My word for today is Blessed.
I went on this mission trip to serve and love the people of Haiti.
But as it turned out, I have been blessed in so many ways during this trip, and I'm sure every member of our team would say the same thing.
This morning, we visited the Memorial for the 2010 Haiti Earthquake Victims where they buried about 300,000 bodies. Even though I have seen thousands of coverage of this particular earthquake in the news, it felt more real when we stood there and prayed. It was a solemn moment that made me realize that I have somehow become jaded when I listen to the news. Stories of earthquakes, mass shootings, hurricanes, terrorist attacks and other horrific events have become so common in the media that I have learned to tune them out. May we never forget that every victim have a unique story, and their lives matter. May we remember to pray when we hear about horrible news, and listen for God's leading on what we need to do in addition to praying.
Our next stop was the Grace Village. This is an impressive place. They have a medical clinic,a school, and an orphanage. Their medical clinic provides affordable, quality medical care that is so needed here. Their dental clinic is opening soon. They are also doing preventative medicine and community education efforts, and looking into possible specialty services. I am so excited to see them grow. They have about 46 kids that live in 4 community houses, each managed by Haitian Mommies and Poppies, and the kids in these houses now feel that they belong to a family and are no longer orphans. Their mission is for the kids to know Jesus, to feel that they are safe, and to feel that they are loved, and judging by the joyful and contended faces that greeted us, we can tell that they have fulfilled that. They also have about 30 kids in their "stop and go" program, where kids that were removed from unsafe orphanages are placed, so that they can receive the love and care that they need while waiting for more permanent placement. We learned that about 80 % of orphans in Haiti have parents, and in 4 out of 5 cases, the parents were coerced by individuals engaged in Orphanage Entrepreneurship which is a sad truth that I would definitely look more into. But it inspires me to know that there is hope for these kids because there are wonderful organizations like Healing Haiti who have the right heart and motivation, who got it right. In addition to helping, they are also equipping and empowering the people of Haiti through job creation. We had tasted the delicious goodies from their bakery and enjoyed pizza in their restaurant, where they train and employ Haitian bakers. One of the kids that was nurtured and cared for in the Grace Village is now in Medical School. I would tell my friends and family, that if they want to invest in other people's lives, they should not hesitate to support Healing Haiti.
Another highlight of our day was the Elder Visits. We visited 4 of the elders under their care- we brought food, we sang hymns, we washed their feet, put lotion on their back, arms, & legs, asked about their well-being and prayed with them. We fell in love with them. On our third elder visit, I got so emotional and started crying, so I went & hid in a corner. A little Haitian girl found me and hugged me. I thought that was funny because I was supposed to be the one bringing joy to this family, and here I am receiving love and comfort from this little girl. So, I cried some more, and another little girl joined in and hugged me too:) I was assigned to do "hands on" for our last elder visit, and it was a match made in heaven. When I applied lotion on her, I felt a special attachment to her. She shared with us that a previous team had prayed for her son to accept Jesus and the prayer was answered two days later and now her son is a devout Christian. I had the privilege of leading the prayer for her before we left, and she joined me in prayer, which made it pretty special.
I feel so blessed to be part of the team I am with. I have grown to love each one of my amazing brothers and sisters In Christ, and I don't want this missions trip to end. I will forever be grateful that the Lord gave me this precious week to love on others and to feel loved in return.
God is definitely weaving an amazing story for each one of us.
I thank the Lord for all of you who supported us on this Missions Trip.
Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!