By Leigh-Ellen, contributing writer.
We walked out of the airport and immediately the smell hit me. It’s hard to describe but I will say it wasn’t pleasant. Our team stood out in the busy crowd as we hurried to get on our bus. As we drove down the busy streets, men and women would jump up to our windows begging us to buy snacks. That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t in the United States anymore and it was terrifying.
As a teenager, I had a deep calling to leave the comfort of my home to go minister to those less fortunate in Haiti. I heard stories about how life-changing these trips were and I wanted that. I wanted to feel involved with sharing the love of Jesus to those that had never heard the good news.
God taught me so much during this trip and I’m grateful for that.
The shock of how the people live everyday overwhelmed me. The steep mountain that they have to walk up just to provide water for their household. The smells of the streets and the fact that some children didn’t even have clothing to wear, caused me to become completely overwhelmed.
I knew that the Haitians were living in poverty but to see it and experience it first hand shocked me. This was before the 2010 earthquake and the recent Hurricane Matthew. If living conditions were that bad before these two devastating natural disasters, I can’t imagine how bad they are now.
I do know that those that believe in Christ are still gathering to worship. They still have hope even after this devastating hurricane. They will come together and work hard to rebuild with what little supplies they have.
If I noticed anything about the Haitians, it was that they are hard workers, willing to do what needs to do be done.
Haiti has a very special place in my heart. It’s where God showed me that stuff doesn’t buy happiness. These people love each other and provide for their families with a smile on their face even without the luxuries that we have in the states.
So, maybe you haven’t traveled to Haiti but you still desperately want to help them during this difficult time.
This holiday season I want to encourage you to give to these sweet people. The country of Haiti (and other suffering countries) needs our support right now more than we need the latest technology or new clothes.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” -Proverbs 3:27
I want to share with you 5 different organizations that give to those in need with each donation and/or purchase you make:
Fair Trade Friday Club: This is a subscription box that has three different options and price ranges. You can choose the original box ($31.99 a month), bracelet of the month ($13.99 a month), or earring of the month ($11.99 a month). The good news about Fair Trade Friday is that 100% of the earnings go to the women and children who created the items you are buying.
Samaritan’s Purse: Go to the gift catalog to see what you can give to those in need. You can also go directly to the Haiti page to learn about donating a shoe box through Operation Christmas Child. This is a fun project to do with your children and gives you the opportunity to talk with them about being grateful.
Tenthousandvillages.com: By purchasing from this website, you can help provide for a family. This site has a wide variety of gifts ranging from jewelry to home decor. You can search for Haiti items in the search bar if you are focused on giving back to that specific country. I personally love the Gather Metal Wall Art!
Etsy.com: This beautiful print was created by Kelly at HelloWorldStamps. I love that she has offered to give 100% of the proceeds to a Haiti Missions Team. You could buy an inexpensive frame and this print and it would make a great gift for a friend or loved one.
Esperos Bags: These bags would make a great gift for men or women. I love the simplicity of these but, more importantly, they give 10% of profits to educate children in the developing world.
We have all heard that the Holidays are more about giving than receiving but I encourage you to strive for a simple Christmas this year. A Christmas that is more about giving and sharing God’s love to those that are suffering.
Please continue to pray for Haiti and all of the other places that have been effected by the hurricane.
How do you plan to give back this holiday season?
Will you invite someone over that doesn’t have family close by? volunteer? Will you sponsor a local family?
We can all find a way to show the love of Jesus to others.