The Mission of Haiti Teen Challenge
"Building godly leaders of integrity so that they will rebuild the cities of Haiti that have been devastated for generations."
Erin, just returned from Haiti Teen Challenge and wanted to share his reflections on his trip.
I recently returned from a seven day trip to Haiti where I worked alongside Haiti Teen Challenge students to rebuild a basketball court in their community of Bolosse. This was my first trip to Haiti and it was the culmination of many years of prayer and introspection that led me to the intentional decision to come to Haiti.
If I am honest with myself, I somewhat believed I was on a mission to bring God to Haiti, convinced God was putting me on the plane to bring the love of Christ to the people of Haiti. Nothing could have been further from the truth. God doesn't arrive in Haiti on an airplane, He is already in Haiti. My naiveté was quickly brought to light and I was humbled by my new found arrogant perspective. God has a plan for Haiti and it was not hiding in my backpack.
I realized that my purpose for my stay in Haiti was to cultivate relationships and come alongside HTC students, to encourage them, affirm them, assist them and share with them my journey with God.
With the leadership of the HTC graduates and our four man mission team, we traveled to Borlosse, a place not unlike Cite Soleil, to rebuild a sports center in their neighborhood. The HTC Graduates from this part of Port Au Prince wanted to do this to give children a safe place to play, a safe place for their neighbors to gather and a place where they could tell the story of Jesus. The people of Borlosse turned out in force to help. Those of us from Minnesota could not even lift a paintbrush without someone stepping in to take over the job. Gang members who sought to be paid off received Bibles and joined in to dig drain ditches, install basketball poles and hoops, close up a Voodoo temple, paint walls and install a solar operated light so that children going to school can study at night. Hearts were softened and relationships developed amongst all of us.
The completion of the project was celebrated with a huge crowd, as the HTC students shared their testimonies, the word of God was preached and the HTC Band worshiped on the steps of the former temple. One of the Gang Leaders who was hesitant to allow us into his neighborhood said afterwards,
"I no longer live in a ghetto, I live in a community."
I returned home grateful for the achievements in America and for the comforts it provides. Yet I am now painfully aware of how easily I impose my solutions on others. We are a country of activity, innovation, and improvement. We pride ourselves on being people who get things done, often believing we have a better plan and I was no exception. During my trip to Haiti as my companions and I immersed ourselves in God's work for just a few days I learned that God is already writing His story for Haiti. It is my job to come alongside and work with these young men, like Jackson and Enoch, who have committed their lives to Jesus and to serving others, bringing the message of love and redemption back to their communities. The Holy Spirit is alive and making the love of Jesus known through the men and women involved with Haiti Teen Challenge. I hope our team did some good for the Haitian people. I know the experience was transformative for myself. In the end, the life that was changed was my own.
Are you ready to go and serve?
Visit our website to find more information about mission trips to Haiti.