Last April, I had the opportunity to travel to Port au Prince, Haiti, to help rebuild a school that friends at the South Lewiston Baptist Church had been building for three years. The crowning touch was going to be a completed roof. The January 2010 earthquake changed everything, and I joined the mission group as they returned to help restore the school.
This trip was a life-changing event for me. I have always worked hard and had plenty for myself. Life in America is good. We are the land of plenty. But those eight days in Haiti made me realize that life is not always good for others. In fact, some parts of civilization have to endure tremendous hardships just to survive. Despite their difficult circumstances, the Haitians I met were both beautiful physically and filled with tremendous faith and optimism. I left with renewed compassion and a strong drive to help rebuild schools. Education is the most precious gift one can give, and it has long been part of my personal mission in life to support quality education in my own community. Following last year’s trip, my definition of community was expanded.
From April 7-15, I will return to Port au Prince and our school. Much progress has been made in reconstructing it, and I am excited to see how far it has come since the cataclysmic events of last January. During the past year there have been other tragedies — Chile, Japan, and many others. The fact that the world has been made smaller through technology allows us to help in ways and places that were not possible just a few years ago.
When I return in a couple weeks, I will share an update on Haiti. In the meantime, I’d love to hear any questions you may have about the situation there, or even about ways you are reaching out in, and beyond, your own community.