How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!
"Through Journey, we have had the blessing of serving in Haiti during the last two Medical and Construction Mission Trips. People often ask us why we go to Haiti. When Journey first began work in Haiti, we both felt immediately called to support the work being done in Trouforban. At first, we answered through giving but soon felt that God was challenging us to step out of our comfortable life, make sacrifices in our busy schedule, and give up control and instead place our trust in His plan.
Returning each year to Trouforban enables us to see the village grow and change. It shows us how God is using Journey to change not just individual lives but a whole community through physical nourishment, education, microeconomics, and clean water as well as through spiritual nourishment, love, and worship. Journey doesn’t do drive-by missions. We’re invested in people and relationships. We don’t go to Haiti to give handouts. We go to lend a hand. We work collaboratively with the people of Haiti to achieve a common goal.
Going to Haiti builds an unparalleled sense of community both with the mission group from Journey and with the people we serve in Haiti. It has sparked a restlessness and dissatisfaction with our “comfortable” life. Serving in Haiti has been a catalyst to serve more. To build our community here at home. To spend more time with people. To love more. While we only go to Haiti for a week at a time, it has changed the context of our daily lives. The kids in Trouforban are no longer kids in a picture on a sponsorship card. They are the kids with whom we read stories, played hand games, and laughed joyfully. We’ve met and worshiped with their families. We have a community that we love in Haiti and feel blessed that God has allowed us to be a part of it."
"I am often asked why I go to Haiti. It’s a fair question – Haiti is hot, filthy, and lacks the most basic amenities. The air is so filled with fumes from burning tires that my eyes water and my asthma inflames. The stench of rotting garbage and raw sewage assaults my senses as soon as I exit the plane. There is no relief from the oppressive heat – no ice or air conditioning. It’s just hot. It’s hot when I wake up, it’s hot when I eat, it’s very, very hot while I work, and it’s hot while I sleep. While away from the mission house public toilets are non-existent. Should the call of nature arise, the nearest bush will have to do. The shower, a term used loosely here, is more of a trickle of water barely strong enough to rinse the soap out of my hair. I become accustomed to my own foulness by the end of the first day. I receive only two weeks per year of paid vacation. At least one of those weeks I spend in Haiti. Some years I spend both.
So, why do I go? I go because babies like Eber should not have to die of starvation simply because his family lacks resources to purchase baby formula and clean water. I go because little girls that fall into open fires deserve clean wounds, pain medicine, and antibiotics. I go because every child deserves the opportunity to learn to read. I go because by going I employ translators, drivers, cooks, airport workers, and groundskeepers who otherwise would have no means of supporting their families.
I go because I cannot sit in my 4000 square foot climate controlled suburban home knowing that a two-hour plane ride away children the same age as my own die every day from malnutrition, hepatitis, and bellies full of worms. I go because of the smile on the old woman’s face when she demonstrates how she sweeps up the chicken poop from the dozens of chicken she cares for. Journey Community Church built that coop and bought those chickens. That one simple project employs that old woman. She can feed herself and her family with the income she earns. The women she sells the eggs to can sell them again and support herself and her family. In fact, there are so many eggs all of the school children in our community receive one egg every day.
I go because, in the few years since we have been going to Trouforban, the children in this community no longer have orange hair from malnutrition, their bellies no longer protrude, and they no longer go days without eating. I go because the generosity of my church has educated the children of this community. When I go, the children read to me. The children sing to me. Many speak to me in English. I go because of the look on a little girl’s face when she saw a dinosaur for the first time. I go because every child deserves to see a world outside their own. The children can now see flowers, lions, dinosaurs, and Curious George thanks to the new school library.
I go because I know that what these people see around them – trash, deforested mountains, no grass, or flowers – is all they know of this world. Through books and knowledge, they can learn about so much more.
I go because nearly every night I have Facebook talks with a young, Haitian man named Dashmy. He practices his English skills with me, and I provide him with encouragement. I go because of the excitement I hear in his voice when he learns new words. Haitians who speak English are more employable. Few books are written in Creole, so when he can read English, there is no limit to what he can learn. I go because he and other young men like him have a desire to learn and achieve. Before the library he had no hope that he would ever have access to education. Their government withholds education on purpose – the ignorant are easier to control. I go because of the tears in the eyes of a twenty-five year old man when he held a story book in his hands for the first time. I go because Dashmy did not understand why there are no longer parrots in Haiti. Through his reading he has learned about animal habitats – now he knows why there are no parrots in Haiti. I go because Dashmy has learned about how Frederick Douglass, once an American slave, taught himself to read and became a free man who opened the first black owned newspaper in America and eventually became an ambassador to Haiti. Dashmy has never heard an encouraging story like this one. He has never seen a man who looks like him achieve something so powerful all by his own effort. One day he and others like him will use this knowledge to change Haiti for the better. I go because it is 2018 and Dashmy desperately wants to read long into the night, but he cannot because he has no lights, no candles, and no lantern.
Journey has provided the Haitian people with employment, medical care, food, education, clean water, and access to a world outside of their own. Clothing donations or bags of rice seem like good ideas – but giveaways tend to cause more harm than good. What changes poverty, desperation, and hopelessness is relationships, education, investments, and the hope that only comes from our heavenly Father. This is why I go."
"The impact of volunteering at the 2nd Saturday Mobile Food Pantry is an opportunity to serve people in our community with a physical demonstration of God’s love for them with a couple bags of groceries. God adjusted our attitude about judging customers by what they were driving or wearing with the simple requirement that they were hungry and needed food. Praying with the customers opened our eyes to an extended community in need that we don’t interact with at work or in the neighborhood where we live.
Initially our J-Group volunteered to assist on a 2nd Saturday and we knew immediately this was something that spoke to us … feeding people in our local community. Us, the local church, extending a hand to God’s people here in Columbia County.
I can remember the first time praying with someone who was driving a nicer car than mine …. Requesting prayer that her husband would find work as the house was in foreclosure and the car was the next to go… with God reminding me that the “Stuff” didn’t matter…. relationships do… meeting someone’s immediate need to eat allows me to be part of God’s hands and feet in our community.
We are blessed to be part of feeding the extended big CHURCH in our community, as the majority of the customers have a church to call home. We get to pray, share prayer requests, and hear the stories of God meeting needs through the 2nd Saturday Mobile Food Pantry."