How I Fell in Love With Haiti

I have a heart for the poor, the weak, and the weary everywhere. So why, then, do I love Haiti specifically? It's a bit of a story, actually. I never really "chose" the country. I was always fascinated by Africa when I was younger. God was the one who opened my eyes to Haiti.

It started with a book. I had just gone through preview to prepare me to go to UF. I had gotten so much stuff - fliers, booklets, class guides, paperwork, and this book. Why in the world did I get this book? They want me to read it so I can "connect" with other freshmen? How weird! I'll have you know that I never did talk about it with fellow classmates. Most people didn't care to read it. I did. Little did I know that it would serve a greater purpose than it was ever intended for.

As I read page after page my eyes were opened. It told a story of a man who built a hospital in Haiti. A lot of it was about this man's life and his work but between the lines you could get a peek into the country. Stories about the trecherous, winding, death-trap roads and dams that flooded some villages and left others dry and desolate. Stories about injured people and people with Tuburculosis. I was caught.

As I entered college I lost sight of Haiti for a while. God took that time to work on me, make me grow, and turn me towards Him. After my junior year I decided to go on a missions trip. I was selfish. I wanted to be just like my friends who spent their summers in Africa or Mexico. After talking to a few missions organizations and things just not working out quite right, God reminded me of Haiti. He didn't want me to go anywhere else, that was clear. It was announced in church one Sunday that the Haiti team was going to have a meeting and anyone interested could attend. BINGO. How had I missed that my church has sent teams to Haiti for 30 years? I surely must have lived under a rock. But God brought me out from under my rock and said "Go." I began learning some Creole and studying up on Haiti's history and culture. When I doubted how I could raise the money to go, God provided. When my parents said "No way! Definitely not", God softened their hearts. And so I went...I followed Jesus to Haiti.

My little spark that was quickly dying was now ignited into a big bonfire. God has been fanning the flames and I'm pretty sure there is an out of control forest fire raging in my heart for Haiti now. I've only been there once for a mere week. I haven't seen it ALL and I don't know everything let alone much of anything. All I know is wherever God leads me, I must and shall follow.

For those of you wondering...the book is Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder about Dr. Paul Farmer. I've now read it five times.