At this very moment, our Haiti missions team is on their way to Sous Raille. For the past week, Sharon Hensley has been sending the current team words of encouragement from several past Haiti travelers. The goal was to build anticipation and excitement for this trip they are about to embark on, and to let them know that past travelers really are spurring them on, praying for them and are excited for them because they know what these folks are about to experience.
Yesterday, they received their last message and it was from Glenda Owens. As you continue to pray for our team, we thought we would share Glenda’s email that was sent to the group! Enjoy!
Bonjou anbasadè parèy…
If we can trust Google translator, this translates to “Hello, fellow ambassadors…”
Haiti was not my first international mission travel, but will always hold first place in my heart as the most special experience. Over the years, I’ve been part of quite a few work / mission teams both as an adult leader for the youth and with other adult teams. With each of those trips, circumstances were improved for many, lives were changed, and seeds were sown. And these same things happened when I visited Haiti for the first time in 2016. So what sets this experience apart from all the other trips? It boils down to one very important word –relationship.
In Haiti, I didn’t touch the first paint brush, shovel, stick of lumber, or piece of computer network equipment. We didn’t clean up anyone’s yard, or haul away piles of debris and rubble left behind by hurricanes and floods, or work to set up improved computer systems. What we did do was play – we played a lot! We interacted with children and adults every day, and not just with passing greetings. They played with us too – laughing at our antics and trying hard to understand our North American games and ideas. This was not ‘nation building’ – this was ‘relationship engagement’ – you see, our mission to engage in Christ-transforming relationships knows no boundaries of geography, economy, or civics.
If this is your first out of country mission team, or your first mission team at all, the best encouragement I can offer up is this: “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us” (Ephesians 3:20 the message). You have a plan for each day in Haiti. And each of you has one or more assignments to help bring that plan to fruition. But be as gentle with yourselves as God’s Spirit is with us. Remember to breathe and to laugh and don’t be afraid to cry. You are going to see unimaginable need and poverty in Haiti – but you are going to experience unimaginable joy in each village and school, in each little hand that tentatively grabs hold of yours.
Friends, watch to see what Jesus is already doing, join Him there, and be blessed. (Oh, and don’t drink the water!)