“Haiti Taught Me….”Four Mile Team Reflections
Haiti 2012 Mission Trip: May 19-26, 2012
Upon return, the team was asked to finish this sentence, “Haiti taught me . . . .”
God used my experience in Haiti to teach me that I shouldbe grateful for all that I have in my life. I have always been a very grateful person and cherish all I have been blessed with however, I now have a newfound respect for these things. It has taught me that less is definitely more! The Haitian people who have very little have great hearts, souls & spirits that we can all learn from. They smile, laugh, delight in one another and in God. The Haitians worship on Sunday, Tuesdays & Thursdays as a congregation. Their music was off beat, didn’t fit and most of the time was off key but, you know what? They sang with all their hearts and souls and praised God like no others I have ever seen. Being blessed isn’t measured by the things you have in your life but, by the people you surround yourself with and how you live a Godly life. God is GREAT!! I am very thankful for this experience that I was so blessed enough to have. I look forward to being part of another missions trip in the future and to share this gift of God with others and my family! Jen Knight
God used my experience in Haiti to teach me / remind me what true joy and love can be found even in the most impoverished areas — if God is invited in. The Haitians we met and lived with did not allow extreme poverty and hard daily life to rob them of laughter, serving, celebrating and worshipping through impassioned song and prayer. It was impossible not to fall in love with these people. I was taught not to pity them, but rather to come alongside them, to help encourage and strengthen them, and in doing so, I received an even greater dose of encouragement and true inspiration in return. For me, despite being in the heat, dirt, and out of the comfy life that I am used to, I have a feeling of wonderful peace that comes from knowing I was right where I was supposed to be that week in Haiti, doing what I should do, and striving to live in the will of my Lord. The opportunity to serve Him is a priviledge, and I am truly grateful and humbled.
Bonjou (Hello Four Mile)I am very excited about coming back from Haiti and to share my story that I have experienced. First of all, thank you to everyone who was willing to send the Haiti Mission team from Four MIleto go and help the Haitian people. When we were down there we had to learn Haitian proverbs and recite them to the translators every night. It was quite an experience. My Haitian proverb was “ Nen Pran Koe Joe Kouri Dlo.” This means “nose runs, ears hurt, eyes make water.” Another thing that I thought was fascinating was in church we sang two songs every service that were 15 minutes each. I have learned some Creole. God used my experience in Haiti to teach me ,” se moun yo kemeveye anbil. Voyaj le fe ‘m santi mwen lakay mwen be’t you janti tou e Bondye fe’ mwent remen be ‘b Ayisyen an.” The means that people are so wonderful and amazing.The trip has made me feel welcome and feel as though I am at home. The animals are so trusting and God has brought me to love the nation of Haiti. Merci (Thank You) Tiffany Keagy
God used my experience in Haiti to remind me of his love for all people. That we are allexactly alike; we strive to care for our families, we all struggle, and kids are kids across all cultures. God taught me humility in a people, that store their treasures in heaven, that joyously worship him 4 services a week for who he is. God taught me patience when it does not come naturally. I learned that God will take care of the details, and that obedience can bring rewards that can’t be put into words.
I had always wanted to go on a mission trip. When I attempted Mexico, God shut the door on me twice. It just wasn’t my time. God blessed me with medical knowledge and I wanted to give back and serve His people – somewhere. Well, God opened the door wide open and since January, George wound this trip to Haiti around Dave, Kiera, and my vacation week. It was definitely a trip led by God – but Haiti? My rendition of “roughing it” is the Holiday Inn. So, needless to say this was a major stretch for me in trusting God to get me through a rough and tough environment such as Haiti. He did toughen and strengthen me through this experience. But, all this wasn’t about me. I was there to serve the people of Haiti – so His glory could shine. The Haitians are very sweet and considerate people. They would always smile- and as Kiera stated- always were so hospitable. They loved us visiting their homes and were so appreciative of the home packs that Four Mile sent to them. Four Mile- you have been blessed and prayed for over and over- just because you offered soap, band aids, toothbrushes and tooth paste! The biggest impact for me was running our small impromptu medical clinic. Once the word got our that we had medical knowledge and some medicines, the Haitians came to our church as early as 6:30 AM -three mornings in a row– waiting to tell us their ailments and hoping to get relief with some medicine. The toughest patients were the children. They had various problems such as malnourishment, anemia, upper respiratory infections, scabies, and etc. A fellow nurse practitioner friend provided me with antibiotics, prednisone, anti-fungal meds, hydrocortisone creams, and many other meds that we had enough to provide to 250 patients! It reminded me of Jesus taking the few fish and loaves from the small boy and feeding the multitudes! Our medical team included Kiera, Jenn, Sherri, Tiffany and myself. Our medical room was a small room in the old school building with a chair and all I had was a stethoscope. I was told we couldn’t have a clinic so I didn’t pack my exam equipment. But, God had other plans and I was so glad He used me in this way. It was rewarding but yet, I had tears in my eyes at times because I wanted to do more. We take for granted our medical system in America. We have the best. These poor people can’t afford medical care. God gave them that care through Four Mile! Lastly, to watch these people glorify God in a church service is amazing!!! They sing and praise from the bottom of their hearts! It put me to shame. They not only talked the talk- most importantly- they walked the walk. Thank you Four Mile- for your donations- you have no idea how grateful the Haitians were for those home packs. Thank you to my team members George, Billy, Sherri, Tiffany, Jenn, Dave and Kiera. Our team was so congruent and we picked each other up when needed. When I felt overwhelmed -my team supported and lifted me up in prayer to persevere. It was a stretch for me- but again, It wasn’t about me – I was just the vessel through whom He worked!!
God used my experience in Haiti to teach me what true hospitality looks like. I was fortunate enough to conduct home and health surveys in peoples homes, along with Sherri. Sherri and I had both an interpreter and a Deacon of the local church with us, and we asked a series of questions to each household we visited. The Haitian’s hospitality towards myself and Sherri truly amazed me. People dropped whatever they were doing to spend time with us and answer our questions, and they always did it with warm smiles. Families offered us the few chairs they had even if that meant that they had to stand. They offered us coconuts to drink. The deacon we followed always insisted on taking our bags so that we did not have to carry them. Once we were finished with our questionnaire, we gave the families small home kits with toothbrushes, toothpaste, bandaids, and soap. The thankfulness that they had for something so small was amazing. I imagine that the response to a spontaneous visit here at home would be quite different in terms of hospitality, as we do not want our busy lives to be interrupted. My hope is to become more hospitable, and show love and joy like the Haitians in every area of my life whether it be at home, work, or at church. I am so thankful for this trip and all that it has taught me.
I have always known that I was blessed. I have a beautiful and talented wife, a smart and wonderful daughter, a good job, etc. Not to mention the Grace and Mercy God shows me every day. I could go on and on how blessed I am. However, God used my experience in Haiti to teach me several new things. I learned that the Haitian People are an extremely hard working people whose many misfortunes are not necessarily their own fault but that of several crooked and evil regimes ( the US is not exempt from that one). I learned that people are the same everywhere no matter how rich or poor, black or white, educated or illiterate they are. We all have the same dreams, to be healthy, to have a family who loves us, and to have financial security. The people of Haiti were very welcoming, trusting, and eager for God’s Love. I’ve always known that 4-Mile has many God loving good Christian people but getting to spend a week in one of the most forsaken places on earth with the 4-Mile team is one fantastic experience I will never forget. Our team worked well together as we learned to trust in God for safe passage (try riding on one of Haiti’s roads sometime), shelter, food (ever had goat?), and health (fear of typhoid, malaria, Cholera, etc). I met several young people whom I learned have a hope that one day things will get better They asked me to relay to the 4-Mile Community that they need our prayers. And finally, I learned that I need to go back again one day to Haiti. I need to continue the friendships I made and to show the Haitian People that they are not forgotten by others or by God. Thanks to George, Billy, Sheri, Ginny, Kiera, Jen, and Tiffany for putting up with me for the week.
I’ve been to Haiti several times, and every time Haiti stretches me in new ways. It always challenges my sense of comfort and security, but this challenge has become like an old friend. Knowing that a car accident, or car break down are always possible keeps me on high alert. Haiti is teaching me that I’m not in control and to relax. Haiti is also teaching me to be grateful for the small things; a coke, meat, cool nights, running water, and laughter.
The 2012 Haiti Team: George Atkins, Sheri Herstine, Dave Holbein, Ginny Holbein, Kiera Holbein, Tiffany Keagy, Jenn Knight & Bill Porto