Travelling from Zeeland, MI to serve together in Haiti, the Haven CRC team are looking to see what God will work in their hearts in the upcoming week as they learn to “let go and let God.”

By Taylor Kraal

Waking up this morning knowing that by nightfall we’d be sleeping across the ocean in the country of Haiti, left a feeling of anticipation and excitement flowing through our group; regardless of the fact we had to wake up at 5 a.m. Arriving in Haiti and witnessing firsthand the beauty of this country, the vibrancy of the sunsets, the tropical scent that lingers everywhere, the business of people and animals passing along the dirt roads, and the life inside each individual citizen.

Starting our day and week On the ground in Haiti

While the day wore on and we ventured into the town of Sylvain our eyes were opened to the wonders and differences of the world and people around us. While we saw so many beautiful and wondrous elements of this society, we also came across a few hard situations, the most prominent being a severely injured man.

As a group we were exploring the city and checking out a working rum distillery. At that location we wandered upon a small man sitting in a chair who looked perfectly normal except for the huge spot of Gangrene winding up his right leg. The wound had obviously started as a sort or burn and morphed into a deadly infection.

Upon seeing this many of us immediately jumped into action, wondering what we could do to assist him and what we could do to fix him. However, he said he’d already been to the hospital and was on medication but, the medication was obviously not effective. We all gathered and prayed around the man and, while this gave us some comfort, it was incredibly difficult to walk away.

With the severity of the infection the man would, at best, lose his leg. Without serious medical attention, which he most likely would not receive, the infection will probably cost the man his life. The atmosphere in our group was one of frustration, we all felt so helpless, knowing exactly what we’d do if we only had a hospital, if we only had medicine stronger than ibuprofen. This was our first lesson of the trip: that the healing of this nation is not in our hands, letting go and letting God is a lesson we will definitely need continue to lay at the foot of the cross this week.

Working rum distilery

The hardship of walking away from a dying man laid heavy on our shoulders through the remainder of the day. Many of us were struggling with God’s plan and wondering what His purpose of the trip was if we couldn’t even save one man’s life. But, God gave us a sign this evening that silenced all our fears and doubts: the twinkling eyes of beautifully happy children.

We were taking a stroll down the streets of Sylvain, and as we walked, Haitian children began to join us. One moment you would be walking alone and the next two children would come from behind and take your hands. Towards the end of our walk there must have been twice as many children as group members, it was a beautiful sight.

Having hands interlocked with those children changed our perspective on the entire day. In that moment it didn’t matter that we had two different skin colors, spoke two different languages, came from two different countries, or had two very different living situations. We became lost in the laughter and joy of children smiling wildly amidst poverty and destruction and, in that moment, God’s purpose made complete sense. None of us could imagine any place we could’ve been in that moment except for right where God had placed us.

So, as we close out day one and continue into the week, we will continue to lay our burdens and doubts at the feet of Jesus and look to His face, which can sometimes even be seen through the faces of smiling children.

The guys out for a walk Making new friends Meeting our neighbors Visiting a house built through Many Hands