It is amazing how quickly this day has come. It seems like we arrived only yesterday, yet in a week’s time we have grown closer with our Haitian entrepreneurs than many of us have with some of our friends back home. Today we all woke up with a feeling of extraordinary humility and nostalgia as we reflected on our experience in Haiti over the last few days. It is safe to say that all of us will be intimately affected and changed due to our experience here and the relationships that we have built with those we have worked with. For some, today marked the day where many variables and tasks had to be carried out with vigor to attempt to ready our Haitian entrepreneurs to have the information needed to run their businesses successfully after our departure. For others, today was a day that we could sit back and watch as our entrepreneurs ran their newly created businesses with heightened excitement and renewed hope in a future of increased possibility. Our feelings were mixed to say the very least.
I for one felt very conflicted about departing from Haiti so soon. On one hand it felt as though I had just arrived, on the other, I was experiencing a sense of belonging and sadness that could be likened to leaving my own home. Inevitably, I feel as though a part of my heart will forever reside in Haiti. I have a strong resolve to make sure that I return to Haiti again in the near future to continue to develop the relationships that I have made and strengthen my commitment to this beautiful place and its beautiful people. Never before have I been so exposed to a place of such severe poverty complimented with this level of incarnational joy. I have encountered a mixture of suffering and joy here in Haiti that is both incredibly saddening and experientially hopeful.
After all of us spent the majority of the day finalizing things with our entrepreneurs, it was time to go visit every single business as an entire group one last time to celebrate the heroes on the ground. After spending the entire week in Haiti, it is glaringly obvious that we were merely witnesses to the businesses created here. The true heroes are our entrepreneurs. They are the ones that are going to make a better life for themselves and their family, despite the inherent hardship that they have been born into. Such fierce resolve to overcome the sufferings in front of you, with devout stewardship to God’s will and absolute trust in His sovereignty, is something that I rarely see back home. However, such courage and strength is commonplace here in Haiti. Our entrepreneurs taught each and every one of us what it means to be a hero and crusader for Christ, against all fears or doubts. I expected that I would learn more from coming to Haiti than I would teach; however, I did not know just how much I still had to learn. Haiti has changed the way I see the world around me and it has done so as a direct result of the courageous faith of those who call it home.
Lord, please protect and guide those whom we are about to leave here. They are so valuable and such an amazing part of your Kingdom to come. Thank you for bringing us into this beautiful place to break bread with these wonderful people. Help us never forget the lessons we have learned here. Help us have the strength to emulate the courageous servitude of our Haitian brothers and sisters. Amen.