Where to begin? Well before I start with all the wonderful stories of Haiti I want to share one of the main things God taught me while I was there. This mission trip was definitely different than any other mission trip I have been on and over the past nine days God took a deep hold of my heart and began to recreate it into what He desires. As I was preparing for Haiti I had a plan; I hate to say it but I was looking for an experience while helping the sick and hungry in villages and slums. I prayed for the Lord to place me in life-altering situations where I could give all that I had to help anyone in need. I wanted to be emptied out of all my hugs and kisses and compassion. While He did this, He also had another plan; He has something else in mind. Even though it was different from “My plan” or what “I desired,” God drew me so much closer to Him. He taught me to rely completely on Him when I am placed in situations where He is ALL I have. At the beginning of this trip I was at a place of uncertainty, I didn’t go with anyone I knew, I felt so alone. I was facing feelings of “How could God place me in a country I so desperately loved and cared for and longed to help and then leave me feeling so alone and abandoned with no one physically to run to??” I didn’t have the closeness of having a team or my best friend by my side. I went with a desire to make a difference and in the quietness and stillness of my Jesus, He began to teach me how to trust Him completely. He would whisper, “Lauren, I am in control. I know what is best.” It seems like such a simple Christian principle but God is in absolute, complete, and sovereign control. While I felt that I lived in a vacuum of aloneness and impossibility, I had to trust that God was in control. For the past 9 days I was in complete dependence on my savior just like the people of Haiti have to rely in complete dependence on Jesus to provide a meal for them to eat or clean water or healing in their sick bodies. Every time I wanted to run to someone to help make sense of my feelings and cry, I depended on prayer and the shoulder of Christ. Every time I walked through the villages of Haiti and starving, malnourished children would grab my hand and cry out for food, all I could rely on was “God is in control. God will provide.” Every time I felt so inadequate to perform any task the Lord had called me to in Haiti, I learned to lean on the Lord for Him to provide. I learned that He has a way of using ordinary, inadequate people. In Haiti God was asking me to reach a little higher while He was stretching me farther, even when I wanted to give up and felt I couldn’t go another day. I simply learned to trust Him and then He gave me everything I needed to do the “more” He asked of me. The “more” He was asking was to sit in His quietness and be still. To trust Him when things aren’t as I had planned. To turn to Him and Him only when feelings of inadequacy, self-worth, and loneliness start to creep in. He was asking me to step out in faith into situations I felt I couldn’t handle. The Lord was teaching me to be like Mary with courageous FAITH and an OBEDIENT heart. She submitted to the Lord regardless of what it would cost her even if it meant losing her reputation and the man she loved. God uses ordinary people. Just like he used Moses a murderer, a shepherd just trying to mind his own business and move on with his life when he watched a bush catch fire and not burn up. God wanted to use him to lead His people out of Egypt. And of course Moses was human and told God He had the wrong guy. God used Jonah, an ordinary fisherman. He used David, a shepherd boy. God uses ordinary, inadequate people to accomplish what He desires.
I learned that I am…
Learning this placed me in a beautiful place where I couldn’t go one minute without being in constant communication with my beautiful savior. In Haiti I was stripped of everything that was comfortable. I wasn’t in the crazy, busy society of the US but I was in a society where time was not important. I was in a place where once the sun came up at 5:45am the main task/priority for the day was to find food to feed the family. And for this the people of Haiti rely completely upon the Lord. I looked into so many hopeless and broken eyes this week that my heart sinks into my stomach when I think about it. I was learning that the powerless, broken, dependent place was actually the place the Lord was closest to me. I was seeing that it was easier to cling to Jesus in the state of being alone and living in a society that had nothing than it was to live in the abundance of America. Although I personally was never hungry or in need while in Haiti, I was in the midst of a world that was and I was realizing I was thirstier than ever. I was thirsty for the place of complete dependence upon my sweet savior. I was hungry just to be in the quietness and stillness of His presence, away from the clutter and consuming society of America. Every minute while in Haiti, I prayed. I prayed over every piece of land my feet touched, every village I walked through, and over every malnourished little body that placed their hand in mine. Knowing, believing, and trusting, that my God is capable of healing much brokenness is all I needed.
And now let’s take a journey to Haiti…