In order to understand Haiti, you have to experience it. You’ve got to live it. Touch it. You must take it all in.
Visiting Haiti for the first time you will be shocked. Overwhelmed. You will become disoriented and angry. Disillusioned even. Haiti is a place where your heart soul and mind are moved in ways often long forgotten is our wonderful Canadian lives.
Everything you know about mission work and everything you believe about your faith — everything — will be tested. One week and you will be changed.
One week, that’s all it will take.
The question now is, “Do you have what it takes?” If so, join us on a journey of faith. If God is calling you, please answer. Say ‘yes’. Be transformed and made new. Have your life changed. Not upside down; but right side up.
You’ve waited long enough. More importantly, God’s waited long enough.
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Within 30 minutes of landing in Haiti I was confronted by a young mother who hadn’t had food for many days, whose milk had long since dried up and whose baby was basically starving to death. Part of me wanted to run back to the truck and forget what I’d just witnessed. But I didn’t. The significance of that moment will forever haunt me. If I only make a difference in the life of one Haitian, it’s one more than if I did nothing.
Having worked all morning balanced on the beams of a new school roof we were building, I was tired and in need of some sustenance. Exhausted from the heat and humidity, I reached into my backpack and was about to take a bite of my one and only small sandwich when I witnessed a crowd of children watching me. Indeed, they were staring at my sandwich. Knowing that many children go without food for days in Haiti, I extended my arm to them, offering my sandwich. The tallest of the kids came forward with great dignity and thanked me with a quiet, “Merci”. He then took care to section off the sandwich into ten pieces – one for each of them – and then shared the sandwich with his friends. That moment when the heart of God, the hearts of those children and the heart that beats in my own chest met together on a Haitian mountain…
It was in Haiti on a trip with me that my fiancé felt the overwhelming presence of God and accepted Him into his life. We married two months later and after 11 years as man and wife, still thank God that we have this in our lives as we raise our family.
“Well guys, what are we going to do?” That was the question that galvanized me and seven other men who first traveled to Haiti in 1989 and were both appalled and inspired by what we saw. That single question gave rise to The Joy and Hope of Haiti.
Today, it’s the faces of the little uniformed children laughing and playing in their schoolyards that pull me back to Haiti time and time again. Where before they had sadness, today they have joy in their lives because they’re fortunate enough to go to school and get an education. And, due to overwhelming poverty, where before they were hopeless, today they have hope because they’re learning to read, write and do math so they can one day find gainful employment or maybe even start their own business.
Constructing and then maintaining Christian schools is an absolute necessity in what would otherwise be considered “a God-forsaken” country such as this. First, the schools encourage hard-working pastors who are doing incredible ministry to counteract the centuries of voodoo culture. The physical presence of a school building demonstrates a tangible, practical outreach of the church into the community.
If Haiti is ever going to change, change must start with the children. A new generation needs a new way of thinking, acting and caring if Haiti is ever going to overcome the corruption and degradation that has made it a fourth-world country.
This was – and will always be – the message of Jesus. This was – and always will be – the message of The Joy and Hope of Haiti.
The most incredible experience of visiting Haiti is seeing how, in the midst of extreme poverty, the Haitians remain resilient, creative, friendly and happy.
My first trip to Haiti left me feeling that I wanted to go home, gather up my family of seven and take them all to Haiti for a year. That wasn’t realistic, but over the years we did fulfill our desire to have each member of our family experience Haiti, to understand how others must live.
I have come to the conclusion that it is God who uses Haiti, the people and their conditions to stir us up to help the poor, the homeless and sick as Jesus urged us to do.
Because of Haiti, I now take my children to church, pray with them every night and pray they and their children will come to know Christ. Because of Haiti, my wife and I seek Christ together and because we are both striving to become closer to God, we are also growing closer as people.
12 kilometers of swimming, 540 kilometers of biking, and 126.6 kilometers of running…. in just 36 hours. In 2010 I completed three Ironmans in three consecutive days. I did this because in Haiti with rampant poverty and unemployment it’s like living an Ironman every day just to survive.
Haiti may be the poorest country in our hemisphere, yet Haitians are rich in so many ways that they have taught me and my family many valuable lessons over the years.
Praying during a Haitian church service, I nonetheless opened my eyes and saw an old man with a tattered Bible sitting on the floor. He held his hand over his long, thin face and he was deep in prayer. I smiled and was suddenly overcome with a strong surge of emotion. While I tried to get a hold of myself, I heard a gentle, calm, ethereal voice coming from within me saying, “These are not your emotions, Bob, they are mine. I am rejoicing in you.” God had called me here and he was well pleased.