While it sounds cliche that going on a missions trip abroad will change your life, it is true. I can never look at poverty the same way after being in country where there are people who have no means to feed themselves or their families except for the kindness of others. I am still processing my journey to Montrious, Haiti where I witnessed some of the most devastating life circumstances I have ever witnessed. I makes the ghettos here in America look like resorts. Most were living hand to mouth and that might even be an exaggeration. I personally met several men who were very intelligent but lacked the means to feed themselves or their families for close to weeks at a time. There is supposed to be help given to this country from the Red Cross and other organizations, but there is no evidence that all the money they received has done anything but line the pockets of corrupt politicians, or the CEO’s of these major companies.
I was heart breaking to see children fighting to survive, and their parents not being able to do much of anything to help. The cost of living there in any sense of comfort is outrageous, and it is usually only missionaries or those who work for these major corps. and organizations that can afford the cost of living. While down there, my wife and I spent a week with a missionary family, who are not living in the lap of luxury, like the wealthiest of Haitians do, but they also are not living in complete squaller either. We had water and electricity and a few creature comforts, but the only A/C was found in car rides which were not very long (and that was okay, we were there to serve the Lord not worry about A/C).
Lory and I arrived in Haiti around 5 pm (EST), after being at the airport here in the states at 3am (EST). We finally arrived to the house around 7 that evening. It was a gruesome day and the return trip home was worse. But the time spent in Haiti will leave an indelible mark on my life and soul that no one can change. I makes me call in to question some of the things back here in the USA we tend to take for granted. The way we wash clothes, the meals we eat, taking a hot shower, just to name a few. However, while we were there we got to reach out to the community and work with a local church by putting on a marriage seminar, working with orphans, and I was allowed the privilege to preach on Sunday morning. Not only that we got to see a lot of the different ministry sites that our host Chris and Christina Surber of Supply and Multiply are working on, their biggest project right now is the Matthew 25 house.
We spent the biggest parts of our days doing some type of ministry work, whether it was in the morning spending time loving on the orphans, by going over the children’s catechism, then teaching the boys how to make paracord bracelets, while Lory painted the girls nails and they all got candy, balloons and bubbles. They were some great kids, and by the end of the week they had opened up some to us, even wanting to offer us hugs as we prepared to leave. We would then visit ministry sites in the community and witness first hand the poverty that plagues this beautiful country. In the evenings for a few hours at a time we tag-teamed doing the marriage seminar with us each having a night we did the primary teaching. I taught on biblical manhood and Lory (spoke for the first time to adults) on biblical womanhood, they were both well received.
We were there for a week and if felt like we were only there for a few days. I wanted to stay longer and feel like I was able to do more for the community. We were assured that we had done a lot while there. If I could have stayed for a month I would have, but alas it was not an option, I had to return home to my sons. While this is most likely an introductory style post, I hope to write more about our trip as I process it an allow it to truly impact my life. I had begun to pick up on some of the language, since I speak no creole or french it was the biggest challenge of our entire trip. I was taught a phrase by Chris that I spoke to the congregation on Sunday morning. That was my first time preaching with a translator, and he said I did well. I will take the win, even though I thought of 1,000 things I wish I would have said or done differently after the sermon was over. It was a great experience that I would not change for anything in the world. The Lord provided a way for Lory and I to be able to live outside of our norm for a week and I think it brought us closer together, and gave us a greater appreciation of what the Lord has blessed us with here at home.
If you have never been on a missions trip to a different country and you are provided the opportunity to go, DO IT! It will change the way you view life, and give you a fresh perspective on things. Again I hope this is not the only post about our trip, but if it is I hope you’ve enjoyed it and I would love to hear of your experiences abroad (serving the Lord/or not).
Question: Where have you gone to serve the Lord domestically or internationally and how has it changed your life?