Part 1. Lessons being learned
Transitions are difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I think starting a new chapter in the book of your life is great, but I also know that for me it rarely is a walk in the park.
I have been living in Haiti for 1 month and 4 days now. It has been a hard transition.
Some things I have personally found to be challenging:
- Culture shock
- Being homesick
- Being the only one in the beginning stages of knowing the language while the rest of the team has a pretty decent handle on it (they’ve been here since October of last year)
- Feeling inadequate
- Feeling alone
- Not having a regular schedule (the kinks are still being worked on so we can have a more structured weekly/daily schedule)
I have come to notice that whenever a big change happens in my life, I go through similar emotions before I realize that God is sovereign. Here is my usual train of thought/emotional rollercoaster: “What am I doing here?” “I have nothing to offer” “My faith is not strong enough” “I can’t do this” “What is the point of this?” “Did I make a huge mistake by doing this?” “Do I even know how to discern right?” “If I made a mistake then that means I can’t discern well” “Why would God allow me to choose this?” “What am I going to do now?”
I have asked myself those questions & pondered those thoughts many times, through tears and prayers through anxiety and exhaustion. And it never fails, that after I go through all of that for however long it may be, there is calm after the storm.
When things become difficult like that, my first inclination is to pray. I usually call my mom and tell her what is going on so she & my dad can pray with and for me. I also call/write to some of my closest friends letting them know exactly what is going on so they can intercede for me. I can honestly say that prayer has gotten me through the rough waters on to calmer seas. Now, the calmer seas don’t mean I have all the answers or that I have it all figured out. It does mean that by the grace of God my heart is reminded and my soul is convicted that everything will be ok, because everything is in His hands, and He works everything for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). It’s when I remember that He is faithful that I stop freaking out and worrying about everything I don’t see or don’t understand. It’s when I remember who I belong to that my perspective is more closely aligned to His.
Part 2. How God is moving in the mission
We took in an older gentlemen, named Camille, a little over 2 weeks ago. He had been living on the streets of Haiti for who knows how long. He is in his 80s and has a large tumor, he can’t really walk and was abandoned. Fr. Louis brought him home to the base. We bathed him, fed him, and set up a little room for him. Fr. Louis got in touch with the Missionaries of Charity, explained the situation and found him a home with them. We got to take Camille there (Fr. Louis, Michelle [Fr. Louis’ brother], MarAcrthur, Sara & me) and it was really neat.
We had a medical team from Canada here for 10 days. They used our facilities for food/housing. I got to help them out at the clinic one day and really enjoyed it because I got to learn quite a bit regarding how a medical mission can be set up. I even got to learn how to remove a foreign body from someone’s eye!
In my very broken Creole I got to talk with one of the girls that comes here pretty regularly, her name is Lucy. She was wearing s shirt that was pretty much see through and I wanted to give her a new shirt and explain to her that she has dignity and worth, and because she is worthy of being respected, she needs to believe that and respect herself first by embracing modesty. I also wanted to tell her that she has worth because Jesus loves her. So, I took a minute and talked with her. She actually understood and accepted my offer that I would give her a shirt and she would trade hers in.
We had our first Life Night (youth group meeting) this past Sunday. It went well given it was our first one. There is definitely a lot of tweaking and adjustments but I think that is ok, it is such a different challenge to introduce a youth ministry style that was developed in the U.S. to a country whose culture is completely different. I think the kids had fun. I can’t wait to develop my language skills further so I can talk with them more one-on-one.
Kristine, the speech pathologist – so I met this girl who has lived in Haiti for over 1 year. She works with Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos in Port-au-Prince. Long story short, I am going to visit her one day to have a fun day and hang out and she is going to see about me staying with her organization at the volunteer housing so I can help out as a nurse at their pediatric clinics for a few days – I am so excited!