As we woke this morning, we were painfully aware of the challenge the day would bring.  Over the past several days, we have developed unbreakable bonds with the orphans and today we must leave that all behind and return to our “normal lives”?  In the bus on the way to the orphanage, TJ read us the scripture of Luke 10:23, which tells us, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.  For I tell you, many prophets and Kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”  TJ encouraged us to pray to view the day through God’s eyes, so we don’t miss out on all the good He is doing. The things we were able to see and hear today were blessings, and for that, our hearts rejoice.
TJ used the path we travel to the orphanage as an analogy to our “Christian walk.”  He explained that the orphanage sits in the middle of a hectic, market village and one wrong turn could cause you to completely miss the orphanage.  If we do not “follow the way”, we might miss God’s path of righteousness.  Often, we struggle to see Jesus even in such a light-driven culture as Haiti.  TJ pointed out how often we lose sight of our mission, even on a mission trip, simply by becoming too busy.  By deciding to view the day from God’s perspective, our spiritual eyes were open to the “special moments” that we so easily take for granted.  I noticed sights, sounds, and smells that I had somehow overlooked before.  Today I decided to put myself in a vulnerable state, where God could push me out of my comfort zone to show me something beautiful.
One of the beautiful moments I had today was with John, our translator, who shared with me his thoughts on why it is so easy to veer off course.  John told me that he, too, struggles to “find the way” in his daily walk with God.  He shared that he hopes to grow stronger in his faith and that his relationship with God is a constant struggle, requiring much discipline.  When I asked him how he is able to sort through the paths offered to us, John told me that he makes a checklist of the choices he has made that God has blessed him in as opposed to those that did not turn out so well.  He explained to me that this is how he learns which paths to continue along.  John’s advice reminded me that it is no accident that we are all here together on this Haiti trip.  We chose the path that led us here and like John said, we have been greatly blessed.
We each have been blessed to have the opportunity to serve here in Haiti, an opportunity many others long to experience.  God provided a way for us to be here and has blessed our eyes by allowing us to see Him in action.  In our decision to “follow Jesus” we have witnessed the progress God has allowed to happen in the orphanage in a matter of only two years.  We were reminded of this as we sang “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” with the children.  The same song that stole many of our hearts two years ago still rings in the hearts of the children, as this song has become the truth they live by.
As Mary Katherine and Andrew led us in worship with the orphans, we were encouraged that we had followed the right path that had ultimately brought us to this orphanage at this time.  Through God’s eyes, we were able to slow down and enjoy the beauty of this moment, in which we praised as one, alternating songs in English and in Creole.  This was just a glimmer of the joy we would experience as we were able to provide each child a personalized backpack filled with gifts from their sponsor families.  We were overwhelmed by the genorosity of our “church family” whose donations allowed the children to laugh and smile in an ecstatic state of happiness.  We rejoice in this moment we were able to witnesss and are grateful for the support of the church back home.  God has shown us beauty through His eyes.  We rejoice in the gift of this trip and want to share it with those of you serving these children back home.
Traveling back to Kaliko for lunch, I was able to see a kite soaring above the orphanage’s village.  I can’t help but feel as if this was God’s way of telling me these children are going to rise up above the corruption, leading this country to greatness.  God allowed me to see that kite  to give me peace in leaving the children and the orphanage.  Our hearts were breaking with each goodbye, but God reminded us that “greater things are yet to be done here.”  Circling around for a final prayer, tears were shed as TJ reminded us that the same stars that shine so brightly in the Haitian sky can be viewed from our homes in Tennessee, because God is constant and does not waiver even in our struggle to find Him.  Hope could be found in the realization that God had led us here once and He may do it again in the future.  Perhaps, one day very soon, we will travel this same path to the orphanage to find God and the children he loves beyond measure.  God revealed beauty, even in the goodbyes, because we were able to leave confident that the children know Him.  They have faith in God’s goodness, and trust that He will provide them food and water each day.  They have “decided to follow Jesus” without turning back, and we should, too.

-Claire Jaggers