Today we were blessed with the opportunity to worship at the Port-Au-Prince fellowship church. Much to my surprise the church was very similar to services I'm used to experiencing back home, but with a little extra "soul". The service was filled with both Haitians and ex-patriats, many of whom are serving through Christ in the community. When I attend church at home I tend to be on the shy side, quietly singing in worship. But today I went to the service with an open heart and new perspective after speaking with a young man that lives near the Healing Haiti guesthouse. Earlier this week this wise 16 year old boy made a profound statement that immediately stirred my heart. As we were singing in worship together he told us that we should always raise our hands to God and clap while singing; because some people do not have hands. I will never forget this statement and the immense gratitude this young man has for a humble life. Consequently today I clapped and sang with a newfound purpose and love for what God has given me. I've prayed for the people of Haiti countless times this week. I've prayed for their health, basic needs, dignity, peace and continued faith. There is so much to pray for that at times it feels overwhelming. But at the service this morning they did not focus on praying for their own advancement, but for our brothers and sisters of Christ who are persecuted for their love for Him. Every moment in Haiti I am reminded of how blessed we are and how basic gratitude should be.
Later in the afternoon we traveled up the mountain for an astonishing view of the island. From up above the view is picturesque...with beautiful mountains, foliage and a crystal blue ocean. I took in the view and thanked God for his beauty, but was eager to quickly trek back down the mountain. For me the true beauty of Haiti is in the people, in their smiles, their gratitude, their love for Jesus and their perseverance. It's with a heavy heart that I experience my last day in Haiti and leave behind the family that I gained this week. Our team now shares a bond that only we can understand. We have seen things that are hard to describe and at times are hard to talk about. But God has brought us together in support of one another and changed our lives forever.
For our loved ones back home, for those who prayed for us and supported us...I ask for your patience as we ease back into our daily lives. I ask that you pray for our reentry and that we continue to be His servants in whatever He leads us to do. God is good and through Him anything is possible. And perhaps He will call upon you next to serve on this incredible mission!
- Tamra Smilanich