Thursday, May 9, 2013

just getting to haiti.

after traveling all day from kansas city to chicago, we got on the plane from florida to haiti. i was nervous. this is that last time i'd be in my comfortable country, land of the safe. we were delayed on the tarmac for over an hour because of a storm.

good, i thought. at least we're in america. 

i was killing time. reading emails. and i came across anne voscamp's email devotional. often times i don't read them...but hey, i've got time. 

there was a line in there: "And, we’ve only got so much time, so let’s just decide: We’re done with the myth of safety. safety's just the mirage of the living dead. Do you really want to live or not?"

oh gosh. it's like God said that to me. i read it, but i felt like i heard it in my bones.

someone opened something smelling like a garlic festival on the plane and i already had a headache. i kind-of quiet-yelled, please! stop eating what you're eating! that was rude but i had been traveling all day and isn't it some sort of rule to not eat tuna or garlic situations on a plane, anyway? unfortunately, homegirl was sitting just one row ahead of us. she heard me and she did put the lid on it after 2 more excrutiating bites. but i ended up in the back of the plane, laying across three rows, trying to talk myself out of throwing up. asking for a sprite, but unable to drink it. texting a couple people...pray for me. 

i did throw up for the next 30 minutes. not because of the smell actually ....i think because of my antibiotic pill i just took right before boarding. and bending over the toilet, i decided this was all really dumb. what was i doing? i could be at home in bed. i would at least be comfortable. i have a husband and kids to take care of, after all.

by the time we landed in port au prince, my stomach felt better. my good friend//angel, rachelle, filled out my forms and took my bag, handed it to me and said, just keep saying, "no mercí" when all the guys try and grab your bag. you can do this. 
(my contrasting airplane view...haiti is just 2 hours away from the beautiful coast of florida and it's night and day.)

i looked out the window.
what did i get myself into?

i could see the poverty from the air.

the airport was certainly not like america's. rachelle hugged some guy. oh. i think this is our translator. i remembered rachelle saying, guys, you'll love Volci(vole-see). he is not our translator, he is my brother. and as soon as we hit doors to the outside world... chaos. we shuffled to our bus and greeted the driver and the body guard with about 25 men yelling and talking and trying to take our bags. just get on the bus. just get on the bus. it's safe there.

but i didn't feel safe there. by the time we hit the streets, it was dark out. there were no lanes and lines on the streets. everyone out, selling things. busy. motorcycles zooming in and out between cars. people crossing the street and not seeming concerned that we almost hit them. 10 people squished in the back of tiny trucks that were painted all crazy. i think those are taxi's? trash everywhere. sometimes trash piles on fire.

what are they all doing out? i had never seen anything like it. there was absolutely no order. everyone was selling something in makeshift tent stores. the cinderblock buildings in the background looked like they were in shambles. are these places even livable? 

rachelle says, it never shuts down. maybe the wife works during the day then the husband works at night. just over and over. no buildings are finished. if they're finished, you have to pay taxes.

this is not safe. why did they tell us to come here? why did no one tell me?

we finally got to the hotel. the large metal gate was opened by 2 security guards with machine guns around their necks. the gate was promptly closed behind us. there were giant walls, hovering tall around the hotel. then barbed wire was on top of walls.

we went up the stairs to our room. it was all very, very simple. concrete walls, some beds. 3 or 4 to a room. no blankets. just sheets(it's hot). a pillow. it would be a bad motel in america,  but after seeing what i saw, i realized it was a palace in haiti. we had security,  running water, and there was an AC wall unit.

we shooed some bugs out the door. and i laid on my bed. dogs were fighting behind the hotel. i knew i wouldn't sleep.

i was scared and i wanted my husband, at least. at least! he could protect me. but i was alone. Lord, help me. i want to just be here and enjoy my time. not limping through it, scared. Lord! help.

am i enough for you?
i am in charge of your safety, even here. do you believe it?

and then that quote hit me again. safety is a mirage of the living dead. i have lived thinking i am in control of everything. i was dead in my comfort. it kept me from living.

change my heart, God.

sure enough, i didn't sleep well. i thought of machine guns and people climbing into my window. i heard the dogs all night and the roosters crowed at 5 am. so much for sleep.
breakfast was rolls and then some sort of sloppy joe-ish (but not sure) mixture for in between. with a side of bananas. i chose a cliff bar from my back pack.

we left at 7:30 to travel to gonaïves. a 3 hour trip to the orphanage we would be at for the next 3 days.
tired, scared, uncomfortable. hell for a comfort worshipper.
and so there we went. i didn't know it quite yet, but i was heading for life change. for heartache. for joy. for eyes opening. for real adventure: not thrill seeking and not whimsy. completely unglamorous and completely humbling adventure.

david powelson says, The  real  adventure  takes the  path  of  weakness,  struggle,  endurance,  patience,  small  kindnesses  done  well.  The  road  to  excellence  in  wisdom  is unglamorous.  Other  people  might  take  better  vacations  and  have  a  more  thrilling  marriage  than  yours.  The  path  of  Jesus  calls forth  more  grit  than  thrill.  He  needed  endurance  far  more  than  he  needed  excitement.  His  kingdom  might  not  cater  to  our cravings  for  derring-­do  and  thrill-­seeking,  but  "solid  joys  and  lasting  treasures  none  but  Zion’s  children  know."

that afternoon, we drove to the orphanage and school. children opened the gates and laughing, chased the van until it finally stopped. the van door slid open and immediately, like magnets, i had 3 children stuck to various parts of my body.

looking at an orphan in the eyes does something to a person. and right in that moment, it was worth it. the throwing up. the forever traveling. the bumpy roads. being unsafe and uncomfortable.

none of that mattered anymore.


  1. solid joys and lasting treasures.

    this is beautiful, and i'm on the edge of my seat to continue!
    love you. praise jesus, YOU DID IT. such rich blessings when we respond in obedience!


  2. I've been to Haiti twice before on service trips, and can TOTALLY relate to what you are talking's unreal to experience and for me has always been so hard to put into words; I think you captured the feeling really well. I also was blessed to volunteer at an orphanage (in Hinche), and I still email some of the kids to this day. They never ever leave my heart, and reading your post just makes my heart ache to go back. I'm looking forward to hearing more of your journey

  3. oh this cliff hanger is so mean.

  4. I am excited to read more about your trip and your heart. I've met Volcy and went to Haiti two years ago with the GOP. It rocked my world. Even two years later, I think of the sweet kids and their love, hope and kindness in the midst of such poverty and suffering and I long to be more like them, simple in faith, simple in what they wear, simple in their friendships, I am always convicted of my entitled and ungrateful spirit considering how much I have been blessed. I am going back in July. I have already dreamed about it twice this week!

  5. But now I've seen it through, And now I know the truth, That anything could happen, anything could happen...

  6. Love this. I can't wait to keep reading about your journey. And I will definitely be praying for your heart!

  7. are killing me here - can't wait to hear the rest of the story!!!!!!!

  8. From the ever wise Deitrich Bonhoeffer:

    “There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment. Wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God. Not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.”

  9. From the ever so wise Deitrich Bonhoeffer:

    “There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment. Wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God. Not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.”

  10. I cannot wait to read the rest of your story.

  11. Hooray for doing the hard things despite fear! God is good.

  12. Your instagrams were tearing me up. I'm so sorry you got sick on the way there. I can't imagine. So glad you pushed through and SO looking forward to the rest of your posts.

  13. Cannot WAIT to read more. So beautiful and hard.

  14. Amazing. I can't wait to hear more! This has me aching to go somewhere, do something.. Get out of my comfort zone and love on some babies.

  15. this is so well written. I can't wait to hear more. And that quote. it's my lifesong.

  16. yes. yes. yes. i've seen the pictures of where my niece (adopted last year from haiti at the age of 9) lived. it rocked my world.

  17. "looking at an orphan in the eyes does something to a person"

    BOOM. yes, it does. that is the very reason why we adopted...after looking at an orphan in the eyes.

  18. I have been to Haiti twice also, so I understand what you are seeing and how you are feeling. Sleeping with mosquito nets and small fans that do nothing to cool you off in the heat and humidity that surrounds you even in the middle of the night. The crowing rosters, mangy dogs and skinny goats, burning trash, flying dust and choking smog. The unfinished buildings, skimpy tents, dirt roads. BUT... There is so much beauty in Haiti also. The hope and laughter in the eyes of children, the gorgeous beaches, the rolling hills, watching boys in their bare feet with nothing but a machete climb trees to cut coconuts down, the lilting songs of praise that ring out from tiny house churches on almost every corner on Sundays.

    Some people look and see Haiti as a country that's been torn down and defeated, a country that can no longer survive, but I see the potential, strength, and hope Haiti has. They have lost some battles, but the war is definitely not lost.

  19. I LOVE this post! You write beautifully and I can totally relate to every feeling you had ont he journey over. My husband and I have a very strong love for the people of Haiti. My husband was there during the earthquake (at the time he was a youth pastor for a college in DC and was leading a spring break missions trip). They were all safe, but were stuck in Haiti for what felt like forever until they were able to return to the US (while I sat at home, a nervous, teary mess unable to focus on anything until he was home). Since then we have both traveled to Haiti to help in the rebuilding of homes in the community (Petit Goave) where he was during the earthquake. After the earthquake, while he was there, living in an open field with villagers whose homes were destroyed, he became so close to a local couple that when they had a baby they asked my husband to be the godfather. We love our little Olivier and have traveled back and forth to see him as he's grown. Next week my husband is traveling back to Haiti to stay with this wondeful family and attend a church blessing for little Olivier. Every time we go back, or especially when my husband travels alone, I am so scared all over again that something will happen. But then, when you are there, and you have 10 children hanging off different parts of your body and trying to braid your hair into a million different knots, it hits you. The love, the peace, the sense of HOME. :-) Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip!

  20. Thank you for sharing this post which both resonated and challenged me! And I look forward to hearing about the rest of your experience in Haiti. I have already shared the quote that you posted which struck a chord me also!

  21. My husband and I have been reading a book called "The Hole in Our Gospel"...and I have felt so terrible reading it~ realizing I have always required comfort and security from God in His calling on my life. Like~ 'give me something great, God. But make it comfy and safe and near my family and also kinda cool and fun.' The book has me ripped apart~ so this was just an encouraging post. I really think of you as a "Mentor" type of blogger;). Your posts are not always easy for me to read. And sometimes I wrestle with what you say. And end up laying in bed awake thinking, dammit Jamie. lol But seriously, this made my heart feel a little less "you suck, Krista" and more like I can get past my fears and safety issues to serve my Savior.

    Anyways, that was a ramble.
    Hope you had a nice Mother's Day.

  22. Thank you for your honesty. I think sometimes we think we're supposed to be brave and just take everything in a stride. But poverty is scary. Crime is real. And knowing and feeling those things doesn't make you less compassionate, it just means we're accustom to a different reality. A reality we are supremely blessed to live in.


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