It has been 3 and half months since I returned from Haiti.
I still have three realities that I have been sitting with since I returned from Port-au-Prince.
1. The re-entry has still been very difficult.
2. I was haunted by the question of: When I am going back? I was somewhat anxious because some of the other YMATH members were able to go back to Haiti. I really tried to convince myself I needed to go back, but I sensed I would be rushing it.
3. How was I going to share my Haiti experience with my youth ministry? For two months I tried my best not to really talk about Haiti because I still had re-entry vertigo and I didn’t want to project on my students. I was diligently praying asking God: How can I effectively share my Haiti encounter in a healthy and productive way with my students?
Then… I had this idea pop in my head…..
Why don’t you simulate a 30 hour event that mirrors the Tent City– Marassa?
So I did it. On Friday, April 30th and Saturday, May 1st our jr high and high school students pretended to be the Haitian people living in a tent city aka “cardboard box” for 30 hours while worshiping and praying. I stressed to my students when you become uncomfortable, God has your attention so you can become dependent on Him. During the 30 hours I was able to talk about my Haiti experience through stories, videos, pictures, and simulation.
I made students not eat anything, wear the same clothes, not take a shower, and not use electricity. They also were highly encouraged to sleep in a card board box and participate in 4 worship and prayer services, all while staying in the same place for 30 hours. I warned my students that this Haiti weekend would be tough–physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
Our mock trial Haiti weekend was a hit!!! To be honest, I was really worried that it would be to hard for the students and they wouldn’t get it!! Needless to say, they kind of got it. At 1:34am I had a dedicated group of student praying and worshiping Jesus together.
Some stuff our students learned:
1. When you have no electricity you have to be creative
2. When you are starving and tired the best thing to do is pray and worship
3. Praying out loud and together is not so awkward and the Haitian Christians make it look easy
4. God shows up if you are paying attention and give Him attention
5. Sleeping on the ground sucks
6. Jr high boys really start to stink after 10 hours
7. Drinking water is a big deal and essential for the human body
8. When your comfort has been stripped, it is easier to experience God
9. The flesh is not that powerful, when you rely on God
10. The Haitian people are actually willing to walk out in faith