Dear Friends and Family,
This report is much delayed and I apologize for this. The end of my last semester at college came and went by so quickly that it was hard for me to write what I wanted to everyone promptly. However, even after a couple of months, Haiti is still on my heart and God has constantly reminded me of the memories I had and the people I have had the blessing to interact with. If I have not had the chance to thank you personally, I apologize and hope you forgive me. I could not have done it without your continued support in my journey to share the Gospel to areas that have not had the chance to hear about His name. I hope you read the rest of this report with a loving and open heart for the people in Haiti. I know this might be longer than something some of you may want to read, but I really do hope you read it to the end: I challenge you. My list of supporters do not include anyone from Haiti so I hope I can convey to you the lifestyle and suffering of not just a remote group of foreigners but of a group of people who are no different than us; in need of a Savior and in need of an everlasting hope.
The trip started out rather stressful for me. I woke up to a phone call from my friend early in the morning at 5:32am. The problem was that I was supposed to meet the other One28 Haiti trip members at 5:30am. Thank God that I made it out there in 7 minutes so I didn’t hold the group up too long. I blame it on daylight savings, which happened to have eliminated an hour of precious sleep that morning. Fast forward half an hour and the 30 of us were at the airport. The DFW airport line was horrible for a Sunday morning. We were in line for much more than an hour and almost missed our flight but God provided and we all got on the plane last minute.
The next thing I remembered was looking down at a relatively nice looking island. Well, at least from an aerial view. We got to Haiti safely and drove from Port Au Prince to the Mission of Hope compound. On the drive there, we were exposed to what Haiti was all about. We were in the capital, the richest area of Haiti, yet there was poverty everywhere. This city was worst than any of the poorest American city I have been to. It was surreal. The natural disasters that occurred there had reduced the entire city to endless fields of cement rubbles. We eventually got to the Mission of Hope compound and were greeted by the staff there. They showed us where we were going to eat and sleep. When I saw my living conditions, it hit me that I definitely was not in the great United States anymore. We were not graced with any form of air conditioning, had a certain time that the power generators turned off, had to sleep in mosquito nets, and take quick freezing showers while struggling to keep the pathogen infested water out of our mouth. And trust me, I was one of the luckier individuals.
The tasked we were given to do throughout the week varied greatly. The less physically demanding task was playing with the children in the villages. The first village we visited required us to get out of the bus and trek on foot for about a mile or two. It was very movie-esque: the vast amount of greenery, the dirt road, the failed attempt to skip on rocks to avoid getting wet in the stream. We stopped in the shade as children ran out to play. Here we played simple games with hula-hoops and jump ropes. We enacted bible stories. We played soccer on scorching dirt fields. Finally, we just sat with the kids and color. We did much of the same with the other villages we visited. Each village we entered humbled me more and more. Many of the children did not own pants or underwear. Others would run barefooted through thistle and thorns. They would come out from their homes that were essentially a 10-feet-by-10-feet dirt floor covered by donated tarp held up by some wooden posts. Even with this heartbreaking living condition, they came out and greeted us with joy and held our hands wherever we went. They were so happy that there were people there to just sit with them or play soccer with them. It convicted me of how pampered I was, how pampered we all are that can read this report whether by letter or through the Internet. It takes so much for each and every one of us to be happy here in the States. Yet, we miss out on how much God has blessed us and ignore the people He’s given to us to love and cherish.
The second “life lesson” that I took away from this trip was through the manual labor that Mission of Hope graced us with. Throughout the week we helped paint a few buildings including a hospital, moved hundreds (it felt like and could might as well be a thousand) cinder blocks from one pile to another, and moved gravel and rocks up and down ladders. However, the toughest task was on our last workday in Haiti. We were sent to a new community that Mission of Hope was building. It was a village with a much-improved permanent living condition compared to the temporary tarp posts. The One28 men were given the task of digging a latrine. I think I can safely speak for the entirety of the group that this was the most physically demanding thing any of us had to do. We switched off pickaxing and shoveling dirt for hours upon hours. We had to yell out food places that we were craving just to get each other hyped up and going. By the end of the day we got a hole about 5 feet by 5 feet by 10 feet. We had 10 more feet before the latrine was usable. Strangely, it was during this task that I felt the most convicted. The workers in Haiti got less than minimum wage for each latrine they built. Throughout the whole process of applying and even going on the Haiti trip I had the delusion that I was someone from a superior culture going to go and make a difference. I really hope I did contribute somehow, but I don’t deserve any of the recognition. What I learned in that hole was that I have done nothing. If it was not God’s grace to have had my family the blessing to move to America from war-torn Vietnam, I might be digging latrines for two or three dollars a day also. I believe that each and every one of us has been blessed so much and we continuously forget that it is by God’s grace that we can even take a single breath. Yet, even after the trip I had a hard time thinking of if I wanted to donate financially to Haiti. Nothing here belongs to me. If God has given me the ability to help my fellow brothers and sisters and share His story, I must not be passive. “God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you. Are you called to be a speaker? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ. All glory and power belong to him forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11).
There has been so much that I wish I could have included in this report. I hope this report interests you enough to read more about what our group experienced in Haiti. I promise you will not be disappointed in visiting “one28haiti.wordpress.com”. Ashley Bonnin’s testimony on her experience with the Three Cords ministry there, pictures of the trip, and videos of us making fools of ourselves from losing in the infamous farkle game. Once again, I really appreciate your support and I hope you will continue to support me in whatever is next. I am so blessed to have people who will push me and carry me in my callings. I hope to hear back from everyone.