LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Sometimes listening to God can put you in strange situations.
I was in Sunday School at Fredonia Hill Baptist a couple months ago when our teacher gave us a pen and paper and had everyone be quiet and listen to something God may be telling them and write down what we came up with.
For five minutes we sat there and this is what I wrote down:
The church had been planning a mission trip. There is no way I'm getting out of my air-conditioned house to rough it for a week, I thought.
But in those five minutes, I opened my mind and my heart and Haiti was all I could think about. I didn't know why. "What could God get out of me in Haiti?" I wondered.
I walked to the worship service and that weighed on my mind. So I decided to figure out what I could bring to the table.
I always think my biggest strength is my ability to communicate to the public. And so that's what I concentrated on.
I started to believe God had called me to go to Haiti and to serve by taking you along for the ride. And thanks to KTRE, I have the platform to do so.
I think I'm about to experience some life-changing moments and I believe that if I tell the story right, you'll be able to experience what me and 25 other East Texans are seeing firsthand.
You'll also be able to see the work we're doing through an orphanage, a new church, Vacation Bible School, our efforts at building a water well and much more. And you'll see that Haiti, although it's disappeared from the headlines, is still a troubled country which desperately needs help.
My day started at 1 a.m. and we're now at the Houston airport at 5 a.m., waiting for a 7 a.m. flight to Haiti. Of the 25 other people I'm going with, I know maybe five of them.
I hope to get to know them a lot more and share their stories, too.
Every day, I'll send back a "journal" of what happened that day through July 8 and I'll also send back video and pictures. My co-workers are gracious enough to help me out. I'm just warning you, I'm a little concerned about the technology cooperating with me from a Third World country, but I'm going to try my best to share this story.
I hope you will follow along.
After a 1 a.m. start, the Fredonia Hill Haiti team has made it to the Bethel Mission in one piece. No luggage lost, nobody hurt.
It was a stunning drive to Thomasina from Port-Au-Prince. A 15-mile trip took about two hours, thanks to traffic which made New York look like a walk in the park.
There were plenty of pictures I could have taken to show you the different kind of world in which Haitians live. But I didn't take very many. Our team leaders, Becky and Zac Weems, asked us not to in respect for the people. It's easy to get lost and snap away, but we need to remember that they are humans, too, and not a bear you would take a picture of at the zoo.
But I can tell you what I saw. I saw hundreds of makeshift pickups, brightly colored with campers lifted by welded extensions with up to 10 people inside. Becky explained to me that this is the equivalent of a US taxi service. People jump in the back of the trucks and tap on the side when they want out, giving a coin to the driver as they leave. That's why they're called "tap-taps."
I saw just as many women carrying supplies around on their head. I didn't know what talent was until I saw a lady carrying about 50 bags of water on her head with no hands.
And of course I saw the poverty in just the big city. I have a feeling I'm about to be in awe of the amount I'll encounter the next few days as we go into the villages.
We arrived at the hotel/orphanage around 5 p.m., emptied our luggage, organized supplies and at dinner by 6:30.
While we ate dinner, we heard the babies from the orphanage crying. It melted our hearts. There are about 80 children at this location. They have no parents because their parents couldn't afford to keep them.
One of our volunteers asked if she could go see them during her free time. Sure, go ahead, she was told.
The orphanage is one of several projects we're working on this week.
I don't know yet what's coming tomorrow, but I'm ready for what God brings me.