We started our time at the beach with one hour of immersion in our Bibles. My family will love this because we focused on the "Beattitudes." In my childhood, Matthew 5:1-12 was one of the many portions of the Bible that my sister and I would recite on the way to school in my mom's car. That time of reflection reminded me of the many times I prayed in preparation for my trip to Haiti.
Then it was time to dive into the fun. I saw many different kinds of fish and shared meaningful conversations with some of the people I have grown close with over the course of the week. It was also a time to just be silly and clumsily fall into the water over and over and over again. This portion of the day represented the service portion of our trip. Certain times were harder than others. We helped in a home for sick and dying babies. We gave water to one of the poorest places in the world. We saw a country in recovery of a tragedy. We felt the joy of Jesus Christ as we sought to give it to others in our own unique ways. We saw each other reach out to those in need. This was equivalent to our time in the ocean. Riding the ups and downs of the trip and doing our best to not be overwhelmed by the strength of the God's presence in this place.
At one specific point at the beach, Ally and I were looking out at the beach and mountains behind and ocean beyond from a higher seat of a large concrete cliff thing that we might not have been allowed to be on. However, we were there for a reason. At that moment, I saw Haiti in the way that God wanted me to see it. Beauty in Haiti can never be described in words (at least not in a way that does justice to the truth of its beauty), but I'll describe the scene as best I can. The mountains tall and full of lucious greenery contrasted with the white sand of the beach. Then the ocean stretched as far as the eye could sea (pun); the blue water and white waves reflected the sky in one of the most spectacular scenes I have ever seen in my entire life. But why was it beautiful? Because God created it. Every grain of sand, every tree, every drop of water was created by God. This connects to my specific experience in Haiti, and the way that God chose Haiti to leave its mark on my life. God showed me today that everything created by Him can be seen as beautiful. A baby in Mother Theresa's who was sick and crying was made beautifully by Him. A mother holding her weekly water supply for her children was made beautifully by Him. My life has had ups and downs, but God made me in His image to be another beautiful example of His creation. I'm not perfect, but I wasn't made to be perfect. I was made to be imperfectly beautiful. Every person here is a beautiful example of that truth in each of our own dysfunctional ways (I love you guys a lot).
Finally, tonight was our final family meeting and team meeting. Tonight I looked around at all the people who chose to come down to Haiti on this trip, and I couldn't help but smile and cry at the same time. Two years ago, my life was very different. Woodridge's youth group was not a part of it. Different people and situations brought me down to a low place two years ago, and I had difficulty seeing the good things in life. I felt empty. This trip has proved to me that the only way to find true, everlasting, and fulfilling joy is to surround yourself with people who love Jesus and to seek Him out constantly in your own life. I am one who hungered and thirsted for righteousness, and God filled me up on this trip with everlasting joy. Even when I cannot remember everything little detail that happened on this trip, it has shaped me more than I could ever describe. God made me beautiful, and I feel His joy when I trust His path and do my very best to faithfully follow it. That path lead me to Haiti, and I feel so blessed that God lead everyone here as well. Thank you Haiti. Thank you Woodridge. Thank you God for everything.
Maggie Franke over and out.
P.S. Can't wait to tell you all about my trip Mom & Dad:)