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A team of 30 high school students and leaders traveled to Haiti July 15-22; this week our student bloggers are sharing their experiences with us.
By Makenna Nahorniak
“Do not wok for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him, God the Father has placed His deal of approval.” John 6:27
I can’t believe that I’m actual here, and I actually have the energy to write right now. Today has been the longest day, but God is the Great Life Breather- and He hasn’t stopped filling me up. It all started with an airplane. We took flight over the bluest ocean you ever did see. This was new for me. Every shade of blue that I saw during that flight amazed me. This was my first glimpse of God’s presence in Haiti, and even more than that- His glory in all of the earth. He is here- working in hearts and minds, loving on His people.
Once the plane began to descend, I quickly realized that the capital of Haiti isn’t quite like the capital of America – no skyscrapers, no fancy business men with bulky briefcases and no McDonald’s. It wasn’t glamorous by definition, but it was beautiful. I saw hundreds of shacks as the plane prepared for landing, and it was then that I was fully aware of the fact that I was far away from home. I was wandering outside of what I know and moving into a foreign land where things are much different. In the midst of all of this shock, however, there is a God who is unchanging- He’s not phased by diversity. In fact, He embraces it.
Then we hopped into the bus and drove for hours. I nestled my head against a metal bar and slept.
All of a sudden, we weren’t moving. We had stopped twice before only to start driving again, so naturally, I assumed that this would be another quick 10 minute stop … but it wasn’t. It kept getting darker outside. That’s when I honestly felt like crying. I was tired and weary. I’d been traveling all day, and it was past my bedtime. The bus had broken down. Even then, in the midst of a breakdown, Jesus was there. We lifted our songs to the Lord and glorified His name. He always receives the highest praise.
My team and I recognized that we could be stuck on the side of a Haitian mountain for our whole lives … and we would be okay.
And like valiant heros, our new Haitian friends drove up in three vans, strapped our luggage to the tops of the cars, and stuffed us into the vehicles. I thought about how inconvenient it was for them to drop everything and drive an hour from their homes to come get us. They did it anyways. Not only did they do it, but they did it with glad hearts. God is good. I slept like a rock under that mosquito net last night. Praise the Lord for bringing a new day.
Today, I’m thinking about the fact that these people living in this little village are people with passions and dreams just like me. But they happen to be born here- in the midst of poverty. Maybe some feel stuck by their situations. The wonderful thing, however, is that God is present in every moment- In these people’s deepest longings and greatest needs. They aren’t invisible to Him. He sees them, and treasures them. They are valued. I am valued. We are valued. I see that truth more clearly than ever right here in this place where roads are not paved and water is served in ziplock bags. God is hope for every nation.
Atito is his name. I met him and his dad yesterday while visiting the park, and friendship grew on the spot. The sweet four year old grabbed my pinky so tight and wouldn’t let go. They walked me all the way to Pastor Jepthe’s compound, and we were able to communicate. After a long while of no verbal communication with the beautiful people of Haiti, Atito and his father spoke Spanish. So we talked, and we enjoyed it. We enjoyed the fellowship, and the togetherness. Those moments will stick with me forever. Jesus is here, and His love knows no bounds.
“With less of you- there is more of God and His rule.” Yesterday, my body was achy and tired. I woke up in the morning not sure how I was going to dance and play and sing with the kids at VBS- I needed more energy and joy. I needed The Lord to renew me by His steadfastness and faithfulness. After a quick nap, I proceeded to jump just like it was the first day of the trip all over again. The Lord is good to provide every single thing that I could ever need. When I am losing, He is winning- and He welcomes me to share in His victory.
Yesterday was lovely. It was a slower day filled with fellowship. There were so many opportunities to just be with the children around the compound. The little girls are so fun. Their sweet spirits speak much louder than words ever could. They love piggy back rides, basketballs, and clapping games- and I’m delighted to share those things with them. Tonight, I share my faith story during the Sunday night church service across the street. I’m feeling so excited and so privileged to share the great things that The Lord has done in my life.
We left Pignon this morning, and now we’re unwinding at Wahoo Bay. It was so hard to say goodbye. While it’s lovely to be by the ocean to process the last few days, I want to hold Atito’s hand. I want to laugh with the sweet girls on the compound again. Even now, in this moment- in all the confusion and all of the thoughts- God is still at work in hearts and minds. He’s moving just like He was in Pignon.
I’m thrilled to go home and see my family and pour my heart out to my friends back in Midwest, America. More than anything, I feel that The Lord has moved in my heart. He’s been showing me how deeply He loves each person, and how as His follower, I’m called to relay that love to others. He’s calling me to walk in His ways; to be a living example of hope and new life. I’m overwhelmed by Him at this point in our journey, and I return home with an expectant heart for what The Lord wills the future to hold. Praise be to The Lord for protecting our team and letting us experience life outside of our comfort zones. I am thankful for a God who is not stagnant but very much alive.
Makenna Nahorniak is a junior at Christian Life School. She enjoys leading worship, singing, reading, writing and using her words to encourage others’ hearts.