Thinking about Spring Break plans as a Junior in college tends to lean towards a few options on my campus: going skiing, finding bars, or going on a booze cruise. None of these options sounded appealing to me, and brought about a sort of anxiety when my friends started to brain storm their plans. In His great style, the Lord provided the Living Water trip my church was planning to go on during the time my peers started to finalize plans for Spring Break. Sitting in the meeting, hearing the opportunity, and thinking about the once-in-a-lifetime change this may give me, my gut told me, "Say YES!" Saying yes to this trip has been one of the clearest calls I felt I have answered in a long time. And getting into the country showed me vividly why I was called to Haiti.
I enjoyed forming relationships with the community around me. It gave me insight and understanding I needed. I found my mind wandering to different parts of the country I wanted to research when returning to the compound every night. But I never had to resort to Google because I had conversations with the people around me. Coming to know Haiti, the landmarks, the residents, weather, etc. forced me to come to know myself more intently. This trip was not just to form relationships with others, but also became a formative time for an inward focus. Returning back to the US showed me how the Haitian people had impacted my heart.
The biggest challenge when in Haiti was the language barrier, however, this is also the part of the trip that changed me the most. Knowing zero Creole or French, and minimal Spanish, being able to communicate with the kids and community I was surrounded with felt scary and unable to be done. Shortly after being immersed in the school, community, and Living Water staff, the Lord showed me that the power of love trumps all barriers that could possibly exist. I was able to communicate with the little girls who loved on me more than I was able to love on them all week through simply hugging, holding hands, and existing with each of them. Playing Haitian hand games, group games, and soccer with the children showed them I loved them, never once causing me to ask our translator "how do you say 'I love you?'" Leaving the community on our final day brought me to tears and broke my heart only because I would not see each of their faces the next day. My heart exploded with the love of Jesus, His cross, His life, and his Father, making room for the 90ish children, their teachers, and their families to swoop in and take over my heart as a whole.
The community in Plaine du Nord was content in anything and everything, as the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4. Bringing clean water to their lives was a resource many did not know they needed for a fully healthy life, nor did they care because above all else they have Jesus. The reaction to clean water was joyful and grateful, but the reaction to friendship and relationships was the one that will stick with me eternally. The sorrow in us leaving was reciprocated through my heavy tears and simple hugs helped comfort myself and my new Haitian family.