By Elisabeth Corcoran
Life is funny. 30 or so hours ago I was eating breakfast in Haiti, and right now I'm taking a break from packing as we're moving to a different home this week.
I had a great experience. The landscape of Haiti is simply stunning with mountains, beautiful flowering trees and views of the ocean. However, what I saw on the hour car ride between the airport in Port-au-Prince and the conference location was unreal to me. I told Kevin it was as if I had driven through a National Geographic special. It's everything you see on TV, except I was seeing it all up close. The poverty is so real, I had to hold back tears several times. I couldn't get over the vast numbers of people, many just standing or sitting around (who doesn't want somewhere to go and something to do?) - the purposelessness and monotony of their lives really struck me. So many thoughts ran through my head: why was I "destined" for such a cushy life in the States? That children really do bathe in and drink out of mud puddles. How even though I was immediately homesick when I arrived, I couldn't get past the impression that I felt God laid on my heart more than once during my trip - "you are exactly where you're supposed to be right now".
The conference was wonderful to see. One hundred and fifty pastors, women's and youth leaders from all over Haiti were invited to attend a conference on the basics of HIV/AIDS along with how to do prevention and compassionate care of those dying and of vulnerable orphans. It was so encouraging to see all of these church leaders be poured into, knowing that what they were learning was going to help them go back to their communities and change countless lives for years to come.
On our last day, we visited an orphanage that my church supports. The beauty of the children took my breath away. They have the most gorgeous eyes and the darkest skin I've ever seen. Absolutely beautiful. To hear one child after another whisper "bonsoir" as they brushed my cheek with a kiss was almost more than I could bear. (Kevin was lucky I didn't come home with a few of them!)
Another realization was something I wrote in my journal one morning while sitting on a Haitian beach watching the sun go down: "A year ago, had anyone told me that I'd be observing an AIDS conference, let alone in Haiti basically by myself, I would've thought they were out of their minds. This was not even on my radar one year ago. Further proof that following You is an adventure and no one can predict where You'll lead a willing heart."
My passion, as I anticipated, to do something, anything - to help people in a third-world country skyrocketed. I've pledged to do so individually, to influence my family and friends, and to write and speak about what I'm learning. My prayer as I was flying home was this, "I hope I don't forget all I've seen, and that what I saw is how two-thirds of the world lives. Two-thirds live in unimaginable poverty. They are not the minority --- I am. Don't let me forget, Jesus."
But I also walked away with one final thought: I can do anything through Christ, anything He ever wants me to do - there are no boundaries now.
Moms, in each season of life there are limits. Though I had this opportunity, keep in mind that it was a very short trip (just four days) and I could only go because it was during the summer while my teacher-husband was off from work. But no matter our limits, if God calls, He'll break down those barriers. I'll be honest, I was scared to go, Haiti is a dangerous place and before I left, I wrote letters to my kids saying goodbye. So let me encourage you, each one of you, no matter your life circumstances: life is too short to not do what God wants you to do, it's too short to wait for the next season of life to usher in supposed-just-out-of-reach freedom. With God, all things are possible. If He's leading you in any area follow Him with all your heart. Blessings will follow, I assure you.
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