Time has a funny way of sneaking up on you. One moment to the next may feel but mere seconds in duration, when in reality years of your life have just passed by.
Four years ago tomorrow, a very passionate, naïve, energetic, yet clueless 25 year old girl moved to Haiti.
I’ll never forget my first few days, weeks, and months in Haiti. Lifelong fantasies of traveling the world doing good, which I had dreamt about since childhood, were finally coming to pass. I devoured any opportunity to experience every part of Haiti that I could. Riding motorcycle taxis with the wind blowing through my hair, eating fried chicken and plantains off the street, filling up buckets of water to bathe, every part of the life and culture I had the pleasure of experiencing awakened me deep into the very recesses of my soul.
My journey in Haiti began without a road map and a well marked trail. It was a blind trek across uneven terrain and dark valleys, and to the summits of the highest of mountain peaks.
Nothing prepares you for the day you hold a child dying of chronic malnutrition.
No college course or textbook can truly encompass the deeply complex subject of poverty and its effects.
There’s no manual on how to relocate to a foreign land, and respectfully and graciously adapt well to it’s environment and culture.
I was prepared for adventure and excitement, but was entirely blindsided by discoveries of how many unique ways your heart could be broken, and how utterly debilitating isolation can be.
Four years is enough time for a girl to become a woman. Enough time for her to begin to realize her true value, worth and capabilities. Enough time for her to completely fall apart and be put back together again. And enough time for her to truly find herself in the midst of what can feel like sheer chaos.
Four years ago I was embarking on a voyage of self-discovery, which would challenge the very core of my being.
For the past four years I’ve lived in a chasm; a chasm that is caught between the sensation of flying, and the terror of drowning.
A constant state of juxtaposition witnessing the joy of a soul transform before your eyes, while being penetrated by the deep agony inflicted by the heart wrenching realities of poverty.
Learning how to walk all over again.
And now, I’ve reached this place. This place where the things that used to feel so unfamiliar have now become a part of me.
This place where my second language has become second nature.
Where this raw collision of cultures has finally found a way to feel normal.
And coming to Haiti is truly coming home.
Over the years I’ve met remarkable people, and have experienced inexplicable moments, but I think what has left me speechless the most are the things that happened within the walls of a little place called Jasper House.
Today I sat with all of our residents to reconnect with them, talk about issues and hard things, and remind them that we are a house of love and family.
In the past month we have accepted six new women, two of whom are pregnant.
As they all sat around me today, all nine women and two children, it was an overwhelming moment that left me without words.
Four years ago I had no idea where God would take me. I had no idea that my heart would become filled with such a fervent passion to see the women of this country freed and restored, that it would alter the entire course of my life.
And now, I sit and look at these precious faces and watch them learn how to rediscover themselves.
I watch them too, metaphorically, being to learn to walk again.
I see light and glimmer return to their eyes as hope and joy slowly begin to over shadow pain and brokenness.
So I say today and looked at each beautiful face and once again found myself completely awestruck by the fact that this is my life. This is the life I so undeservedly get to live.
Our story is just one miracle after another. Watching God continuously take the impossible and turn it into the possible right before our eyes.
As one revolution around the sun comes to a close, and another one begins, I find myself yet again so overwhelmed by the wonder of it all.
How so much beauty can spring forth from such deep pain.
How suffering can create strength, wisdom and courage.
And mostly, how God never fails.
He hears the cries and prayers of those who feel so forgotten, and He answers them with you and me.
In a few months, two babies will be born to Jasper House. Two more babies who won’t have to grow up institutionalized in an orphanage.
Eleven women currently find refuge and shelter within our walls.
Fifty-eight reignite their dreams and passion in our education centre.
And here I stand aghast by it all, thinking back to my most earliest thoughts four years ago.
All I had was a willing and obedient heart, and apparently that’s all you need for God to decide that you’re somebody He can use.