As I wrote on my Facebook wall:
Our ten days followed a mission trip model set up by the Foundation for Peace. It included five days on the work site, a medical activity day, three worship services with local churches, two VBS's and one (much-deserved) beach day.
Our team of 18 came from coast to coast (PA, NJ, MA, RI and CA), including six from my church. We'd all never met before. (I didn't even know most of the folks from my church very well.) We ranged in age from 20's to 60's and brought with us a wide range of talents, faith journeys and life experiences. The way that God weaved these disparate strands together as a team—unified, and singular in heart and purpose—was a beautiful display of His craftsmanship and creativity.
|One incredible team|
We spent every waking hour together. We toiled together—working harder than many of us had ever worked before. We praised God together in morning devotions, frequent prayer, enthusiastic Haitian worship and late night singing. We talked, ate, hung out, recreated, rode the bus together. And no one tired of anyone's presence. No one got on anyone's nerves. When one was weary, another came alongside to lift up. We became attuned to one another's needs and gave from our excess. It was community in the most wonderful sense of the word. And we all recognized it as something extraordinary.
|Group back rubs|
The work we did was hard. It basically consisted of digging trenches for a vocational school. Lots and lots of trenches (each about 2 feet wide by about 4.5 feet deep). Working with our Haitian friends, we used pick axes to break up the hard packed, arid soil. Then we shoveled out the loose dirt. This task pushed every one of us to—and past—our physical limits. Yet, we pressed on, determined to make our mark, knowing that this school represents the future of Haiti in this part of the country.
We first arrived at Camp Hope on Friday to visit the school (that FFP built last year). I looked for Jude in the classrooms and found him quickly. When Jude spotted me standing in the doorway of his small classroom his face lit up with excitement and he jumped out of his seat to see me. We hugged for what seemed like a minute. It was a precious moment filled with such love that I could have left Haiti right then, satisfied.
There is so much more to tell...our day of worship, visiting, VBS and soccer at Camp Hope...our "50-minute" hike up the mountain to distribute aqua-tabs to people in a remote village...a relaxing day at the beach to restore our weary bodies...the worship services at local church...early morning devotions on the rooftop...the family we formed, Haitian and America, bonded together for all of eternity...and so much more.
There is something about Haiti that's so special. I see God there in the people and the country. I feel His presence in the worship. And I find rest in my spirit that is so absent as home.
Thank you for your prayers for our trip. They were most definitely answered. I am so thankful for the experience and hope our ten days in Haiti planted seed that will bear fruit for a long time to come. I pray that all we encountered, and all of us Americans, are forever changed—because in Haiti we met Jesus.