L to R: Megan, Brooke, Pam, Linda, Nathan, Molly, Kiki, Ashleigh, Kaiti, Kirstin, Amy, Peter, Erik, Ana, Rachel.
Arriving in Haiti and seeing all the people that I met eight months ago, reminded me of why I am called there. To rekindle the relationships and pour the truth of Christ into those people. I felt so at home when I was there, I belong and feel that I am making a huge difference in that village of Petite Rivier. Christ through me is changing so many lives and I feel so privilaged to be a part of his plan to help that place.
But God didn't use not just me of course, the whole team was key to change lives that week. Megan from YWAM MN (the main leader of the trip) and I met the team of 11 when we arrived in our Ft. Lauderdale hotel. Nine students from 13-18 years old and two adult leaders. At 10:30 at night, after a long day of travel, even though they were exhausted, they had smiles on their faces. So much joy and excitement. They were really looking forward to the week and what God was going to do, I could tell plain as day. It made my heart soar even though I didn't know any of them yet.
We quickly introduced ourselves, talked about the schedule for the next morning in order to get to the airport for our last flight to Haiti, and went to bed.
When we arrived at the airport the next morning, we realized that we only had about an hour until our 8:15am flight, not a lot of time. Megan and I still had to check our bags back in. The clerks at the American Airlines desk weren't very happy. Thankfully, I didn't have to pay the overweight fee again because they gave me a voucher to say that I had already payed for them in Minneapolis. The lady said to us in a little bit of a rude tone "Next time, you need to arrive more than an hour early for an international flight!" Megan and I both kept our cool and simply responded back with kind words that we understood. We talked about the experience after and realized that even though that she was not so kind to us, that maybe we had shone the love of Christ by not responding bitter as well.
We got to our gate, made sure everyone was there and then filled up our
water bottles since we wouldn't have clean water until we arrived at the Mission Haiti orphanage. We had a quick prayer time then boarded the plane to start what I know would be a life changing adventure for all of us.
As the plane descended into the Haitian atmosphere, so much excitement rose within in me. I couldn't wait to start working with these brothers and sisters in Christ to the Haitian people. We grabbed our things from the plane and exited the plane. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I felt home. It was an amazing feeling. "I know, that I know, that God wants me here" I thought to myself. We made our way across the runway to the airport building. Getting through passport control, then getting our luggage which was another thing that I loved about this team. They worked so well together and so hard to get all of our 28 pieces of luggage. It was a breeze thanks to them.
We passed through customs then were on our way out the door to meet Kiki, that is when some padamonium started. We told the team that once we got through customs,
people would start swarming around us and ask to help us with our luggage. We told eveyone to just say "No" to these people. Easier said than done. So many men were swarming around us trying to take out carts full of luggage. A few of us women actually had the carts taken from us. I was in the back of our mission trip "line". I approached the Haitians that took the girls carts that were ahead of me and pushed them gently away and put the girls back on the carts. Then, I took back my cart from the Haitian that was attemping to take ownership of it and went on my way to rejoin the team. The girls looked a little overwhelmed, surprised even from what they just experienced. I was a little flustered myself. But then remembered that God got us through it. We found Kiki and loaded up the cars and were on our way through Port-Au-Prince to start the 5 hour drive to Petite Rivier.
The drive through PAP was an extremely quiet one. We were all shocked from the poverty. The garbage, everywhere, no exaggeration. The ravines of water on the side of
the road that could be clean drinking water, are now filthy with sewage, garbage and simply pollution you could never imagine or describe or a picture doesn't do justice. You simply have to see it for yourself. Even though I had seen it before, it struck me once again. I heard god remind me "Kirstin, this is why I am calling you here. To help, to serve, to work with these people and other brother and sisters in Chirst, even in the smallest ways possible to bring this country back to life." I found out from Pam, that the reign of the enemy was over.
While in the car on they way to the orphanage, Pam told me a little history of how the country became so bad and went so far into poverty. In 1804, the Haitian government wanted to make the land better. They thought that it would happen by asking Satan to help them. So what they did is the government marched from Port-Au-Prince to the northern part of Haiti and started burning everything and asking satan to for his help and to rule for 200 years. Every year they rededicated it to Satan doing the
same kind of march. In 2004, Aristide, the current president of Haiti at the time, resigned from office and fled the country. He was one of the main people that dedicated the island to Satan over and over again. Boniface Alexandre was then inaugurated as the interim president and had no desire at all to do that kind of thing. I am not sure if Alexandre is a Christ follower, but praise to the Lord that he does not have any desire to rededicate the island to the enemy!
What was a country, fading away from erosion, is now a country that is green. Lush with life, flourishing. People are planting things in the ground and it actually grows and they can eat it. Before, because of the burned and destroyed earth, nothing would grow. Everything was completely dead. But God is a faithful God and does not abandon his children.
After a long car ride, it was such a relief to get out of the car and has the breeze from the Carribean blow in our faces. I was so excited to see everyone. As I headed up the path through the compound, I greet Sue and
Fern each with a hug. They are missionary women running the orphange at the moment. Both of them almost always have a kid on thier hip. After talking with them for a moment, Elise and Robinson two of the boys from the youth group come in the gate. I wave to them, go to meet them and receive huge smiles and hugs from them. They ask how I am, I tell them that I am very happy to be here and very happy to see them and they laugh. How good it is to be reunited with all these people, even if it is only for a week.
While talking with Elise and Robinson, I make eye contact with two pairs of eyes that I know well. After that, I hear from their mouths an excited "KWEESTEN!" It is Madame Dominque and following her is Madame Robert! These two women are the cooks that prepare dinner or lunch, whatever you care to call it, the mid-day meal. Always consisting of rice or cornmeal, beans, plaintains or potatoes, occasionally onions and or carrots and some kind of meat either chicken, fish, or goat which is my favorite. When we arrived
at the orphange, they had this kind of meal all prepared for us. We prayed and thanked God for the food that was prepared by these two women and then ate the delicious Haitian meal. After, we unloaded our luggage from the truck and van, put it in our rooms and got it settled for the week of ministry that we were about to take part in to bring Chirst's light to these people.
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