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Created & Called

This is a guest blog post from PovRes friend and volunteer Amanda Kinsey.

IMG_2355_croppedLast year, I felt God calling me to go on a mission trip. I chose to say yes to the calling, even though I did not know when or where. At the time, I didn’t even know of any mission opportunities, but, two days later, I heard about a group from my church going to Haiti. I was invited to join the group and I knew this was the opportunity God had already placed on my heart. In May 2014, I went with this team to Haiti.

I would be lying if I said I was not scared to go, as I had never before been out of North America. I had also never even travelled anywhere without friends or family. This was a whole new experience, and I didn’t know what to expect. I was worried and nervous until the moment I entered the orphanage in Haiti. The children I met offered their love to me so easily, and they willingly accepted my love in return. I just sat down and let them climb on me, and I could see the joy on their faces as they reached up to be held by whoever came into their little area. Each day I was in Haiti, I would take time to visit the children and just hold them and love them. It was a little thing, but it meant so much to the children and I greatly enjoyed my time with them.

One of my projects was to help direct VBS for the community children. I planned for approximately 100 children. Though we ended up with twice the number of children we expected, that didn’t matter. The children willingly shared the limited number of supplies with one another and listened attentively to God’s word. The whole experience was very humbling and satisfying.

DSCN2726_croppedThe more time I spent with the children, the more passionate I became to serve them. God was working in my heart in amazing ways, and, as soon as I returned home, I was eager to get back to Haiti. In November 2014, I spent my second week in Haiti.

During this second trip, I met two women who were teaching English in the local school. I was invited to join them and help with the English lessons that week. It felt so easy and natural to be surrounded by the children. Each time I would sit down at the school or the orphanage, a child would climb into my lap. The children craved attention, love and the comfort of being held. I willingly loved them and was truly blessed by them.

These experiences have stuck with me like I could have never imagined. I know God is calling me to continue pursuing my passion in Haiti. Both times I was there, I began to develop lasting relationships with the children and the teachers, but one week never felt like enough time. Because God keeps tugging at my heart, I have decided to return to Haiti for three weeks this summer. I am extremely excited to continue building relationships with the people of Haiti.

amanda1I have known that God created me with the gift of teaching children. However, I didn’t fully understand the extent of my calling until I stepped out of my comfort zone and listened to God’s plan. I am excited to see what God has in store for me and for the children in Haiti this summer.

 

As a certified teacher, Amanda has a heart and a passion for kids and education. She also packs too many towels on Haiti trips.

Finding Love In Haiti

This is a guest blog post from PovRes supporter and volunteer Carly Flynn.

Loved. If asked to describe my experience in Haiti using only one word, it would be loved. One might think that selecting just one word to sum up a week’s worth experience would be a challenge. However, for me it was easy because the emotion was so prominent. Unconditional love. It’s everywhere. There is love when working with the children, love in the relationships built with team members, and love for the people and land of Haiti.

Carly_1Walking into the Mission of Grace orphanage and seeing over twenty kids rush up to the gate waving, staring, pointing, and smiling is an overpowering experience. I remember my heart aching. I longed to hold them and hug them. The idea of these kiddos having no active parents devastated me to the core. I instantly grew attached to one little boy, Nathaniel. His smile could light a thousand moons. Every morning he would point at me as I was walking up the path. Eyes locked, he waited for me patiently with open arms as I removed my shoes and made my way through the crowd of tiny bodies. As I approached him, he would wait until my arms were extended and then he would carefully, slowly climb into my embrace. As he rested his head on my shoulder and wrapped his small tiny hands around my neck, he would whisper “bonjou.” In that moment, I knew what love was. What God created love to look like, feel like, sound like. This took place every morning for at least twenty minutes. As I held him, I would whisper prayers into his precious little ears and he would rub his hands through my hair or on the nape of my neck. We felt peace, safety, love…unconditional Love.

Carly_3It was during this time that I realized that this is exactly the relationship God longs for me to have with Him. To wake up, crawl into His arms, and spend quiet, cherished time with Him in his Word. There was nothing that I had to do, no conditional act required, in order for this little boy to completely surrender to my embrace and my words. He simply loved on me, this wretched, broken vessel that I am, and allowed me to love him in return. My heart is so full. I am so thankful for this life changing experience and can’t wait to return again!

Carly_2Carly Flynn participated in June and November 2014 volunteer trips with Poverty Resolutions. She has a heart for kids and for education…and she is a HUGE Philadelphia Flyers fan!