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So what will you do in Haiti?: Reflections

June 1, 2011

“So, what are you going to do in Haiti?”

Journey in Haiti, Volume I

“Wow, you’re going to HAITI! What are you going to do there?” This was definitely the most commonly asked question when people found out my wife and I were going to Haiti last month. I would also venture a guess that it was a very common question asked of all the trip participants. I would be lying if I told you that I had a good answer for that prior to our trip. Generally, my answers included some form of: “I think we are going to spend some time with the orphans,” “we might do something at the medical clinic,” or some variation thereof.  However, after our trip, the answer to “So, what did you do in Haiti?” is much clearer.

This is the first volume in what we Involved in the Journey Serves: Haiti team all hope to be an ongoing update on what Journey Serves: Haiti  is doing in Haiti and the effects the trips are having here at home.

So, what DID we do in Haiti in March? There is much too much to explain in a short little article, however I can tell you about “the field trip” and the painting. My wife’s desire was to somehow use her artistic talents to bless the people of our neighborhood in Carrefour with some kind of mural. Originally she wanted to paint something for the orphanage but it was finally decided to paint at the Medical Clinic. Pastor Edouard had decided he wanted a painting of a sunrise so Susan looked up some photos online and the one she found was beautiful. She showed it around to a few people and everyone agreed it was the right one; Silhouettes of people in the water holding their hands together and in the air with the rising sun in the background representing the irrepressible spirit of the Haitian people. Under the painting hand written in Creole and chosen by Pastor Edouard is Jeremiah 29; 11. “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” My wife Susan and two other ladies, Sarah and Christina, gave up the day at the “resort” to do the painting but if you ask them they would tell you it was so worth it. Pastor Edouard was beaming all day and people kept coming in and out of the clinic to see what was going on. The pride seen in the eyes of the Pastor was indescribable, as was the happiness expressed by the employees of the clinic. I personally was speechless when I saw it and my eyes welled with tears as I saw my wife’s vision fully realized on the wall in “our” clinic.

As for the field trip, the original idea was to take the kids from the Son of God Orphanage in Carrefour to a park or something and just let them play. It evolved into about 120 people, one rickety bus, about 200 PB and J’s, some great dance music, and what turned out to be the first time the kids had ever been able to swim in the ocean that they see from their rooftop every day of their lives.  At first the kids went slowly into the water but at some point one of the older boys dove in and the flood gates opened. With a “clothing optional” approach the kids started diving, jumping and playing in the ocean. Watching the joy in the smiles and hearing the laughter was, to us, a vision of God’s Kingdom (“your kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven”).  Another group was there (at the “resort”) and had music playing. The kids (and many of us) broke into a spontaneous dance party. The kids got to play, dance, sing, eat, run around with bubbles; basically they got to be kids even if it was only for an afternoon.

While providing this day was an amazing experience to all who attended and will be a day we will never forget; it was the debrief that night that really made the answer to the question “What are you going to do in Haiti?” clear. During the debrief our trip leader Andy Blank told us that on the ride home that day we were all packed in the bus and he was holding one of the children in his arms. At some point the little girl wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist, put her head down on his shoulder and fell asleep just as a daughter would do with her own father. He went on to say that ALL little girls should have the chance to be held up in the arms of someone and feel so safe and secure wrapped in their arms that they just fall asleep.

Certainly they need money in Haiti, in fact we as a community have committed to $3,000 monthly to run the medical clinic; however money cannot hug a child, run around a field and play with a child, or paint hope on a wall. Like the famous Beatle’s song “Can’t Buy me Love,” money just doesn’t build relationships. THAT is how I answer the question “What did you do in Haiti?” or more importantly than just me “What is Journey doing in Haiti?” we are building relationships, showing people in Carrefour that they are not alone. As Daniel Merk-Benitez put it in New Format we are helping spread the word that God’s rescue plan through Jesus is still in place on Earth.

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One comment

  1. Great job getting this up Kim…with the photos it looks fantastic!



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