As I stepped off of the airplane and into the poorest country of the world, I was sweating, nervous, excited and way out of my comfort zone.
As a group of 30 Americans, we seemed to have caught the eye of almost every Haitian that was in the airport that day. My nerves began to set in as we got stared at with confused looks that were questioning why we were in their country. Walking out of the airport and down a pathway with Haitians lining both sides, it seemed as if we were in a parade. And then, out of nowhere, two Haitians with the most joyful smiles on their faces and ecstatic shouts echoing around them came running our way with arms wide open. — It was at this moment, that I knew this week would be a great one now that we had our Haitian friends by our side.
Driving through a country with no traffic laws seems a little bit crazy huh? But, when you have Chou Chou as your bus driver, you gain a feeling of peace about it. He made sure you knew that you’d be safe when entering his bus. And his smile, wow, that smile was contagious! As if you could feel Jesus radiate through him as he honked his horn to navigate his way through the streets. After a four hour bus ride — with a few hours added on because our bus broke down on the side of a mountain — Chou Chou brought us to the little village of Maissade.
And little did I know, that this little village would very soon take hold of my heart, very similarly to how the kids whom lived there also would.
Throughout the week, we made our way to the Young Life camp property to dig holes, move rocks, sand and paint dorm buildings, and put up posts for a new dorm to be built. This work was hard and pretty exhausting when I look back at it, but Jesus gave us an insane amount of energy and positivity to conquer our tasks each day.
When our work was done for the day, we’d head back to where we were staying to eat and then make our way to the park! But — this park is not like the ones in America. Rather, it is a simple small area of gravel with a fallen down basketball hoop in it. Each day by going to this park, we got to play with the little kids from the community for about an hour and a half each day. Through this, we discovered that they LOVE bubbles, jump ropes, and soccer! And as the week continued, the word spread throughout the community that we were there, so that by the time we would get there everyday, there would be several kids waiting outside for us to come out. They would grab our hands and we’d skip together with them to the park. As the week went on, it became harder and harder to say goodbye to them, but we had to eat dinner!
At the end of each night during the week, all 30 of us Americans, Haitian leaders, staff and occasionally club kids would sit in a circle together and worship Jesus in two different languages. Singing worship to Jesus in Haitian Creole was so powerful.
One night during the week, the power went out while we were worshipping in Creole, but, we just continued to sing in the pitch black of the night. We could see absolutely nothing, and all we heard were voices singing to Our God. This experience made me think of heaven and how we’re all going to be speaking the same language and won’t have to experience any language barriers.
The Lord is moving mountains in this country and I’m beyond thankful that I got to see it with my own eyes.
These friends of ours, who live in Haiti, live in such poverty. They have nothing else to set their eyes on but it seems as though they have learned to have their eyes completely set on Jesus and Heaven. Through every word that they say and action that they do it is so clear that they know fully, that everything on this earth will perish and that the only eternal thing is the Lord.
This trip completely changed the way that I look at my life here in the USA and my relationship with the Lord. I see how luxurious I live here and I try to humble myself.
“God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.”James 4:6
I experienced Jesus in a way that I never have before; I witnessed the power of prayer and those prayers being answered, I saw God’s beauty in a country that is viewed as just poverty, and I continue to see Him working through the leaders and staff by giving them 6 camp trips this summer. The Lord has a heart that breaks for every single person on this planet. No matter your race, the country you live in, the language you speak, or the social class you are in. Our God is unfailing, He does not abandon, His heart longs for a relationship with every single person, and that was very evident in Haiti.
This Expedition changed my view on what I would possibly want to pursue as my occupation after college, how I want to love my Young Life girls, and how I want to pursue a relationship with the God of the universe. I was able to grasp a glimpse of the Kingdom that week, and I praise God that the little glimpse I saw is nothing compared to what it will be like when we are fully reunited with Him in Heaven.
This experience that I had through Young Life Expeditions will be one that I will never forget!