At 3:45am, we all arrived at Terminal 1 full of emotion! After only a couple hours of sleep each, we began arriving at the airport where we came to learn that Jenn had lost her passport and was going to bring her donation suitcase to the airport for us to bring down for her. Her spirits got lifted when Claudia and Derek told her to see if she could get a new passport and join us in Haiti tomorrow! We all got through security without any issues and headed down to our gate. Once we were all together Derek R. inspired us by getting each and every one of us a notebook. He challenged us to write ourselves a letter in the back, discussing our own anxieties and goals for our trip to Haiti. Then when we arrived to the guesthouse we laid out our notebooks for others to write in while we all started to bond and build lasting relationships! We boarded the plane and headed for Miami right on time, and landed safely at 11:00am.
At 2:00pm we boarded our flight to Port-au-Prince. We landed in Haiti around 5 o'clock. As we were coming in to land, I noticed the shacks and some of the shambled buildings that were still leftover from the earthquake in 2010. There seemed to be many little villages made up of tons of little shacks, that are people's homes! This was a shock to me, even though I was partially prepared for it. We headed towards customs were we spent at least half an hour getting through and finding our many donation suitcases. It was sort of chaotic, but we finally headed towards our Healing Haiti taptap. The outside was beautifully painted with the Healing Haiti logo and some bible verses written on the side. On our way to the guesthouse, we all asked tons of questions; "Are there always this many kids unattended?," "Are these people's homes?," " Is that a tent city?" There were also many observations made; "That woman is carrying that large bucket on her head!," "Look at all the stray dogs, they look so sad."
It was eye opening and later in the evening we sat down for dinner and began discussing the things we had seen. We talked about not really knowing or expecting there to be larger and nicer homes, and talking about the community around us. Learning that you can almost always hear music from afar, and that the kids generally wander just because these people are very trusting and know their kids will come home. After we had finished eating, we each said our word of the day. There was a wide range of emotions coming from everyone; everything from feeling blessed, thankful, relieved and protected to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and in awe of the things we witnessed so far knowing it is only our first day here! We finally heard from Jenn, letting us know that she will be meeting up with us tomorrow and we are all so completely joyed to hear that she is coming. She wrote to tell us her word of the day and this is what she wrote to us:
I think that Jenn sums everything up wonderfully by saying faith in our Lord is holding everything together. So far on this trip we have faced Satan plenty of times, but we all decided that we are encouraged by this because we (with the help of God, of course!) have pushed through Satan's traps. With God on our side, nothing can stop us from helping those who want help!
I want to end my blog with a verse that I flipped open to at the end of the day today. I feel that it kind of sums up what we are trying to do here and what our goals are.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the sames things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
As Americans we are coming out of our comfort zones to be the hands and feet of God and spread His good word to those who seek it (and even to those who do not know that they are seeking it)! Some in our group were weighed down with troubles today but we all pushed through and everything is turning out to be good, the way God planned it to be. I know that personally, I cannot wait to see what God is going to teach not only me but everyone else in this group. I cannot wait to watch everyone grow in their faith with God and sing His glory everyday.
Praise be with you all and thank you for supporting each and everyone of us throughout this journey of a lifetime!