Our final home team reflection is from Erin Vernon:
As our travel team makes their way back home, my heart is overflowing just thinking about them. I have been following their journey on the blog and I can’t help but smile when I read about their experiences.
One of the things we discussed at the retreat before the team left was the concept of being present, of enjoying each moment. From reading their heartfelt reflections, I would say that every member of the team has really focused in on this goal and succeeded.
Be present, enjoy each moment, carpe diem. These phrases get thrown around quite a bit and often they are misinterpreted. People seem to spin these clichés into mantras and overnight solutions for how to live a happier life. I think there is more to it than that.
To truly be present is not just to enjoy and embrace the positive or fun moments in life. We also need to be present in the negative, not-so-fun, and even downright depressing moments that come along. Each one of our travelers expressed a challenge in their reflections. From nerves and anxieties to physically not adjusting well to Haiti’s climate, the trip has had its difficulties.
What I admire about this year’s missionaries is that they were truly present to this experience and by doing so, they were able to learn valuable lessons from each challenge that they faced. Kelsey’s uncertainty about the language barrier led her to bond with the children in other ways and pushed her outside her comfort zone. Carol’s anxieties about traveling to Labrande for a second time were all but erased when she felt the warm embraces of her friends from last year. And John’s literal puddle of sweat caused him to turn straight to God for help and God answered him right away. These are powerful lessons that allowed our team to persevere through challenges large and small.
I am abundantly grateful to have been a member of this year’s home team. Traveling to Haiti last year was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I could not be more proud of the travelers this year. My job was to support them from home as they prepared for the trip, but I think I ended up learning more from them than they did from me. I am inspired just to know them and I am in awe of their faith, boldness, commitment, kindness, compassion, love, and strong desire to serve. I look forward to seeing Carol, Carly, Kelli, Kelsey, and John when they return. I can’t wait to hear all their stories in person and to continue the strong friendships we have built.