It has taken me awhile to come up with words to explain how BEAUTIFULLY “wrecked” my heart has been since taking a trip to Haiti. Upon re-entering life in the States, the reflection of my trip became so overwhelming that I held back from sharing at first. It felt as though my experience there was like a special treasure in a little box I wanted to hold close to my heart, for fear that if I opened it and shared, maybe those around me in my “normal” life wouldn’t see just how special this keepsake was. However, I quickly learned that my box was meant to be opened…I heard the promptings from His gentle voice whispering, “Don’t fear, I love you. I took you there for a reason and I don’t want you to keep it closed up in your heart…trust Me.” You see, I met Jesus there in a whole new way than if I had allowed myself to remain at home…And to be honest with you my friends, I still don’t know if I have quite the right words to explain the BEAUTY of it. I do know this…God grabbed me…He took my heart and shook me in a good way. He took me away from my comfort zone and placed me in a land with beautiful souls and filled with love. Walk with me for a moment…and hopefully my words will show you what I mean.

His presence was evident to me from the moment I stepped on the bus to journey from Port au Prince to Cambry. Praise music escorted me in prayer and thought as I saw Haiti and it’s faces and surroundings along the streets for the first time. I immediately was struck emotionally as I reflected on all this country has endured and conquered. God made His face completely apparent as we navigated the roads that led to Cambry. His scripture lifted me as I witnessed verses adorning all the public transit vehicles around us. The Haitian people exuded their happiness in the Lord by dancing in the streets during “RaRa” as they celebrated Easter Week that night. What a beautiful sight to see as I drifted in and out of sleep on our journey towards what was a new and exciting adventure for my 11 year old son and me!

The following day we attended church and worshiped side by side with the Haitian community of Les Cayes. What a beautiful reflection of what Heaven will look like worshipping our Lord together eternally…every nation, tongue and tribe! It rocked my soul to the core as I absorbed the magnitude of God’s love for ALL His children as the Haitian language poured out His truths into the sanctuary! This moment is what kicked off a week that would be life-changing, soul gripping and God filled. Imagine this – I came on a mission trip to advance God’s Kingdom by submission through my hands and feet. And even though I believe He did that, I also know that He deeply used the hands and feet in Cambry to advance God’s Kingdom within me too!

Yes, God’s Kingdom grabbed me there. He was fully present moment after moment after moment. It was apparent in the movement of sign language, in the sparkle of beautiful eyes looking up at you, in high fives, thumbs up, in the roadside faces that responded with a large smile and wave as we passed by. It was found in tender faces and the ability to fall in love and become a mama to more children in a matter of hours. “They choose you,” I was told. And it was so very true! I still miss the lovely, tiny surprise of little hands scooping up yours as you walk by just to share in some love and togetherness with you, walking side by side or stopping to sit on a wall. I deeply miss seeing and hanging out with the older children of Cambry, their smiles and stories still stamped on my heart. He humbled me as my son and I had the privilege to help children open their Give Hope Tree bags and were able to see the excitement they displayed as they received a new pair of shoes or a watch or even new hygiene items. He impacted my perspective as I listened to the laughter of children chasing new soccer balls up and down a field on the Cambry campus. I clung to Jesus when my dear friend and I were asked to pray over a sweet girl at Darivarger because her father was sick. Despite our language barrier, she desired to pray with us. I am so grateful for that!

God also gave me the gift of a beautiful mission team that I prayed with and shared so much laughter alongside. Watching other people make connections with the children and the people of Haiti was moving and beautiful to observe. I saw Him in others, like my dear friend who met new faces in the community and boldly prayed with them and talked to them just as Jesus would when He walked this very earth. God touched my heart on the side of a hilltop as we prayed together as a group. Jesus shone through Roger and Angela’s words as they led us toward worshipping a big and awesome God. In that exact moment and spot, I felt Jesus’s hand in the gentle grip of a newly “adopted” child finding me and joining us in prayer on that Haitian hillside. The beautiful landscape of homes and farms were spread out below that stop on our Prayer Walk, filling our eyes with God’s goodness as we gazed upon it all. It was touching beyond words as our week was coming to a close.

The time there was just so very sweet as I walked with Him. He changed me, they changed me. Hudson and I miss the children God gave us a week to love on. So very thankful the children our family will sponsor found me! And beyond grateful that we will be able to return to Haiti again….thank you for walking with me on my journey!

Deanna Reed

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