by Jordan Piper, NVM Intern
June 11, 2011 was a day that led to a life-changing week for me. Why was the week of June 11-18 so important? June 11, 2011 was the first day that I stepped foot in the wonderful nation of Haiti. It was the first day that I had ever left the Red, White, and Blue. It was a day that I have engraved into my memory and hope to never forget. I remember my thoughts when our plane circled around the airport, preparing for landing. I remember the screeching tires of the plane on the tarmac....everything became so real. I was actually doing this. I was following God's call to partake in a short term mission trip with Catalyst, the College & Young Adult Ministry at my church, Crossroads Fellowship. Preparing for the trip, I knew I was going to see things I'd never seen before. Severe poverty. Starving people and malnourished children. People that desperately need not only physical aid, but also spiritual, mental, and emotional. Little did I know then, the impact that week would have on me.
It's currently 4:05pm here in Chambrun, Haiti. At this time last year, I had safely arrived here at the compound of Nehemiah Vision Ministries. In the hour or so drive from the Port-au-Prince Airport....my life had already been rocked. I saw many of the things I had been anticipating in the weeks leading up to this trip. Your heart my wrench when you think about these things and see pictures online...but when you're actually here and are witnessing things you'd never imagined you'd see...it hits you a lot harder than any picture you might find on Google.
I am still using the same journal that I brought with me on the trip last year. Here is an excerpt of my first journal entry in this country:
"I am sitting on a cinder block on the top of a medical center in Haiti. How many times in my life will I have the opportunity to do this? God has already done amazing things for me on this trip...and I haven't even been here for 24 hours.
As soon as I took the first step out of our Delta airplane...and stepped foot into Port-au-Prince, I knew God sent me here for a reason."
Today is June 11, 2012. I have been in Haiti since January 16; 4 months and 26 days. I have about 35 days left of my 6-month internship here at Nehemiah Vision Ministries. It is absolutely amazing to reflect on what God has done in my life in the time span of one year. Although it is amazing, it should not be surprising. Why? Because when you die to self, take up your cross daily, and establish a genuine relationship and become a dedicated follower of Christ....ANYTHING is possible. If you would have told me on June 10th, 2011, that the week lying in front of me would lead to me spending 6 months in Haiti...I honestly probably would have called you crazy. I knew on that hot, sunny Saturday exactly one year ago, that God sent me there for a reason. At the time, I didn't know what that reason was.
The Last Day
"I hate that this will probably be the last time on this roof for quite some time (referring to the medical clinic roof). Hopefully I will be able to return in January. If not, then I will definitely be back next summer. This mission trip has drastically drawn me closer to God and helped me "find" myself in numerous ways. I found out that children have a huge place in my heart. I feel like God might be calling me to do something with children/youth...because I enjoyed playing with these kids so much.
I have opened my eyes and my heart, for the love of others. I would rather work for and help somebody else, rather than for my own best interest. I hope to take what I have experienced here in Haiti, and share it with friends and peers, touching their hearts like mine has been touched. However, no matter how compassionate I tell my story nor how many pictures I show them.....they will not feel the love, pain, and happiness that I've experienced this week. God is doing amazing things here and I hope to see even more improvements when I return.
God, I ask you to bless Jay and touch him with a quick and full recovery from his surgery. Lord, I ask you bless all my fellow team members and myself with safe travels back to America. Lord, let us arrive in America with new perspectives, outlooks, and changed hearts. I ask you this in the Lord's name...Amen."
Tears of happiness cloud my eyes as I finish typing this blog post. God knew that I would read these journal entries, on this day, remembering what I felt like He was telling me in 2011. I knew that I would return to Haiti. I knew I was being called here. I knew that children/youth was going to play a roll in my life. When I return from Haiti on July 16...I will have a month and a half of "down" time to transition back into American life. Then I'll embark on the next chapter of my life, studying Youth Ministry at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. I pray that this blog post, my testimony, will reach people to follow Christ with all their heart, strength, and might. I pray that my life will bring glory to the Kingdom of Heaven, in everything I do. I apologize for the long post...but reading these journal entries and reflecting on the past year really touched my heart today. I hope you've enjoyed this post, and stick with me for the remaining 35 days of my time here in Haiti. The college ministry (Catalyst) that I came with last summer, will be here from July 6-17th. I will finish out the last 11 days serving alongside my best friends. God is so good great.