Some of my friends have participated in medical mission trips to Haiti with FAME (Fellowship of Associates of Medical Evangelism) in recent years. Lisa & Chasity went to Haiti in 2010 and Lisa returned with Rachel in 2011. I asked them a few questions about their experiences to help prepare for the breakout session that I will be leading at this year’s Transformed Conference in Indianapolis. I wanted to share their response and insights with you.
1. Was there one situation or experience that really got to you? Especially in comparison with how we live in America?
Lisa – 2010 on our first day to a really poor village FAME gave us bread & peanut butter to make sandwiches, we quickly made our sandwiches and stepped outside to be out of everyone else’s way only to be surrounded by a village of hungry children wanting our puny peanut butter sandwich. That was the worst sandwich I ever ate literally. Never having traveled out of the country before I didn’t realize that everyone can’t just eat when they’re hungry. My next trip Haiti had improved & my focus wasn’t on me & my survival because I knew differently & God would take care of me.
Rachel – Seeing the children play and their lack of clothing, especially shorts/pants and shoes. They do not know any other way but so sad to see them playing in the nasty dirt/trash with bare skin and knowing the devastation that disease causes so many of them.
Chasity – 2010 I as well will never forget the p.b sandwiches. I would say how it was the simple things in life that we take for granted like a bottle water or hand sanitizer, even as simple as a vitamin. One more thing would be how freely they would give up their children to come back to the U.S for a better life
2. When you came back home how did what you had seen and experienced change how you view how we as Americans live, or did it in any way?
Lisa – A hot shower is such a luxury but one that we assume will be there every day. And electricity , you never knew when the lights would go out at the mission.
Rachel – I too was so very thankful for a hot shower and the privilege of being able to take on whenever we please. It made me appreciate the amount of water/electricity we have and often take for granted and allowed me to evaluate how much water and electricity I use on a daily basis.
Chastiy – .The love for Christ that the Haitians had even knowing they had little material things if any at all. Yes we Americans have no clue, it is so easy here to take things for granted
3. Did your experiences cause you to change how you view your own possessions and resources in any way and how
Lisa – My aunt told me something one time that I try very hard to live by; people are more important than things. The Haitian people have very little but are happy & thankful. I think that’s how God would like for us to be. We do try to be responsible with our possessions & I know we have too much compared to others.
Rachel – Of course it made me feel guilty because I have so much yet didn’t even realize it as we have the opportunity and resources to shop whenever we want. It made me go through my things and give locally. This is an ongoing process that should be evaluated often!
Chasity – To look at everything as a blessing someway somehow. The waste of food, enjoy what he gave us and possessions are only possessions, we will not take them with us. Haiti will forever have my heart.
If you’ve been on a mission trip or have had friends go I would encourage you to talk about those experiences. The insight to be gained from a new perspective or a first-hand account of conditions in other areas of the world is invaluable.