Today marks our 3 year anniversary in Haiti! Three years ago today, we checked into the American Airlines international terminal in Miami with ten 50-pound bags, and used our one-way tickets to Port au Prince, Haiti. Once there, we loaded up the RMI truck and Gary McLaughlin drove us 5 hours to our new home in les Cayes. It was the first time Drew, Tessa and Braden traveled outside of the US. They were 5, 3 and 20 months. We were excited for our new adventure and confident of the call to Haiti that the Lord had placed on our lives.
Today as a reflect back on that day, I am amazed at how fast those 3 years have passed! At the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago. How can it seem like both at the same time? I guess life is like that, no matter where you are.
The other night I was feeling nostalgic and re-read all our blog posts from that first year. The first thing that struck me was how little our kids were! That first year was full of exploration and the newness of life here. It was also full of contemplation and “getting used to” our new host country.
After 3 years, what I realize most is how much I have yet to learn. Life in general is about constant learning; life in a country and culture other than your own is like starting life over from infancy.
Here is a little of what I have learned:
- To be confident only in Jesus Christ. He is my Father and is teaching me how to walk, talk and live all over again. This has been and continues to be a hard lesson as I tend to put confidence more easily in myself or Rob before my heavenly Father.
- To not be afraid to talk like a preschooler. I’m happy to say that because of that, I now speak like a Kindergartener! Baby steps…
- To grow spiritually, relationally and professionally I need to step out of my comfort zone. Living here feels like difficulties are manifested ten-fold compared to before. Nothing is easy. Nothing. That means actively looking for opportunities for growth in every area of life.
- There are needy people everywhere and I cannot help everyone, nor does God expect me to. I have learned to pray for wisdom in every situation (James 1:5). I have learned to help those with whom I have a relationship first, when I can.
- Marriage in this context is hard. Communication is everything. Lots of grace is necessary.
Here is what I am thankful for:
- A clear call to ministry in Haiti: it sustains us during the really difficult times.
- That our home in Haiti feels like “home.”
- For the amazing, adventurous and culturally rich life our kids are experiencing.
- For 3 years of relatively good health and protection of our family.
- For an amazing partnership for the gospel with RMI missionaries and Haitian staff.
- For an amazing husband and that we get to do this together.
If you are reading this, I am thankful for you! Your love, support and prayers have sustained us these 3 years. We couldn’t be here with out you.
This list is by no means all-inclusive. They are just a few of the ponderings of my soul today as I reflect upon 3 years of ministry in Haiti. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve said it before. There’s no place better to be than right where God wants us.