Returned from Haiti

Hi everyone,

I cannot believe the whole month of December has passed and I have not posted here. I have had a lot on my mind and I am going to be sharing it in the next few weeks....on a more regular basis.

Today, I wanted to talk about Haiti and share my blog post that I posted for my church. I will also share our other team members blogs from that week. In case you have forgotten, I went to Haiti on a mission trip with my church December 10-16th. We served in an orphanage that is supported by our church.

I hope it will give you an insight into Haiti. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people that are in great, dire need. Especially the children, who are the innocent ones to suffer from man's corrupt nature.

Here is a look into our week.

December Team Update
Here is the first update from our December Haiti team. They are sharing the Good News with our kids this week! Please pray for them as they teach the children about the birth of our Savior! Susan Mayo wrote the post below, this is her first mission trip to Haiti.

My first day in Jeremie, Haiti By: Susan Mayo

I have been asked to write about my first day in Haiti. I was quite apprehensive about coming. I am married and have two small children. My husband, Greg, came on a construction team three months after the earthquake, so I had seen his pictures and heard his stories. Still, being a mom and leaving small children to travel internationally to a third world country, I had to really consider the risks and benefits. That’s how I looked at it anyway. I have lives dependent on me and I love them very much. But God made it clear that this was the trip for me. Despite all the apprehension I decided to go, trusting the Lord and His leading.

Even though I have never been to a third world country, I have seen poverty. I have seen hungry children living in squalor, it just happened to be in the United States. I am a counselor and one of my first jobs out of grad school had me going into homes providing intensive therapy to families. Most of these families were poor. Obviously, the poor in Haiti are much poorer, much more in need. But, with each job that I took I found myself in homes that were in very shady and dangerous parts of town, and communities where there was great need. I always worked with children, who were reaping the consequences of difficult life based on lack of resources, education and poor choices.

I am saying all this because I felt I had been exposed to poverty and had a pretty good idea what that looked like and I think that prepared me for this trip somewhat better than others who have never been exposed to poverty. And with that exposure comes a bit of a hardened heart. Call it protection, call it callousness, but there is an outer coating to the heart that comes year after year of working with those in need. Otherwise, your heart breaks over and over again, and you have a job to do and sometimes the feelings can be overwhelming so you look at it very business like, learning how not to feel the pain of others. I mean the Bible tells us the poor will always be with us, right? So do what you can and what you have been called to do, but don’t get too close.

But even with all that protection built up, nothing can prepare you for children whose bellies are protruding from hunger. I had worked with hungry children in America, but they had a school system that fed them at least two meals a day. And even though I have worked with homeless children, we have an organized government that at least attempts to provide for those with less resources and access to education. There are also programs, ministries, soup kitchens, nonprofits, etc. There is still a need, but at least we have an organized way of providing for those in need.

In Haiti, there is no safety net. There is no government that attempts to look out for it’s own. From what I understand it is corrupt. So, people are so poor that poor doesn’t even describe what they are. Abject poverty doesn’t really seem to cover it either. They are people. Human lives. And they are hungry. They are dirty and live in conditions that I find repulsive. No running water. No electricity. I saw sewage running in the street along with all the trash because they don’t have any ways to dispose of their waste. Hungry, malnourished children were visible at every corner. This was both in Port Au Prince and the city of Jeremie, which is where Long Hollow’s orphanage is located.

Then we went to the orphanage. That is a very overwhelming experience. The children rushed the bus. Eager to love and be loved on. I have never experienced anything like that. And as I walked through the orphanage, I was amazed that this is considered the “good life” for them. They have a place to stay, food to eat, people to care for them and more importantly, they learn about Jesus. But, it’s not the Ritz. I think someone referred to it as the “Haitian Ritz” last night. I mean, it isn’t much, but it is one hundred times better than if they were living on the street.

The children are dirty and they smell. But I didn’t care. I was covered in dirt from head to toe when I left that orphanage and that was nothing compared to what filth these children had lived in before coming to the orphanage. Here they could bathe and have different clothes to change into. They have food every day. They are in school, learning. And they learn about Jesus every day. Even though they don’t have an earthly father they now have the opportunity to personally know an eternal Father who will never leave them or forsake them, no matter what lot in life they have been given.

To us it might not seem like much, but to them it’s everything. I am still soaking everything in. Processing it. I am open, ready for God to move in my heart; the same heart that I have been attempting to protect for so long. He brought me here for a reason, I know this, and I don’t want to mess this up. So, I continue to watch, listen and wait. But I have a feeling I’m not going to have to look very far for my object lesson.
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