As I think back on the trip to Haiti, I realize more and more how God blessed both the journey and the lives of each and every person involved. He used our preparation, our time in Haiti, and our experiences; I know I have had to look hard at my own life and question my priorities and expectations as well as the assumptions about life that I have developed from growing up in America.
In the months leading up to the trip, Ashleigh and I worked hard to raise money, and I won't lie - at first, we wondered why God would allow us such an opportunity yet leave us without the funds to go. However, we decided to trust completely in him and let Him bring the money to us. He did. In the last few weeks, as we grew desperate and watched our college funds trickle away to pay for plane tickets, immunizations (what a miserable way to spend your money!), and passports, we had a sudden inflow of donations. We had made shirts to sell, of which we sold a countless number, and many left donations rather than taking their change. Family members and friends began sending checks, but what moved me the most was the donations from complete strangers - people who did not know me personally yet gave so that I could go. In the final week, we had enough to cover all of our expenses and then some. God knew what He was doing, and He simply wanted us to rely on Him for our finances - after all, HE is what this trip was about! I know I can trust God in anything, not just in preparing for a trip, but it was a wonderful reminder to His great glory and His complete control over everything in our lives. Thank goodness He does - I would be in trouble if I had to make every decision on my own!
We met several other missionaries in the Miami airport who were spreading all over Haiti to do different types of evangelical work and disaster relief. Organizations such as Global Outreach, Salvation Army, and World Race to name a few were all represented; the plane had only a handful of individuals not involved in a Christian group. It was incredible to see all the help Haiti was receiving...because of a disaster. The earthquake, which devastated the entire country and left millions homeless, had made people notice. While talking to our youth group of about 20, Ashleigh and I asked who ever thought about Haiti before the earthquake - only one young man raised his hand. Yet now, everyone has heard about it and many have been called to go. God has used this "suffering" to bring others to realization, much like we find with the blind man in John 9:2,3. God has a purpose in everything, and can use EVERYTHING for good, no matter how disastrous it may seem to us at the time.
I realized I have rambled on and have only discussed what we learned in our preparations...so I will save the rest for another post. God Bless :)