As I was flying into Port-Au-Prince, I looked out the airplane window to see Haiti for the first time. I had no idea what God had planned for the trip. I ha no idea that God would surround me with people who were as passionate about Jesus as I was. I had no idea that God would give me a new desire and passion for Him. I had no idea that God would help me impact kids’ lives in ways that I could never imagine. I thought that this was going to be a “feel good” mission trip, but it truly has changed my life.
This trip has changed me in so many ways, but I think the biggest way it has impacted me is by the story of one of the children. I was talking to a 10-year-old boy named Sammy. Sammy told me his entire journey through the earthquake. He had 2 older brothers and 1 younger sister, but during the earthquake, all his siblings and his father were killed. His mother could not take care of him anymore. Miriam took him in and raised him as her own. When they found him he was suffering malnutrition when his mother dropped him off at the gate outside the orphanage, which was 4 years ago. That is one of the ways this trip impacted me. Knowing that I can go home to an amazing family and 2 awesome parents that I take it for granted, but knowing that’s these kids don’t have that, which makes it harder. When I get home I’ll definitely appreciate them more and do everything I’m my community to help out. I’ll definitely go back to Haiti. No doubt about it👊🌏
The impact this trip has had on me can’t be described in words, but to put it in perspective, I got to spend a week with kids who have nothing, some with mental and physical disabilities. I was able to see these amazing kids have more joy than I have ever seen in America. I was able to see kids appreciate the ability of going to school, instead of seeing it as a “have to.” I got to see kids jump with happiness after they got a hot dog to eat. I saw every kid go 150% in their worship of God, even thought they only understood half the words of the songs because it was in English. I saw a mentally challenged young man, spend all day praying for the other kids with disabilities, and every opportunity he could get, he would preach to anyone who would listen about God’s love. There are plenty of other stories I can say to try to get my point across, but I think it could be understood with those few. When I get back from this trip, my whole life will be changed. I’ll no longer complain about going to school, or about what my family is having for dinner. I’ll go about my daily life appreciating the different struggles, because what you don’t have doesn’t matter. This trip has allowed me to realize that what truly matters is our relationship with God, and with the people around us.
Coming into this trip I was praying that the Lord would unveil his power to me in a mighty way. I was hoping that I would of had this big spiritual moment where the Lord would call me to do something that would change my life forever. Although the Holy Spirit was evident the whole week, He decided to show me his glory the complete opposite way.
I have been reading this book about finding an extraordinary God in an ordinary life. Even though going to Haiti is not an ordinary trip for most people I feel that the Holy Spirit wanted me to enjoy the little things in life more and find Jesus in situations I would normally just pass by. On the plane ride to Haiti the sunrise painted a picture of the love God displays from me. And now, as I am writing this on the way back to the States, I have tears in my eyes watching the sunset under the clouds. God was so appearing in everything I was apart of in Haiti. I could see him in the eyes of the kids and staff, during late night worship in the church, and even in the girls’ conversation at 1 o’clock in the morning about how to prank the boys back. Also, I felt that the Lord confirmed my calling to become a speaker by giving me the opportunity to preach Sunday morning at church. This trip was such a blessing and it opened my eyes up to going on further mission trips. The question now isn’t if I’m going back to Haiti, it’s when I’m going back to Haiti.
This trip was so life changing and was a complete eye opener. I knew this area of the world was in poverty, but living in America and this being my first time to leave the country, I didn’t realize how bad it could be. When we got off the airplane and drove through the streets of Port-au-Prince toward the orphanage, the streets were barely paved and there was rubble everywhere. We spent the week hanging out with the kids and just loving on them with the message of Christ. Even though there was a slight language barrier we were able to communicate with these kids. Something another student, Alex Kaiser, said that stood out to me about this trip was that these kids have “IT.” In today’s society we focus on the latest trends and materialistic items around us. The “IT” that these kids have is the love for each other and most importantly for Christ. They may not have parents caring for them or their own materialistic items but they have each other. For example a 14-year old girl, Ketty, always cared and had her 5-year of sister, Eliadah, by her side. I have a 12-year old sister, who I am close with and get along with most of the time but to see their closeness and compassion for each other has inspired me to become closer with my sister and to set a stronger example of what it looks like to be a daughter of the King. Seeing these kids praise the Lord with all that they have make me want to grow deeper in my faith and continue with the same diligence in my faith to keep growing and sharing it with others.
After spending a week with the kids, were on our way to the airport and drove by a tent city. This broke my heart. There were complete families living in tents or shacks with make-shift walls who had nothing and here I am blessed to have a loving, supportive family that lives in a beautiful home that has plenty of food to eat inside. There was a little boy at the orphanage that was 10 years old and still like a toddler because he had suffered so badly from malnutrition and causing him to not being able to develop properly.
This trip has inspired me to live more with a “serving” outlook on life and to show Christ’s love increasingly with everyone I come in contact with. I fell in love with the New Life Children’s home and feel like I left a piece of my heart in Haiti.
In Haiti, I learned how to be joyful, generous, and more thoughtful. Everyday I witnessed kids with smiles on their faces, excited about all that they are given. They are so happy because they are not worried about what they have or what they’re wearing. They have the “it” factor, which I believe, is joy. This means they can worship God no matter what their circumstance may be. Also, the kids taught me the true meaning of being generous. It’s not giving an item to someone meaning you have less of it. Generosity is when you do what you can with what you have to make sure the people around you are happy, even if that means giving up the rest of your Sprite or pack of Skittles. They find the happiness of others more enjoyable than anything material. This also taught me to be thoughtful, of others and my own self. When you are being thoughtful of others, you put them before yourself, sacrificing what you may want. And being thoughtful of yourself means thinking about what you do have or what is good instead if complaining about the negatives. But the most important thing that I learned is that you do not need to understand the words someone is saying to know what love is, because love is a language that is spoken by what you do, not what you say.
Ever since I was nine years old, I have wanted to be a missionary. I want to hand over my life to my Creator.
I want to live my life for the main purpose of expanding the kingdom of heaven. This trip, going to Haiti, was my first mission trip. Being away from home and all the distractions that go along with being at home…was great. I loved it. I didn’t, not even for a second, miss those distractions. I heard the voice of God clearly. Praying became an hourly thing… An instinct. I heard God tell me not to judge, not to be selfish, to calm down, to be silent, to smile even when I feel down, to trust in Him, and to lean on Him.
I saw little miracles. I understood the difference between what I want and what I need. I hope to never forget the wisdom I gained during this mission trip.
I experienced love. Not a one sided love, but a mutual love. The kids taught me so many things. They have IT. They know what’s important. I didn’t want to leave. I hope to go back soon. Overall, this trip showed me that I am supposed to change. I need to change. So the change in me was that my eyes were opened. I prayed for that to happen. I will not be blind anymore.
Once our team returned to the states, I asked each of the students to write a response to the question of ‘how has this trip to Haiti impacted or changed your life?’ Each one of the students sent their response, so for the next few days; each response will be posted as well as a picture, so that the perspective of the students may be shared with all.
This is Peyton Brooks’, a freshman in high school, response:
While preparing for this trip, I was praying that it would change my life. What I failed to understand was that this trip was not about myself, but rather loving on the children of the orphanage. The building of my faith coincided with “bonding” w/ the kids, which I found this out on the first day. For example, as a baby named Brino was sitting on my lap playing with a toy, another boy came up and snatched the toy right from his hand. If this were one of my baby cousins, they would have thrown a fit until they got the toy back. Yet, Brino did not even respond, he just looked at the other toy in hand and started playing with that one. I want to be like Brino. To have the ability to look at what I have when something doesn’t go my way.
This trip has shown me that I need to be joyful in what I have. These amazing children in the orphanage have nothing, but yet you always see a smile on their faces. Haiti has shown me to love what God has given me and to look on the bright side when something does not go my way.
There is a radical movement for God within the country of Haiti, and I am thankful and glad to be a small part of it.