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3 Lessons Learned from my Latest Mission Trip

3 Lessons Learned from my Latest Mission Trip

Photo courtesy of Justin Stricklin

Just over four months ago I would not have known anything about Haiti beyond what you read or might see on TV. After I asked a simple question at a fundraiser back in August and, in turn, received a challenging question that would end up changing my heart. An offer to have me travel to Haiti and see what the nonprofit was doing first hand. Little did I know as I write this I have been to the country twice now and had my heart shattered and slowly rebuilt.

When anyone steps outside of their comfort zone they tend to never be able to go back like they used to be. Similar to when you pack for a trip or try to put something back in its original packaging, things just never are the same.

When anyone steps outside of their comfort zone they tend to never be able to go back like they used to be. Click To Tweet

As I revel in the Haiti honeymoon hangover of this past weekend’s trip I figured I would share some lessons learned from my latest mission trip shared with the Haitian people. Lessons that will leave me forever changed, longing to go back and willing to take you along the next time I go if you are so inclined.

Lessons Learned from my Latest Mission Trip

Joy is Real

As Americans, real joy  seems to come few and far between. Sure there are some people who are overly happy that it is borderline annoying. Yet real joy still seems to be missing. We complain about the simple things in life, yet in Haiti, they are happy and joyful over the simplest of things. The Haitian people are not unpleasant to one another even when their form of traffic would drive anyone in America off the ledge. The next time you feel a bit ill, tired or irritable just think there are people who truly are happy and full of immense joy just to be alive.

When we had the opportunity to take pictures and share a new pair of shoes with the children at the school in Canaan, Haiti. It was through the children’s’ eyes when we had no more shoes that we found joy. They were happy just to be loved on and to have someone pay attention to them more so than what we had brought them.

God is not dead

Prayer in Haiti is a powerful weapon, one that even the smallest child to the oldest adult uses in their daily lives.

Prayer in Haiti is a powerful weapon, one that even the smallest child to the oldest adult uses in their daily lives.When they pray they pray in  ways we could never understand. Rather than praying when they wanted or when they were in need of forgiveness or strength. The Haitian people pray every day, sometimes hours a day, not because they want something, simply because that is the way they get through their days. When they are hungry they pray, when they are sick they pray, when they are tired they still pray. God is alive and well in Haiti and his fingerprints can be found all around the countryside.

On any given Sunday and many other days, you can drive the streets up into the mountains of Haiti and find their churches full of praise and worship. Even when it is hot and uncomfortable they dress in their Sunday best and walk to church to pray. Church usually is a tent or cinderblock building with no air conditioning, packed full of God-loving Haitian people. We get uncomfortable and anxious when a sermon runs a little over, they get disappointed if it is too short. Their level of faith is one that is humbling to be around, I only can hope one day that I can experience the same level of devotion.

Be Genuine

One thing you will notice soon after you step off the plane in Haiti, besides the people wanting to ‘help’ you get where you are going, people are genuine and real. They listen to every word that you speak, they want to know about you and actually, will listen. They are emotional and are not afraid to show it, they speak with passion and wear their feeling on their sleeves. It is interesting watching the fellowship and comradery in the most desolate of places, real genuine friendships that likely last a lifetime. No matter your walk of life or what you bring to the table, the table is open to all. Granted they may not know their neighbor that lives next door to them on the mountainside. That is not out of rudeness or prejudice as it would be here, instead it is more out of privacy and independence and being real in every way.

Nothing was more genuine and real to me than when after we served around two hundred and fifty men women and children Sunday morning. A young boy walked up to me and placed a hand-made bracelet on my wrist. It looked like one of the types that they made to sell so I reached in my pocket to hand him some gourdes (Haitian currency) he stop me and said quietly,

“No, It’s a thank you” and walked away.

“No, It’s a thank you” and walked away.My heart melted at the genuine generosity of the young boy. He may or may not have gotten some more snacks that day in return, I still wear the bracelet and will continue to as a reminder of how a genuine heart means more than anything else.

I have truly been blessed to be able to go now twice to Haiti in the past four months and cannot wait to go back. Each trip molds my heart just a little bit more, softening it so that God can continue to use me. If you have ever wondered whether you should go on a mission trip I have two words for you “just go.” If you are not forever changed by the experience then, at least, you got to see a country or perhaps even just a new part of your own country differently. For more information about Haiti and other mission trip opportunities why not contact my friends at they will be happy to help you plan your mission trip to make a difference.

Have you ever been on a mission trip? Do you have any insight you would like to share? Comment below and join the conversation.



About Charles Johnston

Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.

2 Replies

  1. Candace Crosby

    Wow – the kindness and simple act on one small child stirs up love in this reader’s heart. Here was a gift he was able to bestow just as a simple thank you for coming to spend time with them. The fact you were able to accept it (with no strings attached) is evidence that God is constantly at work in our lives, first though the child, then with the softening of your heart as you realize that these people love you just for thinking of them. Excellent read – just would like to hear more of the trip.