Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Haiti Women's Retreat Day 1

God's Destination

Day 1:

Taken By: Daneen Maretski

     We all have a destiny. God has a plan for the places we will go and things that we will see. This week, 10 women had the opportunity to further God's destiny for Haiti. These women woke up as early as 2:00 a.m. and took a break from their daily lives in order to 'Heal Haiti'. This was a small sacrifice in order to fulfill God's destiny.

     The media often depicts only the negative aspects of third world countries. They regretfully forget the heart of the countries inhabitants. Upon arrival, the team was shocked to see the beauty of Haiti that is hidden from cameras. We were warmly welcomed by everyone insight. Crowds to children ran to greet us while parents waved. While the fast pace and traffic was alarming, it did not cloud our minds from the true beauty of this country as a whole. 

     These statements are not to say that Haiti is perfect. There is not a nation in the world that is. However, despite the animals and trash that lined the road, no one could deny God's handprint on Haiti. The group was more than ready and willing to allow God to use us to change lives this week.

Central Church Arrival Day

Todays focus was all about introductions. Introductions to one another, a new organization (for many), a new culture, and overall a new way of living for Jesus. Let me start with me.
Bonjou, mwen rele Samantha.
Hello, my name is Samantha.
With the expertise and assistance of my leaders, Michael and Melissa, I will be your virtual guide to the teams experience here in Haiti. Everyday you will be able to get a glimpse of this beautiful country and share in our experiences of all things new. Please be engaging. Share this link, comment, ask questions. Would love to do this together.
If you've ever traveled with kids you can relate when I start by describing our 2:30 am gathering. We started out very much like we were about to take a very long drive with a bunch of school kids (at least I felt like one). As the team of eleven of us (plus family members and friends) gathered around the lobby of Central Church, excitedly sharing about our sleep habits of the night, what we packed or didn't, emotions, and lots of bright, and awake, eyes eagerly awaiting to get in the car. For our two leaders, however, it was all about logistics. Passing out folders, getting our bags together, packing and repacking, asking about bathroom runs before we go.  Then there was the call to gather for prayer and everything changed.

The 10 team members (and family and friends) were mature, and focused. Our leaders relaxed a bit, smiled, and looked around at what will be their closest family for the next 8 days with excitement. There was balance and joy. We received our final instruction, emptied all of our individual thoughts, and prayed together as One mind, One voice, and One Spirit for our trip. We said our goodbyes and were off. Off for a wonderous adventure and a sparkle in our eyes for the unknown.

This is my first trip out of the country (as it is for many of us), and Melissa, Kate, and Michael were fantastic! They guided us through every process. We were presented with an outline of what to expect, then provided more detail as it was happening, so to not inundate us with a lot of information up front. When we arrived at the Port au Prince Airport it was exactly how they described it. A lot happening, in a small area, with a lot of people. We were in a large room with a beautiful view of the mountains for customs, then guided through narrow hallways with maze-like turns to be in a smaller area (with the same amount of people), then approached by many to "help" us, or to keep the "flow" going in the room. I state it like that because one was only for their own gain, and none of us seem to understand the method to that madness that was supposed to be their flow process.

We were not there, however, to "fix" any process or tell anyone what we might think can help make their process better. We later came to the understanding that none of us knew, at that point, what we were really there for individually. All we knew is that we wanted out of the chaotic process and be free. Which were were, finally, and met with a great big warm smile from a man that took us to what will be our home for the next week.

After about a 20 minute drive in the tap tap (I'll describe later) we approached two large purple doors. They opened and introduced us to the beautifully colorful Healing Haiti homes. The staff, along with 4 well trained loving dogs, welcomed us and introduced themselves. We were lovingly given an overall directional of the place along with an outline of what was about to transpire. All of us eagerly entered the doors and, as if it was the first day at summer camp, picked out our bunks and sleeping arrangements.

We were then given a couple hours of free time to process and explore the grounds. After about an hour the team gradually convened in the living room and got to know one other.  We were all given journals that will be written in by everyone (except ourselves). These journals are for others to encourage, share knowledge, reflection, and thoughts to you through this journey. 

Dinner was incredible. We all sat down at the 16 person table covered with a muted fuchsia tablecloth with our plates on top of laminated flash cards. Afterwards we worked as a team to clear the table, do the dishes and set it up again for breakfast. 

As the evening came to a close we gathered to do our devotional and reflection.  Our devotional was on John 15:16 "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you"

We focused on the first half of the fact that we were chosen. As each of us answered the question, How does it feel to know that you are chosen? One of the answers was that it raised another question for them, "Why did you choose me for here-Haiti?". This was enlightening to the group. Some answered about changing their comfort zone, or mindfulness-to stay present with God more (You need to do a lot of adapting here), maybe to find their purpose in missions, or to be less controlling. 

For reflection, we got to pick a word of the day. These words of the day are the lessons Jesus shared with us throughout our daily walk. Below are the answers given:

Amanda - Trust
Eryka - Grace
Tara - Excited
Laurie - Relieved
Steve - Servitude
Melissa - Finally 
Melanie - Strength
Michael - Exhausted
Rebecca - Why
Zach - Team
Nancy - Faithfulness
Kate - Lens
Sam - Presence

Each one's reasoning behind their answers was wonderful to hear and very relatable. I encourage you to reach out to someone on the team and find out what their reasoning is. Not all posts will be this long, but as I sit here with everyone fast asleep resting for the next days adventures, I am an awe at how organic the communication was today. 

Now with introductions coming to a close (for now), reflect on your own day (or morning) and ask yourself what your word of the day is (or will be) and just be open to the possibilities of greatness, one small task at a time.