As promised, I am going to share stories of people who were shaken in Haiti. I think often it takes experiencing another culture to shake us from our apathetic American existence. The stories you will read did not happen during the earthquake, rather they happened while these people faithfully served the Lord in Haiti. As a result, the Lord radically changed their lives in order that maybe, just maybe, our country might be shaken because of what the Lord taught them.
Without further ado, meet Christy. I experienced my first trip to Haiti under Christy’s leadership and now have the privilege of walking with her in community. This woman is passionate about changing the world through the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is heavily involved in working with the homeless, women who have been sex trafficked, and discipling young adults. In her spare time, she also likes to sing in an opera voice. Pure talent right there.
In the fall of 2009, I trusted Jesus with what felt like everything. I had packed up my belongings, said goodbye to friends and family, and got on a plane for the unknown. Knowing that 4 months in Costa Rica and 10 days in Haiti lay before me, I was certain I would not return to Texas the same.
Two girls in Haiti named Iveline and Lovely brought life to that belief. I met them on my first day there and we held hands and sang songs to one another and played in the hot Haitian sun for what seemed like hours. In those moments poverty became real. I saw them find joy despite their circumstances. Compassion became tangible. My heart was no longer completely mine.
As I spent the next ten days working for and with the people of Haiti, I learned things that are hard to explain. Lessons on life and love and truth. Lessons on what is important and what is not. Lessons on simplicity and peace. In short, two little girls, and a small island nation tore me apart and dissolved everything I thought I knew about life.
And so, as God more loudly and clearly directed me back to the US, the less I wanted to hear it. Coming back after 4 months abroad so full of powerful moments was difficult. I became angry with the way the world worked. Unsatisfied with the answers I got to the question “why.” Unsettled that God was telling me to stay. Frustrated, emotional, testy. I would sit in bed and stare at the wall for hours. Go on walks without purpose. I didn’t want to be here and began secretly plotting my escape. A one way ticket was in order, I was sure of it. Staying was too much and I was preparing to run.
But on January 12, 2010 everything changed.
I sat glued to the TV for hours, waiting for glimpses of the people I loved, awaiting word that they were okay. The next few weeks were harder even than the months before. I had even more questions and more anger. Why would a good God allow such things to happen? Why was he telling me to stay?
I got my answer two weeks later as I stood on stage at my old high school. The band had decided to do a benefit concert and because at that time no one knew much about Haiti, my short trip there had made me the resident expert. As the band played, pictures of the destruction were shown and I had the chance to speak over the music, sharing what I had learned. As I stepped away from the microphone and the music crescendoed and the photos turned in perfect timing…I finally understood.
God had not shown me these things so I could run away to a tent on an island. He had shown them so I could be a part of the solution with Him. Suddenly I saw that He had me precisely where I needed to be. It was no coincidence that the gospel was shared on that stage and that donations were going to trusted organizations. I was there for a reason. It was time to stop running towards something else.
In the months following the earthquake, I got to watch God use my short time there to help send tens of thousands of dollars to the people I loved. I saw a community rally together to send boats full of supplies. I watched my parents step in and support a friend escaping to New York with his family.
In the years since, I’ve watched the Lord lead me to a job that also allows me to provide education for the little girls I first met who changed my world. I have even returned twice to hold their hands once more. I have watched Him multiply that impact through other Americans who have returned with me.
In the fall of 2009, I thought I took a big step of faith by going. But now, I can see the most powerful and faithful thing I’ve ever done was to stay. My faith was shaken so that it might become rooted.