Have you ever been in a situation when you just feel your heart come alive? Mine happened when I was fourteen, and I went on my first missions trip to Costa Rica. I felt the Lord tugging on my heart, calling me to a life of missions, and my life has been set on a specific course since then. When I went to college, my major was called Ministry & Leadership with a concentration in missions, I went on missions every summer and worked in the ORU Missions & Outreach Office. College often brings unexpected surprises; I feel like my two biggest were meeting my husband Augustine and my heart becoming captured with Asia.
I had the opportunity to spend two months in Thailand, lead a trip for a month in China and visit Singapore. Every nation I visited, I fell more in love with the people and the cultures of Asia. And while Asia is always at the forefront of my mind, I love going on missions absolutely anywhere. I’ve been to twelve countries so far, with the most recent being Haiti about three weeks ago.
Kristie Chute, one of my good friends from ORU, started an orphanage in Haiti called Kingdom Kids Homes right after we both graduated in May of 2015. The Lord gave her a dream long ago to start an orphanage in Haiti, and her obedience to walk out her God-given dream never ceases to amaze me. There are sixteen kids, each one coming out of the most dire circumstances and into a home full of joy that mets their physical needs and, most importantly, is filled with the love of Jesus. Kristie brings two mission teams every year, and Augustine and I jumped at the chance to support Kristie’s dream and do missions together for the first time.
After 30+ hours of traveling due to delay after delay, the team finally arrived in Port-au-Prince, and I met kids who met my heart in a way I’ve truly never experienced before. We spent a five days loving on the Kingdom Kids and celebrating Christmas with choruses of Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas) everywhere we went! It was a blur of holding little hands, giving out bags of food, singing songs, giving Christmas gifts, playing games, sharing testimonies and laying hands on people. The kids’ joy was infectious, and I’ve rarely seen hearts so hungry for love and affection.
Haiti itself was a different nation than any I’ve experienced. It’s a loud, pushy culture that is filled with hopelessness as people are just trying to survive. The entire city of Port-au-Prince looks like a trash dump with people and waste filling the streets to the brim. Everything I saw being sold in the streets was used and dirty. People had big piles of clothes just dumped onto the streets while people picked them through to buy. I realized one day that most of those clothes had probably been stolen or collected off bodies who no longer had any use for them. Outside the walls of the orphanage and churches we went to, hopelessness was the the word on my lips.
As I traveled the streets of Port-au-Prince, my heart cried out to the Lord, “How can this be? How can what we do make a difference in a nation like this? It feels like a drop in a vast ocean of need. How can beauty and hope rise from a place that has been wrought with such disaster?”
And yet, such joy in these children. I saw leadership, anointing and purpose etched into each child I met. They have big dreams for their life. They want to be nurses, teachers and pastors. Such optimism we heard from our translators who are in their late twenties. There is a stirring in Haiti for the young people to change their nation, to find the opportunity that was denied to their parents due to the poverty and natural disasters that seem to drown Haiti. Hope for Haiti is found in Jesus, and it’s starting with the little ones who are being raised in His love and the young adults who are finding their purpose.
My short time in Haiti was a marker in my heart. It reminded me that our God is one who chooses to come down in the dirt, sit eye-level with His children, and shower them with love. It reminded me that my purpose is not to change a nation or save people, it is simply obedience. And it reminded me that to feed a child or pray for healing or to share laughter with a stranger isn’t a just drop in an ocean of need, it’s a moment filled with promise.
For more information on what Kristie is doing in Haiti, visit http://www.kingdomkidshomes.org