Comment ca va? That’s my attempt to continue from where I stopped in Haiti. Yes, I am back and ready to share the whole journey with you. So get a cold drink as you read on, as this post will definitely be an interesting and long(er) read; with lots of pictures.
It was a normal night as usual on March 10, the difference was that, I had a dream where I was speaking to someone who was ‘invisible’, in an elated tone, I screamed: ‘I am going to Haiti’. I woke up the next morning [March 11, Wednesday] laughing at myself. I didn’t even tell my family about the dream. To me, that was a ‘misplaced’ dream. Then evening came, and it was time for bible study in church, and my assistant pastor of my church had requested to see my brother and myself as we had opted to volunteer for after school program for children in the neighborhood. After the discussion, he points at me and says: ‘Princess, you’ll be going to Haiti, this year, right?’ Emmm hello Pastor, have you been in my dreams? That was my initial silent thought. I was dumbfounded for about five seconds and finally spoke. I told him about my dream, took the form, filled it and the rest is what you’ll know as you read.
The truth is, when the announcement was made for the missions’ trip in church, I just brushed it off, as I knew that I knew that I could not afford to go on the trip. It felt like the wrong time. I was certain, it was the wrong time. But who am I to tell God what time is best for things when He is the master planner?
After I filled the form, I remember praying to God, telling Him that He knows that I do not have the financial resources to facilitate this trip, but I know He is not limited. So another challenge sprung, not having the money for the trip required that I fund-raise for it, and if there’s anything I am very much not comfortable with, it is asking for money. Then I am sure God knew that He had to deal with my mindset, just like He did with the Israelites. I needed to realize that this trip was more than me, and I should be ready to do whatever the Lord will grace me to do concerning the trip. So I dropped my ego and selectively told some people about the trip and asked to be sponsored. But it didn’t just work out well with my mindset just like that, then God didn’t just give up on me. I was having my morning bible study on Acts 13, and the Holy Spirit ministered to me on how there are two groups in a church: those that are ready to go out as missionaries and those who are unable to go but must be ready to send off the missionaries, pray for them, to sacrifice for them, making it possible for them to go [verse 2 and 3].
After that revelation, the chains were broken. I wasn’t hindered anymore in being led to people who were willing to ‘send me off’. It got to a point where I didn’t have to ask for anything, all I did was speak about the trip and people would offer to put down something towards the trip. I was blown away
I had more confirmation that I was supposed to go on this trip, when I received Joyce Meyer’s Enjoying Everyday Life Magazine, for the month of June, and it was an annual report edition for the year 2014, focusing on what Hand of Hope does all around the world; humanitarian and missionary works. I read that edition and just smiled at how strategic God is.
If there’s anything I have learnt from preparing for the trip, it is being able to know more on how God speaks to me, and being sensitive to His tactics.
So June 29 came, and I was on my way to Montreal to depart for Haiti. I joined a ride share [when a person uses their personal car as a means of transportation for a group of people] and you pay, of course! My team had left on the 26th as they were leaving from Toronto. My flight was for the 30th at 9am, so I left Toronto at 4pm, got to Montreal at 10pm, toured the airport, and regretted why I never continued to keep up with my French, but it was not that bad as everyone could speak both French and English.
My plan was to stay at the airport till the next morning, I didn’t tell my mum as I knew she will be worried, but God had everything planned. My friend insisted that I lodge into a hotel and paid for it. God knew I needed that sleep, I did not even realize that I was so tired.
God amazed me at how He was so mindful of the fact that I needed sleep even when I didn’t realize it.
The next morning, I was off to Haiti. My pastor had informed me that I had to pay $10 tax at the airport, as they had done so when they arrived. But then again, no one asked for the tax. Who wants to try explaining why? Not me! Even my pastor was surprised. [I leave the explanation to your imagination]
Our itinerary for this trip included VBS [vacation bible school] for the kids, Micro finance training, Construction, Visiting Boys’, Girls’ and Widows homes, feeding less privileged kids and playing with them and many other unplanned necessary activities.
We always planned the activities of the day, a night before, as theVBS consisted of a skit for the bible stories involved. We needed to know who played what character. We also put together games for the older kids and younger kids. I got to realize how putting games together was not my forte, as I am used to the Nigerian games unlike the other members of the team, who were more accustomed to the western games. But it was great to learn the games. Different members of the team were placed in charge of the activities with the kids.
We also had morning devotions together on the roof top of the missions’ base. It was just heavenly, the times we spent there interceding for each other. Our pastor and guardian gave us a sheet that had a prayer wheel on it, helping us with how to pray. If there was anything that stuck out to me, was the need to wait and watch while praying. Most times, we just speak to God and walk away, but prayer is supposed to be a two-way street; we speak to God and He speaks to us. From waiting and watching, I have come to realize that God speaks, listening to Him is where we falter.
We visited and ministered in two churches.
The first church was in the period of evening services for forty days, and our pastor ministered in some of the services. I remember meeting a 5year old girl who had walked 2 hours to come for the service, one of the evenings; and that just touched my heart. I was so moved by her hunger and zealousness. We (Myself and another member of the team) prayed for her, we were so moved, we had to lift her up to the Lord.
We had sessions with the youths in the churches as well, shared our testimonies and had breakout sessions where we encouraged them with practical tips and the Word. From these sessions, I got to understand youths have similar challenges in their Christian walks. We had youths who were concerned about getting married to their partners and not being sexually compatible, those who were being treated badly by family members because they were not in support of the youths’ faith in God, those who had sick parents etc. It was refreshing to see how open they were to sharing their challenges, and it was glorious to see how the Holy Spirit used us in giving answers from the Word of God.
We visited a community called Lambi, most families still live in shelters from the earthquake of year 2010. We played with the children there, fed them. Spending time in these different communities, I felt the love so strong between the toddlers, teenagers, youths and adults. They looked out for each other and played with each other. They were so happy, it did not feel like they had anything missing. In those moments, gratitude welled up within me, not because I felt my life was better than theirs, No! I was so thankful to be in the midst of people who loved God and their neighbors not because of what they had or could get from them and God; but for who God is, and who their neighbors are. The love was so pure, it exuded with every hand holding, every laugh and every cry of a baby.
In this trip, God showed me my heart on selflessness on the second day of my arrival, a mouse got into one of the ladies’ bag and I remember being on my bed while the other ladies rallied around to find help. At that point God convicted me of the fact that I was part of the team, and the worry of another member of my team, should be my worry. I repented and asked the ladies for forgiveness, and I couldn’t help but think of the body of Christ, if we really felt pain of each other and stood in the gap for ourselves, how half of our problems will be solved. Unity and selflessness is divine. It is interesting that I had this lesson a day before another test.
After we [The missionaries] had eaten lunch at one of the churches, I walked out of the eating room, and there was this boy who was very thirsty, he asked me for water, but the water had finished inside. The women leader at the church gave me a cup of lemonade to drink, I gave it to the boy. Few minutes later, he calls out my name and says a heartfelt thank you. It was a light bulb moment for me, and then the Holy Spirit dropped a revelation from that experience.
The boy asked for water and you gave him lemonade and he was so grateful as if you had given him water. When we give God our inadequacies, He uses them to do wonders. We may feel they are not enough, but only if we will just obey and give what we have to Him, and He will blow our minds. God is not looking for perfection; He wants yielding and willing hearts.
We also had a micro finance training for members of some churches who were recommended by their pastors, and were interested in starting a business. Not everyone was loaned a capital, just people with good business plans. This scheme was enlightening. It exposed those who had good business sense, and those who were bluffing and those who really knew their business. I was really impressed to see the different means of accruing income to survive.
We also paid a visit to some widows at the widows’ home. We sang for them, asked for words of advice, made bracelets for them and they sang for us too. I was touched by one of the widows, who had lost her three children but she was so joyful; I could see that the joy that radiated from within had nothing to do with what she had or did not have. We visited the girls’ home as well, some of us that could braid, braided the girls’ hair; and we also got to teach one of us; who did not know how to braid.
We also helped with construction, both churches had different things they needed done. The first church was making chairs for the church auditorium, while the second church, were erecting pillars for the auditorium. I did not get to do construction, but some members of the team did.
We visited a lady who was sponsored by our church after the earthquake, to see how she was doing. She was doing great and had moved into a better house.
We had two days off in the two-week span. We visited the museum, fort Jacques, Haiti Baptist Mission base, went to the market and the beach (Ocean view beach resort).
Lets talk about the weather and other stuffs
Folks, it was hot in Haiti. Extremely hot and humid. I had forgotten how it felt back home (Nigeria). I had to shower thrice daily to survive the heat. The mosquitoes were definitely happy to meet us, I had five mosquito bites within the first two days of my arrival, and I did not go with malaria pills. Well, I was counting on God and it felt like nothing to me, please I’m a full-fledged Nigerian; mosquitoes were the least of my worries.
When you see how we are dressed in the pictures, you’ll realize that the ladies were ‘covered’. The churches that we served in, have the principle of no trouser or revealing outfits, so we had to abide by their rules. But on our days off, we were allowed to wear shorts and the likes.
The Haitians’ first language is creole, so before I left for the trip, I listened to some lessons that our guardian and pastor gave the team to prepare for the trip. But it was a different ball game, when I arrived in Haiti, I was able to pick out some words when they spoke but you need to see how the older kids laughed at me, when I made my attempts in speaking the little I know. Anyway, we had translators with us, every time we had to converse with people.
Oh! Did I forget to mention that my team had to sing at the churches? And in the midst of a ‘blind team’, a one-eyed girl became king. Well, my family members say I do not know how to sing, but my team members saw me as the one-eyed king that could help with the singing. Talk about moments of fame!
Lessons and Blessings
In the preparation for this trip and eventually going, I learnt so much. I learnt that my life is not my own. Out of nowhere, God says this is what I want you to do, Princess, will you do it?And my response is determining factor of if what I really profess to the world is true.
Let me give you a lil’ breakdown: I do not have the money for the trip. I have my plans towards my legal qualification, they require money and if I was to be investing money in anything, it was to be towards my career. Oh need I add that, I had a skin reaction that was so stubborn that even the doctor’s recommendation did not work. God, you see all these, and you are asking me to go on this trip? Really? That was my initial thought. But I could not afford to live in disobedience. It was not the perfect time for this trip, but I had to trust that God knew what He was doing.
I had someone say to me: ‘If you knew you were going to Haiti, you should have planned ahead and saved for it.’ Oh yes! That person was right, in fact, that’s how I roll. I plan things ahead. But this year, and from this trip, I have learnt that my plans should be subject to God’s plan, and it’s very okay for God to interrupt my plans.
About the skin reaction, when I was in Haiti, it got worse, the weather was a contributing factor, as we did most of the activities under the sun, and it was always hot. So from what I noticed, the heat made the appearance of reaction worse. One afternoon, when I was alone in my room, I got angry like that woman with the issue of blood in the bible, and I prayed to God: I told Him that He asked me to come on this trip. He knew about this reaction, and in His word, I have seen Him heal people of worse ailments, and I know He has healed me of this reaction; as the medications recommended did not work’. Every day after that afternoon, I just thanked God for healing and prophesied that like Naaman, God has given me a fresh skin and the reaction is gone. But the reaction was still there, very visible. Fast forward to today, as I type this post to you; I am witnessing the change, and it is miraculous. I have been back for a week now and indeed God has answered my prayers, my skin is back and healed.
Also, I start a new job on Monday. It’s just amazing when I think of how God strategically worked everything out.
This just came in now after I had uploaded this post: my result from the three exams I wrote in May just came out, and I passed them all. God is just so faithful. If you remember I shared how He asked me to stop working and focus on the 3 legal exams, well, He has delivered. I am so elated. Words fail me to express my gratitude to God. I am not there yet, but the journey is so worthwhile with God by my side.
I enjoyed spending time with God and hearing Him speak clearly, no clutters. It was an amazing time going on this trip. Being able to keep my worries aside, and just serve the people of Haiti. It was great to soak into their aura of gratitude to God even in their needy state. Personally, embarking on such a trip definitely changes your life; it did mine!
Let me also chip this in: I learnt that my being open with my story is a tool of liberation. Every member of my team can testify to this.
If after reading this post, you forget everything I shared about this trip to Haiti; please remember this: Our obedience to God isn’t dependent on situations/circumstances. It is constant. As children of God, I want us to get to the point where whatever God requires of us, we avail ourselves to Him, not thinking of the limitations, but just leaning on God totally.
I also need to add that, when God requires something of you, you should not expect everyone to be in agreement with the task. But you have to stand firm, knowing who your God is. It is also very important to know how God speaks to you, as He reveals Himself to us in different ways.
God can only use a yielded and willing heart, and if all we think of is ‘what will person A think or say?’ then we are not ready for what God has in store for us. If there’s anything I am learning from my walk with God, is that: God’s ways may seem foolish to the human mind.
Finally, I do not want you to read this and feel Oh she is so perfect and on point with God. No! I want you to read this post and worship God as everything I have shared is God working in me. Take away God, and there will be no testimony.
Stay grounded in His Word. Chase after God relentlessly, He won’t let you down.
P.S: If it’s God’s will, I plan to go next year, but if it is not in His plans for next year, will this cause be something, you will be willing to make a contribution to, if you could. For the missionaries that will be going? Please let me know.
Also, I can only share this much, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section.
And please ask before lifting any image from this post. Thank you
PT TIP OF THE DAY
You have not served God wholeheartedly, if your walk is by sight and not by faith.
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