Saturday
Apr232016

Larry's Reflections

Now that I've been back for almost a month and have reintegrated with society, here are some of my thoughts about the trip.

I truly thought I had no expectations about what we would experience in Haiti. As God often does, He showed me that I'm an idiot. For example, the Cap-Hatien airport: I've been to small airports before, and figured it would be like that. This was essentially one gate, one customs booth that takes up half the building, a baggage claim that takes up the other half, and an exit that puts you onto a busy road. By definition, this is an airport, but completely not what I was expecting. Perhaps adding to the shock was that less than 2 hours ago we had left the Miami Airport, which is gigantic and has an internal tram system.

As we were learning about Haiti and meeting the people (all of whom were very nice), I found myself wondering how Haiti could “better” itself. What if solar panels were cheaper, or if they had better internet access? What if they had a garbage collection service? Ultimately I was reminded that while those things would help the people in one way, our purpose should be to win their hearts for Christ. My concept of helping them was intertwined with modernizing their infrastructure. While that is important, it is something anyone can do; we had seen a bridge that was gifted to them from China. The more unique work of saving their souls can only be done by Christians.

Another recurring lesson was to be more efficient in several aspects of my life. Materially, I didn’t need a lot of stuff in Haiti. When I returned home, I saw a lot of my stuff in a different light. Some of the items I appreciated more, but many more seemed excessive. Like a hungry cartoon character that looks at a chicken and sees only cooked drumsticks, I would look at some of my things and wonder what better purpose they could serve.

Similarly, I’ve been evaluating how I spend my free time, and how to use it better. While at the Salt and Light church grounds on a school day, Joe and I chuckled at the kids returning from the bathroom with a slow, leisurely pace. Kids of all nations seem to love not being in class. In the same way, I waste time meandering, when perhaps there’s something better I could be doing.

A lot of people have asked me how the trip was. I often struggled for the right words. I am used to describing vacations, which tend to be "fun" and "good". Those words apply here, but definitely not in the same way. I also had trouble determining if the trip was a success or not. One person I’ve spoken with has mentioned that it might be years, decades, or even longer before we fully see the fruit of this trip. The reminder to be patient and let God work on His schedule was much needed, and my goal shouldn’t be to evaluate the trip, but rather be content with the work we did, and continue to pray and find ways to spread God’s word.

Finally, throughout the trip I was reminded of how our team was traveling as representatives of everyone that has supported us. It was very humbling to be sent to do God’s work, and I have a new appreciation for all the planning, raising of support, and actual work that goes into a missions trip. These are just some of the many thoughts I’ve had since returning; I hope they are somewhat interesting. As always, feel free to ask me about anything! Thanks,

Larry