We visited the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission today and needless to say it was a blessing to each of us, even though it became a rather emotional time. We began by piling all 15 of us into the back of a pickup truck (we apologize to our mothers for not wearing seatbelts, unfortunately they were unavailable!) and endured a bumpy ride down a mostly dirt road up to the town of St. Louis du Nord. We played two truths and a lie and enjoyed being squished like sardines baking in the Haitian sun.
They pulled the gates open for us and we came into the mission that Larry and Diana built, which their children now run. The mission holds orphaned children, special needs children, a section for the elderly, a birthing center, prayer chapel, and a Bible college. People at all stages of life and in vulnerable situations surrounded us, but what made this place different was the hope that was almost tangible in the air. Diana led us around, telling stories from the past and the process it took for them to build this establishment over the last 30+ years.
It was inspiring to see the special needs children, whose lives were transformed simply because of specified care and consistent nutrition. The old people lit up with joy when we came down to visit. They sang songs, kissed our cheeks, and exuded grace towards each of us, even though some of them were in severe pain. As I looked up and saw Rick dancing with one of the elder women, I couldn’t help but feel extreme joy and thankfulness for this program. He did not have to take this much time and effort to create this class that each of us get to step into for a semester, while he carries on for years and continues to spend his time in Haiti. Being part of this class has shown me more than any other part of Westmont how to take an education and use it to glorify God and share the Gospel.
After seeing the elderly, we headed up to the orphanage section where many of the young girls assembled and began to sing the most beautiful praise music. Complete with harmonies, their worship led some of us to tears, not of sadness, but full of joy. And then we saw the birthing center beneath the orphanage, of which they estimated over 10,000 babies had been delivered there.
All we did was see children, say hi to the elderly, and listen to singing. But the time we spent at the mission was emotional for all of us, leading some to uncontrollable tears. The depths of despair contrasted with the pure and quintessential beauty of worship, evoked feelings that only the Spirit of God can create. We spent time with the vulnerable, and through it we saw compassion from the Lord, how Jesus changes everything, and that He is the only one worth praising with our total and complete effort. To see God’s continued faithfulness was truly rewarding, and definitely a highlight of the week.