Finding Freedom in Haiti
Eight days ago I departed on a journey to Haiti, a journey led by the Lord that was packed full of ‘firsts’ and freedom. The reason for the journey was to teach at a youth conference hosted at the Haiti Arise campus. The theme of the conference was 2 Timothy 1:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” I joined Pastor Shawn and Pastor James on an amazing journey to teach the young adults of Haiti about their freedom in Christ.
When we arrived we began to see a strong negative spirit of religion and legalism among the youth as we learned about the struggles they were having and questions they were asking. The battle was beginning and we were ready for a fight, a fight for freedom in Christ for the young people of Haiti. We prayed that those attending would experience the freedom that comes from the salvation of the risen Christ. It is fitting that our messages were delivered the week before we all celebrate His resurrection. We spent three days hammering the message that salvation comes with complete forgiveness and freedom therefore they didn’t need to fear the legalism that they seemed to be bound up in. God did an amazing thing weaving all of our messages together into one strong cord. He took three obedient servants, creating a tightly woven rope that delivered a message of hope, love and freedom.
As usual God used a message He asked me to deliver to others to teach me a lesson too. This trip was full of ‘firsts’ for me. I had never flown over open waters before…I don’t enjoy flying on a great day so open water was a challenge but as I remembered who called me on this journey I began to trust that He had brought me this far and would finish the work He began. This was also my first official mission trip abroad. I didn’t get the opportunity to do this as a teen and really didn’t know what to expect. My time at Haiti Arise felt as if I had been there before, it had a familiar place in my heart and when I departed I sensed it wouldn’t be my last time there. Some of my other ‘firsts’ were speaking to over 100 women, sleeping under a bug net, eating goat, scooping a freshly fallen mango off the ground and enjoying every bite, canoeing in open water…in a hand scraped canoe, playing soccer with a group of Haitian boys on the beach, singing acapella with a Haitian girl ‘Christ is Enough’ in English so she could learn the words…just to list a few moments. I met a man on a work trip there who wept as prepared for his last day there and had such a tender heart for the battle of slavery and inequality that the Haitian people have experienced. He will always have a special place in my heart because he showed me that God sends each of to these places for different reasons and with different burdens. We may share the same destination in a mission experience but each experience is unique to the work God wants to do in each of us. Everyday God reminded that He is sovereign and in control. Everyday He gave me a glimpse into his heart for me and for Haiti.
God’s heart and desire is that we live a life full of His power and love. So when I experience fear I should remember that I am the daughter of a conquerer who died not in vain but victoriously so that I might shine bright in a dark world declaring His glory.
The people I met, especially those that know the Lord, were joyful and content, blessing me because of their love for Him. We met many children who ran out to greet us with contagious smiles but we also encountered reserved and hesitant people too. I truly believe that God was watching out for us as we walked through a tight knit village, a ragamuffin group of outsiders, sharing the love of Christ with smiles, greeting bonjou and Bondje beni ou (Hello and God bless you).
It’s difficult to untangle all the moments we had, the relationships we built with the people of Haiti, with each other and the hearts won of Christ. Four young men professed their love for Christ at the end of the conference and we were honoured to baptize them in the Caribbean Sea with Pastor Marc. They found freedom and I remembered mine.
Are you walking in the fullness the freedom of Christ brings?