My Journey to Haiti: Part Two

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It was the summer of my Freshman year (2009), when I took my first trip to Haiti.  Looking back, I took that trip for all the wrong reasons.   I went because my boyfriend at the time was going, I thought it would be fun, my youth pastor convinced me to go, and I enjoyed the positive reaction I got from my family when they heard about the trip.   I went to Haiti thinking I would go for a week, enjoy another mission trip, and come home to live life like normal.

Boy was I wrong!

I may not have gone for the right reasons, my heart and motives may have been completely wrong, but let me tell you:  God used that trip to change my life forever.  He knew exactly what he was doing.  There was a reason he pushed my youth pastor to stay on me about going, and there was a reason He provided the funds for the trip.  His reason wasn't to satisfy my poor motives, it was to make His name, power, love, and Glory shine through me: a life that seemed unusable at the time.  God is pretty incredible like that!  Just look at how he turned Paul's life around!

While on that first trip to Haiti, I had a real slap in the face, knock you to the ground, you've gotta shape up encounter with God.  I was humbled dramatically by the people I met, the circumstances they lived in, and everything we experienced that week.  In Port au Prince, Haiti 2009, standing in the Faith Hope Love Infant Rescue, I understood for the first time, what true unselfish Godly love was supposed to look like.  Listening to Dorothy's testimony I finally understood what undeniable faith looked like. Through that trip, and the weeks following, I realized how messed up my life was.  I realized that I had strayed so far off course from what a Christian should be, and I knew things had to change.

I took small steps at that point, trying to get my life back on track.  The process was not easy, as I was still in that unhealthy relationship and not ready to give it up.  I knew, deep in my heart, my relationship was the biggest barrier standing between me and God.  I tried to "fix" the relationship, and justify those steps, but again, God knew better.  I was so afraid to walk away, paralyzed by the fear of loneliness, that I wouldn't give it up.

So, God intervened.

He gave my boyfriend at the time, enough courage to walk away and end things.  I was so hurt.  Lost.  Dying of sadness inside.  I thought my life had ended.  Little did I know, God would use that time to shape me into the woman I am today.

He knew I needed to be stripped bare of all of my comforts so that the only place left to run was to Him, and that's exactly what I did.   I dug my face into the Bible every night that first year.  I begged, pleaded, and cried to the Lord every night to take the heartache away, and every night he'd put my heart at rest.  God taught me through that painful situation to rely on Him, and Him alone for my needs.  He reminded me of the commitment I had made to him 13 years back.  God got my life, relationships, and journey back on track.  Most importantly, however, through His compassion, forgiveness, and persistence in my life I learned to put my Faith, hope, love, and trust in Him, and Him alone.  If I didn't understand what a relationship with Christ looked like at 6 years old, I most definitely learned in that moment!  I have never doubted my relationship with Christ. I knew I was a believer and that I had been saved, but it wasn't until after that trip to Haiti that I truly, wholeheartedly, 100% gave my life to Christ.  I decided that I couldn't, and wouldn't, ever go back to that place of loneliness, hurt, and insecurity.  I understood just how much I needed Christ, and from that moment on I have tried my very best to maintain a great relationship with Him and follow His calling.

I am not perfect.  I have never been perfect.  I've made some terrible, TERRIBLE, mistakes throughout my life.  Many mistakes I wish I could take back and erase from my past, but I can't.  They shaped me into who I am today.  While I hope 16 year old Allyson, never returns, I have to thank God for using that awful time in my life to shape me into a better person.  God could have left me, but He never gave up, not once!  

Fast forward to 2011.  At this point, I had finally healed from the breakup, mended all of the broken relationships, and had gotten life pretty well back on course.  Obviously,  I wasn't perfect those two years and made mistakes, but I had finally found peace and meaning in my life.  Over the course of those two years, two BIG years in the life of a young person, I had to make a lot of decisions about who I wanted to be, where I wanted to be, and how I was going to continue this chapter of my life into adulthood.  I spent countless hours praying and asking God to guide my path.  I asked Him to show me where He'd like me to be.  I prayed that He would use me and my life for His glory, whatever that looked like (that's a big prayer yall!!).  Every time I went searching for God's guidance my mind would turn to Haiti.  My heart longed to go back so badly.  There wasn't a single day that Haiti didn't cross my mind in one way or another.  I knew I had to go back, but had no idea how or when.  I also didn't put it together at first that God was answering my prayer.  He was saying I want you in Haiti; screaming it really.  I honestly thought he would give me a response regarding interior design, and for awhile the thought of any other path in life seemed out of question.  

It wasn't until the summer of 2011, that things really came together.  A mission trip to Ethiopia had fallen through, and Cassie (my best friend) encouraged me to go back to Haiti.  She knew how much I missed it, and how much I had longed to be back.  So, I contacted Dorothy, worked out the details, and Cassie and I headed to Haiti in December of 2011.

I had no clue when I got on the plane December 27, 2011 that my life was about to take a dramatic U-turn and finally fall into place how God planned.  We stayed with and worked at Dorothy's for two weeks during that trip.   My heart fell in love all over again with the people, culture, and Country. So much so, that I knew after our trip that I had to pursue missions in Haiti.  I didn't know what that would look like, or how it would happen, but I knew this beautiful and wonderful place would become a part of my life forever.

I spent the next few months in deep prayer, and time in the Word, looking for answers.  After a few weeks at home, I knew the calling was undeniable.  I knew 100% that I was supposed to move to Haiti and work as a missionary.  I knew, that I knew, that I knew.  But I was terrified.

In March of 2012, Cassie and I were both terribly missing Haiti.  So much, that I could barely make it an hour through a day without thinking about Dorothy, the kids, or Haiti.  We jokingly mentioned going back, and then decided that we really had to go, and started planning.  My roommates, at the time, mentioned an interest in joining me for a trip to Haiti so we opened up the trip to them as well.  Meredith immediately jumped on board, Jodi was having nothing to do with it, and shortly after, Jessica decided to join us!  I was so excited to share this place I had fallen in love with, with three of my best friends.  Even more so, I was super-giddily-excited to board that plane in May.  I couldn't wait to get back, discuss doing missions down there with Dorothy, and see how God was going to use that trip.

To my surprise, I left that trip in May feeling unsure of God's calling, and really questioning if I had heard him right.  Dorothy asked some hard questions and I really had to step back and examine, in great detail, whether God was calling me to Haiti; and if so, what was He calling me to do, and where specifically?

Did I mention I was absolutely, paralyzing-ly, terrified.  I spent many days crying at the thought of moving to Haiti.  There was just no way God would be calling me:  A 21 year old, with a terribly messed up past, to be a missionary.  There was just no way.  I didn't think I could do it.  There was just no way I could move to another Country alone.  I was too scared.


A crippling, yet completely irrational, fear, that I let consume me.  In that short time I stepped away from pursuing the move, and decided I was unfit and incapable.  I immersed myself in school work, graduation, and applying for jobs.  I told myself that I had misunderstood God, and that this is where He wanted me, not in Haiti.  

Guess what?  I was wrong --- AGAIN!

For months I applied, applied, and applied some more, for jobs.  I took interview after interview thinking for sure I'd get a position, start working, get my own place, blah, blah blah.  God had other plans though.  He knew exactly where He wanted me, and that was not here in Durham, NC.  He wanted me in Haiti!! After multiple declined positions, and conversations with close friends, I realized that God was telling me this was not my path.  He knew if I got offered a job, that I would take it and get off track again.  God knew that I'd eventually come around, and realize that once again I'd stepped off course and needed to get back on track.

And, that's what I did.

I finally surrendered (again), and said "Ok God, I give up trying to maintain control of my life.  I know this is not where you want me, so please take the reigns and steer me in the right path."  I prayed,  "I'm ready Lord.  Help me to overcome my fears so that I can do the great work you have planned.  I'll go wherever you send me."

And well, you guessed it...He sent me back to Haiti!

During the summer of 2012, The opportunity for a third trip opened up.  I jumped at the opportunity, knowing this would be the trip to change everything.  This would be the trip where I finally took steps to overcome my fears, and truly follow God's calling for me to move to Haiti.

I had no idea just how BIG this trip would be!! I had no clue that God was going to bless my life in ways I never saw coming, before I even stepped foot back onto Haitian soil.  I knew God wanted me in Haiti, but the things he has done over the last few months have blown my mind while reassuring me, and my family, that this is most definitely the path I'm supposed to take.

Stay tuned, the best part is coming!

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