Unexpected

The day I left for Haiti was rough.

I left my phone at the Houston airport, I had an 10 hour layover in MIA, once in Haiti I didn’t have any cash to pay the new tourist fee, and then had to be interrogated by the customs people because I didn’t know the address of where I was staying. By the time I walked out of the airport and under the blazing Haitian sun I was done. I was ready to walk back into the airport and catch the next plane home. I was sleep deprived, near tears, and had the worst attitude.

However, all the crazy stuff that happened wasn’t a surprise to God.

There was a reason I left my phone. The whole week leading up to Haiti I knew I needed to rest. I was running around everywhere. I was constantly on my phone, but then I realized that not having my phone forced me to rest. My whole time in Haiti I wasn’t distracted by my phone and I was able to use the down time I had to rest and actually read a book! I have no profound revelation truth for spending the night in the airport except that I had no money to spend on a hotel. But I learned my lesson, and I will avoid sleeping in the airport in the future. I pulled an all-nighter, and spent most of my time laying on the floor eating cheez-its and watched movies I had on my computer. Never again. By the time I got on the plane to Port-Au-Prince I was exhausted. I don’t even remember the plane ride. When we unloaded at the airport I saw they were separating Haitians from non-Haitians. I read the signs and saw that I had to pay $10 to enter the country. That was when I realized I had traveled to a foreign country without any cash! I was silently freaking out, practically begging God to work a miracle. As always, He did and a woman who was standing in front of me paid for me without any prompting from me. I was in shock, and thought that it would be smooth sailing after that incident. But my bubble was popped when I realized the fake address I put on the immigration wasn’t going to fly. I didn’t have my phone so I didn’t have the real address to the I’mMe house. They made me sit in a room and asked me all sorts of questions. Where is my mom? Does your mom know you are here? What about your dad? Why did you travel alone? Why don’t you have an address? For thirty minutes I had to answer questions. I was on the brink of tears. I was tired, thirsty, and hot. Finally, at my wit’s end I realized I had my laptop! The address was in one of the documents in my computer. I gave then the address and basically ran out of the stifling room. The whole walk to baggage claim I forced myself to keep the tears at bay. It was not the time to break down. I was in Haiti after all, and I knew in a few minutes I would be reunited with my I’mMe family.

I made it to the house, and was greeted with the biggest hugs and smiling faces. I got to meet all the newest additions to the family, and fell in love with them. I was so happy to be at the house that I forgot that I had an almost melt down. After settling in I got to meet the team who was already there. They were the sweetest and welcomed me into their group with ease. It wasn’t until later that night after connecting some info together that I realized that the team I thought I would be with all week would actually be leaving the next day, and I was staying at the house with no team. I remember going into the room and throwing myself on the bed asking God what is He doing aka having a tantrum. I also  felt bad because I didn’t want to be a burden to Lauren and Patrick, who were  living at the house and taking care of all the kids.

Nothing was going how I expected it to go. I didn’t understand why God had me there and why was I back so soon. I still don’t understand all the why’s, but I know that my time in Haiti was blessed.

Most of the week I stayed at the house helping out with the children. I got to learn the story of each child, and my heart broke for each one. There was never a dull moment. Smiles and laughter were abundant. I was flooded with joy just holding a tiny hand, and running around the house chasing squealing children. I have never seen so many melted crayons on the driveway, or played an intense game of musical chairs until I was in Haiti. I had my fill of pomegranates off the pomegranate tree. My soul was at peace, and I was rested physically and emotionally. I got to take naps when the kids had nap time. I had quiet time with the Lord in my favorite place in the house (the porch, the rain, and the rocking chair). I got to hear Lauren’s and Patrick’s hearts, and watch them fight and love for the children they were taking care of. It was definitely a privilege to be able to see how things run when there isn’t a team there, and at the end of the week I was more than grateful that I ended up being there without a team for a few days.

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Leaving Haiti always leaves me in tears. It’s hard to leave the place where your soul finds peace. The plane ride home I was blessed to sit by a man who was talkative. He was Haitian, and white. He was born and raised in Haiti, and owned a shipping company. He met his wife in Haiti, and raised his family there. After the earthquake he moved his family to Miami and he now flies from Haiti to Miami every 3 days. He told me, “My business is in Haiti, but my heart is Miami.” The conversation was such a blessing because I was a little emotional leaving Haiti. He playfully asked me about the boy I was leaving behind, after I assured him is wasn’t a boy he got really serious. He looked me in the eye and said, “you have a spiritual connection with my country.” In that moment I was like, yeah you could call it that, but as he kept explaining I knew the Lord had me sit next to this man for a reason. Somehow, I needed the reassurance that I wasn’t feeling how I was feeling for nothing. My heart wasn’t breaking for the children and this country “just because”, and that Haiti wasn’t just another stop in long list of countries I wanted to visit.

As I said before, I don’t know why Haiti has invaded my life and settled in my soul. The way this trip played out was completely unexpected, but it was everything that I needed.

 My story about Haiti has only just begun.

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*A special thanks to my supporters to making all of this possible. May the Lord continue to bless each and every one of you.

Kenya Week 2.

July 7, 2013

Yesterday we hung around the house. Breakfast was bread, jelly, and butter. We had a hair washing part which was awesome because I haven’t washed my hair since Atlanta. I learned how to draw water from a well! After lunch we went to the church to do some intercessory prayer. The church is literally wooden posts with pieces of plastic and tin around it. We have church this morning at 10am.

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July 8, 2013

Church was awesome. It was a workout because we danced  a lot. We got back home and Shannon and I helped make dinner. We had chapati and guacamole. Patrick and Emmy gave me a Kenyan name. Chepchumba. They said by the time I go back home I will know how to cook.  My feet have never been this dirty.

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July 10, 2013

Monday we went to town. I was able to talk to my mom. I also went shopping! The streets were so crowded and dirt was everywhere. Tuesday was our first ministry day. We did house visits. Our first house we went to was of a family and the father has a large tumor on his nose. It was heartbreaking. They all knew the Lord so we prayed for them. We spent the afternoon visiting houses and praying for people. Today we had or first ministry day with Emmy since she had to go to the doctor yesterday. It was a little awkward but I’m beginning to understand that God can show up in any situation. Praying out loud is something I need to be more confident in. I walked Jeremy to school! We also get to spend out afternoons with the kids from his school!

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July 11, 2013

Today, I stayed behind from morning ministry. I helped around the house. I also got to watch Manuel most of the time! Afternoon ministry we went to Jeremy’s school. I sat down in the middle of the field and the just huddled around to talk. I asked them random questions about themselves and their culture, They were hilarious! I taught them some of the Spanish I know because they were shocked I wasn’t fluent in another language besides English. They were curious little souls. They wanted to know all about my family and how it was living in America. I am learning a lot about prayer and praying about others. I am spending so much time reading my Bible. We have so much down time. Grandma is asking God for a white man while I’m trying to sleep!

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July 13, 2013

Yesterday a woman got saved! We also went to another house and the woman told us that we should have brought food. Then her and Emmy got into it. It was an interesting conversation. I got twist, but they aren’t holding. Apparently, my hair is too soft. I need to do something about my mosquito bites! They are all so swollen and they hurt.

About Time!

It’s finally here!

Today is the last day I have to take my antibiotics for strep throat! Strep is no joke, and I am bad at remembering to take those pink horse pills.

My last day of school was yesterday. I can now sit down and actually write without worrying about Precal! That class has been a huge pain in my rear end this whole semester. Math and my brain just don’t mix. Now that all my finals are out of the way, I am more than ready to graduate! And I am walking out of high school with 9 hours of college credit (whoop)!

I’ve come a long way from this!

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My grad party is this Saturday. I’m ready to see all my family and friends. Not to mention eat all the good food! Sunday, I graduate! I’m saving all my tears for then. I don’t want to cry until I know for sure that I am completely done with high school. Which is really hard for me to wrap my mind around. I will never walk the halls of Mayde Creek High School as a student again, ever. It’s definitely bittersweet. Growing up is a daunting task. And I don’t know if I want to run back and yell “Take me back!” or strut off yelling “See ya, suckas.” This is a real issue in my mind. I guess this is the time I gotta put on my big girl panties and keep moving forward. See ya, high school. It’s been lovely.

LSU. I have orientation on the 17th. I know what dorm I’ll be in and my roommate! I’ll be choosing my schedule while I’m there and I can’t wait to show my mom the campus. I hope we get to go to New Orleans. I have been craving some of Willie Mae’s fried chicken for about a year and 3 months and 16 days (well I don’t really know how many days…) But I want me some fried chicken!

Africa. 24 days 17 hours 57 minutes! Excuse me while I go freak out in a corner! I can’t wrap my mind around it all. I am about go to Africa. A whole other continent! I am so not ready. I just found out that we will be sleeping in a tent and that I need to go buy this so-called tent. Tents and I don’t have a good relationship. We don’t even have a relationship! I mean this is “step out of your comfort zone” to the max. I’m ready though. A little freaked out, but ready. I gotta leave my little prima donna attitude at home. So I’m gonna get all my complaining and whining out while I can. Oh, I have to tell y’all about my little excursion to the nature store. It was horrible. I walked in there wide eyed and concerned about all the animals that look too real. I stayed in there for about 1 minute and 14 seconds before I hightailed my behind out of there. I think I’ll stick to Academy and Amazon to buy all the things I need. I have all my things in order. I got my passport, international insurance, yellow fever vaccine and the little yellow book, my malaria pills, and my ticket to Atlanta. Fundraising has gone extremely well! I only need about $500. Looking back I never thought I would be here and it blows my mind at how awesome God is.

Things are moving forward whether I like it or not. I trying to put on a brave face and say I’m ready, but honestly I am a mess. I have to take it one day at a time, and save all my tears for days when I’m really going to need them.

So here’s to new beginnings!

From my journal: So here’s to starting a new journey! Goodbye high school, it’s been grand! College, please be good to me. I don’t need 15 more pounds, I would like to keep me virginity (let’s not be prude. Boys are hot at LSU!  Okay Bayli, mind on Jesus. I’m just letting you know the struggle is real) and I hope to make lifelong friends and live out amazing memories. Geaux Tigers!