Left my heart in Haiti

Amazing how fast time flies! Yes, it has been a month and a half since my last blog. Yes, so much has happened in the past month and a half. No, I will not be blogging about everything that has happened...

But I will give quick headlines -
Successfully went to (and returned from!) Haiti - the huge bulk of this blog is about Haiti... :)
Successfully helped plan and execute South Florida Urban Ministries largest fundraiser - Black Tie Blue Jeans. We raised a lot of money and had a great time dressing up for the occasion :)
Successfully been successful at work :)
Successfully executed a surprise visit back to California for my Mom and Dad (and sorority sisters, extended family, and church family!). That was incredibly amazing, fun, spontaneous, wonderful, and so enriching! I am so excited to head back in June for my big brother's wedding!

But now to the meat of this blog...
I want you to get a glimpse of what I saw, how I felt, and how I saw God while in Haiti. Oh, Haiti.. Beautiful, eye-opening, heart aching, amazing Haiti. It feels like I returned from Haiti just yesterday.

I think about how cramped the plane felt, how excited I was to land in the luscious green mountains, my first impression of the incredibly tiny airport, the interesting stares that the locals gave our group, the car that fit 8 people comfortably - yet we manage to squeeze 11, how small I felt when I was unable to communicate to another human without a translator, how I thought we were never going to make it to the Manse - there were no traffic lights, 4 cars fitting in a 2 car path, motorcycles zipping around every direction, absolute traffic chaos, how blessed we were to had stayed in a house that had toilets and electricity - those being some of the greatest luxuries in Haiti...

I think about how long the drive from Cap-Haitian to Dondon felt, how incredibly uncomfortable our car was driving up on the hour long bumpy and gravel road, how there was not much construction work for Debbie and I to do... So instead we played with the children, how I was able to communicate with children by playing hand games, laughing, singing, and smiles, how just the snap of a picture on my camera would create such excitement, how the children had nothing to play with but toys that they made themselves, how one kid named Rolex taught me how to sing 'This Is The Day' in Creole and French, how I fell head over heels for a 4 year old boy named Patricio - his picture is below, how could you not fall in love with that smile!....

I think about the worship services that we attended, how incredibly passionate the people were at praising God, how excited I was to recognize a tune that they were singing, how the sound of the children singing brought sheer bliss to my ears, how even though I could not understand the language of the sermon I was still about to understand the message, how you could tell that God was oh so present, how I have never seen ANYONE praise God like they were, how I wish I could worship every Sunday with them!...

I think about meeting Madame Zaphyr, how she only had about 6 teeth left from being malnourished as a child, how she was the president of the coffee Co-Op next door to the church that we were working at, how she would smile so wonderfully when I would happily yell her name every time I saw her, how she had 9 kids who all took care of each other, how she would be the first person to help us with any construction work, how she was the most respected individual in Dondon (I absolutely fell in love with her)....

I think about splitting up 150 pounds of rice and 150 pound of beans for the Dondon community, how grateful families were to receive one tiny bag of food, how the average income of Dondon is $150 a year, how despite their living situations they always found a reason to smile, how every family in the community knew and respected each other, how every day someone would ask me for money because if you are from America you are rich beyond measures, how a 90 year old woman wanted no food or no money, but wanted a pair of shoes so that she could walk on the gravel road to get water without destroying her feet anymore than they already were...

I think about the pain I felt when talking to a family whose 3 year old daughter fell into boiling water burning 80% of her body, how utterly thankful the mother was that our work team graciously prayed for her daughter and her family, how it did not matter that we did not speak the same language but that we believed in the same God, how the little girl and her family had no access to emergency care and were truly relying on the power of faith that she would survive, how I have prayed for that family every single day wishing that I could help, how I hope that God is watching over that little girl and keeping her safe...

I think about how excited I am to find another opportunity to go back and visit, how I hope to stay connected with the people that we encountered, how I hope to one day reside in Haiti longer than one week, how I hope that the people we met while in Haiti know that we care, love, and think of them all the time, how I know that God's big plan is at work every second of every day, how I know that God will provide for Haiti...

Those are just SOME of the memories/thoughts that I think about. I could write a blog long enough to go around the world 60 times if I were to share every thought, laugh, moment, or conversation that I had while in Haiti.

I distinctly remember how nervous and worried I was before going to Haiti. Seems very ridiculous now. I made friends, shared laughs, sang songs, praised God, learned some of a new language, lived with people, loved with people, and had an experience that I am forever thankful for. I truly felt the presence of God at work... It was undeniable how much faith some of the people that I met have. The faith that some of these people possess is one that I am working toward constantly. To know that God is on our side, and that God will provide, God will ALWAYS provide.

I have been dissecting, reminiscing, and thinking so passionately about Haiti since I left. I want to go back, very soon. But until then, my coworker and I have started up something small..... Once a month we are sending boxes of clothes, toiletries, and school supplies to Dondon. Our first box is being sent off soon! We have little money, but lots of supporters. Debbie and I find it that it is part of our calling (and love) to send items that the people of Dondon have no access to.

If you, or anyone you know, would like to help us, please do! You can contact me via FB or text or email or even this blog!
You can send anything to me anytime of the year, and we will make sure that it does get sent to Dondon, Haiti - we have reliable sources to get the materials to Dondon :) Even if you cannot send items to Haiti, then please send your prayers. Those are ALWAYS needed.

Thank you for reading this, and thank God for giving us the ability to learn, share, and grow from each other.

Peace, Love, and Grace

Rachel deBos

Hurricane Irma - Hurricane Michael recovery: Volunteer to bring yourself or a team to help with the recovery.

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