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I’m still decompressing and processing everything I experienced during my week in Haiti, but I wanted to share a little bit with those who helped me to get there and everyone else who has asked how it went.
Monday morning, as my husband was driving me to the airport, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of fear and all I could think is, “I can’t do this!” I almost told him to turn around and go home. The reality of not seeing my family for a week and possibly not speaking to them hit me hard and fast. I kept my mouth shut, reminded myself that God had a plan and that He would sustain me throughout my trip and boarded my first plane. After the first flight was over, I felt significantly more confident.
When we arrived in Haiti, we were bombarded by men whose only means of income was basically begging at the airport. Some were pushy, some presented themselves as helpful friends who just wanted to lend a hand. Most people automatically think, “Get a job”, and then the reality of your location sets in and that annoyance, for me, was replaced with compassion I don’t think I’ve ever felt. Lesson/confirmation #1 - if I am pursuing the heart of God and my desire is to imitate Christ, compassion shouldn’t be secondary, it should be my primary reaction.
I was the only woman in our team of 6, and they’d never had a woman on any previous trips so none of us were prepared for the cultural differences and honestly, in my American naivety, I just figured they’d ignore me, pat me on my head for not knowing any better and move on. Instead, the Pastor’s wife made sure I had extra clothes which was incredibly uncomfortable for me because I’m not a dress or skirt kind of gal. I was ready to dig in the dirt, run around with some kids and instead I was introduced to the world that the Haitian women live every day. They work hard to maintain their homes, all day, every day. The fact that we were there and that they wanted to give us their very best meant that they worked harder. They didn’t have the modern conveniences that I personally take for granted literally every day of my life. They don’t have electricity most of the time, so that means no washers and dryers, no stoves, no refrigerators to store your meat and freeze enough for the week. It means daily trips to the market to pick up fresh vegetables, fruit and whatever meat you’re cooking for that day. It means sitting in the yard, drawing buckets of water from the well and spending hours washing clothes and hanging them out to dry.
I am married to an amazing man, who busts his tail to provide for our family and treats me like a queen even when I probably don’t deserve it. He does it because he loves us, he has a heart to serve and he is blessed because of it. I’ve grown to appreciate him in a new way over the last few months and actually started to feel bad because I feel like I don’t reciprocate that nearly enough. It never bothered me until recently, and before I even started to plan the trip, I started to pray for motivation to be more committed to being a more productive wife and mother. Lesson/confirmation #2 - I have NO excuse to give my husband and my children anything less than my absolute best every single day.
I couldn’t have hand-picked a better group of people to travel with and I’m so glad God put together this particular team.
There was a “papa bear” type who looked out for me throughout the trip because he knew any good man would appreciate knowing that someone had his wife’s back her first time out of the country. One of our team leaders floored me the first time I met him at a marriage seminar last year because he was so open to the Holy Spirit and told me things about myself that absolutely blew my mind. From that point, I was eager to be more open to that kind of guidance and I always look forward to any time I get to spend with him because I see the passion in his heart for the vision that God has given him. His partner has that same fire and a great sense of humor to go along with it which brings great levity to sometimes awkward situations and makes any encounter with him a great one. 2 of the guys were much younger than the rest of us, 18 and 20 and I was SO impressed by their fearlessness and desire to go wherever God leads. I had that same spirit when I was younger and allowed myself to forget it over the years so I was inspired daily by these two young men to continue to rekindle that fire.
7 days is a lot to process, and I’d fill up the internet trying to share it all with you. I cried a little, laughed a lot and I’m sure God will continue to help me sift through everything I experienced but I know that I definitely got what I went for and so much more. Thank you again to everyone who helped me get there, you’ll never fully understand just how wonderful you are to me and how large your role was in this particular part of my life, but I will be forever grateful.
Some people have expressed interest in mission trips and had no idea where to start. This is the team that I went with to Haiti. Aside from the fact that I personally think they are amazing human beings, I appreciate the very intentional nature of their ministry. They are building relationships in various locations, so you will have the opportunity to go and follow up in the place you are lead to go.
Before I left, my heart was set on service to my family and the ways I could be more diligent in my day to day tasks. The blessing of wearing “wife and mother” as my primary job title is something I’m still adjusting to and even take for granted at times. Spending the week in Haiti opened my eyes and blew my mind in various ways, but seeing Pastor Julio’s wife organize and run her home was absolutely awe inspiring. To her, it is service in love to them and anyone who comes to their home. If I’m able to imitate even a fraction of that, I’ll definitely be much better at my job. -Marcia Perry