Guest Post: Hi, My name is Haley.
Haley is one of those girls who you know God is going to use to do something big in this world. Her heart for Haiti, the kids at Life is Hope and for Christ is in a word, contagious.
Her laughter and humorous spirit breathe joy into the little moments of life when you are around her. Clothed in strength and dignity, she’s mature beyond her years and I’m blessed to call her a friend. Plus, she’s got some serious braiding skills. 😉
After spending a summer in Haiti last year, she returned this summer on a trip with her church group, Petal Harvey Baptist. Remember Rachel? She was a part of the same team. I loved getting to be their trip leader.
Thanks Haley darling for sharing your heart with us.
After trying for weeks to think through what to say, the only feelings I can put into words are unimaginably broken. I am broken for a cause, and His name is Jesus Christ. Before I start, you should know that I haven’t always felt this way. I was once content with living a life that glorified myself and soaking up every pleasure of the world. I figure the best way to share my heart is to tell a little about my story, and how God shaped my worldview to where I am today. I’ve been told that God provides you with defining moments that will change your life, and I would soon experience a few that would rock my world.
In the eighth grade, I went to church camp. Before you get disinterested, you should know that it’s not the typical story you hear after those few words. The worship service started with a promo video for a water purification system ministry in Africa. While everyone was watching the video and feeling convicted to give money, I was sobbing in my seat. I knew God had placed a longing in my heart to love orphans in need. I also had no knowledge of how that longing would play a part in my life.
Three years ago my youth pastor told me about a trip to an orphanage in Haiti, and I immediately signed up without question. Like many others, my first experience away from this spoiled country of ours was unlike any other. I was overwhelmed, devastated, frustrated, and overall blown away. I questioned everything I was ever taught in less than ten minutes. Haiti challenged me to grow deeper, search farther, and love harder.
My worldview completely began to change as I entered my freshman year of college. I remember imagining what my life would be like living amongst all the children I fell in love with in Haiti. I felt convicted for spending my life working towards a higher education. Every time I went out with friends, I struggled with spending any money. With all that I could, I tried to fight adjusting back to American culture.
The summer of my freshman year of college I decided to spend the summer in Haiti working in Life is Hope orphanage. I was so focused on making a change and seeing the children grow in their relationship with Christ. When I stepped out of the Haitian airport, I was overcome with pure joy. Looking around I saw Haitian chatter all around, beautiful artwork hanging on every side-walk and cars flying all over the street. I remember taking a deep breath and saying “I’m home.” looking back, I wish I could have the same positivity that I began with.
At this point, I want to be real honest. Living in a third world country is hard. I never thought to pack medicine for scabies, splints to wrap infected fingers, or an extra visor to replace the one that flew off the tap tap. Caring for sixty-five children is exhausting and emotional. I do not say this to make myself seem like a saint. I’m trying to explain that my trip to Haiti started out all about myself. I spent little time in prayer or seeking guidance from the Lord. I went on my own strength, and I grew weary very fast. About two weeks into the summer, I started putting together a plan to move to Haiti. Because I was loving orphans and doing “good”, I felt that it was God’s will for my life. I figured out how I would drop out of college and tell my parents I was staying longer than expected. (You can imagine how well that went.)
Weeks went by with no peace in my heart and a burden for the lives of the children I was caring for every day. I was honestly miserable.
There was a distinct moment about four weeks into the summer when I remember sitting on the roof of our guest-house looking at the beautiful mountains that surrounded me. That was the first moment I saw Haiti as God’s beautiful creation. For weeks I had been fighting to bring hope to a country that my God was holding in His hand. Haiti was not broken; I was. Just because I was doing “good” did not mean I was in God’s will. God’s plan was much greater that I could have ever imagined.
After seeking direction and guidance, I began to have my eyes opened to who God really is and how he views his children. I think the best way to describe how I was feeling would be to share a part of one of my past blog posts.
“This past week has been overwhelming with joy and exhaustion. The children still have the same need for affection and attention. I ended each day with a child asleep in my arms and two others wrapped around my legs. I was reminded each day that our relationship with our Father should be the same way. We should cling to Him at all times and come to Him for rest.”
I am broken for a cause, and His name is Jesus Christ. He continues to be my peace, hope, and joy. Although my journey is not over, I feel that I have learned so much already. Live out the gospel every day and rely completely on the strength of God. Let me tell you from experience, God’s will is far greater than your own. From the wise words of my Haitian friend, “following God means to obey blindly.”
To see Haley’s group, Petal Harvey Baptist Church’s week in Haiti, click here to read their trip journal.
“Hi, my name is ______.” is a guest post series inspired by a girl named Casey. Casey went on a mission trip to Haiti in June 2013 for 10 days with Bethany as her trip leader. Her response after returning home (found here) spurred us to look at our trips, Haiti and missions from the other side. This post is 100% the authors own words, work and inspiration. Thank you for your love and support.