Home from Haiti

Under a blue sky, a Haitian worker replaces the roof of the Gommiers Church. The roof was ripped off by the storm that hit the island in October 2016. ~Facebook/Jeremie Haiti Project

A Volunteer in Mission Team from Utica UMC recently returned home from Haiti. A postscript from leader Don Gotham.


DON GOTHAM

Michigan Area Haiti Task Force

Images of the roof being completed on the Gommiers church have been posted on the Jeremie Haiti Project Facebook page. I appreciated seeing those images. Replacing the roof was at the heart of the work our team set out to do when we left for Haiti early on January 2nd. Our plans were interrupted because of circumstances beyond our control. Yet God has faithfully seen this project through, though not in the way we expected.

Rev. Don Gotham (right) has been to Haiti 16 times, building, delivering supplies, planting trees and serving as the hands of Jesus. ~Facebook photo/Don Gotham

Engaging in mission and ministry is some of the most rewarding, thrilling, exhilarating, exhausting, draining, jubilant, painful, satisfying parts of the life of a Christian. I have to confess, my own preference is for things to work out as I’ve planned them. I want things to come together, flow effortlessly along the lines of the plans I’ve made, and then get tied up with a bow. Truth is, it almost never works out this way. People are involved in mission and ministry, and people are fallible, and what’s worse, some of those people are just as fallible as me. 

Jesus didn’t say, “Make your plans, give them a once-over with prayer, and all will work out exactly as you’ve planned.” In the Great Commission, our Lord called us to “Go.” And, at the end of that command, he gave the reassurance that He would be with us always. To me, it seems clear Jesus understood that mission and ministry are messy, and that to engage in them requires a dependence on Him. 
 
Not one of my 16 trips to Haiti has turned out exactly as I’ve planned. I could fill pages upon pages of the serendipitous experiences, and I could write for quite a while about the challenging situations. But more importantly, looking back upon all of them, I see the marvelous, faithful, generous, gracious, loving hand of God. I think this is one of the things which has continued to call me back to Haiti so many times. 
 
God calls us to “Go.” Our calling is to invest ourselves in the lives of others. I pray you continue to find the courage and determination to offer yourself to those whom God is calling you to be in mission and ministry with. It will be thrilling, exhilarating, disappointing, frustrating, and if you allow, one of the places where you will find yourself closest to God.
 
~Click here for more of Don’s reflections of the 2017 trip to Jeremie.

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