This past April, we sent a team to Haiti on a mission to strengthen the knowledge of women, young and old, in the art of sewing. One of the trip participants, Carol Dunlap, gave us a compelling snapshot of her time in Haiti and how God worked in her and through her that we would like to share with you:
Haiti: dark yet beautiful, different yet the same, taking yet giving.
Their language is different. The circumstances of their lives are definitely different from most of their North American counterparts. Yet, they're the same... longing to be loved, to be cared for.
You see, this trip was never about sewing. God had a bigger plan. I sew; I am not a seamstress. There's a big difference.
I was asked to lead the moms at the orphanage in devotionals each morning before we started sewing. I was happy to be able to do this for them. That request was soon replaced with another one, one that is near and dear to my heart. Would I be willing to lead a bible study with the older girls about modesty and purity? Would I ever!
I knew fairly quickly what I would want to talk to them about, but the issue was communication. How do you discuss issues of modesty and purity as it applies to young women through the voice of a male interpreter? Well, you don't! We were in for a huge surprise when we arrived at the orphanage. There, wrapped in the body of a beautiful Haitian female interpreter, was a gift from God. There had only been male interpreters previously, so this was a first!
As we began our study, it "felt" like I wasn't really connecting with the girls. They were sitting at the sewing machines obviously anxious to get to what they were there for... sewing!
After a few smiles and some giggles, we completed day one
Day two took a completely different turn. We met away from the younger children and sewing machines. The plan was to meet for 20-30 minutes. An hour and a half later, when we came back to the sewing group, it was obvious that good stuff has happened in our little group.
The girls really opened up and shared their hopes and dreams. We talked about God's plan for them and their future spouse. They began to articulate what they desired in a mate. Our interpreter was instrumental in getting the girls to talk. It was truly a God ordained time.
The third day, which I was really looking forward to, took an unexpected turn. Our female interpreter could not come. The only option was to use one of the guys. So we went back to our little room and began our study. As I presented questions to the girls, it was obvious that this was not going to happen. The look on their faces communicated to me what their words could not: "We are not talking to him in here." So, they were dismissed to go back downstairs. They could not get out of that room fast enough. I was honestly disappointed, but I feel like it was a start and hopefully other teams could pick up the study when they came. Even if a female interpreter can not attend, we pray that God can speak to these young girls.
A vision had been cast. After much prayer and discussion, the Bible study will go on. Cecile will meet with the girls, and they will be going through a study book called And the Bride Wore White. It's my hope and dream that these girls will become mentors for the younger girls. It's our vision that these young women grow into Godly women used to change Haiti, to bring Light in a dark country.
This trip was never about sewing for me; it was about investing in the lives of the next generation.