The end is truly the beginning.

I’m flying home now. In fact, as I write this post, I am 35,900 feet above the earth above Tampa Bay, Florida. In a very turbulent plane. I’m talking the you cannot walk to the back of the plane kind of turbulence where you are grateful for your seatbelt kind of turbulence. And that’s okay. It’s kind of the culmination of a journey of a lifetime.

Haiti changes lives. 

And it changed mine.

So I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to keep the posture my heart found in Haiti in a world of busy and expectations and way way way too much stuff.

It makes my head spin a bit, which is similar to what this plane is doing right now.

In some ways being in Haiti is easier. It’s simpler – you go back to the real basic things – the cooking, cleaning, washing the clothes, sweeping the floor, loving your children, type things. There aren’t these extra things that we need to be doing. The kids play soccer in the field – there’s no organized soccer sports – so the moms don’t have to deal with schedules and cleats and shin guards and cutting the orange slices for practices and making sure their little one knows the rules – the mom in Haiti just says make sure you remove your jeans and run around barefoot playing soccer and be home to help with dinner. Simple.

We say that the modern conveniences make life simpler, but honestly, right now at this moment while I ride in this airplane after walking through the Miami Airport, my life feels like it just became a bit more complicated.

It’s confusing, in a way.

I suppose that’s the culture shock aspect. While I was standing in the line to go through security after going through customs I had those last moments to reflect. Here I was just a week ago nervous and excited about Haiti and now here I was standing in line with my shoes off and my laptop in one bin and my liquids and gels in the quart bag and my way way way too heavy backpack on the belt getting ready to reenter my life.

And honestly, honestly, I’m still trying to figure out how.

I know it will happen. We adapt. We forget.

But, I want to learn. I want to set a mark in my mind about Haiti and make myself remember. I’m going to put that picture of me doing laundry in my laundry room. I’ve got a bracelet that I bartered for that I wear on my wrist as a reminder of the simple things. Pictures with kids who I grew to love.

And my heart is different.

Do you know that they don’t always have power? The government will turn off the power at certain times to certain districts. Do you know what that’s like? It’s crazy. The whole town will go dark – the whole countryside – as they wait for the power to return.

And yet they are joyful. Not complaining.

I complain if my power is out for more than several hours.

That’s the stuff I want to remember. I want to remember to be thankful for my washing machine and dryer. I want to remember the heat of the coals in the kitchen and how dangerous it was to stand there with splattering oil all around. I want to remember how their laundry was scrubbed by hand and how my hands bled. I want to remember how they loved me and hugged me and called me sister. I want to remember the exhilaration of riding a motorbike on the beach at sunset. I want to remember what it is like to stand in a church while everyone sings at the top of their lungs because they are joyful.


I want to remember Haiti because Haiti helps keep me grounded.

So while it may feel like the end of one adventure, the end is truly the beginning. It’s one of those moments in life when you can remember life before and life after. The life before is beautiful and celebrated. And the life after beautiful and celebrated as well. You just know that this moment was a pivot point and you can simply not return to being the same person as one was before.

The end of this trip is truly the beginning of the next chapter in my life.

Finding Joy.

I saw it in real life. I saw it where it was simply a lifestyle.

That is how I want to live.

And that is how I will encourage you to live as well.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for journeying with me to Haiti and back. I appreciate every share and comment and like. You have blessed me with your support and deep encouragement.


You can also follow me on facebook -> finding joy blog or on twitter @finding_joy or on instagram at finding_joy You can also search the hashtag #findingjoyhaiti on instagram to find my pics right away.

Make sure to follow Praying Pelican Mission on their facebook page Praying Pelican Missions and on twitter at PrayingPelican To learn more about Haiti please read Haiti Short-Term Missions.
Images and original content are sole property of Rachel Martin and may not be used, copied or transmitted without prior written consent.


4 Responses to “The end is truly the beginning.”

  1. June 28, 2013

    Anastasia Reply

    I wonder what you’ll be writing going forward, because this really changes how you see things 🙂

    I grew up in Russia and in many places people still do their laundry by hand and heat/cook with a big stove that you have to throw wood in, many without running water – you have to go fetch it. Plus mostly everyone grows their own food in the country side, they have the daily work of the garden.

    Having grown up there really affects the way I live here in the States. I’m not interested in carting my kids to and from various activities. I’m not interested in the busy lifestyle. We have a really laid back one compared to most Americans. There are trying days, but most of the time I just savor having so many modern conveniences and the luxury of leisure time – even thought the to do list of a mom will never end. But at least I can pause my cooking and cleaning and really enjoy my little kids.

    I think finding joy is a challenge for all of us, each of our journeys is so different 🙂

  2. June 30, 2013

    Chris Carter Reply

    That re-entrance is so anxiety provoking… after such a powerful experience, you are left with what you had and what you knew before you came. It’s so scary to let go of something so treasured and continue to keep capturing the moments within your world. I loved your journey and I thank you for sharing it with us!!! Sometimes I wonder if life would be more fulfilling in a land that is not “of plenty”…

  3. July 28, 2013

    jen reyneri Reply

    Love this. The re-entry moments have certainly shaped our lives in my family. I think that’s why I’m so passionate about the value of travel !
    Excited for the next adventure 😉

  4. October 25, 2015

    Maxine Reply

    Thank you for sharing!!! Very thought provoking. I had to chuckle at myself as I sometimes travel with my husband for work. After 2-3 weeks in a one bedroom hotel apartment room I realize how much I DONT need and how blessed I am. I come home and do some ‘cleaning out’. Thanks for the humble reminder!!! 😊

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