Three years ago when my life forever changed.
Three years ago I was in Israel.
Three years ago I was standing on rooftops in old Jerusalem watching the sunrise. I was surrounded by a few fellow believers who traveled from Union with me to share the gospel in a place that desperately needs to hear about Jesus.
It was one of the best weeks of my life. Yet it was one of the hardest places to deliver the gospel.
I will have to save sharing about that trip for another time. I could talk about it for days.
While on that trip, three years ago, we watched the news coverage of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
Three years ago today the earthquake happened.
Three years ago God grew in me a heart for the Jewish people and Israel; three years ago God grew in me a heart for Haiti.
As I watched the news and learned more about the earthquake after returning home, I knew I had to go.
I longed to be amongst the rubble and ruins, dust and ash.
I so desired to hold children in my arms, bandage wounds, pass out food and water, and rebuild houses.
I yearned to offer hope amongst the despair, peace amongst the chaos, joy amongst the grief.
I needed to be with the poor and helpless.
So I spent hour upon hour figuring out how I could go. I knew spring break would arrive in just two months, allowing me a week off from school. It took some time to figure it all out. But just three short weeks before spring break I had found a ministry to go with (Adventures in Missions http://www.adventures.org), booked my flight, and even convinced my mom and two friends at Union to join me. Unfortunately, my grandmother became very sick, and so my mom stayed behind to be able to spend time with her in California before the Lord called her home. We trusted the Lord and knew he had a purpose and plan behind the timing of everything. He was in charge of our family and He was in charge of Haiti.
There is no way to accurately put into words what we saw and experienced. It was one of the best weeks of my life, yet it was one of the hardest. (That seems to be a recurring theme.)
Sleep was a luxury amongst the heat and noise.
My heart was constantly grieving, yet constantly giving…a strange paradox to persevere through.
These people had nothing. Absolutely nothing. They used whatever they could find to concoct some sort of shelter.
So much devastation. So much grief. So much death.
What could we possibly do? How could we help? What words would be adequate?
I quickly learned that we didn’t have to heal the nation. All I had to do was share Jesus. My Strength, my Rock, my Refuge, my Healer, my Joy, my Help, my Provider, my Provision. Share Him. My mission in Haiti was not to rebuild the whole nation, but simply help the few that I could.
What did that simple help look like?
Some days it was teaching English to a small community since they were still out of school.
Some afternoons we helped rebuild a church.
And some in the community quickly joined in to help.
We packed bags of rice and beans for pastors to hand out to their communities.
We spent time visiting churches and hearing their stories. The testimony that “my life was spared from the earthquake, so I know that there must be a God and so I will follow Him” was heard often and struck me hard. What peace and hope we encouraged them with was tiny in comparison to the way their just months old and yet solid and seasoned faith impacted us.
There were times when letting them love us, in their own unique way, was the best thing we could do for them.
Most importantly, the name of Jesus was on our lips. The gospel was shared. Men, women, and children were prayed for.
Each face we looked into told a powerful story. They will never be forgotten.
Three years ago, those faces changed my life.
Three years ago, a part of me was left in Haiti.
Three years ago, God literally shook the Haitian grounds out of spiritual darkness and into revival. He is moving in mighty ways in Haiti. His church is growing there like never before. Light now shines in a place that was covered in darkness.
Praise be to God who can use any chaos, catastrophe, tempest, and trial for His name’s sake!