Remember that time I left to Haiti with only a few days notice and then I didn’t write about it for almost two months? Oops.
It was a great trip. No, better than that. It was awesome. Returning within six months of my first trip meant that the memories were still fresh, the people were close in my heart. It was just good.
And a wedding! Are these not the two most beautiful people in the world? Watching the excitement that so many others had for Handson and Clairlande was contagious. I spent the day of the wedding watching the bridesmaids painstakingly get ready. They dressed the little girls a full THREE HOURS before we left for the church and then told them to sit… and they did! They were handed a plate of food and those sweet girls ate every bit without spilling it on their dresses. AND THEN, they handed Little Mama (that’s what they call her, bless her heart) a pillow with the ACTUAL RINGS and she held on to them all the way to the church and for the ceremony until it was time to give them up.
During the wedding my friend and I noticed a few people with their phones taking pictures. As the time got closer and closer to the kiss at the end, more and more people kept coming forward to get pictures…. until we could no longer see the Bride and Groom! People were on the stage, squeezing in as close as they could get in order to snap a picture of the main event.
Afterward we gathered for the reception, which was just people crammed in a tiny room where everyone got a spicy tuna sandwich wrapped in a white paper napkin. (Which, by the way, was the moment that the stark contrast of weddings in the United States hit me the deepest).
In a country where there is so much to grieve, so much that brings tears to my eyes, it was amazing to be a part of something so joyful. To see how others celebrated these two, to watch how deeply they were able to rejoice…. it was good for my soul.
Once upon a time when I had such little kids, I wondered if my dreams of going to other countries and experiencing how God is working in our world would ever come true. I often felt restless and stuck. Being a Mama has always been my biggest and best dream; I was happy to be with my children and content with raising them… but in the back of my mind, I was eager and longing to go.
Flying to Haiti not one, but two, times in the past six months has been a sweet gift from Jesus. And the fact that I was able to pull off travel plans, packing, arranging child care and a million details in just a week is a miracle in itself. I am so thankful for ways that Jesus gives us the desires of our heart.
I’m fairly certain that I’m not going to be able to quit Haiti. I’ve fallen hard for the people, for the beauty, even for the heat. My heart breaks for the poverty, for the tragedy that every Haitian carries in their hearts. And yet the way they love Jesus without abandon, the trust and hope they have in Christ challenges me deeply. In their brokenness, they have taught me so much.
Congratulations Pastor Handson and Clairlande! You may have been the ones to get married, but your day was a lovely gift I’ll always remember.