[Editor’s Note: This is the final post from the Mission team that went to Haiti in early December. You can read previous posts here.]
Today was a day of mixed emotions. As we gathered up our belongings to take our last tap-tap ride, there was some excitement of going back to our families, but there were also strong feelings of sadness as we knew that we were leaving Haiti, a country and its people, that we had so deeply fallen in love with. Given the significant amount of travel time (and four securities, yes, four) we had to go through, I had a lot of time to reflect on how to best summarize my experience to share with others when I arrived home.
Nine fellow missioners and I arrived at Dulles Airport with suitcases full of mosquito nets, flashlights, tents, donations, toilet paper, bug spray, and malaria pills. However, one would not find an agenda or any specific plan of our days ahead in any suitcase. Instead, we trusted God to shine a light on how to best serve Bercy and we understood this light would not be visible until we stepped foot in the village.
And our Lord did exactly what we knew He would do. From the moment we jumped off the tap-tap in Bercy, we saw the light in the Haitian people, in their hospitality, in the laughter of the children. Our purpose became abundantly clear: to spread encouragement and the love of Christ with these beautiful people who are so very happy with much less (materialistically) than we have. Almost every waken moment was spent with the villagers. We held Bible studies for the kids, told the Christmas story from the book of Luke using verses in Kreyl and English, helped rebuild a church, formed bucket lines showing the power of teamwork, taught ESL, played soccer together on a field full of goat droppings, worshiped together at their Sunday service, shared the love of Jesus at VBS, walked hand-in-hand to the river, pumped well water for each other, learned Kreyl, hugged, laughed, and learned from the villagers how to live the simple life.
Challenges also arose. We all fell in love with an eleven-year old boy, Lidyi, whose mother became extremely ill and had a stroke, but could not afford medical treatment. Deciding whether it would be fair to invest a greater amount of resources in one person to save her life or to spread the resources equally across the community was not an easy one. The danger of providing Lidyi’s mother transportation to the hospital 45 minutes away down a dangerous road during the pitch black hours of night also presented itself.
How to best share the word of Christ so that the people would continue to grow in their faith after our departure is also a challenge. The children displayed great enthusiasm when we told them stories from the Bible and there is significant potential for the church to grow immensely in Bercy. Their face lights up when they hear the word “Jesus,” they all understand “Jesus loves me,” and the biggest smile would take over their face when I told them that Jesus loves you and everyone of Bercy. With limited Bibles in their Kreyl language, poor infrastructure, and a lack of organized church events, the team continued to turn to Christ to shed light on in what our role can be in continuing to grow their faith and how the village can independently develop a strong community of faith.
There was never a moment in Bercy in which I was not hugging, laughing, smiling, dancing, or rejoicing. The experience of a bucket shower, the absence of electricity or running water, using a rustic outhouse shared with two baby goats, and camping in the open, is the simple life that I wish I personally could experience daily. I became extremely close with my team members. As a group of males and females ranging from 24 to 60 years of age, each of us brought our own talents and strengths. We all witnessed how we used our different gifts to each be a part of the body of Christ. And we all are so grateful to Floris church and the UMVIM team that we were allowed to participate in such a wonderful adventure from start to finish.