Traveling to Haiti on a mission trip was one of the most valuable decisions I have ever made. I’m certain that it left marks on my heart for a lifetime to come.
I traveled with 27 other individuals that I’m convinced are some of the most inspiring people in the state of Oklahoma. On the trip, we were able to open a boys’ orphanage, build a home for a Haitian family, and hold a medical clinic. I feel so fortunate to be able to be a part of something so great. Thanks to the With All My Heart foundation, Kize Concepts, and most importantly God, for making it happen. I can’t get over the babies in Haiti and how precious they were. They had the purest hearts and would gleam with joy, just by simply smiling at them. It’s crazy to think that many of the children we were playing with, were orphans. In fact, around 60% of the Haiti population of kids are orphans. I couldn’t even wrap my head around the thought of not wanting these sweet babies I visited with. Sadly, many of the parents left their child at the hospital simply because they knew their life would be better off at an orphanage than at their home. Facing that decision is unthinkable. The kids opened my eyes to so much and really put into perspective how thankful I should be for the so called “little things” that are huge in the eyes of a Haitian. No matter their ripped clothes, dirty hair, pain from an earache, tiredness from the sun, and hunger for food- these kids lit up when you acknowledged their presence. Holding their hand was somehow a connection to their soul, and that I never want to forget.
GLORY TO GOD FOR REVEALING TO ME THAT EVEN WHEN WE MAY EXPERIENCE SOME OF THE LOWEST POINTS OF OUR LIVES, IT’S IMPORTANT TO FIND THE JOY THAT IS PROVIDED AND SUSTAINED FROM HIM ALONE.
Although I feel like being with kids is my forte, playing nurse was pretty fun too, or maybe I just loved wearing the stethoscope around my neck. Rachel, the other nurse, and I took blood pressure, heart rates, oxygen levels, and temperatures. From high temps, to third degree burns, to extremely high blood pressures- we saw it all.
After taking the blood pressure of a sweet man in his 60’s, Rachel and I stared at each other in disbelief. His blood pressure measured so high, he was likely to have a stroke at any minute. We frantically sent him back to one of the doctors in the next room. This sweet man then proceeded to tell Dr. Trad just how unbearable and awful his pain was. He shared with him that he was going to commit suicide the night prior to visiting the clinic because the pain was too much. Going to the clinic that morning was his very last glimpse of hope. Dr. Trad cried with him, distributed medicine to him, and most importantly shared with him the love of Jesus and how valued he was in His eyes. This is when I realized how big the need is for medicine in Haiti and how much we take it for granted in America. I’m just as guilty. Walgreens is literally at every corner and many of the Haitians couldn’t even afford pain reliever, much less anything beyond that. Thank you Jesus for medicine, doctors, and pharmacies that are right at our finger tips. I will now find joy and thankfulness when I reach for my medicine bottle at any moment that I may need it.
The Kize boys, who you may find bench pressing the kids on the front porch of the orphanage, built a home in 3 days for a man named Goman that they met last year while visiting Haiti. They fell in love with his heart when he graciously accepted the bag of rice they brought him. He climbed to the top of every coconut tree to bring them 11 coconuts as a token of his appreciation. This man, this sweet, sweet man… Was hands down one of the hardest working and appreciative man that I’ve ever ran across. He never stopped working. He helped the boys in every way possible and thanked them every minute along the way. Previously, he lived in a “one bedroom home” with his uncle, dad, and three kids and alternated the one “bed” amongst the family. After his new house was built he told the guys, “I have no way to repay you all, no way to give back to you when I wish I could, but God will. God will repay you with even more than I could ever give to you, and I will be praying for you every day that he does just that. Glory to God!”
He brought tears to every person listening. His soul was so pure, his heart was so thankful, and he believed in the power of prayer. He taught us that hard work and prayer will pay off and the best rewards are the intangible ones.
Our last night in Haiti, we invited the people that attended the clinic and people in the surrounding villages to a service to receive the word of the Lord and also to get a bag of food to take home. We worshiped God on the lawn, while the sun set over the mountains, directly behind the new boys’ orphanage home that was built. I hope this image is instilled in my mind forever. The circumstances that many of the Haitians were facing were not ideal. Most didn’t even know how they would make it through another day, yet they still worshiped the Lord. They worshiped Him whole heartedly with the love that He deserves. Even though they had so little, they gave so much. They gave joy, spread love, shared happiness, worshiped freely, and praised God for what little they had. They were desperate to find ways to repay us, when really they taught me so much more than I could ever repay them.
Their joy was contagious, and it wasn’t their circumstances that determined it. They made a choice. They made a choice to be joyful, even when the world around them was telling them to do the opposite.
“In your presence, is fullness of joy” – Psalm 16:11
“Be truly glad, there is wonderful joy ahead” 1Peter 1:6
Thank you Jesus for the organization, With All My Heart and for the great things you are doing through it. If you feel moved to donate or want to know more about the organization please visit wamh.org