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.
I will trust in Him to lead and guide me where He wants me to go. With that said, my desire and prayer for you is that in seeing our pictures and videos and reading these short testimonies you may be motivated and encouraged to help restore and renew this broken world by either visiting other countries or even being where you are now believing and living as if God's reconciling work is true in every space we find ourselves in.
One thing I realized while being in Haiti was how much of a “bubble” I was in. I was raised in a Christian home so this trip really opened my eyes and my heart to God and to see that there is so much more out there in the world than what I know. It was amazing to see how God really uses those who make themselves available to Him. Just as it says in 2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” How important it was to make myself available to God. To let Him use me in whatever way He wanted. How I will strive to make myself available to Christ every single day of my life.
During the formation of the Tower of Refuge, I began hearing here and there about people from my church going to the country of Haiti to do mission work. I was already intrigued. Then as the team proceeded to present pictures and testimonies of their trip, I was sold. I wanted to be a part of the work and experiences taking place in Haiti. I cannot explain how or why my heart was so touched by this particular mission trip and not others. Without hesitation, I knew that’s where I wanted to go. The desire to go never left, the only problem was I had to be 18. Once 18 rolled around, the only problem was time and finances… But when God has a plan, nothing can stop it.
Wee morning hours, Tuesday, June 19, 2012: Somewhere over the continental U.S., American Airlines we’re on the plane. By “we”, I mean all ten of us in the HMT3 Team: me, Damaris Secrian, Debby and Sandy Bohunita, Mimi Muresan, Dina and Paul Prunean, Gabi Ilioi, Nick Gaboras, and Cornel Nicorici (Fratele Nelu is on a different flight—we will meet in Miami). I’m sitting next to Cornel on the flight to Miami. He’s knocked out and I’m bored. I have so many mixed feelings about this trip. I can’t sleep. I can never sleep on flights. I’m excited and nervous. I know that God is with us—the experience at the airport sealed that guarantee. And I know we have an army of prayer warriors back home who are constantly lifting us up in prayer. Even little Abi Blaga promised me that she would pray for me every day! But I can’t help fighting the fear that danger is looming in Jacmel.
Of all the challenges that one could have thought to have on a mission trip to Haiti, getting our packages checked in should have been the least of our concerns. God works in strange ways, but doesn’t let anything happen without a reason. Because of our issue with the box like configuration of our packages, we were prevented from checking them in. With no success with the check-in clerk and his supervisor “Rashel” ( Rachel), our patience was tested by having to wait for the manager to return. Being able to reason with the manager, she allowed our packages to be checked in. But then God really worked for us and without even thinking to ask, she offered to call Miami airport and make sure we wouldn’t have any issues getting the packages from Miami to Haiti! Praise the Lord!
“Maturity starts with the willingness to give oneself.” In her book, Let Me Be A Woman, Elisabeth Elliot describes an atypical definition of maturity. I never knew the reality of this statement until I experienced it first hand in the mountains of Haiti. A small group from my church, including my husband and myself, accepted the invitation from a friend to come and help a group of orphaned children last June. Having been on short mission trips in the past (to the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Mexico, and Honduras), my husband and I excitedly anticipated another adventure. When we arrived there we realized that God did not want to show us another adventure, He wanted to test our willingness to give.