I just returned from a week in Haiti. Still trying to process all that happened in that short amount of time. I am 41 years old and over the years, I have experienced every emotion humanly possible from joy to grief, love to anger, pride to shame. However, I can honestly say that I have never experienced so many positive human emotions in such a short period of time. Seven days, seven emotions – love, pride, joy, trust, peace, admiration and surprise.
Love. I am a child, a wife, a mother. So, I have experienced love – given and received. But in Cambry, I experienced a love that was foreign to me. It was the overwhelming capacity to love and be loved by people I had only known for a short time. To love children that were not mine biologically as if they were my own. To love team members as if they were my family. But what was even more amazing, was how much love I felt in return.
Pride. I traveled to Cambry with my 12 year old daughter. She turned 13 the day after we arrived, but she did much more than add one year to her age. Seeing my daughter adapt to Haitian life with such ease, watching her be affectionate with the orphans, hearing her say that she didn’t want to leave and witnessing the changes that took place in her heart – all of these things made me so proud to be her mother.
Joy. If you have seen the photos from Cambry, you have seen the infectious joy on the faces of these children. Children who have little in the way of material things, but much in the way of faith. The joy during Sunday’s church service when the Haitian people worship with reckless abandon. The pure joy of young boys playing soccer or girls singing and dancing. When surrounded by this much joy, it is impossible not to feel it.
Trust. These children trust in the Lord. Many of these children are not orphans by the American definition. They have been given up by their parent(s) because they could not care for them. Many of these children know sickness and starvation by name. On one of our last days in Haiti, I sat with Ross Cooke, a fellow team member. He played his guitar and sang me a song entitled “Strong Arm”. The gist of the song is that God will be will us in our times of need and desperation. At that moment, I, too, put my trust in the Lord that he will be with and look after these children. Which leads me to the next emotion…
Peace. At that moment, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I had cried several times that day. Chalk some of it up to being overly tired, but most of it because I didn’t quite know what to do with all of the emotions I was feeling – sadness, anger, fear. At that moment, I knew deep in my heart that these children were going to be OK. They all feel love, not only the human variety. They are being fed and educated. They have hope and most importantly, faith. In many ways, they have so much more than children here in America.
Admiration. I have so much admiration for my dear friend and co-founder of Give Hope, Angela. I have known Angela for almost 12 years and always admired her ability to mother and home school her four children, her strong faith in God and her amazing knack for getting more done in one day than most of us do in a week. When God puts something on her heart, the world better look out. She stops at nothing. I am in awe of all she and her father have accomplished in just one year since starting Give Hope. It is no wonder that their scheduled trip in June is already full – 30 people ready and willing to serve with them.
Finally, surprise. While I was excited to go to Haiti, I was also very apprehensive. I even had a moment a few days before leaving that I doubted my decision to go. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed every minute. I’m not being cliche. At home, I often feel like I don’t have much to give. All the little things of everyday life zap my energy and ability to give freely of myself. Not so in Haiti. I am a better me in Haiti.
So, I’ll end this post as I do all of my journal entries – with a prayer.
Dear God, thank you so much for the opportunity to serve in Cambry. Thank you for our amazing team. I praise you for all of the amazing work that was completed during our trip. Please be with the children, Lord. Let them know your love and grace. And father, please help me be even a little more like my Haitian self. Amen.