One week from today I will be boarding a plane and flying from Minneapolis to Miami to Haiti.
I have no idea what to expect.
Oh, I have images in my head of what I think Haiti will be like – a collection of pictures thrown together to make what I believe I think I’ll see. They’re a mixture of images burned in my mind from the earthquake that I scrolled through on cnn.com to the tender smiles and laughter of the children that I saw from when friends of mine visited last summer. They’re a smorgasboard of pictures of poverty mixed with tropical beauty mixed with vibrant sun mixed with noise. But, honestly, they’re all ideas of perhaps what I’ll expect to see.
It’s like the What to Expect When You’re Expecting book, in a way. I remember scouring that book when I was pregnant the first time – reading about morning sickness, stretch marks, what it will feel like to feel that child move within you the first time, and labor – but until I went through a pregnancy and watched my body change – only then could I really tell you what the expected actually was.
A dear friend of mine challenged me to think about what I think I will experience in Haiti and to share it with you today. And then, then while I’m there the expecting aspect will become a reality aspect and I will see where the thoughts, images, and ideas matched and where I was totally off. I have a deep feeling that most of what I expect won’t really be the reality.
There are little things I expect like knowing it will be hot. But how hot? I know it won’t be Minnesota hot on the hottest day of summer where we all hunker inside and I think to myself rather foolishly that I wish it was winter. (Sigh. Note to self: even on the hottest day in the summer do not wish it was winter). I’ve tried to prep myself for the heat – with hats, headbands, sunscreen – but, truthfully, I’ll have no idea of that heat until I find myself walking out of the airport in Port au Prince and my straightened hair quickly reverting to its naturally curly state.
But, this isn’t all about the physical aspects, I guess. I suppose I could tell you that I expect the sun to be so brilliant that my eyes will want to be shaded. Or that in Port au Prince I will be stunned at how many people are around everywhere. That there will be noises that I’ve never heard and that all of my American ideas of normal will quickly be shattered. But, honestly, I am expecting a great deal to not only paint a new picture of Haiti for myself (and thus you all as I’ll be writing about it) but also for my heart.
What will it be like to work/shadow a Haitian mother for days?
I complain about laundry here. And yet, while in Haiti, I’ll get to work alongside a mother doing her daily chores – laundry, cooking, etc… – how quickly will be it be that my hands, who are used to simply dumping clothes in a machine, spinning the dial, moving them to the next machine, removing them and folding them – how soon will those hands of mine be worn? Have callouses? I expect to tire much quicker from the work. I expect that I will learn a new understanding for work. I expect that my ideas of mothering will change and yet, at the core, the loving of a child will stay the same.
I also expect that the paradigm in which I see this world will be forever shifted.
And that part? I have no idea what to expect.
So, in a week, as I board that plane, traveling to Haiti with Praying Pelican Missions, I know that even though I am being blessed to go help, to give back, to write about Haiti, and to share with you all about Haiti and ways that you, too, can help, that I will be the one who will be stepping onto a plane leaving Minnesota to not come back the same.
I expect my heart to be forever changed.
That’s the one thing I’m absolutely sure of.
From June 21 – June 27 I’ll be in Torbeck, Haiti, working alongside Praying Pelican Missions. I’ll be flying into Port au Prince, spending a night there, visiting an orphanage, and then the next day returning to the airport to document and observe missions teams arriving. Then I’ll join them and will trek across the mountains to the fishing village of Torbeck. I do, by the way, expect to see banana trees, dusty roads, and vibrant colors on this stretch of the journey. And then, once I’m in Torbeck, which is part of the Port Salut district I’ll be working with the missions teams on various tasks. Building, planting trees, playing sports with the kids in the afternoon, and for me, the part in which I’m most excited about – working alongside Haitian mothers.
I cannot imagine what I will be taught about life during those days.
Work. Family. Love. Perseverance. Endurance. Laughter. Joy.
Please take a minute to learn more about Haiti and Praying Pelican Missions. I’ve known Jim, the leader of my trip, for years. We attend the same church, his sweet daughter is around the same age as my Samuel, we’ve talked about Haiti and missions and social media for years after church standing in the entryway as our kids have raced around, and now, now to finally go and share with you what Praying Pelican Missions does every day in Haiti? Well, it is a beautiful reality and blessing. It is an honor to be given the opportunity to not only experience Haiti and to serve, but to be able to write, take pictures, and share it with you as well.
During the week that I am there I will be sharing with you about Haiti. If you haven’t subscribed by email yet click subscribe by email so that you don’t miss a day. You can also follow me on facebook -> finding joy blog or on twitter @finding_joy or on pinterest at or on instagram at finding_joy. Do me a favor and like and share this post as well – it brings awareness to the awesome things Praying Pelican is doing in Haiti.
And, finally, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers over the next couple weeks – for health, for my family at home, for my heart, and for strength. The one thing I constantly hear from others when I tell them I’m going to Haiti is that I will never be the same. I want to let go of the fears and embrace the real. To find joy. To be a voice. To see differently. That’s what I want and actually expect.
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