“This is the trip that started
a journey with Christ
and changed everything!”
My name is John and in the Spring of 2009 I took my first trip to Haiti. I had traveled extensively within the USA, but never been outside (at least not to a country where I needed a passport). So to go to a country that, in my mind was ravished with poverty, was a unique opportunity I couldn’t pass up. And in my inexperience my preconceived ideas of what to expect had me thinking we would be this group that “came to save the day” so to speak. Looking back now, what a “prideful” thought that was.
I personally love to travel and experience new things, and flying into Cap-Haïtien on a DC-3 and being thrust into a land I had never set foot on, in a culture I had never experienced, and a language I had never heard was exciting and challenging. But something I gladly welcomed. There is safety in numbers, and while I never was scared, I could see how someone not like me would find comfort in the group we were with. The truth is we were never in harm’s way, but sometimes perception is reality.
During our time there, we had a fairly regimented list of activities, along with many opportunities to interact with the locals. Some of our group worked in the local medical clinic. Others worked as teachers within the school reading to the students. And some did maintenance on the grounds and in the village. There was always something to be done, and many of the locals enjoyed interacting with us and practising their English skills.
While I could go on writing about all these wonderful things we did, the real story is the impact on me personally and how it changed my future. One of the first things I noticed from most everyone was how happy people are. It probably helped that this was a fairly established mission within this village, but what was painfully obvious was how little everyone has. However, everyone wore a smile. The children might have one really beat up soccer ball to kick around… and it was enough. I saw one basketball that some of our group started a pick-up game with… it was enough. Children made a game out of rocks and tiny fruit… it was enough. It made me realise, and reprioritize what was truly important. I questioned, “Do I really need the excess I live with? What are the truly important things in my life? Do I really “love” the people who might irk me, or do I separate the so-called good from the bad?” The Haitian people are unencumbered with the 1st world problems we have, and in a way this is a good thing!
The second thing I noticed was the true “fear of God”. I think as Americans and living in this age of grace, we really do take God for granted. We put God in a box where (as “good Christians”) we go to church, pray for “good things”, and for some possibly live the rest of the week for The World. At the time I was well established in the worship team in my church and doing the “corporate worship” thing really believing I was making God an integral part of my life. After all, I was participating and doing the “church thing” and being a part of that community. But when I attended that first church service in the village I was absolutely humbled and in awe. The quality of musicianship may have been lacking in skill, however these Haitian church attendees demonstrated such a pure and passionate worship for Christ that was undeniable. It made me realise right then and there how God doesn’t care about how good you can perform, or perhaps the quality of the equipment you’re using. It’s only the quality of the heart you bring to the table.
From this one trip I had a new perspective that has stayed with me until this day. And from this one trip God has given me a passion and opened doors to allow me to travel globally for God’s kingdom.
Maybe travelling isn’t your passion. Maybe teaching or medical care isn’t your “thing”. But I would encourage you if the Holy Spirit has you thinking about a trip, or even sponsoring someone to take a trip, to pursue this further and seek God’s plan for you. Who knows… you may find yourself finishing the statement, “This is a trip that got me started..” with an answer like, “Treating my spouse and children with more love.” or “having better relationships with my co-workers.” What’s God’s plan for you?
Take a trip with us today!
We have several trips going throughout the year which we would love for you to be a part of. If you would like more information on how you can actively be a part of God’s kingdom in this way, contact us today.