The three big things that I learned in Haiti were…
Eastminster’s Haiti Trip 2012, by Keea Dorsey
When I first heard about my church’s annual trip to St. Martain, Haiti, I felt an immediate tug on my heart to go. I knew deep down that God was going to do something great on this trip. At first, I had the typical Christian mindset – I was going to go down there and God would use ME to speak to these people. But while I was in Haiti, God blew my mind! He used every single person I met to touch MY heart and teach me something. There is no possible way for me to put everything I felt and learned into one summary – it would take a year to read! So without further ado, the three big things that I learned in Haiti were 1) don’t worry, just trust 2) love strongly and 3) give your all.
One of the first things I noticed was that the people of Saint Martain trusted God with every fiber of their being and it showed in the way they live. They rose when the sun came up and worked, without complaining and while giving their best, until the sun set. They went about their day knowing that God would provide. Some people I met were sick. Some had children, friends, or relatives that were sick and they were caring for them. All these people were honest in saying that they did not know why this was happening. Not once did I hear anyone’s lips part to complain or say “why me?” They gladly welcomed prayer and stated that they knew God had it under control. One particular visit to a home stood out to me. We came across a godmother who was taking care of her goddaughter. The goddaughter had dementia among other problems. The godmother told us that her dementia “just happened and they didn’t know why.” Toward the end of our visit we offered to pray and sing a song with the two ladies. I was amazed as the godmother went into her hut and came out with a covering that the young lady with dementia specifically used for HER prayer time to the Lord. Thousands of thoughts rushed through my head. I couldn’t believe that in all she was suffering the goddaughter remembered to spend time with God and give him thanks and praise. After the prayer, her caregiver said something that stuck with me. She proudly stated, while looking at her goddaughter, “This is a test that the Lord is giving her and she is passing, she is passing.”
Second, these people know how to LOVE! I can’t begin to describe to you the amount of love I felt upon my arrival to Haiti. After 24 hours of non-stop travel we were having difficulties reaching the village in a timely manner. So many wonderful people pitched in to help get us to the village of St. Martain. At one point in our journey there, the pastor of the church in St. Martain left his home (after dark) to come looking for our group. He was worried because our group had not reached the village. I thought it was so amazing that a man we had never met could and would care so much. To top it all off, when we finally reached the village way later than expected almost half of the village was waiting for us at the “little river crossing”. They were there to welcome us and make sure that we would get across safely. At this point I knew without a doubt that traveling over 24 hours to get there would be so worth it. These people know how to love others because they truly love God. On our first day in St. Martian, one of our translators pulled a couple of our team members aside and began passionately talking to us about the love of Christ and asking if we would trade Christ for anything. You could clearly see that his heart was for Christ, his word, and his people. I fought hard to hold back tears. It was just so refreshing to see someone who had been walking with Christ for so long express his love for God as if he had just found it!
Lastly, these people give their all to Christ and to their brothers and sisters in Christ. Their ability to give is amazing. They have few material possessions but their spiritual wealth is great. The community is helping raise a little boy named Emmanuel because his mother is not able to properly care for him. On Sunday morning at church, I watched as several people not only gave their offering to the Lord but placed money in the basket for little Emmanuel. I immediately thought of how many times I’ve tried to get around giving my all to God (spiritually or financially). Even though I don’t make much by U.S standards, I’ll make more than some of those people ever will. Yet, their heart for giving is great. It is to be treasured and to be learned from. How could I be so selfish in the way that I love and give when I’ve been so blessed?
During my time in St. Martain, God showed me things about myself – about what still consumes me and insecurities that I have not fully given to Him. He showed me how I should love (like Him), with my whole being. He showed me how I should give, putting others ahead of myself at all times. He taught me how I should trust – all the time no matter what the circumstances are. God showed me through Haiti H2O, the translators, and the people of St. Martain what it looks like when everything revolves around Him and you make Him the center of your life.
If I could leave you with anything it would be this: These people live like we wouldn’t dare to live – with great fear of God, great love for God, and great faith in God. They put God’s Word into action and they cherish it. Let us first look to Christ where all great love comes from. Then let that love seep into us so that others might see it, feel it, and be compelled to change their ways. This love changed me in St. Martain and it is this love that is going to change our world.