Last January, I had the privilege of traveling to Cancun with a group of our Hope Program teens to serve orphans, widows and impoverished communities there. It was a beautiful experience which you can read about in my Cancun blog posts- part 1, part 2 and part 3. During and immediately following that trip, a dream was born. The teens desired to continue to serve, and this time they wanted to go farther and bigger; this time they wanted to go to Haiti!
With time, God has developed a vision and many opportunities to train them and prepare them spiritually for the trip, scheduled for this May/June. Their vision is based in the words of Luke 4:18-19:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Week after week since this summer, I have had the privilege to stand beside them as they share their stories, their vision, their dream and ask people to come alongside it. Prayer has been essential as they have moved forward, and they have also been raising money by selling popsicles and homemade zipper bracelets (which are awesome!). Far beyond the financial provision, the nights that we have shared in front of the visiting groups of Americans have been full of connection and incredible encouragement.
Around thanksgiving time, the students were busy with exams and various activities. When the night came for them to share that week, we were frankly unprepared. Only 3 students were able to be there and share, and we had no bracelets made to sell. Priscila, the leader of the team, was unable to make it that night and I stood before the 3 tired faces in front of me and told them: “Tonight, it is not about money. I just want you to share your stories and your visions, and then we are going to pray.” So, we did.
After sharing their stories and vision, we called the group to come up, lay hands on the teens and pray for their trip. A man from the group began to pray in English and he was boldly asking for and proclaiming that the teens would not only complete all the money that they needed to go, but that they would receive way more than they even needed.
Oh me of little faith (and the only one of the “Haiti group” that understood the words of his prayer) thought to myself: this guy has no clue how much more money we have to raise, how much work, time and impossibility stand between our reality and his prayer. I said nothing out loud, but my goodness, my faith was small!
Within two weeks after he prayed that prayer, the entire trip was paid for! Money poured in miraculously and every student now has their trip paid for. And as a result, they have from now until May to continue sharing their story and selling their bracelets, inviting people to be a part of the dream and receiving more than they even need! They will be able to use any extra funds for deeper projects and future opportunities.