I keep starting this blog post, erasing it, and starting over. This is attempt number five, I think. The title of this post, “Words Where There Are None” may seem sort of silly considering the length of this post, but it’s the only way I can preface all of it. I don’t know how to describe the last two days to you… or even the last several hours. I will start by saying that I feel so blessed. I am always surprised by God’s generous love and grace, though I know it shouldn’t be surprising. I am overwhelmed with the support and encouragement of friends and strangers. I am broken-hearted and overflowing with gladness at the same time. To be frank, my emotions are shot; I am a wreck.
I was so focused on meeting my financial goal for this Haiti trip earlier this week, that I gave nothing else brain space. It was all about money for my trip, and how it was severely lacking. I was discouraged and stressing more by the hour. Then this little doodle I made sparked an insane internet response and raised over $1000 in about 32 hours. And it wasn’t one big check. It was lots of hands being raised, lots of people getting excited with me, a “yes, I want to be a part of this” here and there. To get a $1000 check from someone who wants to help is a big deal – a very very big deal. But God decided to build my faith up $10 at a time.
As I was nearing my goal for the trip, I was standing in the airport to welcome home brothers I met over two years ago – Frantz and Junior. There was a large group of us waiting anxiously to see these two boys and their sister heading toward baggage claim. The group was jittery with anticipation, many holding back tears before we even saw them round the corner. Moments before the family came through the gate, I got the donation that finished off my goal.
And it hit me – I met my goal for my Haiti trip to visit an orphanage while waiting at the airport to welcome home three kids who used to live at that same orphanage.
One of my favorite verses is John 21:25. It says, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” It always made me imagine all these people, all over the world, who had been a part of an amazing miracle. A small thing, or a big thing, something that made other people stand back amazed, or something that only one had experienced themselves. I want to meet these people and hear their stories. At that moment, I felt like I was part of one of those stories. And here I am writing it down.
God showed me the beginning and the end of that story, all at once. He said, “I haven’t forgotten about your heart for these kids” in a way I will never forget. He orchestrated a small, beautiful moment for me, wrapped up a huge moment for another family. It wasn’t about $1000. It wasn’t about flying to a fifth-world country. It wasn’t about someone else’s poverty or my gain. It wasn’t about my project.
As Melanie gave me a hug, moments after reuniting with her entire family for the very first time on American soil, after more than two years of heartache, ridiculous paperwork, and piles and piles of prayer, she said, “I’m praying for you. I know how much you want this and I never stop praying about it. Haiti is changing. It will happen for you. It really will.” If that’s not a humbling experience, I don’t know what is. That word of encouragement in the whirlwind of their once-in-a-lifetime family celebration was so overwhelming. Melanie, I didn’t have the words to express then, but thank you so much for that sweet reminder of God’s promises.
And thank you, friends, for offering your words of encouragement and your support over the past couple days. They have meant more to me than I can express to you, but I hope that you will see that I didn’t do any of it on my own. I didn’t have a cool idea and make some money off of it. I am unworthy. My trip to Haiti isn’t about me experiencing the world or about me helping someone less fortunate. It’s about God giving me a desire to be there, to meet the orphans that He created, and one person being asked to say, “here I am, send me.” It’s about being a part of a big story. It’s being aware of my blessings and living a life that’s bigger than me. I’m so thankful. His power has been made perfect in my weakness.