Recently, I had the awesome opportunity to go on a missions trip to Haiti. And I’ve really felt God placing it on my heart to share my testimony on it. But in order to show you the significance of me getting on that plane, I want to give you some background. Because if someone had told me that I was going on a missions trip over a year ago, I would’ve prayed that they were wrong! The idea of going on one terrified me!
Now as a kid, I wasn’t afraid of this. In, fact I had wanted to go on one since I was eight or nine. But then I had to read all these books about famous missionaries for school… And a lot of them were martyrs! From that point forward, I didn’t want to hear or do anything that was related to missionary work. I never even mentioned it to God when we talked because I didn’t want Him to tell me to go. Because if I went, I was afraid of being martyred or having some other tragedy happen!!
But my mom never gave up on me. She prayed and she would bring it up anyway. Eventually, God got me to a place where I wasn’t “terrified,” anymore, but I didn’t really care whether or not I ever went on one. And little by little, through Mom and friends, He continued to soften my heart. One day, I thought about it and realized that I was okay either way. And then the day came where I actually wanted to ask God about it.
By that time, my parents had suggested that going on a trip would be something great to consider once I finished high school. So, earlier this year, I prayed about what trip I should go on and I felt God give me peace about going to Haiti this past August.
Flash forward a few months. Now the trips is only weeks away. And still His peace was on me every step of the way. Even the flight there was going to be a big deal for me. Not only was it the first time that I’d be flying out of the country, but it was also my first time flying without my family. I was so laid back about all the details, I was almost concerned that God was giving me a little too much peace about leaving the country!
The night before, I could hardly sleep, but not due to fear, but rather excitement! I was simply blown away by God’s provision and goodness in preparing me and keeping me prepared.
There was a lot that God helped us to do while we were there. Some days, we went to some of the Christian schools that churches sponsor and we hosted a “VBS” for the children. We would bring Frisbees and soccer balls and we would bring hundreds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the children. We would teach them a Bible story, and then act it out in a skit while their teacher translated our lines to them. These kids were so happy and joyful! And their hearts were so giving. At one of the schools, this adorable two-year old came over to me and asked me to help him open the wrapper to his graham crackers. After I opened it for him, he pulled one out and put it into my hand and waited for me to eat it. He did this again later and came over looking to share his snack with me. His generosity really touched me.
There was another little boy who was three. When we gave him his sandwich, he just held onto it and wouldn’t eat it. When the teacher checked on him, he explained that he was saving it so that he could bring it home to his little brother who wasn’t in school yet. We immediately let him know that we had enough for him to eat his lunch and still take one home. This happened a few times throughout the week that we were there that we would see kids willing to skip lunch, even though they may not get another meal that day, in order to look out for their younger siblings.
Another huge highlight and testimony to God’s hand on us was when we went evangelizing house to house. God helped us trek all over these rocky trails and steep drop-offs that appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. When we reached a home, we would give them food and ask them about themselves, if they were saved, how many kids they had, and so on. Then we would ask them what they wanted prayer for and gave them Bibles in their own language.
One of the coolest things that happened as we ministered was that if we came to a house that had kids, they would hold hands with us and follow us house to house to pray for their neighbors. Some of them would dash ahead and tell us where the next house was and their friend’s house and so on until it felt like the Pied Piper and there were ten or eleven kids hiking with us!
God really did a work in me on the days we evangelized. He helped give me a lot of courage to step out and soon I found myself jumping at the chance to pray. And the encounters we had were so divinely appointed. We had all sorts of prayers from things like God healing someone to intense spiritual warfare for people who were being cursed by voodoo witch doctors.
We encountered a woman who was so sad because of all the hardship that had befallen her. So was so moved by us even asking why she was sad. She told us that everyone she knew was going through such hardship that everyone is just sad. It’s so normal she said, that no one even bothers asking if or why you’re sad. So to have someone genuinely care, meant so much to her!
We met one woman, who had gone to a witch doctor for healing and because she was now financially in debt to him, didn’t believe she could accept salvation. She was told that if she stepped foot in a church without paying him off, demons would come to torment her and her children. We led her to the Lord, and rebuked any forces that would come against her and her children. This woman fell to her knees and wept with joy and gratitude. When we met her she was despondent and completely hopeless but when we left God had transformed her and her face beamed with peace and joy.
These people’s stories just grabbed my heart. And as we prayed, I realized just how dependent I needed to be on God to give me the words to say. I couldn’t “blueprint it,” the way I can at home. The typical solutions we might pray for in the States aren’t available to them in Haiti. It was a really amazing exercise that strengthened my prayer faith and made me hungry to pray like that all the time!
Not only did God keep us spiritually protected from the things we prayed against or physically protected as we wandered through cliffs and alleys, but He had even blessed me with who I got to travel with. An old pastor that I knew when I was in elementary school was on the trip as well as a family friend and his family. My roommate and I got along great, and God even used me to minister to her and encourage her by sharing some of my own struggles and insecurities.
God’s hand covered us before during and even leaving Haiti. When I had prayed about what trip to go on those many months before, I had had no idea that my trip would be sandwiched between hurricanes Harvey and Irma! I even found out the day we left that just a few short hours after our plane departed, Haiti was hit with a major earthquake!
His faithfulness in every moment of that trip just blew me away. He is so good and loving. I’m glad that He never stopped working on my heart and that I got to go to Haiti. And I want to encourage you that if you feel like God has called to something that feels scary financially, emotionally, or even physically, if God calls you, He’ll equip you!
Hebrews 13:21 - “...may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”