Meg Shufflebarger is a senior Nursing student at Belmont University, but she’s originally from Birmingham, Alabama. She feels so fortunate that her mother served on two trips with her, and she’s hopeful and excited for her father and older sister join in the near future. Meg is in pursuing a career in either Pediatrics or Women’s Health, and has a passion for Global Health and medical missions. While Meg has spent time serving in Cambodia and excited to do the same in other countries, her heart is currently in Thomazeau and she can’t wait to be back. How many LiveBeyond mission weeks have you served on? Three medical mission weeks.
Share how you got involved with LiveBeyond. After my first semester of my sophomore year in college, I felt the calling to step out and try something new. I got online to look at study abroad trips being offered for the upcoming summer. I signed up on a whim for a two-week trip to Haiti, not knowing what to expect. After meeting some of the most incredible people and falling in love with Thomazeau, I was hooked. After May 2014, I returned for clinic weeks in March 2015 and July 2015.
What’s your favorite part of the mission week? My favorite part of the mission week with LiveBeyond is getting to work with the boys and girls in Johnny’s Kids. It is so evident that LiveBeyond has been a light in their lives in a time where they needed it most. Chinyelo’s smile is the most infectious I have ever seen, and I love being able to see him play soccer and interact with other kids his age.
Share one of your most memorable experiences or encounters in Haiti. On my first trip to Haiti, we were on the base for one clinic week and for one regular week. During the non clinic week, we got to spend a great amount of quality time with the workers on the base. I instantly had a connection with Natasha, one of the women who cleans at the base. Regardless of our culture differences and language barrier, it felt like we had been friends forever. In March 2015, I came back to find Natasha and her husband, Loubens, pregnant with their first child. During this trip, I also got to introduce Natasha to my mother. It was so special to be able to experience this with my mom and to introduce her to Natasha. In July 2015, my mom and I got to visit Natasha at her home and meet sweet baby Djubens. It has been incredible to see a friendship that crosses geographical and cultural borders, and to see Natasha grow as a woman of God.
What keeps you coming back to Haiti with LiveBeyond? The people. I come back to see Natasha, Chinyelo, Lancey, Stevenson and John Kelley. I come back to watch the children grow into men and women of God that will lead their country one day. I come back to love the oppressed like they deserve to be loved and to show them that they are worthy. I come back to witness God transforming Thomazeau for His Kingdom.
Tell us how the people of Thomazeau have changed your life. The people of Thomazeau have completely transformed my life. They have shown me a love more passionate and a faith stronger than I ever knew existed. They have shown me how to worship with every ounce of my being and to appreciate every gift from God that I had formerly taken for granted. I am so grateful for the relationships I have built in Thomazeau that have shown me what it truly means to be alive and to love God.
How have you seen LiveBeyond expand our work and impact in Thomazeau over the course of your time supporting the organization? On my first trip to Thomazeau, we held clinic under a small pavilion where people stood in the brutal sun for hours to be seen. Less than a year later, I returned to find the most beautiful clinic building. People were able to sit in the shade and get endless cups of clean water while they waited their turn, and each patient had the privacy they deserved in individual patient rooms. This is just one small example of how LiveBeyond has expanded and been able to improve the work they are doing in Thomazeau. I remember one evening during the March 2015 trip where a couple of kids jumped in the trucks and came back to the base for dinner. Four months later, I returned to 70 kids on base, playing sports, reading bible stories, and getting healthy meals daily. Kè Pou Timoun is building strong, healthy, intelligent Christ followers into this community.
Hear the latest news from Haiti, read posts about faith and community development, and find transcriptions from the LiveBeyond podcast.