Final Reflections from Erika:
I can't tell if this past week in Haiti feels more like a month or a day. Haiti is unlike anything I've ever experienced, so it is difficult to accurately put into words. From one perspective, I should have hated it. It was hot. There was trash everywhere. We smelled bad basically all the time. 15 people shared 1 bathroom. A good nights sleep meant only waking up a couple times from either someone yelling nearby or the rooster that for some reason thought 3 am was an appropriate time to start the day. We saw people in the clinic that broke our hearts- dependent people that would have been functioning at such higher levels if the care and education they needed had been provided when it should have.
But I didn't hate it. Haiti is also overwhelmingly beautiful. Not just because of the blue Caribbean water and towering palms, but because of the relationships I saw. I saw people from the community filled with joy to see the same faces return. We followed up with past patients and showed them that we care how they are doing-. We know their names and truly care what happens to them. This trip was so significant because it is clear that it isn't about going someplace for a week, getting some pictures, patting yourself on the back, and going home. This is not a short term mission. This is a long term relationship that facilitates physical and spiritual healing. While some amazing physical accomplishments were made this past week, what was most impactful was the peace God provided to not only the people we worked with, but also within the team. We were very much "encouraged in heart and united in love" (Colossians 2:2). Christ was present through the pain and discomfort. Christ can take something so challenging and turn it into something wonderful that furthers His light. We found out that Christ will break your heart if you let Him, and that's a good thing.