Location: Blanchard, Haiti
Cost of Trip: $1,900
Partner Organization: Partners in Development (PID)
This past winter break, I was given the amazing opportunity to go back to Haiti for the third time. Nothing could have prepared me for my first time co-leading the team, but I would not trade that experience for anything in the world. Our team works with Partners in Development, also known as PID, which is a phenomenal organization that was founded in 1990 to pour into the lives of those in impoverished conditions and provide sustainable resources for overall life improvement. Several programs that PID run include a child sponsorship, small business loans, medical, and housing. A large portion of the trip consists of building and doing construction work for the housing program. During our trip, we worked on a house in Canaan. At the worksite, passed cinderblocks, caught flying buckets of cement, shoveled limestone into wheelbarrows, smoothed wet cement onto the walls, and sifted pebbles into fine sand with a multiple step process. Every task was as challenging as the next and pushed each of us mentally and physically. What made this trip so memorable was being in Haiti on the 7th anniversary of the earthquake. Past trips have not had such a rare opportunity before and it was both beautiful and heartbreaking to experience the solemn atmosphere that covered the nation while voices echoed throughout churches and filled the air with song.
The best way that I have described this trip is that a lot of things did not go as planned, but by the grace of God, it could have been a lot worse. An example of this is our first day. Our ride to Boston Logan was an hour late, our plane to Miami arrived early thus resulting in a forty-five-minute standstill on the runway, and another two hour wait from Miami to Haiti because two passengers wanted to get off of the plane and their luggage had to be searched for and collected beforehand. My co-leader, Farnel, and I were beyond thankful and so proud of our team for how they pulled through, and kept their spirits up our first day of travel like true champs. Several other bumps in the road came along as the week progressed, but with each challenge, the Lord was with us. An example of this is that He provided clouds to shield us from the hot sun of Canaan, a place that rarely has cloud coverage or strong wind. What were once dry, barren fields three years ago are now lush, green crops that stretch out into the mountains. This is a sign of hope. Renewal.
Our team was very diverse in the fact that everyone had a different level of exposure to other cultures and environments. Each member went through a time of struggle, learning, growth including myself. Something that struck me throughout our time there was an idea- a question. On our last day at the work site, it was very hard to say goodbye to people who we spent time sifting rocks, smoothing walls, and tossing cement-filled buckets with. It was hard to play newly learned hand games with the children for the last time. After holding hands together in a circle, praying, and singing the Doxology, we said a tearful goodbye and left. Looking out to the fields of Canaan, I asked myself, “who am I to say that God doesn’t know what He’s doing? The Lord has a plan and who am I to question that?” He cries with us and fights for us and although my impatient spirit yearns for a complete turnaround for the nation of Haiti, I must wait on Him. I must wait for that moment, hope for the future, and pray that the Lord continues to bless the country with growth and prosperity. Let us not forget that all things happen in His time.
There is not much that I look forward to or map out for the future, but going back to Haiti is one of them. Haiti stole my heart in January of 2015 and seeing so many people remember the names and faces of the Gordon team is just one factor that calls me go back. Short term mission work not something that should deter someone from going to serve. The last three trips to Haiti that I have been a part of have all been different, challenging, eye-opening, impeccable, and motivational and I am so underserving of such a privilege. The last three sentences of my debriefing journal after the trip say, “wow. Jesus, mold me. I don’t want to be stagnant.” As I keep wrestling with hard questions, growing in my faith, and leaning to God, His provision is always there. Throughout my life, Philippians 4:19 has been my life verse as it says, “but my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” and He surely provides. So as I tear up while writing this, I can’t help but remember how even the smallest of blessings were clear evidence of God’s presence. No words can describe how grateful I am for the chance to be a piece of God’s plan for PID and the nation of Haiti.