In less than 24 hours, these six folks and I will be leaving Dallas / Fort Worth airport en route to Port-au-Prince, Haiti for a 10-day mission trip. We are not only representing First United Methodist Church (Joshua, Texas) and Genesis United Methodist Church (Fort Worth, Texas), but the Central Texas Conference, United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM), and United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) too. For some, this will be their first mission trip experience. For all of us, it will be an experience like none other.
We will spend the first and last nights in country at the Methodist Guest House in Petionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, and the site where I stayed with a mission team last summer. This year, our project site (the community’s Methodist church) is located in Leveque, a coastal community located north of Port-au-Prince, a two-hour drive from the guest house. The mission team will continue reconstruction efforts to the church that is being rebuilt after it was damaged in the 2010 earthquake. The school buildings have already been repaired and two rooms will be designated for team sleeping quarters. Amenities provided at the project site include a cot to sleep on, latrines, and Haitian cooks and interpreters. Thus, there is no running water or electricity. Our meals will be prepared over a fire pit by guest house employees who will accompany us to the field. Did I mention that Leveque is also home to Haiti’s largest deaf and hearing-impaired community?
To say this trip is going to be an adventure, is an understatement. While I am admittedly nervous, I am looking forward to the challenge. It is going to be the trip of a lifetime in a remote region of Haiti. I am going to face language and communication barriers. There is a possibility that a miscommunication might occur and I will suffer an allergic reaction if our food is prepared with dairy products. I’m going to use a latrine for the first time in my life. I’m relying on a thin sheet of mosquito netting to protect me from potentially fatal diseases. There are definite hazards associated with this trip. But I knew that before I signed up.
No matter the hazards or discomforts, I am going to be in relationship with the Haitian people. I’m going to personify Christ’s love and compassion through gifts of physical labor and spiritual relationship. Last summer, I said my trip to Haiti was the most difficult experience physically, emotionally, and spiritually but I could not wait to go back. Thirteen months later, that dream is becoming a reality. Tomorrow morning, I will board a plane (c’mon American Airlines, don’t fail me now!!!!!) and leave the comforts and security of home for a place of uncertainty and discomfort.
My bags are packed. I’m ready to go.
Even though I will not be “here” to publish posts regularly, I have some wonderful and awesome and talented bloggers lined up for you to enjoy during my absence. Due to the team’s remote project location, I will be without Internet and electricity. However, please *DO NOT* abandoned my blog. PUH-LEASE!!!!!!!! Stick around, visit daily, and be blessed by the words they share. I’m incredibly grateful for their responses to my guest post request and I owe them all a giant glass of sweet tea upon my return. =)