An open letter to the Haiti mission team

I want to thank you for trusting God as you followed your call to travel to Haiti.  I also want to thank you for trusting Adam and I to lead you there.

trailYou are part of a very small group of Americans who will ever go to a foreign land to show the poorest of the poor the unconditional love of Jesus.  You are one of the very few who will ever cry over seeing the joy of one child receiving a hot dog, a hug, or a pair of sneakers.  You are one of the very few who will stand in front of a home constructed of sticks and tarps and bow your head to pray a blessing upon the people who live there, knowing that the situation is so desperate that Jesus is truly their only hope.  You are one of the very few who will ever bag up beans and rice, carry them in your backpack, and/or walk a trail delivering them to people who, without them, would have gone to bed that night without any food to eat that day.  And you are reading this knowing that I am not being dramatic.  Many of those who have never done so will read this and think I’m exaggerating.

And you are a part of a small group who can never see things the way you used to see them.  God has given you a better understanding of what really matters and who Jesus was talking about when He said “whatever you do for the least of these you do for me.”  Truth be told, we don’t have too many “least of these” in our country.  And the majority of people who have never stood in an impoverished village in a third world country will disagree with what I just wrote.  And I understand their viewpoint.  They have not been exposed to what God has allowed us to witness.  And I wish there was some way we could explain it to them.  One person who just returned from Haiti wrote this:

…you can not truly tell others. You do have to see it through your own eyes. I myself did not know till now. I feel I lived a complacent life, but I do not want to any more. I want God to use me.

So the question for we who have been blessed by this revelation, on this trip or a previous trip, the question becomes, “Why did God call me to go and what now?”  One person in church Sunday kept pressing me on the mission/purpose of our trip.  And we must have patience with people who have these types of questions because they cannot understand.  The truth is the answer is different for each of us.  What I know for sure is your trip was not about making you feel guilty for what you have.  It was also not about making you feel inferior to those who have been called to sacrifice and serve long term, or make you feel superior to those who have never gone.

I pray that you were blessed by the trip and that it has changed you. I pray that He uses you to give others whom He calls the confidence to go themselves. I pray that day by day, month by month, and year by year, God continues to use the trip to draw you closer to Himself and trust you with more.  And perhaps most of all, I hope you will pray for the people of Haiti and the long term missionaries serving there and around the world on a regular basis.

Thanks for being obedient.

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