Haiti Trip Part 6 - Application in the U.S.

Transitioning back to life in America hasn't been easy. I was only in Haiti for 10 days, but all of my senses were overloaded with a culture very different from my own. Upon my return to the U.S., I connected through Miami and the airport had been closed for two hours when I arrived. Due to this, it took over two hours to get through customs and many people on our trip missed their flights. I finally got to my gate and excitedly dialed my husband, longing to hear his voice. I was met with a tender voice on the other end alerting me that his grandfather had passed away during my absence. I felt so sad - yes, that his grandpa had passed away, but more so that I wasn't there to comfort him and his family during a time of need.

My flight was delayed a few hours, so I was going to miss my connecting flight in Dallas. In order to ensure I made it for the funeral the next day, I re-routed to STL and arrived around 1:00am. As I waited around the Miami airport, my gate was full mostly of tourists returning from their Aruban and Mexican beach vacations. They were all very vocal about their frustrations of flight delays and I wanted to punch them in the face. It was really hard to have seen starving children that morning and now be surrounded by people complaining about petty problems. I felt really vulnerable and like my joy was being stolen almost immediately upon my return.
 How do I not forget what I experienced in Haiti and still be mindful of how incredibly blessed I am? This weekend I attempted to go shopping and found a dress for $50 I really liked. When I was in the dressing room I thought '$50 could feed a child in Haiti for a whole month!' I couldn't buy the dress. When I left the store I told Sean my feelings and wondered out loud when this feeling would change and he asked me if I ever wanted it to change. I think the answer is no. I don't want to go back to normal. I don't want to spend frivolously just because I can. I don't want to forget what I saw while in a third world country.
 The reality, though, is that life is different here. Even the poorest here are better off than the majority of Haitians. In my life I will likely never go hungry, I will have access to appropriate medical care, I will have a roof over my head. I don't believe guilt is an emotion that God desires for his people. Discernment, sure. Guilt, I don't think so. Sometimes that's what I feel and I need to be praying that He would show me how to transition best.
 I so desperately don't want to forget these faces, the smells, their gracious humility.  Right now I'm not really sure what it looks like to stay involved. There are certainly many worthy organizations to donate to and disciplined prayer for the people Haiti is something I care deeply about. I would love to take another trip with Sean so that we can both experience another culture together. I'll say that it was a little difficult to come back and share pictures, stories, etc. and for Sean to not be able to fully relate or be interested in the same type of lifestyle changes. He was 100% supportive (he wrote me letters to read each night I was gone and they got me through some tough days!) but still didn't see what I saw.  
  I encourage all of you to take a trip like this sometime soon. Travel outside of your comfort zone to experience God's people and creation in another part of the world. Many Americans have a very narrow worldview. I do feel that mine has been expanded after this trip, but certainly has a lot of room to grow. It was and continues to be a great learning experience. It was challenging physically, emotionally and spiritually - a challenge I really needed at this time of my life.
Jesus spent a lot of time with the least of these. He loved others deeply, served other sacrificially {to the point of death}, and didn't care about cultural norms. We aren't just asked to take care of widows and orphans, we are commanded to do so. Taking a 10 day trip to Haiti isn't enough and I know that. If anything this trip exposed my weaknesses and shortcomings and for that I am thankful. The process of sanctification is sometimes slow and messy, but how wonderful that He loves me enough to give me grace and allow me the opportunity to grow closer to Him every day!

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