November 2, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Haiti. Ayiti. Land of high mountains.

To most of the world, Haiti is about mountains of rubble. Tent cities. Intense poverty. Violence. Government corruption. And death. It’s about brokenness so broken it can never be put back together.

It’s a place we pity. Or fear. Or despise.

To me Haiti is about people and stories and relationships. It’s about beauty and culture. Determination and perseverance. Faith and family. And most of all love. In Haiti God’s love—for others and for me—seems most real. And I feel the most free to share this love.

God has given me many wonderful gifts in my life. Haiti is one of the most wonderful. Why this is true is still a mystery to me. But it is true nonetheless.

This was my third trip to Haiti and it was amazing in its own special way. Going back now is like a homecoming—returning to a place that holds my heart and visiting with friends who now seem like family.

Because our group (of six) was especially small so I had lots of time to deepen relationships with my Haitian friends and get to know them better. Our days followed the traditional model of Foundation for Peace trips: worship in Haitian churches, work at the construction site (we’re building a large vocational school), morning and nighttime group devotions, VBS for the children and a day at the beach. This time I even got to teach English in a school that FFP runs. It was in fact, the same school that my church helped to build!

There are so many stories to share of what I witnessed and experienced. I hope to capture them here so that you see some of the beauty Haiti beholds, and you get a glimpse of a God bigger, more powerful and more faithful than you imagine.

Most of all I hope that these stories inspire you to search your heart for where God is calling you. Where does your heart break for His children? Where is He calling you to follow?

P.S. We are already planning our return trip in March. This trip is open to anyone who wants to join us. No special skills are required. If you live nearby, come to an informational meeting at Woodside Church on November 13 at 11:00am. Otherwise, send me a note to let me know you’re interested and I’ll add you to our list.

Glwa pou Bondye! (Glory to God!)
Bondye beni ou! (God bless you)

Children in a remote village (Kwa Kok) who came to our worship service and VBS. How their clothes are so white astounds me.
My little friend at a worship service...who I finally got to smile.
The massive cathedral in Port-au-Prince, devastated by the earthquake. Walking around felt like walking in a tomb. Very intense.

Heading home from my big adventure teaching -- with Eben and Dessalines.
Our friends on the worksite. Amazing men and such hard workers! Bon travay, zanmi mwen!
VBS at an orphanage.


Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, so wonderful when God gives you a heart for a certain place and you get to go and serve there time and again. May God continue to bless!

susan koenig said...

Kelli, I was in Haiti when you were, am going back in March. Wonderful photos, and your impressions echo mine. I'm Aunt D's friend, she sent your blog. Great stuff! Mesi anpil. Susan Koenig