As a follow-up to their week in Haiti, several team-members were asked to provide some of their observations from the experience. Here’s what they’re saying:
The thing that came to me is how blessed we in the USA are to have a stable government. Only recently has Haiti had any form of democratic government after years of dictators and coups. This trip we noticed signs of investment in buildings and some utilities that show a willingness to invest in the future of Haiti.
It’s amazing how cordial and nice most of the Haitians are toward others even though they are most of the time struggling to survive. It shows me that attitude has nothing to do with our surroundings or circumstances.
Even though Haiti is a lot slower culture than what we are, I was amazed how God blended our work together to see a church being built for his kingdom and that there is potential ministry for the village around that church to the Love of the God that we worship. The area was known for Voodoo and how God provide it to turn completely around for his glory! The Haitian people do not have the tools on supply like in the U.S. but they are creative in making the items they need to construct and to build. We as a team established a relationship with the people in the small village of Bord-De-Mor. We pray that this one week of hard labor will bring many people to the knowledge of having a personal relationship with Jesus. No matter if we are abroad or right here at home people watch us and see how we live. Each day is a reminder to want to walk is Jesus footsteps, and be more like him.
While sitting in church on Sunday morning, not understanding all that was being said, I noticed that many of the children had red hair…or at least a red tint in their hair. (I’m colorblind, so the color must have really stood out for me to notice it.) That seemed really odd to me since most Haitians have black hair. I assumed the phenomena was due to the mixed past of Haiti, to her history of being invaded and mistreated; perhaps there was a redheaded slave owner somewhere in that history…During the week as we worked and mingled with the people that lived around the church that we were building, I kept noticing children with red hair. As we were leaving Haiti on Saturday, I chatted with a nurse serving in Haiti on a medical mission. And I learned that the red hair I had seen resulted not from a slave owner, but from malnutrition. If I’d known that earlier in the week, I would have made sure to share my cereal bars with red-haired kids! In any case, I thank God that I was able to spend the week serving people who own basically nothing. God allowed our team to help in the construction of a new church/school building for some brothers and sisters in Christ who would never have been able to do the work on their own.
Most surprising thing to me was that most of the men that we were working with to build the church only made five dollars a day. I also got close to one of these men, Pierre, as I worked with him every day and found out that he lost his parents at a young age and he is now responsible to take care of his younger siblings. I found this out as I asked if he was married or had a girlfriend, as he was 26. It was later explained that there would be no way he would be able to have time or money to do that as his main responsibility was his family.
Their culture is different in many ways; however, one of the biggest thing I liked about their culture was it seemed that everyone knew everybody. We were forty five min away from the where we were staying and we just picked up two girls that worked in the factory and gave them a 15 min ride that they would have had to walk. They also would really have to get close in a taxi or “tap tap” as 20+ people would fit on/in one or 4+ people would fit on one motorcycle!
I think the main thing is that you look with an outlook of overall appreciation in every aspect of life. Whether it is simply having a house, your own car, or even driving with the comfort of paved roads. Our culture in America can be hard as many people can get so caught up with a driving force that we as Americans lives are based upon what we have. It really is hard to give specific examples because those examples are endless of what we are blessed with after going to a third world country.
Have you considered going on a short-term trip to a culture that is much different than yours? What do you suppose God would teach you through such an experience