Testimony: Finding God’s Love in Haiti
By: Olivia Garza
In the summer of 2014, I went on a mission trip to Haiti. And (holy cow) it changed my life forever! I have always wanted to go on a mission trip but never knew if I was the person for it or if I would actually enjoy it. Being in church you hear the same thing all the time— that mission trips are so good and will change your perspective on life. It seemed like everyone I knew always told me how good it was to go on a mission trip because you take your eyes off yourself and take time to serve other people. But I was still a skeptic. I was still nervous because I was not necessarily passionate about serving, and I was stuck in my selfish ways.
At the time, I was also going through a lot of personal struggles and family issues. This added to my nervousness and stress, and definitely kept my focus on myself (which I know is not what God wants us to do).
Despite my skepticism and personal trials, God blew my expectations out of the water!! We got to work at an orphanage called Mission of Grace and with one of the schooling programs they offer. The mission trip to Haiti involved everything that I am passionate about— especially kids. I love kids. My whole family and I have a passion for them, and I can connect with them so well.
There was this one little girl who would smile everyday when I got there and would just run to me and hug me. Through my encounter with this little girl God showed me that, that is how he sees us. As precious children who He loves and he just wants to open his arms to us as we run to him. For some reason I alway thought my relationship with God had to be some big event, but He made me realize how simple it was.
For three days of the trip we got to go up in the mountains of Haiti, to this little village, and play with the kids there. According to our guides, they had not had visitors for over three years. They loved us and it was so fun for me getting to show them games and play with them. Even though they did not understand English, we made an immediate connection. there was this one little boy who didn’t want to open up to me at first, but by the end of the day he was looking for me and ticking me and did not want me to leave. This taught me how powerful showing someone kindness can be, and that my problems and trials did not matter any more. I was finally able to take my eyes off of myself and truly love the people there.
Up to this point God showed me how much He loved us, and how great it was to share that love with others. Lastly, He showed me that He always provides. On the last day we were there all the kids came and we made them all food. So many came, and we realized we did not have enough to feed all of them. So as a team, we prayed that somehow there would be enough. To all of our surprise, God filled the pan up and got to feed all the kids, AND there was EXTRA to let some of them take food home to their parents. God, once again, exceeded my expectations. I really do recommend everyone go on a mission trip because even if you feel like you won’t get that much out of it, you will.
For more of Kelby’s photos, check out kelby-lee.com