When I smell diesel fuel at a gas station on a hot summer day, my mind is immediately transported to the crowded, too-narrow, take-my-breath-away rides through the streets of Port-au-Prince Haiti. It is amazing to me that my two weeks in that foreign country 14 years ago still has such an effect on senses and emotions.
I went to Haiti with of group of about 50ish people, only one of whom I knew at the time. I had no idea what to expect as I prepared for the trip, and found myself doing all sorts of things that were outside of my comfort zone. From holding flashlights into mouths of patients for the missionary dentists, to working in the kitchen, to painting the inside of a church, there was something new for me every day. I spent most of my evenings sitting on top of an unfinished mission building looking out at the hills as I wrote in my journal or spoke about life and God and purpose with my newfound friend, Dr. Joe.
But probably the most memorable of all my experiences on that adventure was meeting Jean Jacques Marvensen. He was six years old and absolutely adorable. I became his sponsor and over the next 13 years, my support allowed him to eat proper meals and graduate from high school. His letters over that course of time were a reminder to me to pray for him and his country. And I’m certain I was more blessed by him than he ever was by me.
Though I have never returned to the country, I will always have a heart for the Haitian people. I just can’t shake it. That’s where the dresses and shorts come in. It is my way to stay connected, to serve the country I spent such a short amount of time in but will love forever.
I have been so blessed by the number of people joining me in this crusade to make new clothes for kids like Jean-Jacques. In many ways it feels like a very small thing, but I know God can do BIG things with our small steps of obedience and generosity.
DRESS COUNT – 61 SHORTS COUNT – 18