As I sit here writing this entry I’m on a flight back from another trip to Haiti. I have been to Haiti many times, however this trip was different for me personally. On this trip, I was able to bring both of my daughters.
Several months ago both of them independent of each other came to me and asked if I thought they were old enough to do this trip. If I’m honest, it was with apprehension that I agreed to let them come along. As the weeks came closer I like many parents would have, doubted the decision that Christin and I had made. Were they ready for this type of an experience? Were they too young? Was it too dangerous? I wasn’t so confident any more. I have for years challenged parents to raise their children with the values they want them to live out as adults. Both Christin and I have always wanted our children to know how big our world is and that we are each called to take responsibility for caring for others in whatever way we are capable.
So last November Erika came to me and said that she wanted to make a real difference in the world. Without thinking about it too much I said to her, “Erika if you want to change the world, first you are going to have to be broken by it. God uses our brokenness to heal and transform us, then we are ready to help others.”
Haiti has been a place that has done that for me, my friends there have challenged me to see that my normal is not the normal and that actually those who live in poverty especially my friends in Haiti have a great deal more that I have.
It seems once again I have traveled to the poorest country in the western hemisphere and found the riches people, rich in spirit, rich in purpose, rich in relationships. Oh, it’s true they are poor; many struggling to eat and provide for each other’s needs and that is no small thing, yet they are a generous people, their hospitality and caring spirits are enough to humble any person.
I would be holding something back if I didn’t mention one of the most obvious of realities on this trip. You see I brought Caroline on this trip, she is the first of my adopted children, and the time we spent in an orphanage was for me, thick with the reality that her life took a significantly different direction some 12 years ago. Watching her care for children has always been a great delight however this week was like nothing I have experienced. Her compassion and courage was inspiring. Do I think it has all sunk in yet? No. But it will and it is my prayer that when it does it gives her even more purpose and understanding that she is beautiful in every way and that she has so much to offer this world. Not just because of where she has come from but where God has been taking her since the day she was born. Together these two girls are the perfect 1-2 punch, may they continue to see that in themselves, it will do this father proud.
As I said earlier as father, it is my greatest desire to see my children grow and experience happiness and joy in their lives. I think that the best gift I can give them is to show them what that really looks like. My friends in Haiti have shown them that even with no physical belongings they can experience that an abundance of faith, hope and love.