Megan had to leave at 8 and we said a pretty quick goodbye so that our bleary eyes didn't turn into big tears. Well, mine turned into big tears after she and Michaelle walked out the door to take the new team to go work. Then Kyle had to leave to go up to the mountain and do builder things. Another awful goodbye. Tashi and Cullen stayed with me and kept me from going off the edge. The driver finally showed up and I breathed the most massive sigh of relief (although I have to admit I wasn't confident that the car wasn't going to break down or something). We made one more trip into PAP passing places I feel like I've been going by for years now.
I made it through airport security pretty quickly and then went and sat and wrote in my journal and played sudoku puzzles for 2 hours before learning that my flight had been delayed. I then spent 2 more hours doing much the same thing. It was just hard to think about what was going on. It was hard to have my heart hit the floor over and over again when I did think about what was going on.
On the flight I had air conditioning, a beef quesadilla, salad, warm cookie, a toilet that you could flush toilet paper down, and tv. I was very freaked out and annoyed to step out of the PAP airport and be launched, not the least bit gently, headlong into the first world. And the last few days, much the same as our quick trip earlier in the month, have just been weird. But different because I don't have Megan here to process with me and just sad because I don't know when I'm going to get back to Haiti. I feel like I'm living half there and half here. Sometimes being here is effortless because this is what I've grown up with and done my whole life. Other times I can't believe the things that I'm seeing or doing because its so far from the reality that the vast majority of the people in this world will ever experience.
A few days ago I was sitting by a pool in a fancy lounge chair sipping an ice cold glass of water at my grandma's house. And I couldn't help but wonder what sort of cosmic lottery I won to be here. How did I end up being born in America to two parents who love me and have always been able to take care of my needs? Its inexplicable. It hurts my head to think about.
When people ask me, "How was your summer?" or "How was Haiti?" I struggle to answer the question now just as much as I did a week into my time there when new groups would come through and ask about it. Haiti is beautiful. Haiti is horrific. The people are exceptionally kind and giving, full of love, and above all have an uncrushable spirit. The natural beauty of the island is simply magnificent. Yet while there I encountered some of the most blatant evil and most pronounced poverty and suffering I've seen yet. The natural beauty is often hard to detect amongst the piles of trash and deforested land. But through the best and the worst of Haiti, I fell in love with Haiti. God showed me so much about myself and even more about himself. He showed me what it means to trust him when everything on the line. In Psalm 146 we are warned not to put our trust in mere men but to look for our help from the Lord who
"Upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked" (Psalm 146:5-10)
And I saw him demonstrate his power and his heart to do each and every one of these things for the sake of his children and for his glory. So many things about this summer were exceedingly trying and difficult. Its a lot easier to put your trust in people and in things that you can see; living in America has allowed me to do that for most of my life. But what does that get you ultimately? The way of the Lord is far better. And I am so glad that God brought me to Haiti this summer. It is such a blessing to have been a part of what he's doing there through Respire and Megan, and through the people he has assembled there to defend the defenseless and speak for those that have no voice.
My heart misses them everyday. My heart misses Haiti everyday. But God has reassured me that just because I'm not physically there anymore, doesn't mean that I am no longer part of the fight. As long as I am on this earth my fight will be to bring God's kingdom to this broken world.
A HUGE thank you to everyone who supported us this summer with prayers, love, and encouragement. Please keep praying for Respire Haiti and the people of Gressier. For more stories and more info, check out Megan's site: www.blessedwithaburden.wordpress.com!! You can stay updated, sponsor a kid in our school, or donate to the building fund so that 300 kids will have a nice, new school to attend that they need so desperately.
I move to Austin tomorrow and start grad school at the University of Texas in the coming weeks studying social work. I'll start working with an agency right away and have a case load this semester. Pretty crazy, right? Where I will work is a surprise for another week, but I can't wait to see what God has for me there. Lot's of looooove and you'll be hearing from me soon!