Alyssa Hunnicutt is a part of StudentCity in Redemption City Church. She and her brother, Austin, were vital members of the team we sent to Haiti in March of 2015. We asked Alyssa to process her experience on the mission trip for us and share some of what she learned along the way.
Hi, my name is Alyssa Hunnicutt, and I am a 17-year-old home-schooled junior. My experiences in Haiti were life changing. I went to Haiti because, since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to go on mission to a third world country. While there, I learned so much from the people of Haiti. Mainly, I learned to be content, to be real, and to be joyful.
Being content has always been a struggle of mine, but not in the usual way we think of. I have always been content with the physical possessions my family has, but I always wanted to be doing more, helping more people, and feeling like I did something extremely productive that day.
But Haiti taught me that you have to have a million drops of water to fill the bucket.
What we did in Grand Goave that week is not going to permanently affect the nation of Haiti, but if we all gave up serving because we weren’t making a big enough difference, then nothing of substantial good will ever happen on this planet. In Grand Goave, we did what, from the outside, might seem like small, insignificant tasks, such as making a concrete bucket line or walking around asking people if we could pray for them. Here are two examples that prove no matter what task you are doing God will use you:
1. While at the house-building site, there were many children that gathered outside the fence to see the white people (us), who are referred to as “blanc”(white in Creole). Members of our group would go out and play or color with the children. While I was coloring with the children, my brother hollered to me from the bucket line and asked me what “I need water” is in Spanish. I was quite puzzled but answered him.
Later I found out that he and several other team members were in a lengthy conversation with one of the workman, MG, that covered everything from Spanish language, American cities and food, and my brother’s favorite subject, American politics. While these may seem like typical or even boring topics to us, this worker listened intently because knowledge of anything American, English, or Spanish is an opportunity for a better life for them.
2. The other example was when we were prayer walking. A guide took a group of three or four and a translator through a village, and we stopped at each house and asked about the family’s needs, then prayed for them. While doing this, one of our groups witnessed an amazing work of God. When they came up to a house and asked the woman if she had any prayer needs, she asked them to pray for her spiritual life so that she might become a Christian soon. They asked her if she wanted to pray now, and she did. God had them in the right place at the right time to witness the miracle of conversion.
Many of you may wonder what I mean by “to be real.” By being real, I mean being open with your feelings, emotions, and thoughts without about being worried about what others will think or what is socially acceptable. In America, many of us hide our true selves behind the things we like. Sometimes that can be helpful. I, for one, use my love of music and movies as my shield. Talking about the music and movies I like is a lot easier than talking about what I am going through or, in many cases, what I even think. I know that I have many opinions that are not popular among friends or even my generation. By not voicing those opinions, I get lost in the crowd of singled-minded teenagers.
But God does not call us to be just another Facebook account; He calls to be the light of the world and salt of the earth. In Haiti, the Christians we met are proud of being different and being the light in the darkness. Their hope is from the Lord, not from earthly pleasures and expectations. Even though they are “the least of these,” they are some of the most open people I have ever met, willing to share their love of Christ with whoever will listen.
Last, I learned to be joyful. Being joyful can sometimes be hard, even in America. Many times we get caught up in what we don’t have or what’s wrong with our lives. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are lamenting over something that cannot be fixed. On this trip, my test was my brother getting sick. For those of you that haven’t heard, my brother Austin got sick and vomited almost every 20 minutes for 36 hours. Being in a third world country without my parents or a hospital was tormenting. I gave him every kind of nausea and stomach medicine we had, but nothing helped. We had come to Haiti to help people, but instead, he was lying on his bunk, sweating and throwing up in 90 degree heat.
Then, I remembered what my mom tells us all the time, “God is in control.” If God did not want my brother to be sick, he wouldn’t be sick. He was sick for a reason that benefited him or someone else, even if we couldn’t see it. After trusting God’s control, the situation immediately became better for me (Austin would still be sick for another 12 hours). Letting go and relying on God’s wisdom and omnipotence brought on a peace that was beyond understanding. The people in Haiti have nothing, yet they are joyful all the time because they know that God loves them and is in control.
The trip to Grand Goave, Haiti is long and hard, but the impact that we made on the people there and the incredible imprint they made on our hearts is more than worth it. We learned how to live with limited things and a lot love. We got to grow together as a local church and worship together with our church family around the world. I hope by reading these lessons I learned in Haiti, you will be encouraged to ask the questions that will further your walk with Jezí (Jesus).
Love, in Christ,