I am a registered nurse and have had the opportunity to go on three medical mission trips with LiveBeyond. My nursing friend, Jana Emerson, told me about LiveBeyond about three years ago. She came back from her first trip and told me about the people in Thomazeau, Haiti, with tears in her eyes. She said, "Traci, you have to go!" I trusted that what she was telling me and knew this was something that I wanted to be involved in.
My first trip was in July 2014 and that week was one of the most emotional weeks of my life. The reality of people living in extreme poverty is a harsh reality to face—You see people who are starving to death, countless children with parasites due to no sewage system and lack of clean water, and a community with no access to medical care with the exception of the care that LiveBeyond provides. I cried every day of my first trip! I kept asking God what He wanted from me personally and how He wanted me to be involved with this ministry.
Dr. Vanderpool spoke one morning and said that we can sit around depressed about how "bad" it is in Haiti, or we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to the Haitian people. I soon realized this is what God is calling me to do.
One of my most memorable experience has been seeing a woman, Maizie, who used to be a Voodoo priestess. For several years, she has come to LiveBeyond for help with her horribly infected wounds on her feet and legs from walking on hot coals and fire during a time of satanic Voodoo worship. Through LiveBeyond's love and care, she got out of Voodoo and gave her life to a loving God! She had to move from her Voodoo village and now lives high up in the mountain with her children. She walks this mountain every day for clean water, food, and medical care from LiveBeyond. During each team week, we make a special visit to Maizie's home to take food and medication, and encourage her in her faith. This precious woman as well as all of the other Haitians is why I keeping going back to Haiti. I look for Maizie each time I have served on a trip, and each time she is there with a smile.
The work that LiveBeyond does is incredible. They pour out unconditional love to the Haitian people, provide food for those who are hungry and starving, provide medical care for the sick, educate the children and adults, teach local farmers about agriculture, and most importantly, they share the love of Jesus Christ.
Traci has served on three LiveBeyond mission trips. She lives in Abilene, Texas with her husband, Kurt, and has three grown children. She is a member at Pioneer Baptist Church.