I served on my first medical mission trip in April 2016 with LiveBeyond. Prior to this mission trip, I had recently served on my first mission trip in December 2015. I was offered the opportunity to serve on this medical mission trip through my internship while completing my graduate courses. I was a little worried leading up to the trip because I did not know what to expect upon arriving in Thomazeau. I was nervous about what I would be doing and how I would be able to serve.
I can honestly say that the two-hour bus ride was not what I was expecting to at all. The long, bumpy road was intimidating due to the lack of structure and high traffic on the roads. I started getting more uneasy the closer we got. When we arrived to the guest house, it was pouring outside. I vividly remembered pulling up to hundreds of children eagerly waiting to greet us. My heart instantaneously became overwhelmed and all my worries departed.
I was able to spend the entire week working in the scabies unit. I was anxious about the first day that I worked in the unit because I did not know what to expect and I was worried about the language barriers. As Laurie coached all of us on what to expect for the day and how to appropriately treat the different skin issues, I felt doubts crawl into my mind. Can I do this? Will I be able to help? What if I mess up? We started that morning by treating all the children in the Kè Pou Timoun program. The team that I worked with that day was amazing. I had to step out of the room after seeing some of the more severe burns and skin problems. I became emotionally overwhelmed and everything hit me at once. The other team members were tremendously supportive and comforting. It was at that point that I realized that I was sent to LiveBeyond for a reason. To see the immediate relief and gratitude that the Haitian people expressed after getting treated is something I will never forget. I was also able to work with the Kè Pou Timoun and Johnny’s Kids during the week. The children stole my heart during the week. I appreciated getting to hear their individual stories and learn more about them.
The community visits were another part of each day that I looked forward to. Every day we loaded up in the truck and set out on rugged roads to different communities. Visually seeing the home environments and how resourceful the Haitians lived was bittersweet. My heart became heavy upon seeing how the people in the community were living and the circumstances they were facing. Their beautiful smiles and strong faith will forever be in my memories.
I enjoyed the church service on Sunday and the daily worship with the Haitian staff. The church service on Sunday consisted of worship, a wedding, and numerous baptisms. It was absolutely beautiful. The daily worship was unlike anything I have ever been a part of. It was an unforgettable experience. The pure worship, joy, and love for Jesus radiated from everyone.
As the week continued, I found myself getting saddened knowing that I would be leaving soon. Leaving Thomazeau was harder than I could ever have anticipated. I wanted to stay longer because there was so much more to be done and I felt that my week went by too fast. Since returning home, I have constantly thought about all the sweet children’s smiles, the beautiful worship services, and the pure joy and love for Jesus that the Haitians held. I am actively preparing to return to Thomazeau as soon as I can. If you are thinking about serving with LiveBeyond, I would strongly suggest to set aside your fears and worries. If God is calling you, go. There is so much you can do on this trip, even if you are not a medical professional. God has prepared you with skills to use for HIS glory. God is able to use you in ways that you may not be aware of right now. God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways.
1 Peter 4:10-11 Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace.
Katie was born in Missouri and raised in Tupelo, Mississippi. She graduated from Union University in May 2016 with her Masters in Social Work. She is currently a Specialized Crisis Counselor at Youth Villages in Jackson, Tennessee.