I have always wanted to be a part of a mission trip. God has been tugging at my heart for years. I'm finally here and am excited and nervous at the same. As I sit here and reflect about the past six hours, I can honestly say that there is nothing that can prepare you for an experience like this. Nothing. I've watched countless Healing Haiti videos, heard others share their mission stories and even done my own research on everything I could possibly research about Haiti. It doesn't matter. The moment we landed and were off the jet way, everything happened so fast. We were surrounded by Haitian airline employees, security and endless reminders about staying together. Once we started making our way through customs, we waited for other team members to get through and in the meantime were entertained by the airport mariachi band. The next phase was getting through a sea of Haitians to get to our transportation. This was where it started to get real for me. Once we finally made our way through the chaos, we piled our bags and our selves into a truck called a tap tap. It was an adventure of its own trying to get out of the parking lot. People cut you off left and right. Horns constantly honking. As we made our way around a corner, my heart instantly broke. The vehicles in front of us were stopped by a bunch of teenage kids in the middle of the street harassing the car for food. They made their way to us and did the same thing. Once we made our way through the complete chaos we arrived at the guest house where we are staying for the week. We unpacked the donations, our personal stuff, settled in and had a nice dinner. We also met the resident dogs. Yes, there are four of them and they're all very sweet. After dinner we all cleaned up and Angie, our amazing team lead, asked if we would like to meet some of the neighbor kids. Once we opened the gate, there were a handful of boys that made their way over to us. I didn't know what to expect or really, what to do. Angie introduced some of them to us and they gave us all a hug and some of the younger kids wanted to touch our hair. They were smiling and happy to see us. We brought out a soccer ball for them to play with and they were filled with so much joy. The smiles when we asked them if they wanted to play soccer next door were priceless. We started walking up this gravel, rocky road to a building next door that wasn't really a building. It was were a building use to be. There was a small playing field, enough to kick a ball around and that was good enough for those kids. In the corner were two ladies. One was in a chair getting her hair done. I starting taking pictures with the camera and the kids came up to me and wanted their picture taken with anyone they were standing around. They were so happy and very excited to spend time with us. I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings and the rest of the time I am here. I am blessed beyond words to have this experience. I saw God today. He was in the child's smile when he was holding the camera with me eager to see his own image. He was in the tap tap ride with the driver who helped us get to where we needed. He was in the teenage girls who were laughing together standing along side a broken down building. He was with our team as we prayed together at dinner and shared stories before bed. He was with me when I teared up multiple times at the conditions these people have to endure every single day reminding me that He is good. He IS good. All the time! I can't to see what God wants to show me this week. Break my heart, Lord, for what breaks yours. Let me be your hands and feet this week and teach me what I need to know so when I go home I am forever changed in You. Amen!
-- Rachel Guidarelli