The following post comes from Amanda Smith, a member of Cullowhee Baptist Church in Cullowhee, N.C., about their recent mission trip to Haiti.
When people hear that you’re going on a mission trip, there are always multiple responses. One common response is usually something like, “What an exciting opportunity to take God to those people.” I heard this several times as I prepared for my second trip to Grand Goave, Haiti last month.
My friends, God is already present in Haiti.
While in Grand Goave from May 29 to June 5, 2013, I heard God in the greetings from those we met along the street, in the man’s voice singing songs every morning at the church two blocks away (even thought it was at 4:30 am) and in the sounds of children and adults singing in various places throughout town.
I saw God in the views from the roof at our mission compound, in the faces of the homeowners and in the interactions between our team and our Haitian translators. Most of all, I saw God in the smiles of the children and heard Him in their laughter.
This was my second trip to Haiti. After going last year, I knew I had to go back. I fell in love with Grand Goave and the people. I left a piece of my heart there last year and didn’t bring it back with me this year.
Both trips have shown me that you never know how God is going to work in your life. I would have never told you before last May that I would go to Haiti. I especially would have never thought I’d be going twice and wanting to go back as often as possible.
I think we all have moments that change our lives, our views of the world, and how we live our lives. The trips to Haiti will always be those moments for me.
While in Grand Goave, our mission team of nine from Cullowhee, N.C., worked with Conscience International (CI). We worked to rebuild homes for families whose homes were destroyed in the earthquake that hit Haiti in January 2010. The special thing about these homes is that they are rebuilt using rubble from the houses that were destroyed.
This year, we worked on finishing a home and starting another. On the house we started, the first thing we had to do was tear down the parts of the walls that still remained after the house was destroyed.
Seeing the existing walls being turned into rubble to go into the wire cages that would form the new walls of the home definitely put the gravity of the destruction in Grand Goave in perspective. Last year, the rubble was already at the site for us, so it was easy to think of it as simply rocks. However, to realize that the rubble is actually made up of pieces of someone’s home broke my heart and made me realize the work CI is doing is absolutely necessary and important for the community of Grand Goave.
The highlight of our time in Haiti was being able to be a part of the house dedication for the house we finished, mainly because it wasn’t even in the plans for us to participate. On the last day of work (Tuesday), we were supposed to be carrying buckets of sand from the road to the work site to continue mixing concrete. However, on Monday, CI’s dump truck wrecked in the mountains (everyone was okay), and they were unable to deliver the sand.
So, on Tuesday afternoon we had the chance to go to the other work site and see the finished home. We went inside, formed a circle, which included the oldest daughter of the homeowner, and held hands as our pastor, Jeffrey Vickery, prayed for the owners of the home and reminded them that the house is not a gift from us, but a gift from God (our translator, Junior, translated the prayer into Creole).
It was such a heartwarming, joyful and beautiful moment. And yes, another reminder of God’s presence in Haiti.
Please take a few moments of your time to pray for the work that Conscience International is doing in Grand Goave. Also, pray for the teams who will travel to Grand Goave, the people of Grand Goave, the homeowners and the translators who work for CI.
Pray for continued relationships between CI, Grand Goave, CBF and other organizations. May you be reminded of God’s presence in Haiti and across the globe. I pray that God will bless each of you with a moment that will change your life as Haiti has changed mine.