How many LiveBeyond mission weeks have you served on?
4ish? I went during a spring break medical mission and then for a month doing HIV research where I got to participate in ESL, and two medical missions.
Share how you got involved with LiveBeyond.
My first trip I signed up to serve with a group of pre-medical ACU undergraduates in 2011 during my sophomore year at ACU.
My second trip was a month-long trip to conduct research. I was looking for research to do during the summer between my first and second year of medical school and was really dreading the idea of doing research in some lab some place. So I thought, why not combine my passion for medical missions with research. I contacted Dr. Vanderpool and another individual who I had done medical missions with, and I heard back from Dr. Vanderpool pretty quickly. I not only had the ACU connection with him, but he is actually an adjunct professor with the A&M Medical School and had recently started working with students to do research. It was really too good to be true. Kind of crazy how God was working through all of that.
What's your favorite part(s) of the mission week?
The medical aspect is pretty great, but I think the at-risk community visits are even better. Because with these visits you get a deeper appreciation of where individuals are coming from. You get to go into these individuals homes and serve them where they are at. With these visits, you see those marginalized by society and some that are even abused by neighbors. But the most powerful thing about these visits is when you see an at-risk person who is loved and cared for by his/her neighbors. When you see SenSen who is shown the love of Jesus by his family and neighbors, rather than being made an outcast. It’s when you see this love that you know God is really moving in the Haitians' lives.
Share one of your most memorable experiences or encounters in Haiti.
Other than everything? It was my third week in Haiti during my month-long research trip, and it was a team week. It was at the end of the day and we were having our evening debrief/devotional. We were on the roof of the pavilion, and I was facing North towards the mountains and the sun had already set. During a prayer, I just happened to look up towards the hills and I noticed a motorcycle making its way down a road towards main Thomazeau. Normally, I wouldn’t think anything of a motorcycle, but this particular one had a bright, bright LED-like light on it, and I remember thinking to myself, “That’s kind of strange.” I was just accustomed to seeing the occasional dimmer, yellow halogen lights making their way across at night. In that moment, due to the strangeness of it, I thought, “What if Jesus was on that motorcycle?” And I just got completely overwhelmed. Take that feeling of when you get chills, and just multiply it. I immediately started praying, “God, if this is just my imagination running wild, make it stop” And I prayed this a couple times, but the chills didn’t stop, and I just heard, “I’m moving in Thomazeau.” God is moving in Thomazeau. That was pretty memorable.
How have the people of Thomazeau have changed your life?
They’ve shown me how the comforts of home can really distort your perception of freedom in Christ and what it is to have hope in His kingdom.
Since you got served on your first mission in 2011, how have you seen LiveBeyond expand our work?
It’s not just a mobile medical clinic anymore. LiveBeyond actually has a home in Thomazeau. My first trip, they had just purchased the land to start developing, and we got to be a part of the team that moved rocks around for laying out the fence. It has taken the next step in investing in a relationship with the people of Thomazeau.
Chris Porter graduated from Abilene Christian University in 2014 and is currently in his second year of medical school at Texas A&M. During his last month-long trip with LiveBeyond, he had the opportunity to be a part of HIV incidence research in LiveBeyond's maternal health population, so that LiveBeyond could hopefully secure funding for anti-retrovirals. He is currently working on getting some research articles published for LiveBeyond to further bless Haiti.