[ The following post is from Traci Swanson, a 410 trip veteran and participant of one of our recent Haiti service trips.]
I have been involved with missions for many years and have experienced God’s sovereignty in many cultures around the world. Haiti was an amazing journey but very different experience for me personally. Years of oppression and poverty, plus the addition of fear and trauma from a natural disaster equals a complicated environment.
My team had the privilege of being one of the first pioneer teams with 410 Bridge to provide humanitarian relief in the Port au Prince region. First, our team assisted in digging the foundation to a house of a widow whose home was lost in the January earthquake. The most fun was seeing how her neighbors in this very remote village joined forces to help one of their own. It is always an honor to work along side the indigenous people in rural communities to help a fellow brother or sister in Christ regain dignity and self worth.
Every afternoon we had the immense joy of playing with God’s orphaned toddlers and infant children. It is very difficult for me to understand how children can be so easily discarded. I understand that there are many reasons children are abandoned but it is devastating to know that there are so many who need homes. Every child needs and deserves to be loved by another human being. A gentle hug, smile and attention were exactly what these little ones received from our team.
We were also honored to join them in worship on Sunday. If you ever doubt how big God is, simply go to church with people who have nothing but God. I love, love, love worshipping my King around the world! It is truly a poetic and beautiful oneness with the Savior. We might speak different languages, but God speaks them all.
Our last day was spent helping a selected group of ladies assemble materials for a burlap bag entrepreneurial venture with 410 Bridge. Helping people become more self – sufficient is one of the most empowering things we can do for others. The afternoon we spent time at the teen orphanage. Children who have no family except for each other just want to be around someone who genuinely cares about their life. This was a special time of talking, games or simply painting fingernails. Fun times!
I believe the road ahead will be long but extremely rewarding. Assisting the Haitian people in rebuilding their broken lives and partnering with them to be a shining light for the Kingdom in their communities will be worth the challenge. Being the hands of feet of Jesus to those who cannot help themselves rise above circumstances, or who simply need encouragement is truly one of life’s great rewards. There is hope in Haiti.