I have traveled to many different cultures and each time I try to do so with little to no expectations and with an opened heart to see the Lord! When we arrived to Haiti we were greeted with a pleasant smile! One that made you feel welcomed and filled you with excitement. We were not only meeting Haitians for the first time but in a few cases we were meeting our Haiti Team for the first time! While we did have some disagreements, interesting conversations, and lots of continuous laughter I know without a shadow of a doubt that God orchestrated it all! This group of strangers from different parts of North Carolina became a family in love with the God who sent us to do His work.
I enjoyed the photography of our trip and being able to watch kids use their imagination like they never have before! I hope that now that we are gone that they keep their imaginations running wild and free to experience the joy and beauty of photography. While not everyone is a photographer, I did learn that no matter what you sound like “Good ole Methodist” can SANG! When we couldn’t find something to do because of rain or no entertainment there was always singing and dancing! I found myself in a kitchen worshiping and in a metal building scream praises to the Lord as rain prevented us from our last photography class. I was blessed to share the Gospel through song on a national Haitian radio station. Music was a underlying theme that created memories for a life time! I will never again be able to listen to “Don’t Stop Believing” without seeing Paul and Connor doing twinkle toes! “It is Well with my Soul” will never again be sung the same way in my heart. “How Great Thou Art” will always be a song of unity!
While all of these are incredible memories my greatest memory I will always hold dear is the importance of smiling and laughter. Bad days can always seem better with a smile, hope is always shown in laughter, tickling no matter what your age will always make you feel loved! We have one life to live, we don’t have to have a plan for it all, days aren’t always going to be amazing but God will always bless us and those around us with a simple smile or a cute giggle from a child! I have learned to treasure ice cubes, clean water, and running water!
Before leaving I decided my over all theme for my pilgrimage to Haiti would be “Light” my focus scripture was John 8:12 — Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”come! We found that having light was important! We had days and nights where there was no electricity! This challenged us to think out side of the box! I will never forget standing in darkness holding hands of my team members prayer over dinner, our last word, amen, triggered the light! Every time from that point forward when we had no light, I would hear someone yelling for me to start praying! Perhaps that was the answer I went on this trip to find that I had been searching for and unable to clearly hear God say to me! God calls us all to be in the light! But He also desires us to walk into the darkness to share and spread His light!
So I challenge each of you who has followed our pilgrimage to Haiti to be come the smile that uplifts a hurting soul, the laughter that brings sorrow to joy and the light that changes a world full of darkness! While we might have been the chosen ones to go to Haiti we CALL on you to help us NEVER FORGET and to allow us to continue sharing the story of Haiti with you all!
To my Team— You all will always be near and dear to my heart! I praise the Lord for allowing me the opportunity to learn from each of you! Each of you will always have a special place in my heart! We are all bonded together with the memories we were so richly blessed with! Thank you for your laughter, smiles, talent, conversations, advice and love! To the “poop room” I love you all! I still can’t believe nothing of Connor’s was in my bags, I wish I would have Lysoled like James told me to, Stephanie maybe one day I will talk without an accent haha I doubt that! Madison you are just an amazing young lady and Hannah (Coconut) I know I owe you some tooth paste Ill try to get some to Boone SOON haha! Thank you ALL for changing my LIFE and challenging me to become who Christ calls me to be! I am forever changed and blessed!