I often tell people I found Jesus in the eyes of a little Haitian boy.
Don’t get me wrong, I grew up believing in God and attending church. I’ve always referred to myself as a Christian, but I think we all have that defining moment in our faith. That moment that opens your eyes and breaks your heart.
My first trip to Haiti was planned on a whim. It was a Sunday morning, I was sitting at home, talking to Bethany -my best friend of 20 years. And as quickly as two text messages, two leaps of faith, and four terrified parents later… We were going to Haiti and we had less than a month to prepare! We still joke that it was our quarter life crises, but if I’m honest it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
God showed out as the next three weeks flew by in a whirlwind of donations, prayers, immunizations, and finding the perfect bug spray… And before I knew it, we were packing the car at 12AM… Heading to my first plane ride… To a third world country.
*Now is probably a good time to mention that we didn’t just throw a dart at the map and choose Haiti. Lori, one of my dearest friends, was my teaching mentor at the time. She and her husband Pierre started Give Us Hope Mission a few years prior and I had been listening to amazing Haitian stories for months.*
Billie showed up at the mission house within the first few days of our trip. We knew little about him, but it wasn’t long before his little laugh had us all melted into puddles. We began questioning him and we found out he was homeless and had been sleeping in mango trees. Sometimes, he would stay at his cousins’ house.
I remember feeling like someone punched me in the gut. The rug had been pulled out from under my feet. That little boy was living in a mango tree. If that doesn’t humble you, nothing will.
We spent the rest of the trip inseparable. Billie loved peanut butter, he could barely swim, he prayed with his hands over his eyes, he had one set of clothes, he was fascinated with our phones – especially the music app (I don’t think I will ever listen to I Will Follow again without hearing him sing it), and he was there when we got baptized… We spoke different languages, but we learned to communicate the most important things – swim, peanut butter, hungry, hello, yes/no, and the sweet silence that often defined this new found friendship.
I could write for days about my experiences in Haiti and the love I have for the people there. But it’s getting late, so I will fast forward to the latest on sweet Billie. Through sponsorship and prayers from people we know and people we may never meet, I’m happy to report that Billie has started school and he now lives with his dad.
If you had told me two years ago that I would now be planning my third trip to Haiti to see my sponsor son, I would have laughed in your face. It’s funny how life takes the most unexpected, yet joyful turns!
Jesus’ last words tell us to go and make disciples of all nations. If missions or even sponsoring a child has been weighing on your heart, take the leap. It will change your life.
For more information on how to donating, sponsoring a Haitian child, mission trips to Haiti, or the work that our mission is doing, visit http://www.giveushopemission.org/ or contact me – I will be happy to talk you through it!
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40
Blessings to you!