Category Archives: Background

18 Days!

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In honor of the fact that our trip is 18 days away and we have 18 participants, check out our “Who We Are” tab to get quick bios on our participants.

While we’re still in the planning stages and there’s not a lot of trip details to report, there’s a book that I want to share. It’s a book that I was given by a friend right before I left for a mission trip last summer. She’d just finished reading it and she said that I should give it a try.

Written by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision in the United States, “The Hole in Our Gospel: What does God Expect of Us” is a book that every Christian should consider. The premise is blindingly simple and comes from James 2: 14-18 which say:

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”   Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

Stearns recounts his own struggle with faith and his decision to eventually leave Lenox and and join World Vision at a significant pay cut.  The book is honest and doesn’t push any agenda other than doing God’s work.

I hope that as we travel to Haiti, that we can show our faith through our deeds.

Where We’ll Be

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We will be visiting a town called Cange, Haiti which is located about 2 hours by vehicle from the capital city of Port-Au-Prince. Haiti is located on the island of Hispaniola, between Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. Haiti occupies one-third of the island; the rest belongs to the Dominican Republic.

Map of Haiti

According to the World Factbook, published by the United States CIA, Haiti has the worst malnutrition (nearly half of the population is chronically undernourished), the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality, and the worst AIDS epidemic in the Americas. Whereas the infant mortality rate in the United States is 5.98 deaths per 100,000 live births, the rate for Haiti is 52.44 deaths per 100,00 live births.

95 percent of Haiti’s population is black; the other 5 percent is mulatto or white. Over 80 percent of the population identifies as Roman Catholic with another 16 percent identifying as Protestant (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%).

Cangeis a small village located in the Central Plateau of the country. It sets on the edge of Lake Peligre which was created by a large hydroelectric dam. Cange is home to an organization called Zanmi Lasante, or Partners in Health, which services the people of Haiti. Created in 1985, the clinic “[features] a 104-bed, full-service hospital with an infectious disease center, … a women’s health clinic, … a laboratory, a pharmaceutical warehouse, a Red Cross blood bank, and a dozen schools.”

As you can see, there is need in this community and we are excited in our mission to play a small role.

Introductions

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To try to imagine how each of 18 different young adults arrived at this opportunity is next to impossible. We are diverse and we each carry our own story; however, for the next month (and possibly for the rest of our lives) our experiences will overlap and will bring us together. We were each graciously chosen for our unique talents, abilities, and life experiences — not only by the search committee but by God.

Isaiah 6:8 says “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

It shows a lot of faith to apply for a mission trip with a group of people you may have never met before. There’s not a safety net of having your friends or people from your church there. You enter into this on blind faith that this is what God wants from you. You look at him and say those words from Isaiah — send me to do YOUR will. I think that’s a powerful choice to go where God leads without knowing what will happen.

We met for the first time on Saturday to get the details of our trip. It was our first opportunity to gather any information on the people who’d be going with us. Granted, I knew from looking at the email addresses of my fellow attendees that one of them is a “six foot beast” and that several attend Appalachian State but I had no real idea as to who I’d be meeting. When I walked in, everyone was smiling and welcoming.

The majority of our time was spent learning about where we’d be going and getting the itinerary for our trip. We met the team and introduced ourselves before really diving into the project. I felt really empowered by the fact that the project wasn’t completely laid out before us, that we had the power to use our knowledge to impact what we’d be doing.

This blog will chronicle our trip. Please join us on this adventure.