My heart was able to see, what my mind could not have imagined…
When I share with others now about MAF, I know firsthand what I am sharing; whereas before I could only share stories of what I had heard. Oct. 2018, I had the awesome privilege of being a part of a twelve-person team, which only God could have put together, to serve MAF in Haiti.
Arriving in Port Au Prince, we were met by David Carwell, program manager of the MAF office in Haiti, who skillfully guided us through customs and mountains of red tape. Upon leaving the airport, we observed sights and sounds I was not prepared for and traffic that would challenge the most experienced commuter driver, putting him in cold sweats of fear! After uncurling from a fetal position and opening my eyes, we arrived at our living quarters, which to my amazement, was a very nice guest house bearing the African name of Karibuni. Operated by former African missionaries, we had the feeling of love and protection by, what felt like, a host of angels in charge of caring for all of us!
Serving MAF at the hanger in Port Au Prince was what I expected. The team performed maintenance and construction jobs that would rival any construction company in the US. (Did I mention God put this team together?) We had the privilege of meeting David Carwell’s fellow pilots, Dave Simon and Dave Harms (asking to speak to pilot Dave was always interesting). Pilot John Gorenflo, on loan from headquarters, was filling in to support the undermanned staff (a huge prayer concern). Working with the Haitian support staff at the hanger was a blessing in itself, but meeting the families of the Dave’s was an unexpected joy! Always nice to see in person, those whom we have been praying for on the prayer cards.
At this point, our trip had met our expectations. We knew of the poverty in Haiti. However, the poverty in Port Au Prince was unusually bad, so we thought, for being the capitol city. Keep in mind Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. If the trip would have ended here, it would have been a good trip; we would have served MAF and all went home satisfied with what we had accomplished, but… God was not finished with our hearts!
Through the Holy Spirits leading, Alexis Adams and David Carwell, (I’m sure many others) orchestrated a trip to Jeremie, Haiti, that had the potential to be life changing, or a complete swing and miss; God threw us a softball and it was up to us.
Haiti Bible Mission (HBM) is one of the organizations MAF serves in Haiti and of course only one of the hundreds of organizations served around the world by MAF. Located eight hours southwest by car, it is only a forty minute flight with a Caravan (how many times have we heard similar stories like this around the world.) We were able to go with HBM on their weekly food distribution and witness the faces of the people receiving the food. This was humbling, to say the least. Before I continue, let me remind you there is no electricity, running water and no sewer system where we were going. HBM also supports a school for grades K-6. We were able to visit that school by riding in a truck as far as we could travel and then walking the rest of the way. The trek took us down a trail to a river that can only be crossed by foot and then back up the other side to where the school stands. Every student and teacher has to make this trek every day! The only time school is canceled is when the current is too strong. This only touches the surface of what HBM does for the Lord.
I had mentioned earlier the sights and sounds and smells of Port Au Prince that caught me off guard; it wasn’t possible for my western mind to ever imagine what was waiting for us in downtown Jeremie. Let me just say Haitians are a proud people that have survived unbearable poverty, for generations, that humbled me to the core of my soul; and I can’t wait to go back!
This article is not about my weak stomach. It is about that boy or girl who every day walks for miles just for the privilege to attend school. It’s about the mother who treks through the jungle every week for food to keep her family from starving. This article is about, none of these things happening without the support of MAF!
My heart saw what my mind could never comprehend! My prayer is to keep serving the Lord through MAF! These vision trips are where the stories we hear at the yearly Advocate Summit come alive. I honestly feel every MAF Advocate should go on a vision trip. God Bless!
Click HERE to watch a short video of the team’s time in Haiti!
~ Mark Turpin, MAF Advocate