What to say about Haiti?

Nicole Eastwood recently traveled with HTF to Haiti. Her trip has inspired a series of blog posts about the work of HTF and her experience in Haiti.  We’ll be posting her blogs here on our tumblr.  You can also access the original blog at https://familyandfaith.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/what-to-say-about-haiti/.

5 days ago I returned from a week-long trip to the island nation of Haiti. Everyone asks “How was Haiti?” The answer is so much more complicated than can be said in passing. I feel like each question deserves a sit-down conversation over a long dinner to share the many stories of this place…

So I am going to attempt to answer the question of “How was Haiti” here on my blog through a few posts…not necessarily designed for anyone other than for me.

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Haiti was…

Intense.

Overwhelming.

Invigorating.

Emotionally Exhausting.

Full of life.

Hopeful.

Scary.

Sad.

Happy.

Abounding with laughter.

Touched by God.

Alive in the Spirit.

Humbling.

Holy.

The congregation where I worship and serve has been involved with the Haitian Timoun Foundation (HTF)for over 5 years. (Timoun means child in Creole).   HTF is a foundation that partners with Haitian organizations to foster hope and sustainability with dignity. HTF partners with 8 Haitian organizations that are most certainly changing the world. (My goal for this blog is write a separate piece about each ministry and why they are incredible.) HTF is a grassroots organization that truly seeks to partner with organizations. It is not a dictatorship organization, one who says “we’ll give you money, do it this way,” but one who says “what are your needs, maybe we can help?” The first sign of this is through the trips it facilitates.

HTF does not lead “mission” trips. It does not facilitate “poverty tourism.” HTF calls their trips “immersion” trips or “visioning” trips. The participants walk alongside their partner ministries for a day to learn about their mission in Haiti, the need to which each ministry is responding, and to experience life together. I have had someone ask me “What did you accomplish in Haiti?” to which my response was “We did not go to Haiti to physically accomplish anything. We went to Haiti to build and strengthen our relationships…to let our partners know we were in this together, and to see how God is moving in Haiti.”

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It was a complete honor to represent this organization. Everywhere we went our partner agencies treated us, as HTF representatives, as royalty. On the first day it became apparent that we were representing a larger agency, and that it was an honor to represent HTF. The work of this Foundation is holy work…it is the Lord’s work…and it is the work the Haitains have designed, so that all may have life!

I felt called to participate in this trip because I wanted to see what God was doing in other parts of the world, through different cultures, languages, economic realities, and political structures. For years I had heard of this organization and its ministries, but information is not tantamount to transformation. Thanks for joining me on this journey…

Lauren SeyfarthComment