Sunday, December 4, 2011

Haiti- Part "En"

Well, it's time to tell you about Haiti. This trip has been on my heart for well over a year. I have hesitated in writing too soon about it because I don't know how to fully grasp the trip without making it sound like just...well, a trip. Then again, the more time that goes by, the more the good ole American life seeps back into my routine, my mind, my habits...and I lose some of the freshness of the journey. So, here we go. I will try my best to do justice to all the Lord showed me on this incredible adventure and opportunity.

The week leading up to my departure was insane. My list of to-do's well over-shadowed any expectations or anticipations about it. The first bit of reality that hit me was on the way to the airport. My sister was taking me. We left 2 hours before my flight and she lives about 20 minutes from the airport. Plenty of time...right?? :-/ Well, what do ya know....there was a horrendous car accident on the interstate that we just got on. All southbound lanes were closed. We were moving at a snails pace. "We'll get there", my sister said, optimistically. Followed by a traffic report over the radio that informed us otherwise. We would be on that interstate another hour. I got to the airport 45 mins before my flight, checked my bags and ran. fast. I don't know much about the Atlanta airport but about 8 minutes of solid running, I started to wonder where the heck is Gate D?!??!?!? I asked an employee and she said "Um, you need to get on the train." So I did. And ran some more to my gate. Out of breath I begged to get on my plane, to no avail. Doors were closed, passengers seated. I wasn't getting on. My heart sank. Upon telling the lady behind the counter that I had to get to Haiti, she looked shocked and said, "Oh you aren't getting to Haiti sweetheart. We don't fly there again until next week." That was it for me. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I called my sister crying. All of the efforts, the planning, the donations, rushed my mind. I went back to the counter to clarify the information. She told me to go over to another airline carrier and see if they had anything going out. I walked over to AirTran and they had one seat left to Ft. Lauderdale where I could then catch my connecting flight to Haiti the next morning. I bought it and collapsed on the seat. The lady working for AirTran came up to me and said, "You're going on a mission trip? And you know God wants you there, so don't worry about this. This is just the enemy trying to throw you off. You have a ticket. You're still going." What a blessing her simple and encouraging words were...

Boarding the flight from Atlanta was such a relief. I sat down and tried not to vent to the stranger next to me-- but I'm pretty sure I vented. :) I told him of the past years efforts and all that I was looking forward to. I was telling him how I was impacted by the missionaries to Ecuador in the 50's; how these men offered their lives, their freedoms, their families, to minister to a group of savage men in the jungle--eventually, all of them speared to death by the same men that they wanted to save. The man let me continue my rambling then, as I finished, he looked at me, smiled and said, "My father was a rescue pilot and he was part of the team that recovered those missionaries in Ecuador." Chills. Wow. What a cool, God moment!

I got into Ft. Lauderdale and found out that the luggage I had checked on my original flight, had never made it to Ft. Lauderdale. It was still back in Atlanta; And would stay there until the next flight to Haiti the following week. So this, my friends, meant.....the clothes on my back and the deodorant under my arms, would have to stay there for several days. Yep. The beginning of God stripping my vanity. This trip was not going to be about me. Or my hygiene apparently. :) (I can giggle now but trust me, there was no giggling then.)

The next morning I arrived in Port au Prince. Seeing Tom's smiling face welcome me outside of the main terminal was so awesome. Visit the Port au Prince airport one day and you'll appreciate the smile of a fellow American too. ;-)

We met up with Greg from HAFF and loaded up in our rugged Land Cruiser. Eventually we would meet our new friends for the week who came down from Iowa. We made our way through Port au Prince and the 4 hour journey through mountains and villages to our final destination, Bohoc, Haiti. The drive was bumpy and beautiful. It was going to be an amazing week...

*for part 2/3 of my Haiti trip, click here: Haiti- "Part De"

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