“Although I arrived in Haiti thinking that their world couldn’t be more different from mine, I left realizing that God sees us the same – in need of Him alone.” – Melody Garcia
“The God who we serve and love in Dallas is the same God that is sovereign over all things in Haiti. His beauty was evident in so many ways,” said Karla Self. “Our view of our awesome God got much, much bigger. He is crazy about His people and desires for all to come and know Him intimately.”
Karla, along with her husband, Dustin, and two children, recently went to Haiti with families (46 people, in total) from all of Watermark’s campuses. Mission of Hope, Watermark’s long-time partner in caring for the people of Haiti, hosted the trip. The goal of the trip was to partner with Mission of Hope to build relationships and share the gospel with people through practical acts of service. Whether the team was playing sports with kids or distributing aqua tabs to purify water, there were constant opportunities to tell people about Christ’s love.
The team also spent time visiting the various locations where Mission of Hope is bringing life transformation to the men, women, and children of Haiti. They visited two schools and an orphanage operated by Mission of Hope, along with a warehouse that provides 90,000 meals per day. They also saw the ministry’s work in the village Leveque where MOH partnered with Haitian and North American churches to provide 650 houses to families whose homes were destroyed in the 2010 earthquake.
Over the three-month period leading up to their Haiti Family Discipleship Trip last February, each family participated in four training meetings. The teams reviewed books on ministering to people in other cultures, practiced memorizing Scripture, learned how to share the gospel in a different culture and language, and reviewed books on the root issues of poverty and what a biblical response should be. Plano campus member, Melody Garcia went through the training along with her seventeen-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn, who wasn’t sure, at first, about sharing the gospel with others.
“Before I left, I was nervous about sharing the gospel to people in Haiti and how or when I would do it,” said Kaitlyn. “But what Haiti taught me was how to die to myself and serve others. The whole time, the moments when I was supposed to share about Christ were very clear to me. The trip was eye-opening, and I have a whole new perspective on what it means to serve God and make His Word known.”
For Kaitlyn’s mom, the most meaningful part of the trip preparation came from learning about the true definition of poverty from A Hole in Our Gospel, a book the team read together.
“In America we define poverty as the lack of food, water, and shelter. However, the book explains that if you ask for the definition from people living in poverty, they say it is the inability to change your circumstances. In other words, no matter how early a person gets up, or how hard they work, they cannot alter their circumstances.
“When we were in Haiti, I saw a man who was making charcoal to sell it in the market. He literally works all day, every day to make charcoal, so when I saw it, I thought, ‘that’s poverty.’
“There was a girl who fell and broke her hip when she was two. Unable to walk, she hadn’t left her house in 12 years. There was no way she could change her circumstances. That was poverty.
“But then it hit me like a ton of bricks,” said Melody. “The truth is that real poverty is a broken relationship between us and God. We have all been in poverty because, apart from God, we have no ability to change, ourselves or our circumstances. Without a right relationship with Christ, all the money in the world isn’t going to make life better in the U.S. or in Haiti.”
Karla was also moved by the willingness of the people she met to praise God in all circumstances. “In Haiti, most people have to trust in God to provide everything,” Karla said. “That was beautiful to watch and to experience. Their dependence on Christ alone for all things convicted me, as I know my heart is often dependent on material things, on what people think, and on my own productivity.”
“I rely on the comforts of this life in Dallas rather than relying on God alone. Taking away so much of the comforts for a few days really required me to connect deeper with God. It reminded me to pursue Him well here in Dallas,” said Dustin Self. “The same God in Dallas is the same God in Haiti. The foundation is the same. Different people, different occupations, different houses. But God is the same.”
“Although I arrived in Haiti thinking that their world couldn’t be more different from mine, I left realizing that God sees us the same – in need of Him alone,” said Melody. “I’m completely powerless to change without the power of God in my life. I’m so thankful for God’s provision of this opportunity to grasp this truth.” – written by Lauren Zutavern
Go to watermark.org/haiti for more information about Watermark’s partnership with Mission of Hope and details on you can participate in them.