Why My Short Term Mission Trip Mattered.
That thought rang through my head this AM I was looking over photos of the trip. (Yes I said photos) A photo of 2 small siblings holding hands and running through an open field to come to sports day for the second day of activities. They were excited! They had something fun and positive and happy to do for a few hours of their day. They made me smile and want to cry at the same time. A smile because the simple joy they had in the anticipation of participating again with games, stories, music and snack. Tears because I can only imagine the hard days they have had and will have living in Haiti.
I had read several blogs lately prior to going with some negative thoughts, comments and advice on going on short term mission’s. Some thoughts were helpful and in several ways I have changed perspective on the way I think over the past few years about the best way to make a difference. I want to help not hinder. I want to offer dignity and not shame. I want to help make a change and not just offer a one-time handout. Myself and the team I work with have returned to Haiti over the last 15 or more years. We do work with long term organizations that are reputable and have integrity. They are native Haitians themselves that love their country and people. We work at their request and ultimately we serve them. We partner with them. We do “act like a tourist” and support the local businesses and those selling items. I have more than enough t-shirts, hats, brooms, sea shells, baskets, soap, paintings, jewelry, shoes, mobiles, carvings, vanilla, coffee and the list goes on. I contribute to those that have established businesses in Haiti for families to keep their children. Businesses that I knew nothing of until I first went to Haiti on a short term mission trip. I have sold their bracelets to help. Our team spent thousands of dollars while in Haiti. We provided a hot meal cooked and served up by our Haitian partners to children that lined up for 2 hours early. They received a bag of rice, beans, oil, noodles, smiles and hugs from their American and Haitian friends. Some Haitian friends I have known for 15 plus years and some I just met. I have long lasting friendships that I consider part of my family. Those that I worked with told me they were so happy we came. Happy we partnered with them. Happy we helped their church reach their community. But I also have photos and memories in my head that cause me to stop and pray and give. Truthfully, I would probably not pray nor give if I had never gone on my first short term mission trip. I would never have influenced others to pray and give if I had never taken a short term mission trip. A new generation of young people behind me are picking up that torch to help make a difference because we first took them on a short term trip. The ripple effect is just beginning. I may have gone on a short term trip but I am a long term lover and supporter of these beautiful and loving people. My life is changed each time I go and that’s ok. Anytime God transforms a heart and a mind, it’s a good thing. I do not apologize for receiving a blessing. I think that’s the beauty of God’s plan. I thank God He includes me. All lives matter.
I don’t have the power nor influence on my own to change the government of Haiti or any other country for that matter. But until then, that person that received encouragement and food last week for their family, I choose to believe are happy we came.
My short term mission trip mattered!
By: Cathy Lentz