Upon returning home to South Carolina after five weeks at Hope Vision, Haiti Gospel Fund asked Anna Bargeron to write a reflection article on the time that she and her husband, T.J., spent there. We thank her for this contribution to our newsletter.
We both agree that one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do was say goodbye-for-now to our precious family at Hope Vision Ministry. For several days leading up to our departure, many of the kiddos began a countdown for how much longer we would be there; it was a unique kind of countdown, however, that actually didn’t count down at all. Instead of taking a day away each morning, they added another one to it. Several of them would even whisper “Please don’t go” in our ears whenever they hugged us. We took in as many hugs and kisses we could the entire we were there, but we snagged dozens more each day during our last week. Our last night was one of the best and worst nights we’ve ever had; singing praises to our Father in heaven each night was one of our favorite parts of our days with them, but that night was somber as we prepared to give out more “see-ya-laters” than we could handle on our own. They knew that we would be gone when they woke up in the morning, and many of them cried as they latched on to us tightly. Neither of us will ever forget how heart breaking that night was.
Our heartache came from being saturated in their culture, language, and way of life for five weeks and not knowing when that would happen again. In those five weeks, we developed friendships and trust while totally and completely giving our hearts away all over again every time the sun rose. Some days were harder than others, but the joy of the Lord was always our strength. In the midst of frustrations and anger, our God was faithful to draw near to us as we ran to Him. When we questioned our purpose there, we were reminded that nothing done for the Lord, no matter how big or small, is ever done in vain, for He is working everything for our good and, most importantly, His glory. When we laughed and smiled, which was most of the time, we could almost see Him as we felt Him joining us in our bliss. We had more good days than bad, but even when times were not as good as others, we were still blessed, our hearts still rejoiced, and our mouths still sang out to the Most High God.
Do we miss Haiti? Absolutely. Do we wonder when we’ll be called to go back? Every day. Our time at Hope Vision was a time of reliance on the Father as He transformed us to make us look more like Jesus, but it didn’t stop when we left; in fact, he heightened it. We learned so much about our God while we were in Haiti, but that only made us want to know more about Him, to dwell in His presence more, to live as children of the light with every breath we breathe. Haiti taught us a lot about ourselves, our marriage, and our view of Christ, which has caused us to fix our eyes on Him more whole-heartedly during this past month of being back home. We love to tell the story of our time there, because is tells of the love + joy + peace + patience + kindness + goodness + faithfulness + gentleness + self-control of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Even in the midst of so much hopeless and despair, our God is making a way in the desert.
We praise Him for allowing us to play a role in His perfect plan of drawing all nations to Himself, and it is our most intimate prayer that His kingdom would come and His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. May our prayer for every nation, especially this one that we’ve fallen in love with, be the same as that which Jesus prayed in Gethsemane before His death and resurrection: Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. (John 17:11) We want to be known for how brightly that love Christ shines out of us. What will you be known for?