Don’t go to Haiti unless you want to change the way you think about everything in your life. Nobody told me that last year, and I’m glad they didn’t. I just got back several weeks ago from my second trip to Haiti and it finds a way into every area of your life. Through my brief time in such a different context I can honestly say it has shaped the way I think about religion, politics, love, money, my lifestyle, my relationships, my values, how I spend my time, and what constitutes a problem. But thats not exactly what I am here to talk about, I could go on for hours. That piece of advice is free. Matt asked me to write a guest blog about a few particular experiences I have had in Haiti, with the kids of All Things New Orphanage.
I need to set some context. It has been an incredible journey for the organization, and in particular Matt and Jessica, to get to where it is today. A ton of thought, sacrifice and effort has gone into the last couple of years with the goal being to provide these kids with the basic things they need to have a hope for life. If you have followed Matt and Jessica’s journey at all, then you know that no small feat, in Haiti, comes with ease. So on our last trip down to Haiti it came as a shock when we heard one of the girls (and maybe others) were skipping meals occasionally because they didn’t like the food that was being given to them. It was fairly frustrating to say the least. I mean, many kids (especially in this area) have no idea where their next meal is coming from. My personal reaction was to think: How could our kids be so spoiled? And as I was sitting in a place of judgement, a thought hit me so clearly I know it was directly from God. “This is a sign of a good thing, its exactly what all of that effort has been for.” Their basic needs are being met, which could not have been said several years ago. Where there was desperation, now there is hope. The goal from the beginning was to meet physical needs so that the more important spiritual and emotional needs can be ultimately be met. Furthermore, if we’re honest, what parent in America doesn’t fight this exact battle at least once a week? And if so, my guess is that your kids have the security of knowing they are loved and being taken care of. So I count it a blessing that their every thought isn’t consumed with the idea of merely surviving, but their hearts can be filled with the idea of thriving and excelling. I hope to hear of their trivial concerns and wants, if that means it is replacing their need to worry about the every day prospects of life and death and other things kids shouldn’t have to think about. If you are contributing to this work that is being done in Haiti, I want to personally thank you. I have been able to see first hand the very real difference that it is making in these kids lives. I hope that you don’t let it stop there, but that you allow it to effect yours as well.
One last thought. I really don’t mean to pick on this girl, this is much more of a lesson for us. But this particular girl holds a very dear place in my heart for having said a statement that has rattled me like none other I’ve ever heard. On my first trip there last summer, after several days with them, she asked if she could address the group via our translator. She said that she, and the others, were thankful that we had come and were giving them food and gifts and spending time with them. Then this girl, who has as close to nothing as I can reasonably imagine, said that she prayed that God would bless us and our families. Instant humility……and tears. My family really has everything we could possibly need and much, much more. This girl’s week is made by receiving a few small gifts and a nice card, yet she asks that God send blessings to us? He surely has, and it is through experiences like these that I am able to more carefully appreciate what they are. I hope you can too.
And if you are thinking about going down to Haiti with one of the teams, don’t say I didn’t warn you…..