Lots of folks ask how could they do a mission trip like the ones I’ve taken to Haiti over the last few years. Complexity, fear, the unknown – all of those are issues to be dealt with when making your first mission trip. The reality is that Healing Haiti makes it very easy to do if you simply follow all the steps.
I’m going to take you on a trip through the process of getting signed up for a mission trip and what you’ll likely experience. First, you should take ten minutes to watch this video. It’s from my first trip two years ago. If those images don’t capture your heart, I’ll be amazed.
1. Make sure your passport is valid for the next year. If you don’t have a passport, start the process this minute and come back and read the rest of this blog. No passport, no mission trip. It’s that simple.
2. Get your shots. Some vaccination series take two months or more to complete. If you’re serious about travelling to Haiti, make sure your travel clinic gets involved right now. There are things that you need to immunized for, some you probably should be immunized for, and some you can use your discretion and risk. Me? I’ve vaccinated for everything, including Rabies (yes, it’s a problem a lot of places) because if you can catch it, I will come down with it.
Don’t let anyone talk you out of the malaria pills. Nasty stuff, lots of complications, and why risk it? Get the doctor visit scheduled today.
So, those are the prerequisites. If you don’t have a passport, and don’t want to get the medical preparation, the rest is a moot point. For the sake of argument, let’s assume you are interested in moving forward.
What will a missions trip do for me? Change your life. You will step out from the world where clean water is on tap to a place where it is a matter of life and death. You will meet fellow Christians who worship a God whom they love without all of the material items we seem to view as a prerequisite. You will be travelling with a team that prays over everything and nothing. That’s probably the biggest thing for me: a whole week of worship. Even going to the pool for a swim and a coffee involves prayer.
You will be the hands and feet of Christ. You will minister like the apostles did by washing feet, holding sick and dying babies, playing with orphans, and finding something inside of you much bigger than you ever expected.
Sound good? Nice. Thought it would. Let’s move on to the next step: finding an organization you can make the trip with and feel comfortable. For me, that’s Healing Haiti.
I have had the good fortune to become friends with some of the leadership of this outfit, including the founder. I trust them. I trust very few people. They are above board, open, and easy to deal with in my experience. For a first mission trip, they are the ones to go along with for a lot of reasons. They provide a great mission house, the staff are a blessing, and good safe food and water (always iffy anywhere, including your house, but they do a great job.)
They also have a wealth of experience, relationships with local entities, and some great opportunities to serve. If that sounds like your kind of group, click on this link and see what they are all about by starting the process of taking a missions trip.
So, you’re back and you’ve applied for a mission trip. Here’s the link to getting the volunteer card you just read about. There is a lovely company that provides insurance for volunteers, including missionaries. You will be a missionary. Get used to that idea. Also, get the insurance. It allows you to be evacuated at very low cost in case something happens to you on a trip. Chartering air ambulances is expensive. Volunteer insurance is not.
Here are a few thoughts on what all of this mission stuff means:
A universal God extends across borders and cultures.
You will have the opportunity to experience more spiritual growth on healinghaiti.org missions than you most likely have had at other important times in your life.
Be the hands and feet of Christ in orphanages and hospitals.
Witness a people who have hope and perseverance in spite of a lack of material goods and services.
• Actually perform the Great Commission of Matthew 28:16-20.
• Learn about a vibrant culture as valid as our own.
• Have fun. There is no denying that there is a lot of laughter and sweet smiles in Haiti.
• View God’s love in action in another country, and see how much impact individual Christians can have on that land.
• Expand your sense of responsibility for your fellow man.
• Find out that nothing is hopeless — with God’s guidance and people’s teamwork.
• Fulfill a commandment or two to serve the poor and the sick.
• Step out of your comfort zone and grow as an individual. For example —
— Jump rope in your sixties
— Blow bubbles with orphans
— Paint fingernails of the young and the elderly
• Bring back a part of Haiti — not just stories and pictures, but crafts and artwork that provide sustenance for the people who create them. Give a legacy story to your trip that you can hang on your wrist or your wall
• Finally, the beautiful people of Haiti will change your perception of the Third World. There is an amazing love that you feel in the poorest of slums — the love that comes from Christ.
• $850 + airfare + spending money + miscellaneous costs
Trips generally leave on a Monday and come back the following Monday. Eight days that will change your life forever.
I hope to be roaring around Haiti with you before the next year is out. Be blessed, and prayerfully consider this wonderful experience.