We landed. The land is brown and dry. The sounds of a four-man band welcome us at the airport. We collect our bags of medicine and food and squeeze our way through the airport. We drive. We arrive.
Three years ago, it was just a field. Now, the Great Commission Alliance (GCA) property houses a Chapel, a Guest House, a School, and an Orphanage. The medical clinic is partway built.
It is inviting. The air is warm, the sun is hot. The guest house is cool, the bunk beds comfortable. The people - smiling, welcoming.
Our view from the front porch of the GCA Guest House.
We arrived not knowing what to expect (well, those of us going for the first time), and even those who had been before saw the new developments that were made.
We began as a team of strangers (for the most part) that met once or twice each month from September 2012 through February. We all read “When Helping Hurts,” in order to get perspective before arriving in Haiti. It was so valuable to really think and pray about what country we’re coming from and what country we were going to visit. The United States is a wealthy country - full of things, for sure - but our material wealth often gets in the way of our spiritual wealth. We learned that Haitians, though they may not have the “stuff” we so easily have in the US, likely have a greater wealth when it comes to understanding God’s sovereignty When you’re hungry, you really have to trust that God will provide. When you don’t have clean water, you really have to trust that God will provide. We don’t know that kind of hunger in the United States. We drive past two McDonald’s on the way to work and our grocery stores are open 24 hours a day. We don’t know hunger pains or bathing in a dirty river, so how can we say that our spiritual lives are really all that dependent on God, especially in comparison?
We went to Haiti with a desire to learn from the people. What faith they have - and what faith I have yet to know!
Part of our team walked up to the Tree of Life, a lone tree on a high hill, our first full day in Haiti.
This team of people - with medical physicians, nurses, a pharmacist, a former military pilot, two optometrists, a church deacon, and a various supply of helpful hands - went from barely knowing each other to forming a team with a unified purpose. Our week was filled with a hot Haitian sun, 1400 patients, a HUGE language barrier and a desire to see people healed. I could not have dreamed of a better team to work with. God granted us the patience, grace and joy we needed to successfully serve the needs of the people in whatever ways we could.
As for me, I have no medical background beyond my trip to the Community Blood Bank every 56 days, and yet I, too, was used. I was a “runner,” so I would help shuffle people from one station to the next, moving them from triage (where the nurses would get their vitals and symptoms) to the physicians, eye clinic, lab or pharmacy. Since we didn’t speak the language, we runners had to be in constant communication to make sure we were moving people to the right places. We all took ownership of our roles and really respected the word and deed of those we worked with.
It was such a joy to accomplish as much as we did!