Whenever you are going on a mission trip you always wonder what the people will be like. This trip, though, led us to meet some amazing people. The Tugwells and their children were absolutely amazing people. Even though they had given up many of the comforts of home, they still held such great joy. It was one of those joys that could only be from God. They knew that this is where God wanted them and were simply being obedient to His will. Then there were the others on the field, Mrs. Phyllis and Heather who were more than welcoming us into their adopted countries. They helped us to understand many of the cultural questions we had, while also simply being able to help us to not feel so far from home, as well as our Haitian friends that we grew to love over the course of the week. John, who was our translator, and maybe one of the funniest people I have ever met. He was instrumental in helping us get the supplies we needed, but also just to be able to interact with the Haitian people. Gee was our driver for the week, which in Haiti is no small task. There was also the family that we were working with for the week – the Maxwells from Siloam Springs were some of the best people to work with on a mission trip. They gladly welcomed us into their family for the week and even became like family to us. The love of God could easily be seen in their everyday walk. And it was funny how perfectly God’s plans work out. Though none of us had met before getting to Haiti, our two groups meshed together perfectly, not only personality wise, but also strengths-wise. The two moms and five girls on the trip were able to have a much bigger impact in the maternity hospital then the three college/high school boys on our trip, and our extra hands helped them to complete more construction tasks than could have been imagined. The people that we met on this trip will not be soon forgotten and made this trip a true blessing.
God also taught me some huge lessons this week – one of the first was patience (nothing in Haiti happens very quickly). Whether it was driving across town or trying to get supplies from the local hardware store, things simply moved at a much slower pace. You could not get frustrated, but simply had to trust that it was all in God’s plan. I was also reminded of how much God loves to work in small acts, rather than in our grand plans. Just like the little boy with the fish and the bread, he loves to take our small, insignificant things and turn them into grand acts for his glory. We were completing such small acts as building a couple of picnic tables and putting a roof on a pavilion, yet he multiplied this into allowing us to reach seven new believers and to begin to plant a church near Outside the Bowl. Then we were able to complete a couple of small household tasks for the Tugwells that really were about 15 minutes long, yet their faces were so happy for them. It was amazing to see the encouragement and joy that came from their faces. Being content with my own circumstances was another way that God really began to pull at my heart. You look at the Haitian people and you see such joy regardless of their circumstances. Many do not have running water or electricity, yet they have a joy that is running through them. They really love him. Yet sometimes I find myself being unhappy and falling away from God when I have mild set-backs in life. The Haitians though have found a joy that extends beyond any of their own circumstances.
The memories I made this week are far too many to count, but some of them will always stand out. On Wednesday we had the opportunity to get to pray over Outside the Bowl and its staff. This was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever gotten to be a part of on the mission field. God was moving in that room and we were privileged enough to get to see sevenpeople that had gathered outside to see what was happening decide to give their life to Christ. Another one of my favorite experiences was getting to attend a worship service with Teen Challenge Haiti. Even though I could not understand one word that was being spoken, there was no doubt as to whom they were singing. They were worshiping the same God I did and they were singing with extraordinary passion and love. It was just a small taste of how in heaven every tongue and race will be united worshiping at the throne of God. The last night our entire team got to sit down and discuss our trip and I was just amazed at how God could move so differently in all of our lives. Even though all of us had experienced roughly the same trip, we were all impacted so differently. Different things had stuck out to each of us, and different things had been placed on our trips. This just showed me how far God really reaches.
This trip was a true blessing to me and I found myself growing closer and closer to God. There are some things that I would ask everyone to keep in their prayers. First pray for the Tugwells and the other long term missionaries in Haiti. This can be a very tough work with little thanks. Pray that they will keep their endurance and continue to find their peace and joy with Christ and not in their circumstances. Next pray that God will continue to send short term missions to Haiti. Though there are a lot of long term missionaries in Haiti, the need is still great. Pray that these short term missionaries will have open minds and open hearts. Next pray for Haiti as a whole. Even though it is making great strides in their recovery, they are still in great need, both physically and spiritually. Pray that God will continue to raise up disciples in this land and continue to heal their land. Pray specifically for the local church. Pray that they will continue to be bold with gospel and to not fall victim to any false gospels that may be preached. Also pray for our team that the lessons we have learned this week will not simply be a mountain top experience, but will result in true life change.
Thank you for all of you who prayed and supported us on this trip. I was extremely grateful and hope that UBC will continue to send teams to support Haiti.
Written by Jonathan Benson