*The first in a series of posts on my latest trip to Haiti.*
I returned from Haiti late Saturday evening and am still “recovering” from the trip. “Re-entry” is a funny thing, though I’m glad to be home in lovely Austin with my family, I ache to be in Haiti with the other side of my family as well. It’s more than a mission trip or learning journey now. It’s going home, seeing family, seeing how the kids have grown and changed, catching up on the past year’s events. Water to my soul.
We arrived Saturday afternoon after delays and barely catching flights. Brennon (who had been in Africa directly beforehand) & Dario (HELP staff in Haiti) met us at the airport to take us up the mountain to Pastor Jean Alix’s. The change in the airport alone is ridiculous. Last year we rode from the plane to the airport in a stuffy bus and went through a small, chaotic baggage claim/customs area. This year we walked from plane to customs in a nice air conditioned airport. Not nearly as chaotic as last year getting to the bus outside but there are still the guys that clamor to carry your bag to your transportation for a tip. We noticed on the trip up how so much more rebuilding has taken place as well. Amazing.
Our next day started bright and early with a church service at Yaveh Shamma. In the 4 walls of an actual church on the grounds! We walked in and I was in awe of all of the construction going on. Construction from The Legacy Project that raised funds for a proper school in place of tents is in full swing! We walked into the service and were able to sing along a bit while I tried to dry the tears. Some of the kids noticed us and kept peeking at as during the service while we marveled at how much they had grown. Right after, they started making their way over. Beautiful Kettlie remembered me immediately and came to give hugs. I didn’t see him coming, but I looked down and there was my Anchelo, pushing his way to me. Little love pushed his way through and jumped in my arms and gave me what might be the best hug of my life to date. He held on and I tried not to weep uncontrollably. (Sort of succeeded.) He ran off and made his rounds after that. I already loved this boys before that day, but goodness, if he didn’t enlarge & permanently seal his spot in my heart right then. My heart hurts a little writing about him and not being able to sit and play with him.
If this post had a moral to it and wasn’t just me rambling of my love for Haiti & the partnership of Help One Now, I think it’s this: Sponsor a child through Help One Now. (Not even mentioning James 1:27.) Even if you never get to meet them, even if you only ever get to send money & the occasional letter & photos. You will help change a life, a community, a future. You will have someone in another country that loves you and thanks God for you, someone who pours over your letters & photographs & passes them around for their friends to see. And if you do get to meet them, maybe you’ll get a hug that will threaten to bring you to your knees & they’ll hold your hand and cherish the time you have together. It’s beautiful and amazing to be part of someone’s life that’s so far away.
These pictures are from Monday when he got a good running start to jump to me all over again. Love that Andrea was right there to capture it.