Revolisyon Spirituelle: A New Perspective | My Family Travels
Haiti Photo
Haiti Photo

Jérémie is a port on the north coast of western Haiti. Unaffected by the recent earthquake but receiving thousands of refugees daily, it was one of the most disproportionately under-aided cities in the U.S. relief effort. Through connections to a privately-owned missions center in Jérémie called “Haiti Bible Mission,” my family and I received the opportunity (before the earthquake occurred) to sign up for the chance to work in a third-world country. We certainly got more than we asked for; by the time U.S. humanitarian aid had been exhausted, political and economic experts were deeming the nation one of the first “fourth-world” living environments. I usually skimmed these reports for the big statistics and death tolls.

â–º  Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship

Six weeks later, we had landed via airplane on a grassy highway machete-chopped out of what seemed like a tropical jungle. Cows mooed their welcome, and we gasped in reply as we absorbed the surrounding wilderness. Luscious green, sparkling blue, and piercing red bombarded our eyes from every direction, as we soaked in the massive mango trees and clear skies. The sights were so enchanting that it took extra effort just to remember the intended task of the mission trip to Haiti.

I remembered shaking the crimson dust from my clothes (a habit I would quickly learn to break) and looking out over the ocean-spun city. Wait, why exactly are we here? I tried to remember what they had taught me in missions training, three weeks prior to the trip. Well, I guess we’re here to show these people Christ. I mean, it’s not like we can just talk to them about Him. I pulled out my pocket-Haitan Creole dictionary and flipped through the pages. I was annoyed by the fact that I had taken three years of Spanish, only to be tossed onto an island that spoke a conglomeration of French, Spanish, English, and Creole in wild gestures and grotesque guttural accents. Fortunately I did know one phrase: "I don’t know Creole." Which in my head sounded like, "Please get away from me." It wasn’t so much a fear of people as it was downright laziness. Suppose God were a package to be delivered. According to this logic, I decided, I could just sit it on their porch and ring the doorbell. No talking required. And how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news…
 
Eight days later, as the plane lifted us out of Haiti, I looked back at the crystal-clear waters and pastel-painted landscape. When I had arrived on the island one week earlier, I saw the entire population as one starving child, in need of much more than I could give and thoroughly useless. However, as I grew in maturity and relationships with those I met, I realized that this was not the case. My new acquaintances were no longer mouths to feed, but people, with hands to work, tongues to sing, and feet to play futbol. They were no longer characters, but friends, sharing a communion of worship that shone through their actions. Now all I saw was that church on the hill, singing;
O ala kontan Jezi renmen mwen
O ala kontan Jezi renmen mwen
O ala kontan Jezi renmen mwen
O alleluia, Jezi renmen mwen
They say that a church is a body made up of bodies. I say that it is a heart made up of souls. People. Friends. Brothers. I sang to myself softly as the plane crossed the sea, leaving the island in the mist behind.
 

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