When I think back to Haiti, it sometimes feels like it was just some crazy dream that I had. It seems so unreal that I was actually there and actually got to be apart of the events that occurred there. Since I’ve been back in The States, people have often asked me how it was. And all I can say to those people is, “It was amazing”. Sometimes I feel like I would do some kind of injustice to the trip and all it was by trying to explain how it was in details, because I often feel that no one could ever truly understand what it was like just based off the words that come out of my mouth. Gabi Illioi said something at our post-Haiti trip meeting, and it was that he doesn’t always know the impact that we have in Haiti, but we definitely know the impact that Haiti has on us. That is about the most accurate thing about this whole trip.
We left on the trip on August 18, 2016, after a lot of planning and meetings to prepare us. I went with the purpose of making a video for the trip, so the plan on my end was to be less involved with the mission trip itself, and more involved with the filming. But in the end, I found that there were more times where I would rather put the camera down and take in what I was seeing around me. If I could pluck out any 3 things that I learned from this trip, it would be this:
- Our plans don’t matter when God has greater ones.
- There is a world full of people that need our help, and we ought to help them.
- Prayer works.
Let me start with number one. Like I said, we had done plenty of planning. But so much of that planning seemed to almost be in vain when the weather conditions ended up hindering us from what we had planned to do. When it started to rain and we couldn’t go to the mountains that we had planned to go to, it almost seemed like we were going to waste our days. But somehow, some way, God always found a way to give us something to do. In the end, the trip became such a productive one. God made a way for certain things to happen that we never would have imagined could happen in the time it did. Even being a rough situation with being able to shoot the video, God made a way for it all to work out. Because of a situation that literally just got handed to us, God made a way for a group of four to be able to go back to Haiti early next year to shoot a documentary for Tower of Refuge. God was so good to us on this trip.
Then there’s Haiti itself. The culture shock is incredible when you first land at the airport it Port-au-Prince. Coming from America where we have all that we could ever want and every opportunity to have the riches of the world at our finger tips, it’s hard to land in a place of such lawlessness, filth, poverty, evil practices, and sadness, and not feel like everything that you have in life is so much more than you will ever deserve. Spending time with the kids at the orphanage and hearing some of their stories make you feel like not just like you want to do something to help, but you need to do something to help. The last Sunday we spent in Haiti happened to be my birthday, and I remember talking to one of the kids at the orphanage about birthdays. He asked when mine was, and I told him it was Sunday. I asked him when his was, and he said, “I don’t know.” That stuck to me. Every year, I celebrate another year of my good life. And here, in a country that is often forgotten and uncared for, in a village on the mountain walking down a muddy road lived a person. A God-created human just like me. Why do I get to celebrate my good life every year, when this person doesn’t even know the day to celebrate his birthday, because his parents died when he was so young? Everything about the experiences you see in Haiti make you want to leave everything you have behind and help in any way you possibly can. They need the help.
Third, but definitely not last –in fact, probably most importantly – prayer works. You hear that often, but I want to tell you it really works. There were certain things that happened in Haiti that often can make you very afraid, or very uncertain. And it’s in moments like those when you can actually feel the prayer of everyone back home. The prayers of our church, our friends, and our family were overwhelmingly helpful. On top of feeling the prayers from back home, God taught me what true prayer really means. So many questions that I had regarding my own spiritual life were answered on that trip. Why is it that often times my prayers are not answered the way I want them to be? God has His own plans, and they are better than mine. Why do I sometimes feel like my prayers aren’t being heard by anyone? I lack the faith to believe that God actually does hear my prayers, and answered them. Why do I feel such a lack of joy in my spiritual life? My attachment to the things of this life has blocked out so much of what true joy is: an abandonment of this life and all its pleasure and a true pursuit of Christ and all He has to offer. Why does it seem like the churches we have back home aren’t on fire for God and don’t have a thirst for His power? The church has lost its first love. It has come so far from the simplicity of the gospel that we don’t know what true joy is anymore. If Haiti taught me anything, it’s the thing I’ve heard all my life and never really let hit me: Humans are messed up people in need of a savior. God sent His son to die for us, to die in our place and take the guilt of the world upon Himself. If we choose to follow Him, and completely abandon the current life we live in pursuit of God, with that comes eternal life. Joy. Peace. Love.
Those words ring so true to me. “I don’t always know the impact we have on Haiti, but I definitely see the impact Haiti has on my life.”
Author: Benjamin Baesu
Trip: Summer 2016