I’m back at 24 hours before heading into Haiti. This time tomorrow, I’ll be sitting at a gate in O’Hare airport in Chicago waiting for my flight to Miami.
Every trip into Haiti brings fun emotion with it. The first few trips in, it was nervousness. It was anxiety.
I just want this short post to answer a few questions that I hear concerning me going to Hait.
1.) What do you do when you go to Haiti?
I hang out. No seriously. I’ve gone in with groups. We’ve “constructed” buildings, per se. But it’s amongst my Haitian brothers and sisters. The boys in our children’s home are right there working with us. Or, many times, we find ourselves sitting in the girl’s dorm late at night. We go and sing. We laugh. We talk (as much as our limited Creole lets us).
It’s not a bait and switch where we have a project, and then we just go hang out, but it is about the relationships. These days when I make a trip, I’m not excited about the work at all. But I’m excited about getting to see people who are friends. Who know me. Who care about me. It’s about relationships, in the same sense that if I go visit a friend in another state, I am excited to see them, not help them wash their car…
2.) When are you moving to Haiti?
Never. Well, I say that and believe it. Unless God completely comes in and undoubtedly calls us, it appears that we are where we need to be. Lindsey and I feel called to be a bridge. We want to connect the local church, both ours and others, to what God is doing around the world. We feel blessed to have been able to go the places we have gone, and God has opened our eyes well beyond our Americanized concept of Christianity. If nothing else, I want people to be able to see what God is doing in other parts of the world so they can understand their role, and His role.
3.) Why do you keep going back to Haiti?
I’m selfish. I love Haiti. I love the relationships that I have down there. I love my kids. I do nothing for them, just to be honest. We’re friends first and foremost. A lot of people have this concept that we go, bringing goods and materials to the people that they lack, but that’s not true. I purposefully do NOT bring in things for them due to fear of creating dependency (see these posts as to why). Thus, I’m selfish.
I go for me. It is a time of spiritual refreshment for me. It is like visiting a family member after not seeing them for a while. It is simply what I want to do.
But also, I recognize that too many time in a short-term missions trip, we put our pin on a map that shows we’ve visited that place, and then we never return. What do the people we minister to and with think when we fail to show up again after investing and making those promises? Does that mean if someone makes a trip once and never goes back, it’s bad? Absolutely not, but I recognize that true impact is made on relationship – in the same way that it is in the states.
I cannot meet someone once, evangelize, and then never touch their life again. It takes work and intentionality.
I don’t bring Jesus to my friends at all. But my point is, it is an intentional relationship. I’m doing nothing to “improve” their lives in Haiti. I’m just a friend. And I want to see them. So I go.
Hopefully this answers the big three questions that I get asked a lot. I do nothing in the grand scheme of things. I just want to hang out with my friends for a week.