this is my story...
Haiti has forever changed me, and has a special place in my heart. I was excited to step out of my comfort zone, and let God work in my life in a HUGE way, but I never imagined how much He would change me in one week, who knew? GOD DID!
This was my first mission trip. I knew before I left that God was huge but to see firsthand how HUGE He is, has strengthened my relationship with Him that much more. I planned on going to Haiti to change the lives of those around me and I did but, in the end it was those around me that changed my life forever. Who knew? GOD DID!
The thought of traveling to a third world country was scary, but I never felt fear; I knew that God was with me every step of the way. I had never been out of the country, nor had I flown over the ocean. I knew that going to Haiti was exactly where He needed and wanted me at this point in my life. I will be completing a bachelor’s degree this year and I am not sure which path God is leading me down. I am at a crossroads in my life right now, and ready to take the next step-what could have been a better way than to let God stretch me by placing me in Haiti? Who knew He was going to use this trip to show me how BIG He really is, by placing me in the middle of His creation? GOD DID!
Dan, our leader from Faith Missions International, asked each one of us to window shop for what it is that God wants to give us on this trip. I looked at each child’s face as a window, and asked God ‘what is it that you want to show me through this child?’ Who knew I would window shop in Haiti and find the best deals in the world? GOD DID!
Here are a few of my souvenirs…
JOY - Jesus is so alive in all the children at the orphanage! It made my heart melt to see how much joy, love, and happiness each child had. Jesus used each child to show me how much He loves each one of us. To see them happy to be alive and able to praise Jesus each day was inspiring, and reminded me to take joy in the smallest of things. One experience I will always remember and hold close to my heart was how mesmerized the children were with my feet. The humidity and heat had made my feet swollen. When the children would touch my feet they would turn white, and they were able to ‘draw’ on my feet and they thought it was the coolest thing in the world! Who knew my feet would bring them joy and smiles to their faces? GOD DID!
PRAYER - The power of prayer is one thing that I have learned from this trip. I had an average prayer life before I left. I have never prayed so much in my life, as I did in Haiti. We prayed about everything, and so did the children. To see, feel, and experience the power of prayer was amazing! I have never felt so close to Jesus as I did when we prayed. It was an unforgettable feeling to FEEL His power all around us. I was also reminded to have a childlike faith. The children are so close to God and know Him so well. When they pray, you can see in their faces how much faith they have in Him and how convicted they are by His love. They were definitely in the throne room and meeting with Jesus, their faith is so large and strong. The first time I felt the power of the Holy Spirit in me was a prayer session we had as a group when we prayed over the backpacks for the children. I knew that God was using us to bless the children. I felt tingles from my head to toes knowing that angels were standing guard and protecting us to be able to share God’s love with the children. To be the witness of an answered prayer for the children was a blessing. They were not able to have Christmas, so they began to pray, all they prayed for were backpacks for their things and school. They were so happy when that is what we brought them. God used us to answer their prayer and that is a blessing and feeling that is indescribable and unforgettable. Who knew that a prayer for something as simple as a backpack would make their day? GOD DID!
TIME - Serving and spending time with children is a passion of mine. I was so blessed and humbled to spend time and serve them daily. There are a few things in life that will always remind me of my time in Haiti. I will never again eat a hamburger or macaroni and cheese without thinking of the children, nor will listening to Michael Jackson ever be the same. There really is a first time for everything! Being a part of the children’s first hamburger was amazing. Cooking 80 boxes of macaroni and cheese-that is correct I said 80 boxes!-over a coal fire was an experience all in itself. Everyday experiences in Haiti have become life altering memories. Food and dancing were some of the best times I had on this trip. Who knew ‘there is a first time for everything’ would touch me the way it did? GOD DID!
PEACE - God used this mission trip to remind and instill in me to have a genuine relationship with Him. To seek Him every day, and in everything I do. To look at day to day adventures as His way of speaking into my life, and to take the time to listen to His whispers. To slow down and take each day one at a time. That plans change and to look at them with thanksgiving instead of irritation. I know that when things get tough I turn away from God when in reality I NEED Him more than ever. He showed me that true peace can only come from Him, when we hand all our troubles over. Who knew I would experience the feeling of true peace? GOD DID!
FAITH - Having a child preach, was a humbling feeling. To see his passion and know in his heart that what he was speaking was coming from the lips of Jesus through him-gives me goose bumps. The faith of a child is so amazing, I was shown the childlike faith I need to have in my life; to reach my hands up to my daddy and trust Him in everything. Who knew I would long to be like a child again in my faith? GOD DID!
LOVE – God LOVES us and He showed that by sending His only son to save us. I am very blessed to be able to have taken this journey with my dad. To see his love for me and understand that he would do anything for me, gave me a better understanding of God’s love for us. This will be something that we can share forever and remember the fun, difficult, and happy memories. It is a great feeling to know that I have someone to talk to everyday who will understand everything I experienced on this adventure, because he was right there with me every step of the way. Who knew this would bring me and my dad closer together? GOD DID!
HUMBLED - I have never seen poverty like I did in Haiti and it broke my heart. I know that God has blessed me and my life by placing me where He did. I will never again take that for granted. I know that He has given me all that I have so that I may be able to share and spread His love to those less fortunate in the world. I am grateful for all He has done and will do in my life. Who knew I would be happy with my life the way it is? GOD DID!
On the flight from Port-au-Prince to Miami, I was able to sit in a window seat, and God spoke to me in this time. I was in awe at the beauty of the ocean. It was His last little reminder, from the trip, to me that He is the biggest thing in this world and to remember this experience for a lifetime. Some of the best memories I will have from Haiti are the gifts that God has given me through my window shopping experience with the children. I will continue to seek Him daily through JOY, PRAYER, TIME, PEACE, FAITH, LOVE, and HUMBLENESS. I will listen to His whispers, and be open to the path He is leading me down.
I will always remember Haiti as a turning point in my life, and that God will continue to use me daily whether it is in my own backyard or across the ocean.
Who knew all this? GOD DID!
Elana Meitler, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2011
that was only the beginning...
through this experience God showed me a part of who i am that i never really knew what to do with. i have always had a heart for people, but i never imagined that it would take me around the world.
so...i began my journey to apply to the Peace Corps. 10 months later...
I WAS ACCEPTED!
with a new year ahead of me, a new journey is in store. Peace Corps Micronesia and Palau. i will be an ESL teacher and community development worker. my journey will begin in June 2012!
i am so super excited for a new experience. with Jesus as my tour guide!