PreviewLife Changing….UPIKE’s Time in Haiti
by UPIKE Chaplain, Rob Musick

The words "life changing" are often used, but not often actualized. The recent trip of 16 UPIKE students to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was truly a “life changing” experience. The trip started on a note of concern and fear as some students heard that Haiti was dangerous and not yet safe. Within the first day of being on the ground, our students understood that Haiti is a land of beautiful people and beautiful mountains. The trip was open to all students and alumni and this broad invitation brought students from various disciplines and a host of different denominational backgrounds.
Preview The week was spent living next to an orphanage, which is home to 37 children, while spending the workday in a different community working on digging and building a community reservoir. In the mornings, the group would have a time of prayer and devotions and then load the bus for the work site. During the mornings the students worked tirelessly as they passed buckets full of sand, gravel and concrete, as our fellow Haitian friends and workers worked toward the project’s completion. In the afternoons the team joined in Children’s Bible Fellowship. Each afternoon the team would lead up to 75 children in games, crafts, and telling a Bible story with a drama which told the story through a skit. Although there was a language barrier throughout the week, the universal language of love, compassion, praise and play transcended all barriers. In the evenings, the team would return to their lodging and play with the children from the orphanage.
Preview While the team played with the children from the orphanage, soccer, ring-around-the rosie, and frisbee became very exciting times. One day the team took the first part of the morning to visit the children in their school and provided a time of crafts, singing, games and Bible lessons. It was deeply moving to be with the children in their environment and to see how they experience life every day. A truly amazing time was listening to the children praise Jesus through worship songs and prayer. Haitian children know how to pray and praise with great faith. After dark the team would sit down for dinner outside, an evening debriefing time, and would then enjoy a time of singing and worship. The late evening was spent hanging out with one another and learning Creole from our Haitian co-workers. Also on the trip, was a team of eight members from the First Baptist Church of Wishek, N.D., who joined the UPIKE team.
Preview Throughout the week the team worked and worshipped with local pastor Jackie and his Zion Tabernacle Church, as the community leader shared his vision of community transformation through hard work, prayer and the movement of God. Pastor Jackie shared with the team his vision of an elementary school, a seminary, a chicken coop, a village full of fruit trees and a community reservoir. The students were deeply moved by the faith of this community leader and his church’s deep commitment to see powerful change take place.
Overall, the students thought they were going to help out a people who were in great need and without hope, yet almost instantly the students realized that Haiti is a land full of passion, hope and promise. Our students were moved by the commitment to love and grace as experienced in Haiti. Through each hug, laugh and smile from the children, our UPIKE team came to realize Jesus’ words, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me” (Matthew 25:45). As the tears flowed and the team said goodbye to their new Haitian family, one thing was abundantly clear … we will return next year, and next year we will seek to build an elementary school for this community. The only question that remains is this: “Will you join us?” Will you hPreviewelp us in serving Jesus through this project? If you would like to know more, or have specific questions, please email or call me anytime. I look forward to sharing with you in person all that Jesus did with and through our team in Haiti.

Grace and Peace,
Rob Musick

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