by Miranda Nikkel, MH4H trip participant
Miranda (pictured above) went to Haiti this past December and fell in love with kids like Kerlin at Thrive for 5. She shares about what it’s like to be back in Haiti for a second time.
Today was a day full of many events, many memories, and many emotions. Soon after breakfast the team split up into two groups. Half of the team stayed to help with the Thrive for Five program, while the rest of the team went to a house to assist with a garden that is part of the MH4H Harvesting Hope program. Because of how much I loved helping with it on my first trip, I was with the team that stayed at Thrive for Five, hoping to meet my sponsor child, Smiralda. Even though I did not get to meet her, I had a few other little girls that blessed my day by sitting with me, singing with me, and dancing with big smiles on their faces.
Shortly after everyone returned, we had lunch followed by a few hours of down time. We filled this time with hanging out, hitting around a volleyball, and playing a large variety of card games (including the newly popular game of toilet solitaire).
After some down time we only had access to one truck due to a flat tire, so a few members of the team piled on to three motorcycles and the rest of us squished into the one truck we had to use. It was almost like a real Haitian ride with eleven people in the back of the truck. This forty-five minute ride was the longest we had taken in the back of a truck and many of us had some aches and pains from the rocks and holes after finally reaching our destination of the deaf school. After a beautiful welcome of tight hugs and the children signing a few songs for us, we got out our toys and coloring books and spent some time playing with the kids.
Our fun time was rudely interrupted by the sight of dark clouds, lightning and thunder in the distance, telling us it was time to get on our way to the next stop, the hospital. Soon after we left, the rain started. Then the rain got harder, the lightning got brighter, and the thunder got louder. But one of the most memorable parts of the entire ride was not the fact that we were all soaked, but the huge bolt of lightning that we all swore struck right in the middle of the truck with a pounding clap of thunder accompanying the flash of light almost instantly. For a moment, everyone in the back of the truck was slightly stunned, then, after realizing what happened, yelled to the driver that no matter what the road ahead was like, they needed to go faster! While watching the rest of the lightning and laughing about how wet we were getting, the rest of the ride to the hospital went pretty fast.
The hospital was the last stop of the day. While we were all standing around pretty wet and cold, being at the hospital was the perfect place to show us all that we could have it worse. We took some time to sing in the hallway and then went around to the patients to pray for them. While seeing all of the patients was heart breaking, it was still reassuring to see that there were not as many patients as there had been during my trip in January. After our singing and praying, Tim took us on a tour around the rest of the hospital property and told us many stories about when things were built and the transformation of the whole area.
While at one of our last stops of the tour, Tim took some time to tell us his own story about his journey with God and starting Many Hands for Haiti. He also told us some things that really hit me hard. He told us about how we needed to let God take the wheel of our lives and once we do, then he will guide us on a journey that we can’t even imagine. He also made us realize that, even though we have all experienced pain and it may have been hard to bear, that pain is what helps us realize true joy, which is why it has been so evident in many of the Haitians we met on this trip. They have true joy, because they know what it is to have nothing and they know what it is to lose everything they have worked for, but because of this, they find true joy in the little things. I hope after this trip I can remind myself often of this truth and find true joy in my own life and give God full control of my future.
After coming home and having a delicious meal of lasagna and fresh corn, the team took some time to process through the last two days and had a time of prayer. This time was reassuring for me as I shared some of what was on my heart, as did some other people from the team.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, our last day, I just have to praise God for giving me the opportunity to go on this trip with a group of people I didn’t know so well and get to know them better and learn through the many different experiences we have had. This being my second time here, I have found I was much less overwhelmed, and it was much easier to soak everything in and just listen for what God wanted to tell me. To be honest, I sometimes envy the relationships that the Haitians have with God, and I hope and pray that someday my relationship with Him will be just as strong.
Want to hear more from this team? Click here to go back to the start of their journey!