There are so many great things about our trip that I am afraid I will forget if I don't write them down. These are just a few of those things I want to remember, along with a couple other thoughts too.
I want to remember...
Being strangers only for a moment. We were greeted by everyone we met with a hug and a, "Hello, My Friend." They said it and they meant it.
The children who knew no English, couldn't say my name. I don't know what it is about those pesky H's. Every time introductions were made and I said my name, the children would just look at me as if they had absolutely no idea how to even begin to make an attempt. I am certain they saw a similar look on my face at times too.
One baptismal font. There is one baptismal font for all of the LCMS churches throughout the entire city of Port Au Prince to share. Changing this has become Seth's mission. This is something we can change. Seth has a plan. He knows a guy. From your mouth to God's ears, My Love.
The perfectly sweet mangoes Gertrude served for breakfast nearly every morning. They were orange drops of heaven!
Our driver, Leonard. His story. His faith. His fearlessness in the face of difficult times. His devotion to our God. His love of others, without boundries, without question. His humor. His protection of us. His smile. His passion for feeding those in need. A hundred other things.
Leonard's daughter, Nadine, and her story of the earthquake that included a broken down car, and a loving husband that left work and was getting it fixed when the earthquake hit. Everyone in his office building was killed. He is alive.
The confused roosters crowing at all hours of the day and night.
Keith and the other members of our team shouting, "Hey You! Hey You!" as they drove away after dropping us off at the airport on Day 8.
The prayers of friends and family that enabled me to be fully there. Throughout the week, I thought about my kids...occasionally. But that was it. The peace that became mine before our trip led me to spend not even a second of my time in Haiti wishing I was somewhere else. I love many of you dearly, but no one else really even crossed my mind that week. I didn't worry. I didn't have to. I knew you were all here caring for one another and that meant I could focus every piece of me on caring for and learning about our new friends there. Thank you so much for that!
And a couple other thoughts...
I was asked the other day if this place had changed me...I don't know. We're only two weeks out, and it's hard for me to tell. I think it brought out more of the evidence of Him in me. I am more compassionate and consider more carefully the challenges that others may be facing that I know nothing about. I am also, at this moment, today, less tolerant. Less tolerant of the nonsense. Less tolerant of excuses and laziness and complaining when it comes to God's Word and time with Him. I don't love this, but I'm not fighting it either. The people of Haiti have very little by our standards, but they are fully aware of what is good and right and needful and they know exactly where those good and right and needful things come from. I am less tolerant of us messing up our priorities. I don't envision this lasting forever, not to this extent, but it is what it is for now.
I am grateful to Sarah, and the God that kept making sure our paths crossed. I am certain this is just the beginning of the reason we have been running into one another over the past few years. I am thankful for her friendship and allowing us to follow her to this place.
I am grateful to my mother, whose company was sold, leaving her without a job for the first time ever but still absolutely cared for, and with more than enough time to come hang out with her grandchildren for a couple weeks. The timing of this was no coincidence.
I am grateful for the support of our congregation and our friends and our families and other pastors who covered everything else that needed to be covered.
I am grateful to the God who wove all of this together giving me the constant assurance that I needed in order to do something that required me to be really really brave, more so than ever before.
I am grateful to my husband for following me to Haiti and for nodding his head in agreement when I say we're going back. We have to. I'm. In. Deep. I suspect he is too.