Today, we have a special guest! I am so swamped with finishing Remembering the Alamo that my friend Naomi McMath has graciously consented to fill in for me with a post. Enjoy!
Haiti Mission Trip:
Guest Post with Naomi McMath
The wheels touched the ground and the plane rolled to a stop. I gathered my carry-on and waited my turn to walk down the steps onto the cement runway. As I gazed at the sea of faces standing behind the wire fence at the edge of the runway, reality suddenly hit. I was in Haiti!
Unexpected sights, sounds, and smells assaulted my senses. I don’t think I will ever forget the terror of hearing an unknown language all around me, having hands from every direction grab my luggage and strange voices try to convince me that I needed help getting my bags to the waiting vehicle, being surrounded by multitudes of pushing, shoving people – each attempting to make their own trail through the chaos. I was in culture shock as soon as I left the plane! I had no idea that this was how a missions trip should begin.
The journey from the airport to the missionary’s home was even more astounding. We rode in a top-top (essentially it is a pick-up truck that has been fitted with seats along the bed and rails on the side to hold people in).
When I looked at the top-tops all around and saw them stuffed with 2 or 3 (and sometimes 4 or 5) times the number of people contained in mine, I felt quite luxurious bouncing up and down on the rough seats as the truck crawled the pot-holed roads.
The city was crammed. Cars and people lined the roads. No traffic lights were visible. But, oh my, there was honking. All the time. I seriously didn’t think the bouncing would ever stop…or that we would ever arrive at our destination in one piece. But we did, and for that, I am very grateful.
Memories are flooding through my mind as I write this: Fre Johnny teaching me a song in Creole and spending hours (literally) trying to help me pronounce the words correctly; a little girl with a bloated stomach climbing onto my lap before the evening revival began and seeing her look of wonder as she touched my skin and hair that were so different from hers; the joyful abandonment with which the Haitian Christians sang as they dropped their worries and lifted their voices in praise to God; the children who sat on hard ground for hours, listening without distraction to Bible lessons; the hushed awe as a man heard the Gospel for the first time and realized that a Savior had died for him; the peddlers on the side of the street (bartering was a little too much fun!);
the fear in my heart when our top-top broke down after dark one night and I heard the revelry of voodoo worshippers nearby; the tears in the voice of the missionary as he told the of history of Haiti – that it was a country dedicated to Satan from its foundation; the trash and filth that lined the streets and lent a constant stench to the air; the natural beauty of the ocean and palm trees; the blood-shot eyes of children who wondered the city alone because their parents had died of disease.
And the list could go on for pages and pages.
As I observed the missionaries’ lives during my visits in Haiti, I finally grasped, in some small way, why God had sacrificed His only Son as an offering for sin. His love for me. His love for the people I had seen on the streets. My heart was challenged. Would I share the Gospel in a dangerous situation – even if that dangerous situation was in America? Would I have stayed in Haiti if I had been waylaid by robbers when I was on my motorcycle, had a gun pointed to my head, and had the trigger pulled - not once, but twice - only to jam? What if the robbers had then taken their gun and bashed my arm, fracturing it in multiple places? Would I still be able to weep in prayer that God would save the souls of these people, that God would send more preachers to plant churches, that God would use me in any way?
After my first trip to Haiti, my biggest regret was that I had already spent so many years of my life neglecting the people around me, failing to realize the need of living each day with God, forgetting that one person can make a difference. One person. This is an amazing thought. What if God wants you or me to be the one person that makes a difference today? I learned in Haiti that you don’t have to be in a foreign country to share the Gospel, that you don’t have to be in a foreign country to walk with God, that you don’t have to be in a foreign country to experience the joy of serving God.
I pray that I can be one person that makes a difference today: in my home, at my work, in the routines of life.
Naomi McMath is the daughter of Pastor Brian McMath of Valley Bible Baptist Church. In addition to working alongside her family in her church and Christian school, she has her BA in English and works for College Plus!.
Thank you, Naomi, for sharing your story with us!