by Jewels Faulkner Tauzin
We finally arrived in Haiti! After our flight got cancelled on Saturday, we all went home– very tired from waking up at 4 in the morning and also feeling a little sad that we weren’t on our way. It was a perfect example of how a life with Jesus is never what you expect it to be– always different but always better than your original plan. Because of the cancellation, we got to go home and rest, God’s way of getting us even more prepared for Haiti. After a day of napping we were on our way. We met at the airport on Sunday morning when it opened and checked our group of 22 morning in and waited, hoping that all of us would get on the same flight. Even though the plane was overbooked by 2 people we somehow all got on, excitedly finding our seats and getting ready to sleep for a little bit. Before we knew it we were in Atlanta, sitting at the international terminal and walking towards the plane that would bring us to Haiti. From the minute I stepped onto the plane, Christ’s peace and love were so evident. Ms. Debbie and I sat next to a lady from Athens, Georgia who was an immigration lawyer going to serve in Haiti. She told us how badly her husband needed the presence of Jesus in his life, and immediately Ms. Debbie reached over the seat to pray for her and her husband. As the three of us prayed in the plane, I was reminded of how the Holy Spirit is everywhere. Sometimes we have to look hard for Him, but other times He so plainly shows Himself in other people.
As we walked off the plane and into the Haitian airport, we were somewhat nervous because last year’s group had experienced a hostile and uninviting airport, with people waiting outside to try and take their luggage. However, God must have known that what we needed most was peace, because our time going through immigration and walking out of the airport with our luggage could not have gone smoother. As we walked outside of the airport, there were beautiful people and beautiful trees, what Haitians call “flamboyant trees,” filled with orange and red leaves. We loaded up the busses and made our way to the Hope Center, the whole trip not taking more than an hour. Getting there was something else, with lots of beeping and quick stops. However, once we arrived at the Hope Center, there was a palpable feeling of peace and the comfort that comes with knowing that God is working things for your good. We got settled in our rooms and Meagan and I immediately started walking around, constantly saying about how beautiful everything was. Probably my favorite moment of the night was when we followed the singing we heard to the church, where we listened to Haitian hymns. Although we couldn’t understand what they were saying, it was one of the most worshipful environments I had ever been in. As the sun set, we talked on the side of the church, our legs dangling off. We talked about how glad we were to be there and how good God was and before we knew it we found ourselves snuggled in our bunk beds, ready for a good night’s sleep for the next day.
Today began with excitement, with the girls and I sleepily falling into one another as we hurried out of the room at 5 in the morning to see what we thought would be a baby being born. However, 5 am turned into 3 pm and the mother was just recently taken to the hospital to have a C-section. Even though we never got to see the newborn baby, we got to sip our Haitian coffee (truly the best coffee I’ve ever had) while the sun rose, rubbing our sleepy eyes, talking about the day. Soon enough, everyone was in full movement. Mary Marie and Julie were checking vitals as the patients waited to see a doctor, me and Julianna were counting hundreds of pills, and many went to the malnutrition center to help sort baby clothes. The list of the different ways that our team helped during the day goes on and on, each in different ways but each accomplishing the same goal, to show the love of Christ to others. Later on, Mary Marie and I went to the orphanage and helped paint two rooms, the children joining in with paintbrushes and songs from Frozen and an occasional hymn. We all ate lunch together, consisting of some of the best fruit that I have ever had. Right now, as I write this, I hear sounds from outside my door. A baby crying, a saw being used to chop wood, laughter, and the occasional yell that sounds like someone just won their soccer game. I have been in Haiti for less than 24 hours, but I have already fallen in love with the spontaneity and warmth of the culture. Jesus’ love is so evident here– shown through the other members of our team, the missionaries here, and the lovely Haitians. I am so excited and expectant for what God will do throughout the week!