Nearly 3 years ago the world watched in shared disbelief as a devastating earthquake flattened much of Port au Prince, Haiti.
That night, as I tried to gather my thoughts, I summarized it into three things: Pray. Give. Go.
- I committed to pray for people effected, people I’d likely never meet, and those who responded. I committed to pray for both immediate relief, for systemic change to a country devastated by decades of exploitation, and that somehow– mysteriously and amazingly– the earthquake could be used for God’s glory.
- I committed to give appropriately and generously. As time went on that got messier and messier, but I committed to that.
- I committed that if there was a way I could go and actually help people… I’d go.
If you’ve followed my story you know that much of 2010 was spent praying, giving, and going to Haiti. (Haiti blog posts) I first went to tell stories. Then I went again, in July 2010, with some youth ministry friends, asking them to jump on the opportunity to get their churches engaged with what God was doing in Haiti.
Both times it felt like a big chunk of my heart stayed on the tarmac. It was hard leaving. Haiti is that kind of place.
Both efforts multiplied and lots of people went to help with earthquake relief.
And then I fell silent. It wasn’t that I wasn’t thinking about Haiti or anything like that. It was more that I kept looking for the right opportunity and it was clear God wasn’t in any of them. They weren’t bad– I just clearly knew I needed to keep open to going back when the time was right.
Your Invitation to Haiti
I want to invite you to join me in exploring a new opportunity in Haiti. Over the past year or so I’ve gotten to know the folks at Praying Pelican Missions. I dig what they are all about. They build long-term relationships with churches in the communities they serve and ask the communities, “How can we serve you?” They are more about building communities than they are sending lots and lots of teenagers on trips to exotic locales. I think that’s the best kind of missions.
On April 6-9, I’m traveling to Port Au Prince and some surrounding communities to check out the work of Praying Pelican in Haiti. And you’re invited to join me.
Who Should Go?
This trip is for anyone who is thinking of taking their youth group, college group, or families on a mission trip to Haiti. This trip is especially for people who can’t seem to get past first base on a Haiti trip. (Parents are fearful, the travel seems confusing, you don’t know anyone, etc.)
Why go with me?
I’m a third-party on this trip. So I don’t know the ins and outs of Praying Pelican any more than you do. But I’ve been there twice before and talked to dozens and dozens of pastors who have lead teams, as well. So I know the right questions to ask, what to look out for, etc.
Think of me as a discernment partner. Haiti is an enchanting place. You will fall in love with Haiti if you go. But it’s also a very dangerous place where things often appear to be one thing but aren’t really what you think they are.
I’ll be there to help you figure that out. We’ll have language translators… but I’ll help be one of your opportunity translators.
What Will We Do?
This is primarily a “go and see” type of trip. It’s a vision trip so we’ll visit several churches, talk to pastors and ministry leaders in Port Au Prince and the surrounding areas, and stuff like that. So this isn’t a trip where you’ll dig footers for a house or swing a hammer on a building. Literally, the objective is to see the work going on and gain enough information for your church to decide if working in Haiti is a good idea.
Also know that this isn’t a vacation or a tour. This will be hard work. You’ll be exhausted at the end of each day, guaranteed.
Your only cost is getting to the Port Au Prince airport. (About $400 from the east coast; $700 from the west coast) We’ll coordinate our travel so that we all get there at about the same time. You’ll also give Praying Pelican a $195 deposit… but as soon as you get there they will refund 100% of that.
Is there any obligation?
Absolutely not. You are merely going with me to check it out. You can go, never want to go back, and that’d be totally fine. You can go, want to go to Haiti with this organization, and that’s totally awesome. And you can go, want to go to Haiti with another organization, and that’s also totally OK.
All I’d ask is that you go with an open mind for what God may be calling you to do to serve the people of Haiti.
Act now! There aren’t many spots left on this trip and we need to finalize who is going in the next few weeks. Even if you don’t know for sure, please let me know you are interested as soon as you can.