Today, an envelope from the State Department arrived at my house, containing my very own passport. Ten days ago, I applied for it, and I did not have it expedited. I’m not really sure how the government managed to be so on top of things, but I’m glad.
God willing, the first stamp in my passport won’t be for England or Canada or any of those other countries I’ve always thought I would visit. Instead, it will be Haiti. In January.
A month or so ago, NGU held their annual Global Missions Conference. A few days before, I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom, grading papers, when I realized I’d been staring off into space for about 20 minutes, thinking about the upcoming missions conference…and thinking about applying for a L.I.G.H.T. team, one of the missions teams NGU sends out every year.
The idea came out of nowhere. I cannot explain it (which is what makes it so good). A few days later, I went to the first chapel of the missions conference, and then at lunch, I picked up an application for a L.I.G.H.T. team, knowing that I was taking a huge leap just by opening the brochure.
I knew that, in the past, NGU had sent teams to Greece. I very much want to visit Greece. It sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Spending spring break in Greece, working for Jesus? But God had other plans.
Many of the missions teams are specialized: you have to play a musical instrument, you have to take a certain course, you have to be a football player. Only a few of the teams was I actually qualified for, including Greece. But Haiti seemed to be beckoning me.
You see, my church Radius has had a partnership with a church in Pignon, Haiti, since last fall, well before the earthquake occurred. Our church made a decision to sponsor a school and provide meals so that every student would be able to eat for a year. We raised the money, sent it to the missions organization, and the food arrived in one of the Haitian ports…in January…right around the time of the earthquake. Instead of supplying food for the school, we were instead able to feed refugees. This year, we renewed our partnership, raised much more money in a shockingly quick amount of time, and we’re supporting Haitian school students, including some recent orphans from the earthquake, for the next year.
All that to say, I’ve been able to hear stories coming out of Haiti for over a year. “Coincidences” that are so obviously God-ordained; stories of redemption in tragedy. Added to that, I took a course in Caribbean Women’s Writing at Gardner-Webb in the spring, and I read Edwidge Danticat’s book Krik? Krak! and fell in love with the Haitian people through the writing of one of the most talented women I’ve ever encountered.
The day that I picked up the application, the only word that I could think of to describe that moment was that I was compelled to do so. God has been lining this event up for me for a long time. To be quite honest, I’m scared. When I take my eyes off my Father, and I start to think about crime rates and cholera outbreaks, and I start to have these doubts of “What can I possibly do in Haiti?” then my fear returns, and I wonder if I’ve made the right decision. It’s been an almost constant battle, this week especially, to remind myself that my obedience is more important than my safety, that God will accomplish great things with or without me, and that apart from Him, my life is meaningless. Nothing in my life–my job, my friends, my education–nothing matters if I’m not following my Creator.
So I cast my cares upon my Lord, and I pray that God prepares my heart to follow His will. I pray for the Haitian aid workers there now who are dealing with the cholera pandemic that blew up just two days ago. I pray for the missionaries and pastors, the students and teachers, that my fellow missionaries and I will be working with. Please, please, please pray with me and for me as this adventure approaches.
[Also…I bet this wasn’t the entry you were expecting when you saw I had my passport, was it? 🙂 ]