I think I have finally had some time to process through my trip and thoughts and might possibly be able to coherently communicate. Possibly...
My first reaction to Haiti this time was surprise. I haven't been back since the earthquake and was expecting...well, I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I was greeted with. We flew into the "new" airport and were greeted by a fabulously welcoming Haitian band playing music while we stepped off the plane. Then we were orderly led through a customs line in an almost American standard building, got our luggage in a not so crazy manner and didn't have to fight off unwanted help in order to exit the airport. What? Did I accidentally go to the wrong country?
Jeremiah's parents met us (what a welcome sight!) and drove us back to Notre le' Maison (Our House of Hope Ministry Center) and we got a tour of the house. A-ma-zing! That house is already well on its way to being such a light in the city of Port-au-Prince.
The next three days were spent visiting with three other local missionaries and mission centers and finding out what their needs were, painting and electrical work at the house, a walk through the ravine (the American equivalent to the "ghetto" in Haiti) with a local missionary to help with the infant vitamin and feeding program, and just experiencing life in Haiti. It was a very different trip for me as we didn't have a set schedule of "ministry" we set out to do, but instead really just tried to absorb what the needs are that our church could help meet in future visits.
There were several highlights of the trip for me:
1) Getting to see Aaron again
|Aaron and I in 2009|
Holding Aaron in 2009 was when I first knew that the Lord could equip me with a love for a child who did not come from my body. He will never know how much he was used of God to bring us eventually to our Eli. What a sweet moment for me to revisit with him and to see how he has grown and (Praise the Lord!) has a family working to bring him home!
2) Meeting Ms. Elizabeth
Elizabeth is a sweet elderly Haitian woman who is in the final stages of breast cancer. Her body may be racked with pain and the evidence of this fallen world, but her spirit was full of the hope of her eternal life filled with no pain and in the presence of the One who makes all things new. I have to say that singing the final verse of 10,000 Reasons to a woman who is standing at deaths door has significantly more impact than when I've sung it in the past...
And on that day when my strength is failing,
The end draws near and my time has come,
Still my soul will sing your praise unending,
10,000 years and still forevermore.
I didn't think it was possible for this to happen, but it did. Jim and Debbie are truly hero's in my life and I am so proud to bear the last name of Hambrick. What they are doing in Haiti (and have done for years and years all over the world...) is lasting, relational, all about Jesus, practical, and something I feel privileged to get to be a part of. You can read more about their ministry here.
It wasn't all highlights, as the reality of the earthquake was most obviously evident in the absence of this toothless ninja warrior:
|Peterson in 2009|
|Jeremiah and his ninja warrior buddy in 2009|
Overall, I was struck by a sense of hope this trip. In the past 3 years, despite the devastating earthquake and multiple hurricanes, hope still prevails in the Haitian people and amongst the missionaries working tirelessly.
Two seemingly contradictory words?
With missionaries like Jim and Debbie and Dorothy Pearce and Pastor Ceynar and Sherrie Faussey and Amber Hasson and the Livesays and countless others...and ultimately the reason and giver of hope, our Savior Jesus Christ...
Hope is a reality for Haiti.
(And I already can't wait to go back.)