Out the window was row upon row upon row of perfectly manicured subdivisions rich with cul-de-sacs and promises of the American dream. As we flew, the steady whisper of prosperity and wealth gave way to deep blue waters spotted with reflections of the clouds above. In under an hour, the waters turned into a surreal teal and the landscape shifted to mountains and valleys. We arrived. Port-au-Prince is a place that immediately demands attention from all of your senses. It is loud, colorful, dusty, hot, and active. The moment I left the airport I was excited that I had come. This place is soon to be home and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to get a crash course and insider tips on how to survive this crazy, beautiful, challenging, and wonderful place.
Each day last week held a million different emotions. Excitement, surprise, fear, joy, apprehension, sadness, peace, shock. Fear became the predominant emotion when we were driving and a massive Mack truck challenged us to a game of chicken. Fortunately, we bowed out of that fight and chose life, waiting for the truck to barrel by instead of battling for the road. Apparently Mack trucks in Port-au-Prince enjoy the game of squeezing cars nearly off the road on a (questionably) two way street, up a mountain.
The first thing I’ve learned about this new adventure is that it is going to be raw. Sometimes, it may feel like a Mack truck is coming toward me on a narrow street winding up a rainy mountain and I may feel like I’m out of options. But that’s a lie. When you feel like there is no option, I believe that God is just setting you up for a miracle. Preparing you to experience something that could only come through Him. I will continue to claim the promise that the Lord will fight for me. I have no doubts that this year is going to challenge, confront, and reveal parts of myself that I may prefer stay hidden, but I’m asking that the Lord will provide the courage to lean into that pain and discomfort to come out on the other side with a renewed clarity of purpose and calling for my life. I don’t want to move to Haiti with a plan to change it, or fix it, or improve it. I just want to follow the path that the Lord has laid out for me and I want to do it faithfully. I want to move to Haiti with the vision of learning from a culture different from my own with the hope that a year from now something I’ve done has made life a little bit easier for the people I’ve come in contact with. When I die, I don’t necessarily want to be remembered as someone who changed the world. I just want to know that lives within my sphere of influence were positively impacted because of the life I lived.
During the week we visited two orphanages. It was the first time I had ever been to an orphanage and it was emotionally draining. The moment we entered there were dozens of sweet kids looking up at you with those big brown eyes and dusty hands pleading to be held. And so you do. You hold them and hug them and whisper to them that they are beautiful and loved…and then you leave. Back to the warm dinner, purified water and return flight to the US. I’m not blaming anyone, or saying that I’m somehow superior for embarking on a year in an underdeveloped country. I’m just pointing out that we, as Americans, as citizens of a developed nation, have a privilege that is ours simply because we were born at a certain time, in a certain place, to certain parents. Recently, a friend of mine wrote a blog post worth reading, where he says, “You see, ‘no fair’ doesn’t mean ‘why not me?’. Used rightly, ‘no fair’ means ‘why not them?'” Walking out the door of those orphanages presented me with a profound sense of “why not them?”. I do not believe that there should be any shame in the blessings and privilege we have been given or that we have earned, I am just struck by the realization that those blessings and that privilege can be appreciated so much more when you realize the hope you have that others don’t.
My friends will find this ironic, but this week I got a little taste of how powerful physical touch can be. I’m not a hugger, or a hand holder, or an any-kind-of-physical-touch, type of girl. “Give me my personal space” is my mantra, but just a few hours with these kids made me want nothing more than to be a giant teddy bear. They just wanted to be held, touched, and interacted with. I felt the urge to wrap my arms around as many of them as possible and hold them close. To let them know that they are worthy of love simply by being who God made them to be. So add that to the list of prayers. That these kids might know the love of Christ, who wraps them in His arms and holds them close because they are enough. He knows them each by name. They are worthy. They are loved.
This week gave me a glimpse of the year to come. While I’m sure there is more to be learned and processed from this week, here is an update of what you can be praising God for and how you can be praying.
- Thank you to all who have financially supported me so far! I have almost reached the 75% funded mark, which is where I need to be in order to leave at the end of August. I can’t express to you how grateful I am for your support and how mightily the Lord has shown up in this process of fundraising. It’s been a season of testing my faith and forcing myself to trust that where God calls, He also provides.
- A wonderful and productive week in Haiti training with the Wilson’s. It was amazing and extremely helpful to have that knowledge before my move.
- The Lord has provided for me with summer housing, wonderful roommates, and an overall feeling of all the loose ends being tied up. In the midst of feeling like all of the pieces of my life are scattered, I’ve still felt that there has been time for community, friends, and preparing for this season.
- A huge prayer request is for another young woman to show interest in moving to Haiti as well. For now, I am planning on moving down by myself on August 31st, however, we are actively searching for someone to come alongside me on this journey and help me with all of the tasks that the Guesthouse requires. If you or someone you know would be interested in this, please send them my way! We’re trusting that the Lord knows the timing and will fill the role as needed.
- Tim & Aimee Wilson currently live at the Guesthouse in Haiti and were wonderful tour guides/trainers last week. They have 40 days left of their journey and you can check out their specific prayer requests on their blog. Learning from them was extremely helpful for me and I am in awe of the ways they have persevered and grown through all of the challenges they faced this year.
- This transition is going to come with loneliness and solitude and a whole bunch of change. Please pray for my heart and my mind. That I would seek and find God in this and keep my eyes fixed on him. Pray for continued affirmation that this is the path for me and that the Lord would use this year to help others see His glory.