Thirst for culture and language is a large part of who I am. During my time in China, my favorite class was language class and learning the characters of Mandarin. Over the years I have spent some time trying to make sense of Russian. I will never forget the trip to Kurlovo in Russia when I’d picked up enough phrases to make it sound like I spoke fluent Russian. Little Dima got in my face and just kept jabbering. I think I understood every 10th word. When I said in Russian, “I don’t speak Russian!” He told me “Yes, you DO!” And thought I’d created a new game to play. Ha!

And now I find myself having spent enough time learning and submerged in Creole that I can translate small conversations between visiting Americans and the kids in the villages. Emphasis on SMALL conversations. However, definitely at the point the kids think I speak more than I actually speak and tell me all sorts of things I have not a clue what they are really saying. Contractions in Haitian slang will be the death of me!

But the key to all of this is practice. I spent almost seven years learning French in school and university, but could not have kept a conversation going even if someone held a gun to my head!

Really great practice for me is when a lot of the kids like to test me. Lovesonnes is on a color phase, and yesterday he kept at me with saying a color in English and I would tell him the Creole word. Easy. I know my colors well! Then we switched to animals. Not so good there!

One of the things I cherish most at the villages is knowing the kids. One of my friends has been sick for a couple of weeks. Tacura has slowly been healing, and yesterday was the first day in a while that he was completely back to his highly energetic, goofy, lovable self. He was on my back and would shimmy up to where he could rest his head on my shoulder and put his cheek next to mine with our ears pressed together so it sounded like I was in a tunnel when I talked. Then he was acting like he was driving a car and squealing like a horn…in my ear. Good thing we have a good friendship and I know how sick he’s been, or that screaming *might* have been annoying.

At one point he asked to go to the cafeteria and we sat in a quiet corner where he started asking me questions in Creole. He knows my language limits and phrases things so I understand him. It was precious time spent with my friend, but also excellent practice for my language skills.

Before we left last night, a new American friend was holding Onelson…who was almost asleep. Everyone else is getting on the bus and she looked at me with the question of “Do I just put him down?” We took him to his room where he decided he wasn’t that sleepy, as toddlers do, and kept saying, “No!”

Tacura thought this was hilarious, but they live in the same room, so this was not new to him. Soon, Onelson was out and dead weight. Tacura immediately, started pulling the American’s arm while tip toeing making hilarious contortions with his face down the room length, simultaneously holding his finger to his lips…the international sign of please shut up. I hadn’t seen that animation in his face and eyes in weeks, as I stood in the doorway I couldn’t help but smile at this sweet scene that transcended language barriers.

Language barriers have never bothered me, and I fully acknowledge I am unique in that trait. I find myself so thankful for practice with my American friends, and translators who get that I am at the point where I am just going to go for it and say the sentence in Creole that they will need to correct.

But even more so, I love the quiet, memorable moments of when I practice language with the small friends in my life that speak Russian and Creole…all because it leads to a deepening of trust and being known within the relationships God is nurturing.



Visit me. I dare you. Come and see how the majority world exists outside of the American bubble. Outside of the ritz and sparkle of an entire country hiding their problems, suffocating in shame and guilt, and spiritually dead in so many ways.

Come and see the beauty of a place that is dusty, hot…and spiritually alive.

But don’t bring your savior complex with you. You will not save Haiti. And frankly, those who have tried to save Haiti have just made situations so much worse. There is one thing Haiti needs…prayer. And that is an answer directly from one of our Pastors.

Leave your quick judgments at the door of the plane, because ‘orphan’ may not mean what you expect. Dignity has been taken away from parents who come to the heartbreaking decision they cannot take care of their kids. Also, from parents who live outside orphanages that have raised the standard of care so far above the surrounding village that there seems to be no other choice than to give a child to them to care for, which is so wrong it breaks my heart. Other kids truly have no one, and some have family that cannot take them into their home. But those judgments are not for us to make. God calls us to love and give grace equally.

Don’t bring your American fix-it in a day mentality. You will not fix anything here. But you can love here. It is accepted and appreciated. But only if you seek no recognition and nothing in return.

You do not bring God here. And I guarantee you will come across a Haitian believer whose belief in the One who saves will humble you to your knees as your inadequate adoration and need for the God who created you floods your soul. God has been alive and active here long before you come and far beyond when you leave.

Do not bring your American version of Christianity here. Come here to be renewed and restored to how God wants to live in you. Then allow yourself to be called into a new way of living in the States. Allow God to use Haiti to fill you and transform you.

Please leave your pity for poverty at home. There is beauty here at every turn and God seeks to restore dignity to the Haitian people. Pity does not allow dignity in the souls of God’s people. Curiosity and genuine questions learning about the people and culture restore dignity without pouring out all of the things you had leftover from a garage sale on this environment. That mentality has forced chicken and rice farmers, as well as future small business tailors out of business due to massive donations of chicken legs, rice and clothes. Physically you may feel you have ‘so much more’ than these ‘poor people,’ but in my humble opinion…we have so much less. Poor does not always mean broken.

The more and more I see believers come to this place and go home ignited with new purpose and fresh Holy Spirit awakening, it becomes more and more evident that the world is not going to change Haiti. American money will not save Haiti. Americans will not save Haiti. Instead, I firmly believe that Haiti will save America. And if the world chooses to pay attention…God will use Haiti to change the world.

Over and over again I see people come down here and go home restored, transformed and ignited. But you have to come and let Haiti be Haiti and open to God doing what God does.

I dare you to come allow God to change you in Haiti.

I dare you to let God use the abandoned and vulnerable of Haiti to ignite you.

I dare you to leave behind your American ideals and solutions and just come be with the people of Haiti as a fellow God created human.

I dare you to abandon your preconceived notions about what it is like here and instead find the unexpected.

I dare you to embrace the confusing, yet supernatural exchange that happens when Haiti comes alive through abandoned kids.

I dare you to truly see the beauty in Haiti through the kids I am honored to know and love.

I dare you.