Every single morning my alarm clock goes off at 5:50 am, except on Fridays, because on Fridays I get to sleep in until 7:30 am. After I get out of bed, I wash my face, put on a skirt or basketball shorts depending on the day’s activities, put on a little mascara, and then head to the Pastoral Training Center for my quiet time before my 6:45 meeting with the rest of the interns and staff. After the meeting, I head on over to breakfast where I eat sugary cereal and a piece of peanut butter bread. I then go to get coffee, expectant of hopefully seeing flavored coffee creamer, but then realizing there is still only original. So I make my coffee and then go sit on the ledge with other interns as the sun begins to beat down on us.
Once I am done eating breakfast, I make my way to the water jugs to get water on my bus so that my team members and I don’t pass out from dehydration during the day in the hot, Haitian sun. I feel like I am equipped to handle many things, but passed out people is not one of them, so water is a big deal for everyone to be drinking, ya know? On my way back, I look out for my favorite translators and try to greet them with a “Bonjou! Komo ou ye?” (“hello! how are you?”) They usually reply that they are good while giving me a high-five and then typically comment on whether or not I look well rested. For some reason my Haitian friends love to let me know when I am looking tired. I then go greet my favorite security guard, who speaks with me in Creole, even though I can only make out bits and pieces of what he says. He is a nice guy and I wish I could actually have a good conversation with him. Maybe one day!
After all of that, I go to gather my team and translators up and we head out for whatever activity we are doing. Typically throughout the week we do Strategic Village Time, paint a home, Kid’s Club, plant trees, distribute goats, water filters, or solar lights, and now we will be doing VBS and Sports Camps, too. Every day is so different but at the same time, so similar.
Every day I wake up bright-eyed and full of wonder. Every day I set out to take Kingdom ground…whether that is building intentional relationships and asking questions, or by painting a home and getting to know the people who live there and the team members and translators I am working with for the week. Every day I lead people out on my own into the villages, following the lead of the Village Champions, and I set out to love people well.
I am coming to realize that loving people well means a lot of different things because each person is so different from the person next to them. Sometimes loving someone well means asking hard questions and getting into people’s real, messy lives, even when it seems like I am intruding. Sometimes it looks like holding a 10-year-old girl who is too big to carry through the village, but I do it anyways because sometimes, don’t we all just need to be held? Sometimes it looks like sitting on the floor with the cooks at Kid’s Club and helping them pack up the hot meals for the kids while sweat drips down my face. And other times, it means carrying water jugs all over creation, or sweating like a fool in a steamy home as we paint the inside bright green. It can look so different in each and every moment.
But in each and every moment, I know God is at work. It is impossible to deny the hand of God here in this country. When I ride in the back of a canter through various villages and places here in Haiti, I am consistently awestruck at the life I am getting to live, the people I am getting to love, and the things I am getting to do. And it is all. because. of. Jesus.
I no longer see sad, hopeless faces as I pass them on the streets, but instead I see alive, vibrant, souls that are knocking on the doors of freedom. I no longer see decay and destruction as I look around me, but instead I see that life is springing up out of the ashes and redemption is singing a slow, but steady song. I no longer see people who I feel sorry for, but I see people that I love. I see people who I know. And it is absolutely incredible. I see people who are chasing passionately after the Lord, no matter the cost. My heart is bursting at the seams with the love I have for these people and this country.
I do not know what my life will look like when I step off the plane in Dallas when the internship is over. I do not know just how much this summer will have impacted the entire trajectory of my life by then, but I do know that I am different. I do know that I am no longer satisfied with lukewarm Christianity, or the safety of my American life, and my complacency to live like each and every person is going to spend eternity somewhere.
I know that I am called to be a laborer of His crop. I am called to invite people to the table with Jesus. I am called to get out of my own self admiration and chase His people down, no matter how silly I look. I am just dumbfounded at how much I love this country, this organization, and this life. I truly feel like for the first time in a long time, I am actually living and it is because I am in tune with what I was literally created to do. I was created to love the Lord and make disciples.
My heart is at peace and so is my soul. I have never been surrounded by such a phenomenal group of people all striving towards the same goal of seeing life transformation for every man, woman, and child in Haiti through Jesus Christ. The Lord is humbling me every day, and I know that I am nothing with Him, I can accomplish nothing without Him, and I can go nowhere without Him. My new favorite Creole saying is “San Jezi mwen pa anyen” and it means “Without Jesus I am nothing.”
So each day is different, and each day is crazy and wonderful and long and hard and beautiful. But each day is just good. I am hanging on to this last half of my internship so tightly, because I know that these days will be fiercely missed when I return home.
Here’s to the next month and a half, and may I give Jesus all the room to work, and all the glory when He does.
Find out more about the Mission of Hope Internship program.