Some of you might know, but most of you don't, I went on my second mission trip to Haiti last week. My first trip was amazing and I had the opportunity to see a lot of things that God wanted me to see. But this time around, I had the opportunity to slow down and not only see things, but to feel the things God was surrounding me with.
From the moment I stepped off the airplane in Cap Haitian, God was working my heart. You can not feel the things that I went through, but I will try to paint a picture of the events that I went through while I was there.
Pastor Oris and I arrived in Cap Haitian early Saturday morning and we were immediately picked up by Jethro (a man dedicated to the Haiti Cheri mission) and went into the city to prepare some things for the rest of the missionaries when they arrived. We drove deep into the city and pulled off the busy street on to a sidewalk. Pastor O turned around, looked at me, and said to stay in the car because it wasn't the safest place for a white man to be. Jethro and Pastor O got out and disappeared into the crowd of people. I immediately locked all of the doors and sat patiently in the SUV for their arrival back to the vehicle. As I was sitting there, people were walking by staring into the vehicle and all I could think was "God keep me safe". At that moment, all I had was Him and I was okay with that even while being alone in a third world country. Pastor O and Jethro finally appeared through the crowd, I unlocked all of the doors, they got in and off we went.
The rest of the team arrived, we made several trips to the hotel and back to carry all of the people and their luggage. As soon as we settled in, we got a group of people together to go start part of the mission we were there to accomplish, finish the wiring of the Haiti Cheri Office/Clinic. We originally had three of us who were prepared to do the wiring before we left the U.S.: Aaron Comer, Sam Simmons and myself knew what had to be done. But that Saturday morning we arrived, we chose two more missionaries to join us for some help on the first day: Hernan Deviez and Robert Holland. I want to personally thank each one of those guys for the work that they contributed to such a huge cause. We all worked great together and got a bunch done on the first day.
The next morning, we all woke up and went to Redford Church together. This is when God really started to take hold of my heart on this mission. First of all, you can not fathom the emotional experience you get from the worship that those people give God unless you are there and feel it for yourself. The Holy Spirit was moving big time that morning. All of the preachers sermons were amazing and God was using them to reach His people, most of the time everything that was said was in Creole, but you didn't have to understand the words to know what they ere saying. They invited people to the front who had accepted Jesus into their lives that morning. There's a picture to the left of the screen with an empty chair inviting someone to sit. At the bottom of this page there is a soul sitting in that chair who accepted Jesus as their saviour, take the time to look at those pictures right now, there's no words to describe that moment. Then the pastor invited people to the front who needed prayer and for people to come down and rededicate their lives to Christ (there's a picture over there too). The Holy Spirit was moving, so much so, that our entire team got out of their seats and joined the people in the front. At that moment, there were no Hatians in the church, there were no Americans in the church, there was only God's people worshipping Him and praising Him. I cried like a baby that morning and tearing up now as I remember and write this. Like I said before, this trip was about feeling, not seeing.
After the AMAZING service was over, we all went to the hotel and prepared for the rest of the day. All of the team were going to a new village for Haiti Cheri called Ennerey and Sam and I were staying back to finish the building project hopefully by Tuesday when the rest of the team was coming back through to pick us up to go to the next village. We went to lunch, prayed together and went our separate ways.
The Plan for Sam and I was to wire all we could that day and we told the driver to pick us up at 5:00 pm. We worked our butts off all day and had a great time fellowshipping with one another. But all day my attention was drawn to the alley that we had walked up to get there. Let me explain. We were in the middle of Cap Hatian (busy city), but this office is on a side alley with hardly any foot traffic (no cars) on it what so ever. There were a few people hanging out just sitting around and there was a little boy rolling an old bicycle wheel up and down the alley with a stick through all af the raw sewage trickling down the middle of the walkway from the surrounding buildings. But God kept showing me a picture of the possibilities of this clinic. All I could see was people shoulder to shoulder packing into this alley waiting to be treated for medical care that they normally wouldn't receive. What we were doing at that moment could eventually impact this entire city in the near future. I felt like God was showing me what His plan was for this mission. I was emersed in that feeling the entire time I was in that alley and knew everything we were doing was going to bring glory to His name. We finished the wiring that day.
That evening, Sam and I were picked up by our driver and thought we were going to eat, like we were supposed to. To our suprise, the driver took us back to where we had started off this emotional day, Redford Church. Let me explain something, when you go to church there, you dress nice, okay? At this point in the evening, Sam and I were completely covered in sweat, had on t-shirts and shorts and were completely nasty dirty. We asked the driver if it was cool to go in looking like this and he said "let's go" with a smile. They were having a concert that had a men's choir singing for the people of the church. We walked in, and two people immediately got up out of their chairs and gave them to us. How many times have you done that at your church for new guests? Ouch! That's what I said when I saw them do it. We sat there and listened to them sing without any translation, we didn't need it. Everything was about Jesus. I felt like God had blessed Sam and I after a hard days work of serving Him.
The next day, we had nothing to do but wait for the rest of the team to pick us up in Cap Haitian and go to the next village, Acul Samedi. So we called up our boy Tijo (another dedicated member of the Haiti Cheri team that lives there) and told him that we wanted to see the city. He showed up with two mortorcycle taxi's (I'll have to explain in person the danger of these things)and took us on an adventure for a few hours (really, I'll have to explain in person, too long to type about). Later that evening we met up with the rest of the team.
This was one of the biggest moments that happened on the mission for me. We set up our medical clinic to help with the people who couldn't make it anywhere for care. We had a pharmacy set up, a prayer booth and doctors at tables waiting to treat people. My role was to bring each and every person into the clinic and show them where to sit in front of each doctor. As I was bringing people in, I had my eye on the crowd (since I had been there 6 months ago) and was looking for familiar faces. I had only been there once before and knew there was a slim chance that I would recognize anyone. But it didn't take long for God to start jogging my memory of the faces who had made an impact on my heart from the last mission. I spotted an old man that had cancer from the first trip sitting in the crowd. I was amazed that he was still alive, so I went and told Becky Salko and Dan Merrefield that he was here, you could see the excitement in there eyes when I told them. But when they went to treat him, his cancer had spread. I sat more and more people, but I continued to look into the crowd. Then there was a woman who caught my attention. In May, we went into the village to talk to people about Jesus. I remembered this lady because Pastor Oris tried and tried and tried to get her to accept Jesus as her savior but she fought as hard as she could to deny it. I remember that we couldn't convince her of anything, she was old and stuck in her ways. When I saw her this time, I pointed her out to Pastor Tim May and explained what had happened the first time so he could pray with her and that it might be a different outcome this time around. He prayed with her, but she said that she wasn't ready that day. So I continued searching the crowd for faces. This time there was a woman holding a baby that stood out like a sore thumb. If you read my blog after the first trip, you'll remember that I lead a pregnant woman to Christ, this was the same woman. God had brought this same woman back to this clinic and I had the opportunity to see the baby that we prayed for from my first trip. God is good yall, God is good. I had some people translate for me and she actually remembered me. The picture of her and her baby are to the left. I'm so thankful that I had the chance to see some of the faces that impacted me from the first mission and I pray that I get to see there faces over and over again for years to come.
I had a great conversation with Pastor O about the Haiti Cheri mission statement "Come and See" John 1:46. He said now that God had me "Come and See", now it's time to "Go and Do". That hit me hard. I'm not going to lie. Why in the world would we sign up to go on a mission trip to help spread the Gospel in a place only for a week, and then just leave it there behind us. God called us to be fishers of men (Mattew 4:19) if we would just follow Him. I would love to teach some of the people of Haiti how to do basic wiring someday so it will stimulate their economy and they would have a profession to provide for their families, but at the same time, show them that it is God who ultimately provides for them. I can not wait until the next time God brings me back to Haiti.
This whole trip wasn't just about seeing His presence, it was feeling it. All I have for a closing is that I pray that yall will be open and accept what He wants to reveal to you. It may not be on a mission trip, but He will eventually invite you to "Come and See" something that He wants to use to change your life.