As I boarded the plane to be carried across the sea I was strangely calm. I was at peace. I was surprised by this, for this would be my first mission trip overseas and yet all that I felt in that moment can be explained best by the lyrics that were pulsating through my brain, “It is well, It is well with my soul”. Little did I know that at the end of this trip my life would be changed forever and my heart would be eternally filled by the love of the children who I would come to know. This is where my travel story to Haiti begins.
We landed at the Airport located in Haiti’s capital of Port-Au-Prince. The minute we stepped off of the plane we were immersed in utter chaos. Men in makeshift suits were grabbing at our bags practically begging us to allow them to carry our bags to the bus. They were hoping for a nice tip in return however, so we were instructed to hold on to our belongings tightly and stick together. We eventually got out of the airport and were able to board the bus. In about an hour, we would arrive at the compound in which we would call our home for the next week, a compound known as “All Things New”.
We arrived at the compound just in time for a traditional Haitian meal that consisted of rice and beans. I don’t know if it was because I was starving or because they were just that good, but those rice and beans were heavenly. After dinner, we went to our cabin like rooms and quickly got ready for bed, for tomorrow was the day we would begin our work and I was just reeling to go
I had no idea what to expect when we arrived at the orphanage the first day, but whatever my scattered expectations were they were quickly exceeded. It was clear these children were different. In America our children are spoiled. We live in a society consumed by the desire to obtain material possessions and our children suffer from the repercussions of that. These children had a completely different mindset. They didn’t own material possessions. What they had they created out of the land around them and what they had they shared with one another. All these children needed were each other and to see that dynamic in action was absolutely beautiful. It completely changed my perspective on life.
I would like to share a little bit about my favorite aspect of this trip and his name is James. James quickly became my favorite in the orphanage. He was 14 at the time, two years younger than I, and he was brilliant. He was an artist and his drawings were breathtaking. This child had no formal training in art, he just had a gift from God and it was inspiring. On the last day James gave me a cross that he had made; on it he wrote these words, “God Loves Bailey! –James”.
I still have that cross. That cross reminds me every day that there is a whole other world out there that is just waiting to be divulged into. It reminds me that there are children who desire only our love. Most importantly it reminds me that there are times where taking a leap of faith into an unknown world can be completely life changing. I will always remember this trip and these children. I hope my travel story will inspire others to take the leap of faith that I did.
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