Experiencing God

My husband, 18-year-old daughter and I all went to Haiti on Spring Break last March. We prayed about it prior to making the decision. Dan, my husband, said that if it was God’s will for us to go He would provide the means. God did come through for us and made it financially possible for us to all 3 go on this trip. So, we all made preparations physically, spiritually and emotionally to embark on what would be our first visit to a 3rd world country. I have to admit that I set my expectations low as far as the accommodations, comfort and even some of the other people that we had never met that we would be traveling with us. However, I did expect God to work in our lives in a powerful way and was anxious to see what He had in store for us. I never thought of it as we were going there to do some great benevolent work and bless those orphans with our presence. Quite the opposite in fact, I knew that those orphans and this experience were going to be a huge blessing and life changing for us.

It was extremely intimidating the first day. I wasn’t used to so many people being outdoors and so close to our vehicle as we traveled through the city. I envisioned them trying to jump in our van, hold us up, and take our money or worse. Then as time went on and we traveled around the city it became apparent that there were no bad intentions by the locals to victimize us. It also dawned on me that most everyone is outside selling their wares during the day, as this culture doesn’t sit indoors watching TV, playing on the computer, etc. They don’t have that luxury. Every day is about survival, making money to buy what they need to survive, and finding clean water to drink and bathe in.

On day 2, we went to an orphanage in Port au Prince. A sweet lady, Ms. Dorothy, runs this orphanage. She is an American and is willing to take in the sickest of the sick babies and try to nurse them back to health if possible. As I write this I have a lump in my throat thinking about these precious children. Almost instantaneously your whole set of priorities in life come into question when you lay eyes on these sweet little faces and in spite of their circumstances they have smiles that absolutely light up a room! ALL they want is to be held, played with and loved…nothing else. Tough duty we were called to do but we persevered and hugged on these little ones, played with them and loved on them! My life and that of my family’s was forever changed that day. The Bible says true religion is to take care of orphans and widows. Now having experienced this blessing first hand I can see why. That verse comes to life because through these orphans you experience God! It’s not us helping them and being God’s Hands and Feet but them ministering to our hearts in a way that no one else ever had. You can’t leave there with the same perspectives of life that you walked in with. I believe this is why God provided the means for my family to take this journey.

We left the following day to Gonaives to see the Coreluv Orphanage. The pure joy on the children’s faces when they saw our group come in to see them was priceless. Our hearts melted and we were genuinely “wrecked.” As a mother and a wife watching my husband and my daughter have absolutely no inhibitions and just going up to them and hugging them, giving them piggy back rides, playing and loving on these precious little souls was a gift that was worth more than pure gold. What a beautiful sight to behold! And if this wasn’t enough we had our evening worship times on the balcony of the guesthouse under the stars looking out over a mountain across the road. Haitians were busy down below on the street and the presence of God completely filled us. We sang praises to Him and gave testimonies of where we saw God that day.

What struck me as odd when we were back in Houston and drove home from the airport was a sign on a veterinary clinic marquis that was advertising someone’s lost dog. I thought to myself, our pets here have it so much better than the majority of the population on this planet and yet we take so much for granted. The simple task of getting a glass of clean water from the faucet is something you don’t take for granted after a trip like that. We saw Haitians that would walk 6 miles a day just to get water! Air conditioning, transportation, stores full of food, pantries and refrigerators full of food, we have more than we need yet tend to grumble and complain and never be satisfied. Our friends in Haiti have literally not even the bare necessities of life yet are smiling, happy and not bitter. We brought lessons home with us from those people and that country. Lessons that we hope we can pass on to others but there is absolutely no substitution for experiencing it firsthand. The impact it makes will change your life!

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