Monday, March 14, 2016

Reflecting on our week as we head home...

First, some thoughts from Michelle...

As I depart from Haiti for the 10th time, i find myself in such deep gratitude for the honor of leading these trips to Haiti. It is such a huge blessing to me to be able to help shape the experiences for my team members and to witness God at work in and through them, to serve and learn from the people of Haiti, and to allow God to continue to work in me. 

This team was a parent/child team with 7 parents and 8 children ranging in age from 10 to 14, 9 from Arizona and 6 from MN. I am in awe of how God worked through everyone, especially the kids this week!  Always positive attitudes, a willingness to serve (no matter how uncomfortable it may have been for them), endurance of the heat and length of days, personality and talents galore, willingness to share in a vulnerable and deep way, and most of all...HUGE hearts!  I am so proud of each of them!  The future, with these kids in it...looks BRIGHT!☀️  ❤️ 
With Much Appreciation and  Love, 


Now, for the final reflections on the week. I asked the kids to sum up their thoughts with 5 questions to guide them. Here are their responses:

Lauren, age 10:

Highlights from the Trip:
Going to the ocean and playing with the kids because, the trampolines were really fun and the kids were so sweet and nice.

What did you do this week that stretches you, or took you out of your comfort zone?
Holding the kids that didn't have all their clothes on and putting lotion on the elderly.

What could you learn from the Haitian people?  I could learn that we have more than we need when they have almost nothing.

What is God trying to teach you?  He is trying to teach me to give more and want less. 

What will you do differently after having this experience?  I will ask for things less and give more to people and praise God more.😊

Aubrey, age 10:
1. Highlight: Probably everyone surrounding you and how it felt like I was just popular kid. I felt loved by them. 

What took you out of your comfort zone?  It would be going to the disabled or how it was really different than I thought it would be but it taught me new things which is good. Now I kind of am glad I went out of my comfort zone. I thought it taught me a lot of new things like to love everyone no matter who they are or what they look like. In the Bible I think it's a... I don't know the exact verse but it is that you should not love someone just on how they are on the outside but how they really are and act from on the inside. 

What did you learn from the Haitian people? I learned that everyone will be grabbing  you and sometimes when you go back to the guesthouse you just like need to get rest.  Also they will be so nice and they'll laugh and their smiles are  so beautiful, friendly, and contagious. 

What is God trying to teach you?  I think that God's trying to teach me to do everything possible to help Haiti because they're really just the same people like us just just live in a different country and they have different colored skin. 

What will you try to do differently after this experience? I thought that I will limit my water source so I will try to use less water.  I will also do  less technology because in the guesthouse we have no TV or like really the Wi-Fi and it's not torture, really. 

Avery Villani, age 14:

1. The highlight was playing soccer with the Haitian kids at Haitian initiative. I liked sharing something that I love with the kids here. 

2. The elder visits took me out of my comfort zone. Washing their feet was hard for me, but I knew I was being like Jesus, and knowing that it made it easier for me. 

3. The Haitian people made me realize how little you need to truly be happy in life. 

4.  God is trying to teach me to always be grateful and appreciative for what I have. 

Zack, age 11:

1. I liked going out on water truck days. I liked being able to play with all the kids

2. Going out on water truck days took me out of my comfort zone the most. My mom talked to me about how interesting it was that my favorite thing was what took me out of comfort the most. I should remember that feeling next time I feel uncomfortable about a situation.
#4. I have learned that we always want more in the US. And "more is just more". People can be happy without always wanting more. 

Kendra, age 14:
Highlights: Being able to hang out with and being loved by kids. 

What was something that stretched you or took you out of your comfort zone? One of the most unique things I did was experience the language barrier. I have never been in a place where I could not communicate with the people around me. 

What can you learn from the Haitian people?  I can learn about their sense of community, how they protect and look out for each other. 

What is God trying to teach you?  To be able to see through God's eyes and his lens and how he sees people. To break my heart for what breaks His. 

What will you do differently after this experience?  I want to share and let others know what it was like in Haiti. To tell them how desperate people were to get their basic needs met. 

Lauren Fuller, age 12:
Highlight: Helping lots of different people. 

What stretched you or took you out of your comfort zone? Going to the orphanage for disabled children. It was a little scary because I didn't know how they were going to act.
What could the Haitian people teach you?  How to be grateful for what I have. 

 What is God trying to teach you? To be happier and not want too much stuff. 

What will you do differently after this experience? Be more thoughtful about what I am doing. 

Avery Thompson, 14 (almost):
The highlights of my trip were the water truck days because you get to play with kids and see how they live in Cite Soleil, when we went to Lalou, an orphanage and I played soccer with some boys, and the Home for Sick and Dying was really fun holding the kids and making them happy but also sad to see how they have to live.

Nothing was really super out of my comfort zone because I have been here once before, but the Home for Sick and Dying was super sad to see all the sick and sad kids. 

Something I learned from the Hatian people was how to be thankful for what I have because they have way less than I do. They have little or no food, most sleep in huts or small shelters, and most don't have any source for water, but they are all still so happy.

I think that God is trying to teach me just to be happy and do what I love. And to be thankful for what I do have.

I think after this trip I will do /try be more kind, move to Haiti, and give lots of hugs.

Danielle, age (almost) 14:
The highlight of my trip was when we went on water truck runs. I loved it because I would get to play with the kids and make them smile.

One thing that was out of my comfort zone would be when I picked up some really sick kids at the home for sick and dying children. 

A thing that I could learn from the Haitian people is being more kind and loving God more than anything else.

I think God is trying to teach me about all the similarities between the kids and Haiti and kids in America. We are all the same in so many ways,but they were just born into different conditions than us.

After this experience I think I will be slower to judge people, waste less money on things that aren't necessary, and pray more.

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