Today’s guest blog is by Marty Vance from Lucia Baptist Church.
Why Haiti? Why Kenya? Why go on a short term mission trip to any place? Is it just a vacation with a Christian banner in top of it? The door has been open to me to go to several countries in the past ten years. Before going internationally, I have going with students to cites and small towns across the Eastern side of the states for over 15 years. But recently, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Bimini, Kenya and this is my sixth opportunity to come to Haiti in the past fours years. Some people will ask… “What are you doing” and my short answer has always been… “to build relationship, share Christ’s love and learn about the country and customs of the people I’m working with”. Then the next question asked is…. “Are you building anything, or what service are you providing?” The answer to this question is mostly no… I do not come to do something the people of this country can do on their own. Most of our time has been just interacting and building relationships.
I have to admit, the first time I went to Kenya, it was more about fixing things than just soaking up the relationships. I wanted to fix roofs, build wells, do whatever was needed… But God introduced me to a mission organization (410Bridge) that had a different approach than just fixing things. On my second trip to Kenya, my trip leader asked me to read a book, ‘When helping hurts “, which shared how giving to meet a perceive needs can really hurt and not help.
As a church, we have been coming to Malairette Haiti for three yeas now. The first time it was new a interaction for both our church and the community. In 2010 (after the earthquake) 410Bridge started to work with different communities here in Haiti and in 2011, the Malairette community leaders agreed to work with 410 Bridge and allow churches to come. Lucia was the first church to come. During that trip, we worked with the community to widen a path to a natural spring where many of the people went to get water. It was obvious that this area needed at least one well. The leaders of the Malairette worked with 410 Bridge to developed a plan.. Within their plan they focused on spiritual, water, educational and health needs. Within our first team, there was the urge just to collect money and build the much needed well quickly, but we waited on God and the community to work towards this instead of us just jumping in and doing it for them.
The second year, no well, no school, not even a lot of participants from the community when we came but we worked with the leaders and helped plant trees, played with the kids and prayed for the homes and families within the area. Now three years later, there are about four churches that partner with Malairette, there is a well and a school started. God is definitely at work and on His timetable.
The best part of our trip is renewing relationships and seeing the people excited about the positive change starting within their village. We as a team can not do much in one short week, but we can come with a motivational drive to build friendships, share God’s love and join in helping whatever they are working on. One of our team members (Wendy) shared a devotion about Rahab. Rahab was the town prostitute but God slowly changed that reputation to the great, great…mother of King David and eventually the ancestor of Joseph and Mary. Instead of being known as a prostitute, she is now known as a women of faith. Little did she know all of God’s plan, but she submitted to God to do His will.
God is working in Haiti and around the world, all we have to do is be obedient and jump in where He is working. Thank You Lord for the opportunities and the things You continue to teach me!