Surf City Haiti - Brit

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There are times in life when God calls us to a place that pulls us from our normal, daily routine. Times when we get away, separating ourselves from what distracts and pulls our attention onto the stressors and details of life that hinder our hearts from finding rest and peace. That place God called me to this year was Haiti, in all of its beauty and brilliance. When we arrived at the airport in Cap Haitian, immediately I noticed a joy that seems to vibrate from the depths of this place, as if the very ground is infused with the sound of its people’s joyful response to the rhythm of their island. While we were at camp I was blown away by how well this culture can celebrate, how much of that joy seems to emanate out of every part of their being. We started our first day at camp with a couple Haitian-led worship songs, and the kids from EBAC and IDADEE, both young and old, immediately were up out of their seats, dancing and singing in the front of the room with a joy and reckless abandon that I have never seen. As I was watching that joyful abandon, the strangest thing happened to me… I actually found myself choking back tears. It was as if watching those Haitians dancing put everything back into perspective for me. Suddenly the daily stressors of my life seemed so small in comparison. These kids have had to go through more in their short lifetimes than most of us will go through in our entire lives… yet they know how to celebrate, and they celebrate with far more reckless abandon than I ever have. So often I allow the small difficulties in my life to steal my joy, and I forget that God has given us laughter, given us dancing, given us song as a means of response to the goodness of who He is regardless of our circumstances.

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So what did I learn in Haiti? What did I learn from getting away, being pulled from my routine? I learned a new meaning to joy, a new meaning to celebration. If these kids who live in children’s homes, and only have a few belongings to their name, with more heartache and pain than any of us could imagine, can celebrate like they do, then I have no reason whatsoever to allow the comparatively small stressors in my life to keep me from experiencing true joy. I think one of the reasons God called me away this week was that he wanted me to remember His laughter, to remember His song of Freedom, and He used a bunch of beautiful Haitian orphans to remind me what it looks like. So that is what I carry home with me to explore and discover.  Thank you, Haiti. Thank you for reminding me that this life is one to celebrate, regardless of what it looks like, because we find our joy not in our circumstances, but in the knowing that we are all part of a family, adopted into the Kingdom of God… and how could you not rejoice with reckless abandon when you realize how beautiful that truth really is.