Today we travelled. We got to see the beginning of the sunrise as we sat on the tarmac in Nashville while our plane’s wings were de-iced, but most everyone was asleep by the time the sun met us in the sky. It was mid-morning when the grid-like rows of red roofed Miami houses came into view, and mid-day when they disappeared from sight as our plane headed south to Port-au-Prince. I have been to Haiti on multiple occasions and while I can’t speak for those who laid eyes on Haiti for the first time today, I can say that, for me, having that incredible island emerge out of nowhere from the clouds was one of the most beautiful, comforting sights I’ve experienced since I last saw Haiti’s mountains almost nine months ago.   The mountains seem impossibly large from an aerial perspective and just grow larger and more magnificent as the plane descends into the disorderly rows of tin and tarp roofed houses that blanket Port-au-Prince. We left the airport with old and new friends in the form of our translators, and those roofs became to look over at instead of down on as we drove through the streets of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas en route to Kaliko. Every time I come back to Haiti I expect to be so familiar with the poverty and lifestyle that it no longer shocks me like it did that first trip, and every time I’m mistaken. I notice something different every van ride along Route Nationale #1, whether it be a new building that has taken the place of an empty field, a dry river bed that was previously dotted with deep puddles, or tent cities that seem fuller and closer to the road than before. Today I thought I would be returning to the Haiti I left in July, and today I was reminded that I don’t have dominion over time and the change that occurs under her watch. I saw this most evidently when we stopped at the orphanage. In place of a rocky ledge separating the church and children’s house from Pastor’s house was a large poured concrete pavilion that dominated the area I expected to still be composed of a clothesline and lone tree/shrub. Instead of a hug from a young boy named Emmanuelson, I received a hug from a young man named Emmanuelson whose height almost surpassed my measly 5 feet, 3 and a half inches.   I saw new faces that were unfamiliar and I saw old faces that were equally unfamiliar, marked by the passage of time that I selfishly assumed wouldn’t happen without my presence. I left slightly saddened by the changes that I had missed, some left excited by the reality of the orphanage that they’ve heard about for so long, and others left surprised by the way that reality compared with their preconceptions of what this trip would be like. But we all left together, and upon our arrival many of us made our way to the beach at Kaliko just in time for the sunset. The beach marked a line between the mingling navies and grays of the ocean and sky on the horizon and the dark mountains shadowed by impending purple rain clouds. But the setting sun crossed that line, streaking through the gray sky and lighting up the mountainsides, creating a beautiful photo opportunity and a beautiful moment for me and, in different ways, for many others. I was filled with a realization of God’s faithfulness and goodness and love and forgiveness and power and sovereignty over all things. I was given a moment to bask in God’s perfect creation and realize that He rules over all; He rules over sunrises and sunsets, He rules over time, He rules over everything and everyone He has ever created and will ever create. And He chooses to use us as a team, me as a humbled sinner, to achieve his purposes through his means to his ends. This trip isn’t about us and what we do, this trip is about Christ and what our Heavenly Father is doing. I ask that you pray that we understand and adopt this, that our work in Williamson over the next few days will be honoring to God for it is is.

Clare Williams