We’ve reached the end of our trip! It’s been such an incredible week. Personally (Pastor Adam), I am so grateful to have had this opportunity with these people. We’ve grown, been stretched, been moved, and return home filled with joy and love. Here’s a few more final reflections from our group on our last morning in Haiti. Thanks again for following along and sharing this trip with us from afar.
WOW! This trip has been an amazing experience. I learned so much about myself, my faith, and my view on the world. I have learned the true meaning of compassion. The people we have met while in Haiti have been so welcoming and respectful to us. I could only hope that when/if they come to the United States that they are treated the same. On this trip I have learned that even though we live miles apart from one another we still share many of the same things. We share the same love, compassion, and hope to one another and to our God. That in itself is truly amazing. The people I have met while on this trip have taught me way more than I have taught them throughout this week. One of my favorite parts on this trip was seeing the students smiles each day. I learned how important it is to show students that you truly care and love each and everyone of them, because you have no idea what is going on in their lives outside the school walls. Even a simple smile or hug can go a long way. Also, the students taught myself to have a positive outlook, no matter the situation you are facing. I was able to see the conditions the students were facing and I was amazed by their joy they still displayed. Myself and my dad decided to sponsor a first grader at the school. As we met our sponsor child and his mother, both me and my dad shed tears because we realized that we are providing this child and his family a future. That is a moment I will never forget. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to come to this country and meet the most hopeful, and caring individuals. I have learned to love others, and love God!
Bonjou! We are preparing to leave the Eucalyptus Guest House after a fantastic week in Port-au-Prince, Haiti! The sounds, sights, smells, and sensations of this place are overwhelming, and all the writers in this blog have done a great job in conveying a sampling of our experiences this week. Yesterday was supposed to be a “relaxing” day, with church and then the beach, but it was emotional as well. First, Pastor Paul hit it out of the park at Pastor Ernso’s church. (Pastor Ernso and his wife Gina are our hosts at the guest house.) Once again, the singers, the leaders, and the entire congregation expressed the tremendous joy of the Haitian people, despite their daily struggles for the basic necessities of life. Then, we saw how the Haiti “1 percent” lives during our visit to the Wahoo Bay Beach Club, apparently one of the best beach resorts in the country.
Back at the guest house, we had our final “debrief” on a third-floor unfinished rooftop, looking out over the city of Port-au-Prince, another emotional experience. The joy of the Haitians we’ve met — not just happiness, certainly not contentment, but expressive, shared joy — is absolutely amazing. When I was in the Peace Corps, the best advice I ever got, which I have given numerous times to people going on foreign trips, is to remember why you are there and to embrace the challenge. (If you wanted something easy, you could have simply gone on vacation instead.) For me in PNG, it was the faces of my eager students, ready every morning to learn math, to try to better themselves, to attempt to get ahead. Despite the hardships of living there, I was always ready to head back to the classrooms in the morning to see their smiling faces. I saw similar smiles in Haiti, which was a highlight for me.
Another highlight were the PLC kids, who represented us and all Americans extremely well this week, and the bond that the whole group has gained by being together in this challenging environment. I’ll close with a few additional shout-outs…to Sara Lein and her work with Kozefo and leading this trip; to Pastor Adam for organizing the PLC portion of the trip; and especially to all our Haitian hosts. Merci!
To place into words what took place this last week feels almost impossible. To describe what our eyes have seen is beyond words. The impact that will forever be in our hearts is unable to be measured or placed into words…however; I will try to do my best to share with you a glimpse of my experience.
Sakala was were we had the chance to teach baseball. I was in awe of our students and adults jumping right in and embracing the ability to share with the youth at Sakala. As I stood the first day feeling as though I didn’t have a huge part. I had the job of holding onto the balls as they translated drills. While standing there with an arm full of balls, this sweet little boy tapped on my leg and motion to play catch. I quickly placed the other balls aside and spent time giggling and playing catch with this little boy. He was too young to take part in the actually baseball group, so we found a place off to the side and built the most amazing bound of two hearts with barely a word spoken. He captured my heart that hour and I can’t explain how full my heart felt. On day two we arrived and I found myself searching the crowd for him. Our eyes met, the look on his precious face when he realized I was there made my heart explode. He ran to me and provide me with the most amazing embrace. Our day was cut short that day due to the rain; however, when we departed he was sure to give me a squeeze. Our final day there we were quickly reunited, the time went by so fast as we played catch, giggled, and held hands. As our time came to an end there, his grip on my hand seemed tighter. He posed with me for a photo and once that was complete he covered his eyes and tears began to fall. My heart quickly was overwhelmed with his unconditional love that he had given me freely the past 3 days. Walking away I was overcome with emotion that is hard to place into words. I then felt him from behind run into me with his arms wrapped around my legs for one final hug. He kissed me on the cheek and walked away with non-stop waving until we no longer could see each other. To bottle up the love would be a gift. It was a great reminder to bring back that unconditional love and joy. To not take for granted the little moments as they are so much more than we realize. Taking time to see the unseen, to take action when you see the eyes of someone who is in need but does not speak it. When you feel the nudge that God is telling you to be kind, to reach out, to speak out…DO IT! We are the hands and feet of Christ, we were created for just this.
There are many moments, many feelings, many gift that Haiti has provided. This one moment is such a small nugget of what took place this past week. I am grateful to have been given the chance to be a part of all we have experienced. I can honestly say that my heart, my thought process, and view has been forever impacted.
Hello, this trip has been unbelievable. There are many reasons why it is unbelievable. To start off, the first day we went to the school to meet the school kids. It was amazing how much love the kids gave to each one of us. After the school we headed to the baseball place to teach the kids baseball. Most of the kids have never heard or touched a baseball glove or bat in their life. The two coaches Dick and Skogs, did an amazing job being great leaders and showing and teaching the basics of baseball. I thought that was a great experience because I could connect. I could connect because I had both coaches in my baseball career. Also, I started baseball very young and had to learn the basics and then get more complex. I also enjoyed being one of the coaches instead of being on the player side. Then Friday came, it was the last day of baseball. The kids were incredibly better as a baseball player. We got into little scrimmages and they did great. The baseball part of the trip was my favorite part. Also, seeing all the big smiles and the kids faces and seeing the world on a different side of the U.S. is unbelievable. The connection I made with God and everyone else on the trip was truly amazing. Thanks to all the people that helped with this trip.
We’re about a half hour from heading to the airport and returning home! We cannot thank you enough for your prayers and support along the way. We can’t wait to share more stories and pictures with you when we get home. We’ve fallen in love with this place and these people, but we’re excited to return to the places and people we love back home, too! God bless you and we’ll see you soon!