Some refer to Haiti as a “missionary graveyard:” a place that missionaries easily get burnt out because they see little success in their mission work. Some even refuse to return to Haiti because of bad experiences; they simply say, “There is no hope.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely had some pretty discouraging and spiritually dry times in my past three years in Haiti. Serving as a missionary family in Haiti has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. And in my human weakness and resisting to give it all over to the Lord, I sometimes want to leave.

I could list for you all the challenges and discouraging things that happen, or the efforts we’ve made that we haven’t seen bear fruit. However, I’d rather talk about why there is hope for Haiti.

Here are just some of the many miraculous things we’ve seen God accomplish:

  • Pre-teens and teens seeking out the sacraments on their own.
  • Teens coming to all of our events and ministries even if their parents are practicing voodoo and don’t approve of their involvement at our place.
  • Young women open to religious life despite constant spiritual attack.
  • Families who have turned away from voodoo for good.
  • Teens who come looking for one of our priests for Confession at random times of the day.
  • Former teens entering pre-seminary though there’s no actual seminary and no chance of finishing anytime soon.
  • A mom of one of our teens going to Confession after many years because of the witness of her daughter; she now works translating our Life Nights.
  • Young men learning about Theology of the Body and wanting to change their lifestyles.
  • Former youth, who are away at nursing school, continuing to live out their faith.
  • Teens who go to bed hungry and are sent home from school due to inability to pay tuition, showing up at our place with a huge smile on their face despite their circumstances.
  • Nine young adults who we formed as summer missionaries last year, now serving as the Core Team of the local parish and running Life Nights on their own without us doing any of the tasks.

I could go on and on but I think you get the point.

Our community (The John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization) is committed to prayer even when it’s too hot in the chapel. We are trying our best to live in community as 20+ people of two languages, two cultures, all different ages, vocations, and states of life. We are not dying physically, spiritually, or emotionally. We’re growing in our spirituality, and being pushed outside of our comfort zones, being challenged to grow in holiness. We’re given countless opportunities each and every day to see Jesus in people who may seem hopeless but who the Lord has the power of changing.

Jesus told us to “Go to the nations.” That includes Haiti. Jesus loves Haiti and the Haitian people and He died for them. There is hope for Haiti because we serve a God who doesn’t relent, who loves us unconditionally, who is waiting for His children with open arms. Mesi Bondye Mesi!

About the Author

Anna Albert

Anna is a Life Teen missionary serving in Haiti with her husband Paul and their children Nathaniel, 3, Thérèse, 1.75, and Michael (newborn). Anna loves learning about other cultures and languages and is wicked proud of her Boston accent, which she thinks should be its own language. She'd like to be the patron saint of iced coffee.

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