The sounds of Haitian children singing worship songs to Jesus reverberate in my dreams.
Over time, memories of sweet moments like I captured above have replaced the once desperate and lashing ones which urged any person able to schedule a trip to Haiti to help end the post-earthquake chaos.
Since February 2010, I’ve visited Haiti for several different reasons. And going back over time has convinced of a few things:
- There is a stable, mature, and growing church in Haiti. While Haiti is very different from the U.S. and Canada culturally we, as North American Christians, have a lot we can learn from our Haitian brothers and sisters.
- Healthy, life-giving partnership between congregations is possible. My only hesitation in saying that is that you need help discerning those partnerships with people who understand Haiti better than you do and remembering that forming a partnership is going to take some time investment. But I now know too many churches with great partnerships to say that it’s impossible or even all that hard. It just takes effort.
- Haiti is absolutely safe enough to take middle & high school students. The craziest part of your whole trip used to just be the airport, but even that is pretty benign. If you are traveling with a reputable organization, personal security is unlikely to be an issue. While I don’t think I’d do a backpacking trip alone I just don’t think there are any safety concerns that should stop someone from going. I can’t wait for Megan or Paul to be old enough. I’d take them now if I could.
- It’s a gift to provide an opportunity for your students to get exposed to the developing world. Particularly true in the U.S. where ethnocentricity is such a problem. A lot of people wrinkle their noses at the cost of international short-term mission trips. I get it, I really do. But don’t forget there is a high cost to a small worldview as well. Done well, a trip to another country is a bargain of an investment.
I’ve written about Haiti periodically for 3 years. I’m not going to stop. I’m convinced that youth workers need to consider (and explore) partnering their ministry with a ministry in our hemisphere’s poorest nation.
And I want you to come with me.
Yes, thousands of you. All at once. On a chartered jet with Jay-Z and Beyonce! Oh wait. That won’t work. We’re not Oprah. We are youth workers. We drink Crystal Light at the after school Bible club, not Cristal with rap stars at the club.
So how about 20 of you? We’ll fly coach.
We’ll spend 3.5 days visiting churches, orphanages, meeting with church leaders, and asking God how we might get involved.
We’ll be based out of a large church in Carrefour, Port-au-Prince’s sister city. I’ve stayed at this church and am really pumped to be headed back to enjoy their hospitality again. (There floors are perfect for sleeping!)
We’ll be busy, we’ll see a lot, we’ll eat well, and of course we’ll get to spend lots of time together.
The best part? This invitation will only cost you your time and your flight to Haiti.
See, It’s All About Partnership
A few times in this post I’ve alluded to the importance of partnership in Haiti. Make no bones about it, there are pitfalls to partnering in Haiti… even within the church. I’ve experienced first-hand that sometimes things aren’t as above reproach as you initially want them to be. It takes time and experience to know who is really looking for a partner and who is looking for a source of funding. You’ve got no hope of figuring that out on your own. You need help.
That’s why I’m doing this trip with our partner, Praying Pelican Missions. Over the past year and a half I’ve gotten to know them and 100% recommend their work in Haiti.
This will be my third trip to Haiti with Jim Noreen, PPM’s Haiti Operations Director. You probably remember that back in July, Marko and I went on a trip with them. We spent 5 days visiting all of their sites, meeting all the pastors, talking to youth workers on trips, and asking questions. A merciless barrage of questions.
Our goal on that trip was simple: Can we call these guys our partner for short-term trips to Haiti? Can I stand up in front of a room full of people at The Summit and endorse them?
Yes to both.
On that trip we saw everything. We met all of their staff, full-time missionaries, seasonal staff, and lots and lots of Haitians employed by PPM.
What we saw was that everything checked out. To the best of our knowledge
In a few meetings with pastors Marko and I witnessed a cultural dance happen between the local pastor asking “Jim, what do you want the missionaries to experience?” and Jim doing his best to convince, “Pastor, the only thing we want is to support your vision for the church. Put the team to work doing whatever supports that.”
We were both impressed by that. Marko wrote, Haiti Does Not Have a Shortage of Construction Workers. And I wrote When Helping Helps.
All that to say that this vision trip is put together by Praying Pelican Missions. They are using their resources and inviting you to come check out opportunities in Haiti. And frankly, I’m happy to be their partner on it. Getting youth workers to Haiti has been a goal of mine since 2010… and they’ve made it possible.
How It Works
- If you want to go, fill out the little form below.
- Next, Jim from PPM will follow-up with you.
- You will pay a $100 deposit that you’ll get back when you get there. (This is how we know you’re serious about going.)
- You’ll book a flight to land in Port-au-Prince (PAP) on the morning of April 12th and leave late morning on the 15th.
- Jim is the point person, he’ll tell you everything you need to know, what to pack, what to expect, all that jazz.
- We will hang out, have a great time, and explore the opportunity of bringing your group to Haiti sometime in the future. (Read: You really want to do this because it’s going to be that perfect mix of time with Jesus and fun times with 20 fellow youth workers.)
Questions? Leave me a comment, drop me an email, message me on Facebook… let’s talk Haiti!