Today marks one year since the start of our week long mission to Haiti. The past few weeks the thought of what I was doing a year ago was something I could not keep myself from dwelling on.
A year ago I was frantically packing my backpack and checking things off a list to make sure I was prepared for Haiti.
A year ago I was praying with some of my best friends that we may be lights in Haiti.
A year ago I had no idea what the next seven days would hold and that what I would see would change my heart forever.
A year ago I had no clue that I would feel this empty a year later.
Our mission trip was immediately devastating and rewarding. Poverty was thrown in our face but we got to love on some kids and see lots of good other people were doing in Haiti.
We loved on kids every day, carried bricks down a mountain, prayed over people, and mostly just learned about the country.
What are we doing now?
Man this is the hard part. What do you do after you come home from a place that desperately needs people and prayer and encouragement and knowledge?
There are days I am impatient because the line at Starbucks is too long and I’m going with out breakfast so I won’t be late to work. There are days that I really don’t want to study I just want to watch TV or mess around on Facebook.
WHO CARES? Some of these people don’t eat for days and have to walk miles for clean water. Many do not get the chance to go to college.
No one warns you about forgetting.
That is the thing about short term missions. I know HELP One Now has a great relationship with the communities they shared with us in Haiti and I actively keep up with what they are doing there. I know that our money and the time we spent there helped them continue their relationships and the ability to bless the children in the various orphanages and different families in Jean Alix’s community. But what am I doing now?
The first six months after re-entry all I could do was talk about Haiti. I told my friends, my family, random people I would wait on at work. You said two words to me and it was word vomit about all the craziness going on in Haiti.
Now, some days I forget I even went.
I know, terrible person over here. But seriously, how many people out there go on mission trips and sometimes forget to remember and tell people about what was there?
Some of the best conversations I have ever had with people back home started with me telling them about what is going on in Haiti. We can not forget to talk about it. We can not forget to pray about it. We can not forget to do something about it.
I wish I had the ability and the knowledge to go back and really give back something more life giving. There is only so much you can do in seven days.
Usually us Americans go somewhere and ultimately take. Haiti did more for me and my heart than I ever did for it. This is so backwards.
My fear is that the kids we spent all week with in the village see so many faces come and go and build houses and make promises of coming back and then never do. I want to go back just to say “I wasn’t kidding when I said I would come back and hug you and encourage you to keep working and learning and loving your country”.
I know God will provide for them. But as humans and as Americans the natural instinct of “I can do anything” creeps up and steals your mind away for a while in hopes of making your own plans.
Maybe some day God will present me with the opportunity to go back. But for now I still struggle.
Thy cause, not our own, engages our hearts,
And we appeal to thee with greatest freedom
To set up thy kingdom in every place where Satan reigns;
Glorify thyself and I shall rejoice,
For to bring honor to thy name is our sole desire
Lord, use us as thou wilt,
do with us what thou wilt;
but, O, prompt thy cause,
let thy kingdom come,
let thy blessed interest be advanced in this world!
O do thou bring great numbers to Jesus!
let us see that glorious day,
and give us to grasp for multitudes of souls;
let us be willing to die to that end;
and while we live let us labour for thee
to the utmost of our strength,
spending time profitably in this work
both in health and in weakness.
It is thy cause and kingdom I long for, not my own.
-The Valley of Vision