From October 18 – 26, our team of seven adults and 15 children travelled to Neply, Haiti to serve with a ministry called My Life Speaks. Not only did we have the chance to join what God is doing in Haiti, the trip provided an opportunity to evaluate a potential partnership that would allow SMR to offer family mission trips to Haiti in the future. Thank you for praying for our family and the team. We trust this recap will help you see how the Lord heard and answered.
We spent a significant portion of the trip serving and playing with the children living at My Life Speaks and in the village. This included the special needs orphans that live at the ministry center, children who have been sold as slaves to other families, children who come for a feeding and tutoring program three times each week, and children who gather each afternoon and evening in front of the ministry center looking for something to do. We also enjoyed visiting homes in the village, helping families with their daily chores and praying with adults and children.
We created this three-minute slideshow to give you a better feel for the trip:
2013 Haiti Trip Video
The trip was challenging, moving, and a gift from God.
Challenging. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and the effects of poverty are rarely out of view. Hot and humid, dirty and trash-laden, crumbled and half-built, small and unattended children – there is much that catches the attention and challenges our American sensibilities. Many adults are unmarried and have children with multiple partners. The parental bond appears weak and the desire to nurture rare. The message of the gospel is clouded by an almost universal belief in spirits (a form of animism known as Voodoo) and the question, “Doesn’t poverty keep us from the good life?” An environment like this tests what you really believe about God and His redeeming power.
Moving. In the midst of all the challenges, the Haitians were kind, always ready to chat, and grateful we were there. The Haitian children love physical touch so it was common to hug, high-five, or hold hands with a child you just met. If you were willing to swing them around or throw the Frisbee, they would stay and play until you were worn out. If you held a small child, they would often melt in your arms and fall asleep. Spending time with faith-filled Haitians living in shacks as well as skeptical adults still searching for answers gave us deeper perspective on the big questions of life.
A gift from God. Watching the remarkable example of the Haitian and American staff serving at My Life Speaks was inspirational. Learning more about “the secret of being content…whether living in plenty or in need” (Phil 4:12) through various aspects of the trip was beneficial. Joining in Jesus’ mission, together as a family and as a team, “to preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, and release for the oppressed” to the precious people in Haiti was priceless. Our lives have been enriched through the trip and we give thanks to God.
We do not know when we’ll have our next opportunity to visit Haiti, but this trip like previous family mission trips, has changed the way we think, pray, and talk – and we are grateful. We are hopeful for the development of a partnership and future SMR family mission trip opportunities to Haiti.
In Christ’s Love,
Matt + Chantal McGee for the Haiti Mission Team