Monday, March 25, 2013


The view from our bus. Mountains on one side...
My little family went to Haiti last month.

We were part of the mission team from our church and it was, without a doubt, the best thing we've ever done. If you've been around me for more than five minutes since we returned, you're probably wishing I'd just shut up about Haiti already, but as you can see, that's not happening. :-)

Beautiful turquoise ocean on the other.
We were only there for five days, but we experienced so much that, here we are a month later, and I've just now begun to really process it all. I don't know how to respond to the things we encountered there, but I am absolutely certain of one thing: That kind of experience demands a response. I can't just keep going as if nothing has changed.

My eyes have been opened to suffering that my mind cannot comprehend. My heart has been broken for a nation crippled by poverty and injustice, but captured by a people full of hope and life. What am I supposed to do with all I've seen? How should my life be different? How can I keep scrambling and striving to make myself more comfortable when I've fallen in love with people who have so little? These are the questions that constantly thrash around in my mind.

For a couple of weeks after we returned, we were in a sort of depression. Several friends who had been on similar trips had told us to expect it, but I don't really know if you can emotionally prepare for such a thing. It was just hard to be back. The excess of the American life felt oppressive and unfair, and we missed everything about Haiti. We looked through our pictures multiple times a day and talked about our new Haitian friends constantly. The depression (the "Haiti Haze," we called it) wore off after a while, but the questions remain.

We live in the tension of knowing we've got to do something, but having no idea what that something is. We know whatever it is will be long term. We know we'll love Haiti for the rest of our lives. We know we can't wait to go back again and again. We know we want to make a difference in someone's life in Haiti -- hopefully, a lot of someone's -- but we don't know the best way to do that yet. Our minds have swung in every direction, from "Should we just sell everything we own and move there?" to "How can we help build more homes and schools?" to "How can we sponsor more children?"

We have no clear answers, but I know they're coming. For now, though, we'll take up residence in the tension, even though it's messy and uncomfortable. We tend to want to escape the tension too quickly, when that's often the place God is doing His most transformative work. He's the One who took our family to Haiti, and He'll be faithful to show us how to respond. May we be courageous and obedient when He does.

In my next few posts, I'll be sharing more about our experiences in Haiti (shocking, I know). God was so very near to us along the way, and He's working powerfully there. I look forward to sharing the journey with you.

How about you? Have you had a season of wrestling with God for answers? Have you been on mission trip and felt that post-trip depression? How did you handle it?