Last November an opportunity arose for me to go on a short mission trip. I had never gone on a mission trip of any type in my 62 years and since I was newly retired and travel was on my bucket-list, I pondered the idea. I thought about all the things I thought I knew about mission trips... horrible weather, new diseases, inoculations, hard work, an unknown language, a totally “other” culture, dirt, poverty, bad smells, strange religions, and grass huts with an occasional lion wandering about. I prayed about it for several weeks and even though I tried to talk myself out of going, God seemed to have other plans. Three weeks before the seven-person team was due to leave for Haiti, I bought my plane tickets. It turned out to be one of the best acts of obedience to one of God’s promptings ever and one which I will be eternally grateful for.
When we left Grand Rapids, I knew only one of the team and that we were not going to build any houses or do any sort of “work”, so I was a bit nervoous. I really didn’t know what to pray for, so I prayed that God would break my heart for what breaks His. Soon after we arrived in Haiti, my heart began to break. Yes, there was weather, hot and humid, and yes, there were several inoculations I got beforehand. Yes, there were mosquitoes that dined on us, and yes, there was a tremendous amount of poverty everywhere…poverty the likes of which I had never seen…but the looks of hopelessness that I saw on so many faces really tugged at my heartstrings.
The main reason our group went to Haiti was to build relationships with the Haitian people, to really get to know them and their culture (as much as one can in four days), and to worship Christ alongside them. What an experience it was!
We were climbed on and jumped on and loved on by children. They couldn’t get enough times of loving in and asked when we’d be back. A heartbreaker to be sure and I swore I’d be back. A young woman with a daughter in college and a husband in the states being treated for cancer, lost her job, and with tears streaming down her face, asked for prayer. With tears streaming down mine, I promised I would pray for her. Heart-break.