My name is Hannah Adkison and today our group is leaving the Mole St. Nicholas. We have spent 4 wonderful days here, full of surprises and adventure, happiness and brokenness, smiles and tears. This was my first mission trip out of the country. All throughout high school I would look into mission trips to various places every year and God never really laid it on my heart heavily that I needed to go. It wasn’t until I heard about this Haiti trip with the Wesley Foundation that I realized how vital it was that I go. And I couldn’t be more glad I did.
We had two half days and 3 full days here at the Mole. Though all the days were crazy wonderful and so, so important, I’d like to focus on the third full day right now. Since before the trip David Coutts and I had volunteered to do a sex talk with the Haitian youth. What that would mean, we didn’t know, but we were prepared for anything. Tuesday night, the second night, we had the chance to sit down with Jody and just hear what these people go through everyday. We learned that in this culture men are very dominant. It’s normal to beat your wife when she doesn’t submit. The majority of women have had a sexual experience/molestation by the time they are 10. It was clear we had a big task ahead of us. This sex talk would be the first time these specific teens were ever hearing that you shouldn’t have sex before marriage; that your body is a temple of the Lord and should be honored. That’s a lot of pressure.
So David and I prepared for the next day and really just decided the main topics and that God would fill in the rest. Woke up the next morning excited to go do a VBS at the fishermen village, maybe learn some fishing from them. Jody told us before we left that it would be a completely new level of poverty, but it still didn’t click until we arrived. It was a 45 minute truck drive, and we picked up a woman along the way. Now that I think about it, she wasn’t headed back toward her village, she was going in the opposite direction as us. But she ran after our truck so that she could be at the village when we were there, even if it meant making the same walk back to that same spot that would’ve taken at least 1 hour and half by foot. Crazy.
So we roll up to the village and immediately we are all silenced. The people greeting us were so happy to see us. Most of the kids under the age of 10 didn’t have clothes at all. They lived in thatched houses made from dried banana leaves; 3 of their houses probably could have fit in my dorm room. So we got out the pipe cleaners and beads and they LOVED it. I mean kids were making 3 bracelets a piece and the adults were making just as many. I started making headbands out of pipe cleaners for the woman, the boys were playing Frisbee and baseball with them and everyone was grinning from ear to ear. We had to leave so much sooner than we wanted, and it was absolutely heartbreaking to leave them so soon, knowing that they don’t get a lot of visitors ever. A man kept telling me thank you so much for coming, for smiling at us and greeting us. No one ever comes out here, thank you thank you. We told them a bible story, the one where Jesus walks on water. Come to find out, they didn’t know who Jesus was.
On our way back we stopped at another village called Karenage right on the beach. We got to sing songs with the kids, Jordan K. told the story of David and Goliath. I went behind all the kids to where the women were gutting the fish. I had a translator ask if one of them could teach me, and they did. So I gutted my first fish!! SUPER TIGHT! Again, we had to leave too soon, and this village didn’t wave us off like the Fishermen’s village. They all stood there in a group staring at us. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that mental picture. Ever.
So that’s a lot to process, and we had to get back and jump right into the Youth Conference. I was so overwhelmed with every thing I had seen that morning, stuff that I hadn’t expected in the least bit. One of the men started singing “We fall down, we lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus. The greatness of mercy and love at the feet of Jesus.” HOLY, HOLY, HOLY. Broken. Shattered. Filled with absolute love for God’s people. God had to break me down and bring me to my knees before I could get up and speak to His beloved. So I cried and cried and had to allow the Lord to strengthen me. I couldn’t tell you what I said when David and I got up there to talk. I really don’t remember. But that’s because it wasn’t me talking, it was ALL the Big Man Upstairs. He used me, He counted me worthy of delivering that message to the people he loved, a love I got a tiny, tiny glimpse of in my own life.
We split up into guy and girl groups, the girls stayed and the boys went to the Pastor’s house. The girls asked so many good questions and Jody was able to answer a lot of them better than we could have through a translator, which was such a blessing. We asked if we could pray for all the girls in our group who had already had sex, and out of 20-25 girls, 3 of them stayed sitting. We prayed over girls who were 11 or 12. We prayed over girls who were in their 20s. Elise started crying at the weight of that. Later while Elise was talking to Jody, the girls asked why she was crying. We were able to tell them that she loved them so much that she didn’t want to see them hurt. It looked like they really took that to heart. The rest of the night consisted of people breaking down and our team building them up. Lots of prayer, lots of worship.
I always sing in songs, or pray that God would break me; that I would be brought to my knees. I don’t think I truly understood the meaning of that until this trip. He showed me a very minute portion of the love he has for each one of us, and it completely overwhelmed me. I am humbled and full of love for every young woman in Haiti, for every young man in Haiti, the little kids and the old men and women, for the widows and the orphans, for the abused and the neglected. God has a great love for his people that I can’t even begin to fathom. He has a great love for me I can’t even begin to fathom. He has a great love for you, and you can’t even begin to fathom it’s greatness.