It’s hard to put into words exactly how my life and viewpoint of life has changed, but I am not the same person that I once was. I have been a RN for 15 years and always thought that I would love to serve on a mission trip someday. I heard about LiveBeyond through the hospital that I work for. Regional Care sends a medical group each month to help with LiveBeyond’s medical clinic, and I thought that this would be a fabulous trip to go on and a great experience. Little did I know that not only would it be fabulous, it would be LIFE-CHANGING. October 18, 2014 is the day my eyes were opened. The day I was slapped in the face with poverty…..extreme poverty. I can still feel the knot in my stomach as I first saw the frail bodies of men and women as they stared at me with hollow eyes. The eyes of despair and hopelessness. Their eyes… I am forever haunted by the eyes of poverty. Children whose swollen bellies and red-tinged hair from malnutrition lined the road as our vehicle drove into Thomazeau, Haiti. The children would hear the roar of the van and run to the edge of the rocky road where they would jump up and down, smile, wave, and chant, “Hey you! Hey you! Hey you!” The same smiling children who had likely not eaten that day and maybe not even the day before. The same smiling children who play with trash. No toys, wearing tattered clothes and no shoes, but smiling. It didn’t make sense to me. Nothing made sense anymore. I felt like I was in a dream. How could this be? How could this level of starvation and utter despair be happening only 2 hours off of American soil? America… the fattest country in the world. America… where we want more and more and more. Bigger houses and newer cars… we always want more. It was in these moments that I honestly sought after the face of Jesus like never before. I know that He showed me these things for a reason, not just for me to do a “one-week, feel-good mission trip” but I needed to know that these people existed. One afternoon after a difficult clinic day and a difficult home visit seeing Sheila (who is 18-years-old and weighs 52 pounds–get your mind around that visual for a minute), I remember crying out to The Lord asking him, “Why?!” I was angry, I was sad, I was distraught. He told me in that moment, “I showed you this… now what are you going to do about it?” This conversation that I had with my Lord Jesus is what drives me. I will not sit by and will NOT let this be a “feel-good mission trip”. I have a fire in my belly, and I will do everything I can to help the people of Thomazeau, Haiti. He wants us to do His work, IT’S NOT ABOUT US. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) I have been on a total of four trips with LiveBeyond since that first October trip. I am in awe and amazed at the changes and progress that have been made! I have seen ways that LiveBeyond is able to directly help the community. Hungry people are being fed, sick people are being given medicine. The medical clinic has been built, and the hospital is on it’s way to being built! Children in the local area can now be part of the Kè Pou Timoun program. This is an amazing program where the children who once lined the roads and yelled “Hey you! Hey you!” are now being fed twice a day, given vitamins and learning! Learning how to read and write and learning about JESUS!! Their eyes are different. The eyes where I once saw despair… now have HOPE. That hope is the hope of Jesus.Jesus is doing big big things in Thomazeau through LiveBeyond, and I am so happy to see it! So how can YOU help? Oh, there are so many ways! You can DONATE! I have seen firsthand where the money goes. It goes to the PEOPLE of Thomazeau! The precious precious people. The people who now are my friends, the children who now are my babies. I have a love for them that I can’t explain. They have changed me much more than I could ever change them. They have blessed me immensely. I have learned that my problems are so small, and honestly, stupid. I have learned not to sweat the small stuff. My relationship with the The Lord has grown in leaps and bounds. He teaches me new things everyday. My husband, Jason, was able to go with me on a trip in July, and it has changed his life as well! Jason’s description of life after Haiti is so on point. He said, “I feel like God has taken out my brain, shook it up and then put it back in my head.” You can’t go and serve the people of Haiti without it changing you. There is still so much more to do there. This is only the beginning. I ask that you not only pray for the people of Thomazeau, but pray about going! God needs workers and servants, and all He asks is for you to be willing. “Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.” (Proverbs 21:13)
Hear the latest news from Haiti, read posts about faith and community development, and find transcriptions from the LiveBeyond podcast.