Today has been such a whirlwind; started in Florida and ended up in Haiti! Stepping off the plane was such an incredible experience. You walk off the plane, and all you can see is the most beautiful mountains and palm trees. I bet that most people think of Haiti as a tropical place with a lot of dirt. Although there is a lot of dirt, this is truly one of the most beautiful places I have seen. After landing, we all jumped into the bed of a truck and headed for campus (MH4H). The campus is definitely a light in the community, and it hasn’t taken us long to notice that. The truth is, the people of this country would hope to have even a microscopic amount of what we have in America; our disregard and ungratefulness for what privilege we have is embarrassing to say the least. We haven’t been here for for 24 hours and I can promise, we are very humbled by what we have seen. When you guys hop in your car and drive down the road…be grateful for those paved roads and try not to complain about the pot-holes…there is only dirt roads here. Dirt with rock intertwined.
We were able to see a local school and hear what road led the couple to their current destination; the loyalty and commitment people here have for their country is amazing to see. Education here is an elite privilege and the kids are appreciative for that opportunity. Kids in America, not so much. Americans’ as a whole are not generally interested in school once they leave Elementary School. And even though families can pay for schooling; $200/year when they make $2/day on average, if children do not pass certain examinations they cannot progress through their schooling program. $200/year for schooling doesn’t seem like much to us; think back to how quickly we spend $50, $100, $150…definitely puts thing into perspective. What I will tell you…the people of Haiti see you…actually see you. And not the way Americans do. We look through people if we aren’t interested, and here, they smile at you and it imprints on you. Seeing their smiles takes my breath away. Those smiles are filled with pure joy, pure love…and all God. If this is how I feel on the first day, I cannot imagine what will happen over the next week. 
Father God, I thank you for showing up where I am. In Haiti, in every person I see. I feel you and am beyond grateful for your continued love. I simply ask that you continue to bless our team throughout this process, and open our heart so that when we go home, these feelings don’t leave us. I don’t want to go home and look back on this as 9 days away from home. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see pure innocence; when that little girl came to me and took my hand, I cant even begin to put into words what that did for me. Thank you for the blessings yesterday, today and all the blessings to come.

Jezi renmen ou. Jesus loves you.

Amen

Lauren, Lutheran Church of Hope Des Moines

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