love.
I cannot think of accurate words to describe the incredible people who were a part of this mission to Haiti. Their openness, acceptance, and love helped me to find the courage to open my heart and let God in again. This process of opening my heart and truly connecting with God is still a major work in progress, but Haiti and Mission Renew gave me a place to let go of the everyday world, that can often consume us all, and begin my journey toward reconnecting and finding who I am again in the eyes of my Creator. I believe we are made to give and receive God’s love and Mission Renew helped me to open my heart back up to this.
Do you have plans Saturday April 7th? If not, please join us at this years Gala. Invocation by Bishop Deshotel and Keynote by Joe Bass! You won't want to miss it. Click here to RSVP by March 24 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Come out tonight (Wednesday) to Grub Burger Bar in Lafayette. 20% of profits will go towards our mission in Haiti!