As we continue our exploration of Mission Trips, I’d like you to meet Judy. The coolest part about Judy…I don’t even know her!!! She’s a friend of a friend who jumped at the opportunity to share about the mission work she’s done. You can feel the energy, enthusiasm and love as you read about her experiences in Haiti.
Name and occupation: Judy, Administrative Assistant at a paper mill
Where and when did you do missionary work? First mission trip was with Lifeline in Haiti in January 2008, 2nd was October the same year, same mission, but in Honduras. Have been back to Haiti 4 times, 3 with Lifeline Christian Mission, 1 with Love A Child.
What did you do when you were there? With Lifeline in Haiti we gave out sponsor gifts, shoes, layettes in the community, taught at Ladies’ Day, worshipped with the Haitians and with each other. My favorite was giving out shoes, actually fitting the shoes to the children’s feet as majority of them were wearing shoes that were too small. With Love A Child I went on a medical mission in the mountain. I was able to clean the bodies and head of children with sores and/or diseases and show their mother how to continue the treatment at home.
What made you want to go ( that is, what was it that moved you from “this is a neat idea” to “i’m gonna do it”)? God told me I was to go on a mission trip several years before I went. I was waiting to know where and when but truthfully not giving it much thought. When a friend/church member showed pictures from her trip to Lifeline in Haiti, I knew that was where God wanted me to go.
How much did it cost to go and what about the experience made you find the expenses worth it? The cost for the first trip was $1500 to Lifeline, extra for other things (gas, food, passport). I did not ask for money, I used money I had saved. However a few people gave me money.
How did you raise the money? Did not raise any money. I raised money later with yard sales to buy my sponsor child a house, to purchase shoes to send to Lifeline, and to purchase clothes, etc. for the Haitian people – whom I now love with a passion.
What was the worst thing that happened on your trip? First trip was awesome and nothing bad happened. The trip in January 2009 was a little scary when our plane leaving Haiti could not take off due to mechanical problems and we had to stay the night in Port au Prince. Everything turned out fine but it was scary going out into PAP not knowing the language or anything about the city. Then in January 2010 there was the earthquake while I was there. I knew thousands were praying for us and God told me we would get home safely. I was more sad for the Haitians then scared I think. Maybe my body was in too much shock to be scared. I went back in January 2011 and everything went perfectly.
What was the best thing that happened on your trip? The best thing on the first trip was talking to and hearing God speak to me. One day while I was alone on the dorm roof God spoke to me and 1) thanked me for being there to help His people and 2) thank me for loving His Haitian people as he does. I truly learned at that moment that we all (in all countries) are God’s children and He loves us dearly and desires for us to love others. Second best was providing shoes for the children. I loved it and truly felt useful and blessed. The smiles on their faces is priceless.
Share anything you would like about the experience and the people you encountered? I started sponsoring my first child on my first trip to Haiti – it was not something I planned and did not think I could do financially. I prayed about it for 2 days – there was one picture of a child I saw that God would not let me shake. I knew God’s plan was for me to sponsor Kettena. I now sponsor 4 children in Haiti. God has certainly taught me that it is truly more blessed to give than to receive and that I cannot out give Him. I found my joy in the Lord in sponsoring children and supporting missions and missionaries. Child sponsorship is a great way to help a mission who is truly doing the work of the Lord and at the same time a great way to help a child/family. With Lifeline, sponsors can send gifts/money to their child 4 times a year. All other missions I have read about will only allow 1 gift per year if that. God provided for me to build my 1st child a house and to provide money for them to improve their lifestyle and provide food for the children. I have been blessed with the opportunity to see how they have use the money provided and see them look healthier than when I first met them. They are truly grateful for all they received and give God the glory. I have explained to them how I am in awe of how God provides for me to help them.
What is your response to someone who says “I would love to go on a mission trip but I’m a little scared”? There are places I am scared to go as well but if God tells me that is where He wants me to go I will. Is it possible the issue is not being scared but their relationship with God. People ask me ‘aren’t you scared to go to Haiti’. I say it is more scary to go to Wal-Mart at night time. God doesn’t call everyone to ‘go’ on mission trips. He does call for everyone to provide for the poor.
Mission trips to 3rd world countries are life-changing. I love to help those who truly need it and who appreciate the help. I hear many say why go to Haiti or wherever when there are people here in the US who need help. 1) those who go on mission trips usually are also helping in their community. 2) many who have made or thought that comment are ones who do not help anyone anywhere. They are also clueless to the calling of God (back to the relationship). I go where God tells me and do what I feel He tells me. I have learned that just because something seems to be a ‘God-thing’ doesn’t mean it is what God wants you to do. Don’t feel you have to give every time someone is holding out their hand. I give where I trust those who are handling the money – give wisely with God’s guidance.
Until I saw the pictures of Haiti and heard God telling me to go there, I did not know where Haiti was and knew absolutely nothing about it. It was obvious to me that He wanted me to go. I love to help missions in my town as well, such as the shelter for abuse women, union mission for homeless men, etc. But my heart is in Haiti because for now that is where God wants me to serve. I am tell you that serving others is a blessing when you are serving those truly in need. I also sponsor families with Love A Child, a mission in Haiti By giving $8 a month you can help feed a family. I have been there, I have given out boxes of rice packets, I have seen the joy and relief on the faces of mothers who see their children go to bed at night with an empty, growling stomach. I feel their pain. These are people who want to work but work is not available. (Could this be our country one day?) Two sayings of the Love A Child missionaries is ‘let your heart be broken for the things that break the heart of God’ and ‘love is not something you talk about, love is something you do’. I go to sleep at night feeling truly blessed not only because of what I have but especially because of how God is using me to serve. How does God want you to serve?
I wish you the best. God has a plan for how He wants you to serve Him. Let Him guide you to it and through it.
I also want to say that people who don’t go on mission trip are so NOT wimps! I was petrified to go, but I felt the Lord’s call so strongly. I knew I had to go. I was petrified of flying and of being so far away from home! Two of my biggest fears. God conquered them both on my mission trip!