To be honest, I’ve been dreading the day when I would have to (*ahem*, sorry, GET to) write this. It’s not that I didn’t have a wonderful time, or that I don’t want to think about it — it’s just the opposite. I’m dying to go back, so to take the time to write down some of the main stories about the trip and the kids is pretty painful!

Melody and I have talked quite a bit since we arrived back in KC, and we both agree that to be home is a bittersweet thing. It is nice to have a long hot shower, American food, and one’s own bed to sleep in; but it’s not worth the price of not being able to be with the kids any time one wants.

There’s also an overwhelming feeling of…purposelessness now. When I was down there, every moment was used to serve the Campbells or play with the kids. Here, I feel like everything I do is selfish. Pray that I would find ways to use my time wisely, and not forget my purpose wherever I am: to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. :)

Alright! So the trip began on Monday, December 28th at KCI, where the group gathered, tired and a bit delirious at the UNHOLY hour of 5:45. I owe Mr. Poindexter a huge thank you, though, as he recommended I take a NyQuil for my cold on Sunday night, so I got a good solid 8 hours of sleep. Still, my mind does not function properly until about 7:00am, and I will admit I was a bit…”punch drunk”. Excuse my first (of what will probably be MANY) Pastor-ism. That’s what happens when you are around him for a week and a half solid! Speaking of Pastor-isms, I have to note right now that Pastor’s swear word of choice is a good, hearty “GLOOOO-RY!”.

When we arrived in FL, we were greeted by a handful of lovely people from a nearby church. The person I talked to the most was an awesome girl my age named Kelsey Diaz, who had already been to Haiti 3 times. She immediately started coaching Melody and I on what to expect, and filled us in on some important things. For example, she told us that even though they may pretend that they don’t, the kids know exactly what you mean when you tell them you don’t have any more gum.

The next day, Tuesday, was the MFI (Missionary Flights International) flight into Haiti. It was a small plane, a C13 or some such plane-speak, and I had never been on anything smaller than a normal commercial plane, but I was excited! Usually I adore flying. You’ll understand, then, how horrified I was when I woke up Tuesday morning nauseous. Though I didn’t know it then, I’ve discovered now that I react to the anti-malarial medicine I used on this trip. I am adamant that it was NOT air sickness, as the first time I threw up was before we even left FL on Tuesday, in the bathroom of the airport. …this was followed by a repeat performance on the way to the Bahamas…and another couple before we landed in Cap Hatian…until I used not only my air sickness bag, but also Mel’s…and Pastor Borden’s…and Uncle Craig’s…and Chase’s…and Shane’s. GOOD TIMES. When I told this to Jesse after arriving in Haiti, he assured me that I now hold the record in how many barf bags used, something which I am DISTINCTLY proud of.

God is good, though. Let me list the benefits of being sick while on a plane ride to Haiti.

1. Instant sympathy. Except from the pilot-in-training, who, while I was using my fourth bag, stared at me and said “Oh…that’s…too bad.” and walked away.
2. A quicker-seeming flight. I slept for most of the ride, waking up only to puke.
3. I got it out of the way during a time when there was nothing more productive to do.
4. More seriously, I really did feel God’s comfort then. It was a humbling thing, knowing that I had no control over my health — but God kept me (relatively :P) sane through it, and, as an extra answer to prayer, as soon as I was on the Haiti Home of Hope compound, my stomach settled down!

Tuesday afternoon we pulled into the compound after a twenty minute ride in Pastor Francious’s new truck. At this point, everyone’s energy level was up, even after the long day of travel. We were finally in Pignon! Everywhere you looked there was something new to see — cement buildings with tin roofs — some painted in faded, gaudy colors, donkeys and goats, motorcycles speeding by us, and Haitians all around, many yelling “BLANC, BLANC!” (White, white!) as we passed. Mt. Pignon was off in the distance, along with other green mountains, and everything was a beautifully tragic mix of stunning nature and people contrasted with the dirtiness and poverty.

As soon as we were within the gates, we started seeing the kids. Every single one of them wore a KC Royals hat. I thought Pastor was going to slip into cardiac arrest when he saw them. “SHUT UP, SHUT UP!! LOOK AT THEM! THEY ALL HAVE ROYALS CAPS ON!” He said, gesticulating wildly. Already I was used to this type extreme reaction, and it was NOT the last of its kind! :) Melody and I agree that we could not have asked for a more enthusiastic and fun leader for the trip.

We were greeted warmly by Mr. & Mrs. Campbell and Jesse, then shown around the compound. Immediately kids were reaching up to be held, grabbing onto my hand, and shouting for “Chicklet!” (gum). One of the first girls that attached herself to me was Rose Gallin, an adorable toddler who is always singing. I was thrilled to realize that I knew what song she was singing, “Eske Ou Vle Ale” (I’m sure that’s not the correct spelling, but it’s phonetic :P), “Do You Want to Go to My Father’s House”, a song Kari taught us in VBS last summer. I remember not being able to stop grinning, swinging Rose Gallin around, singing, and praising God that I was no longer sick.

…ok. I’m just in the middle of the first day, and this post is crazy long. I think I’m going to end here for now. I’ll try to write another part soon! :)