This trip to Haiti was an Anniversary trip. My one year mission trip anniversary was celebrated on my 5th trip to Haiti. But this wasn’t just “my” anniversary. It was also the 2 year anniversary of the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake that quickly turned an already fragile Haiti into a land of utter devastation… over 300,000 lives lost, another 300,000 injured and over 1,000,000 homeless… those that were already famished became completely helpless. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been two years since the earthquake, and even harder to believe that the tragedy of hundreds of thousands seems to be a faded memory to many…. but not to our missionaries… No matter if you have been to Haiti one time or five times… once your feet hit the ground, your eyes, your mind and your heart will never allow Haiti to be a faded memory.
When I am in Haiti, the rest of life’s stresses are far from conscious thought… I feel different. I am focused. I am always watching for ways we can help… thinking of how we can influence change … hoping we can play a role in bringing about an improved way of life. As I think, and as I continue to observe, my heart cries out and tears fill my eyes … many times a day… much like they are now as I recall my experience in Haiti…
Are we really helping? Is our mission work bringing about change? ABSOLUTELY! I have learned the difference merely giving vitamins makes to children who eat dirt for meals. I have seen an elderly woman who suffered a stroke wheeled to our doctors with her body unnaturally folded up and shoved into a wheelbarrow… PFH didn’t just give her a wheelchair, but a new way of life and restored dignity. I’ve seen web-handed children have simple operations and in later trips they’ve shown us how they learned to use their “new” fingers. I’ve seen a lifeless little boy hours away from dying, eating, smiling and healthily walking home only days after our care. I’ve seen our local interpreters grow up and eagerly start nursing school after being inspired by our doctors.
Though providing medical care is our primary mission, we cannot help but share our love along the way. I’m not a “mom” at home, but in Haiti I’ve become a “mom” to many. I can’t begin to explain the feeling that fills me when the orphanage children call me “mom.” I know it’s because I’m a regular part of their life and I open my heart to them. They trust in me. They know they count on me to not leave them for long. And I will not let them down. Each time I leave, it breaks my heart to go, but they know I will soon be back. Though I have not had children, all of these angels are my kids and the people of Haiti are my family.
I am honored to be a part of the family People for Haiti created, and am blessed to continue to witness such long term change and long term relationships develop from our short term mission trips. If you haven’t already, I hope you will soon join our family.