Serving and visiting any third world country has a way of breaking your heart and making you feel whole all at the same time. Haiti was the country that broke my heart and filled my spirit making me feel whole. Going to Haiti was my 1st trip to a poverty engulfed country. I had never felt my relationship with God so close and intimate than when I was serving the least of the least.
“Monday- October 14th
I woke up in Haiti. No air conditioning. Electricity coming and going. A mosquito net hanging from above draped around my little bed. With people I barely know sleeping in the room next to me & in the very room I was in. All of these circumstances I have never dealt with however, I slept the best I have slept in a very long while. His peace is overwhelming. I then got up to get ready for the day. I grabbed my water bottle which held filtered clean water to wash the bug spray off of my hands…next I grabbed my germ-x to get rid of any other germs off my hands. All of that just to put in my contacts. I dressed for the day. Pulled my hair into a bun. Washed my face. Made my way down the stairs through the kitchen and into the sunny dining room for breakfast with my team. The dining room table can easily seat 30. Its huge with bench seats all around. My mission team and I had a breakfast of fresh pineapple, cantaloupe, & filtered water. We had devotional and then headed out for a day of beautiful brokenness…loving on orphans. ”
Above is an entry in my journal on my first day in Haiti. Since then (almost a year ago) a day has not gone by that I haven’t thought of the orphan, the children I held, the children I loved on, the children I fed + hugged. My mind constantly wanders off dreaming of where & how He wants me to serve next. I will forever be seeking to serve orphans.
My trip was nothing, but the work of God. I know that God orchestrated every last detail of my life from childhood to adulthood all to give me the confidence & peace I needed to say “yes” to going to Haiti. Every minute of every day, every conversation, every relationship, every trial & triumph molds us to be who He created us to be. Helping us to see the unique gifts & abilities He blessed us with to do whatever tasks He asks of us that will bring glory to His name and in turn bring others closer to Jesus.
“We drove down a crumpled road that once was whole before the EARTHQUAKE. Our driver honked his horn to let the orphanage know we had arrived. Slowly, the gates opened and a small, fairly run down house appeared with a small little porch. As we pulled our tap-taps in the driveway a few half-naked and fully naked little ones cautiously walked out of the house. My heart skipped a few beats. I scanned the property of children. Big brown eyes stared back at me with a few shy smiles tucked in between. My team and I made our way into the small house/orphanage. The smell, I noticed first. Musky and dirty with the smallest hint of spices. The few pieces of furniture falling apart and dingy. Crumbs and small rocks scattered about the floors. Rows of bunk beds in the back rooms. Piles of clothing dotted the bedrooms, unsure if they were clean or not. ” (Excerpt from my blog that I wrote after my first experience at my first orphanage)
Once I took that blind leap of faith by saying “yes” all of my fears about traveling to a foreign country disapeared as did my worries about the financial aspect of going on a mission trip. I just knew He would take care of me. Because of Haiti, I now have more confidence in trying new things, going to new places, & completely starting life over to live for God. Sometimes, I am in awe of how my faith has grown. I said “yes” and my faith grew, a fire ignited in my soul to serve, love, protect, & advocate for His precious ones, the least & surprisingly my comfort zone left my small home town in Texas & landed in Jesus’s heart! He is my safety, He is my protector, He is my secret dwelling place, He is my light & unfailing love, He is my comfort zone.
One thing I struggled with growing into an adult was comparing myself to others. I always assumed I would immediately finish college, get married and have children by the time I was 25 like a lot of my friends. For a couple of years after high school I dwelled on that and didn’t really live life because I was waiting on those things to happen, which I still believe will happen just on His time. Fortunately, because of my parents who instilled in my siblings and me that God has unique plans for each of us and by the grace of God my heart began growing for orphans which set in motion His great plans for me (which He reveals more & more of every day) and He set a fire of desires in my soul to serve the least. I’ve learned I no longer want to live the American dream or the American way, but God’s way…not a follower of society, a Follower of Christ.
I’ll admit it is not always easy to march to a different beat and to abandon all that is comfortable in today’s society especially when you can’t see where point A meets point B. THIS is even harder when you have a family of small children & special needs in tow. My parents are doing just that…marching to a different beat, His beat, abandoning the obvious, expected lifestyle for what they feel God is calling them to do. Trying to find the JOY in life, what makes them happy. And they asked me, their oldest child, to join them. Just as God orchestrated every detail of my trip to Haiti, He did the same for my parents in order for them to say “yes” to this awesome God-adventure. How could I say no to a change that would help me to live even more in complete dependence on God. We all feel He is calling us to move close to the east coast. We believe God wants us to open some sort of childcare or preschool which would allow us to be able to work together and be available for the special needs that divinely stitched us together as a family and that I know helped mold me into who I am today. Community & education would be a big focus for us as we run this preschool, as well as, carrying the same morals & beliefs in our family over to our business. I have dreamed of running my own preschool for years, bringing in Christian elements, community + parent involvement, as well as, teaching and preparing the children not only for the years of learning ahead of them, but also to teach and prepare them to take advantage of the lifetime of opportunities to serve from the heart. We don’t know exactly what this journey will look like and what unexpected turns will come into play. But, of course, this is His story He is writing through us, not ours…I feel blessed He chose us to be a chapter in His book of testimonies. Everyday He leads us further and unveils a little more of His path. My family is unique, kind, crazy & followers of Christ & I am honored God placed me in a position to go on this journey with them. I am thrilled to see how God uses each of us in a new community to bring Glory to His name. Blessings, Rachel
- Blog: www.walkbyfaith127.blogspot.
- Instagram: LovetheLeast13 (this is where I am selling shirts to fund raise for my next trip to Haiti)
- Instagram: RLeigh86
Here is poem I wrote shortly after my trip to Haiti -
KNOT OF DESIRES
Tangled and twisted, they catch on each other while struggling to unravel
Chaotic and overlapping, which is the leader
Anxious and shy, how far will they travel
My Father, he knows my heart, my hopes, my desires,
to love the least of these, who are fragile
This knot of desires becomes more wrinkled and raveled with each knock of doubt
Doubt, I will lose sight of which desire, dream, or hope to follow that is most devout Glory!
Just when doubt’s fruitless knock
sounds, My Father’s favor trumpets sweeter
My worries He takes, my desires to bless His precious ones He straightens, able to be
The hands and feet bringing me closer to His castle
Beautifully aching, my broken abandoned once comfortable life
sees innocent pain with eyes of my Creator
He whispers One command, “Follow.” Serenity wraps me up
as I know now my knot is beginning to unravel
Holding His finger, I follow. With each step He shares His love
to the lost through me. As far as He needs I will travel
My knot almost gone, all sorted out New seeds of faith may sprout.
All this while, my tangled knot of desires were His way to use me to ignite new believers.