God loves to fulfill His promises! Since the earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, some of us in Life Teen have felt that God wanted us to open a Catholic mission base in Haiti. The more we learned about Haiti – poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, little or no youth ministry, some villages only receiving mass once or twice a year – the more we were drawn to using the gifts and blessings of Life Teen in Haiti.
However, Life Teen representatives went to Haiti nineteen times in the first twenty three months after the earthquake and no long-term Catholic mission opportunity came. We served with other Christian ministries and along side many of our Christian brothers and sisters, but we did not encounter many Catholic opportunities. We found a few Catholic missions but none of them seemed to fit Life Teen’s mission. We kept going to Haiti. We kept following connections that might have led to a Catholic mission opportunity for us. One thought was to secure a small house near a parish where short term groups could come and serve. Nothing turned up. I was getting a little discouraged and wondering how long we would have to wait. But we kept going. We kept serving. We kept praying and inviting Haitians and missionaries into prayer.
In the twenty fourth month after the earthquake, almost two years later, God opened a door. Twenty Life Teen missionaries took a week-long trip to Kay Mari (Mary’s House), an Catholic family-style orphanage where Olguine and David (my adopted Haitian children) stayed during the adoption process. One of the founders of Kay Mari was newly ordained a priest for the local diocese of Anse-e-Veau/Miragoane. On the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, he (Fr. Louis) surprised us and came to celebrate mass at Kay Mari (a two hour dusty, bumpy motorcycle ride). After mass, he shared how his bishop, who was personally mentored by Pope John Paul II, had a vision for the New Evangelization in his diocese and across Haiti. Life Teen missionaries are missionaries of the New Evangelzation! I could see the opportunity unfolding before my eyes.
To make a long story short, Bishop Pierre Dumas invited Life Teen missionaries to come to Haiti and join him in the New Evangelization in Haiti. He provided leadership, passion, a mission base complete with long-term missionary housing and short-term missionary housing, and best of all – a full-time Haitian priest, Fr. Louis. Through the invitation of the Bishop, prayer and financial support of 1000s of teenagers, Life Teen now has six full-time missionaries living and serving at the John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization and Life Teen Mission Base. The missionaries are already impacting lives and implementing Life Teen in the local parish. God’s plan is so much bigger than ours. Yes, we had to wait longer than we wanted but the wait was so worth it…It is always worth it to wait on God to fulfill his promises!
A big lesson is that we did not wait passively, we waited actively. We kept praying. We kept going to Haiti. We kept serving. God, in his infinite wisdom, put all the pieces together at the right time. God’s timing is perfect!
What promises has God made you? How are you actively waiting? God is actively working toward the fulfillment of that promise. Trust in Him!