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My Week In Paradise

Day 3 School Kitchen (6)_croppedParadise– a place that is perfect for a particular activity or for a person who enjoys that activity.

Perfect. I was going to a place, Haiti. Haiti is perfect for the activity of serving, and I am a person that enjoys serving!

I was not surprised that my first mission’s trip was all I anticipated it to be and more. It was not the ‘light bulb on’ life changer, like my dramatic conversion 30 years earlier, yet my life is as assuredly changed forever. I will never be the same, and I trust neither will “they”.

I was going for a purpose. I had no clue what that was, but ideas were in my heart.

I was going with the intent to serve. Intentional was my “word”.

Intentional-done on purpose; deliberate. synonyms: conscious, intended, planned, meant, purposeful

Day 3 School Kitchen (17)_croppedEach day in Haiti had enough adventure for a week. Whether enjoying the spectacular landscape, loving on the precious children, experiencing the illuminating culture, creating structures with a purpose, or working with the beautiful women that left their mark on my heart,we all lived fully embracing every opportunity that opened. We all were intentional, every life was touched.

God is intentional. He has a purpose under heaven for each one of us. He deliberately sets desires in our hearts; He opens the doors for us to walk through. He chooses to go before us and be with us in every situation. He knows and has plans for each of us which He intends for our good and for His glory.

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I am so grateful that our trip opened doors of opportunity I never expected. Everything that happened which I did not expect was a delight, not a disappointment. In fact, the only thing that was hard, was saying goodbye and going home… but you know that… and if you don’t, you will after your first missions trip. See you on the plane!

Guest blogger Sondra Weidman loves to serve—God, family, friends, others—and was part of the recent PovRes November trip. She also loves to cook and eat good food anywhere, Haiti now included.

Hello Haiti, Nice to Finally Meet You!

This guest post is from Poverty Resolutions’ volunteer and friend Matt Thompson.

Have you had a friend who regularly talks about another friend of theirs whom they’d like you to meet?

There is this expectation, this pressure to automatically like this new person because your friend has nothing but good things to say about them. I have been hearing about Haiti for what feels like most of my life. The vast majority of my friends have made multiple trips down and I have been living vicariously through their stories of all the people they have met and the experiences they have had there.

3920_HaitiNov2014_cropped_smallerMy time had finally come to meet this friend. Like meeting someone through a mutual friend I was a little nervous, not of flying, the mosquitoes, or even the goats. I was nervous that I might not agree with all my friends, that I might not see what they saw during their time in Haiti. What if I thought the reality didn’t live up to all the hype?

All nervousness is erased from my being almost immediately.

Those who know me well know that while I love people I am not the best at meeting people, I tend to remain quiet or stick with people I already know. These are difficult things to do in a small group made up almost entirely of people I don’t know. So powering past my own inhibitions, I started to learn how these people came to be in Haiti, and their stories are astounding. From friends or cousins to neighbors to a seemingly random guy from Florida, it is truly amazing how small our world is when all these people are connected through Poverty Resolutions.

Even though our small eclectic group was a clean up crew of sorts, completing odds and ends, I have never before seen things come together so beautifully. From listening to two bizarrely intelligent men talk about the value of chicken feet and alfalfa to meeting a man who works in a warehouse full of donated lumber and other construction items, even having someone with us who could redesign a shade house in an afternoon to save lumber. It was truly amazing to see how God brought this group together to love on the people of Haiti.

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One day while we were building two shade houses, the Haitians who had gathered asked if the structures were houses to live in. We then had the opportunity to explain that they were for growing plants, plants other than sugar cane or banana trees which so many people in the area believe is the only thing they can grow. At that moment I saw a change beginning in Haiti, a hope for better things to come, a certain intrigue that seemed to catch.

In the two weeks since returning home I have had a hard time unpacking my time in Haiti. So much to process – the poverty, the wonderful people I met (both Haitian and American), the hard working nannies at the orphanage – all these things have been running though my head. I find myself repeating this thought to everyone I discuss Haiti with: I knew I would love my trip to Haiti; I just had no idea that I would fall in love with Haiti.

Guest blogger Matt Thompson loves to laugh and have fun, has a heart for youth ministry, and enjoys Chipotle.