Baggage in HaitiRich Stigall
Trips and baggage. For trips to Haiti, our baggage is often filled with peanut butter, bed sheets, or medical supplies, but for many of us, the trip turns about to be about much more than the flight. We often realize we’ve brought more baggage to Haiti than what we checked or carried on.
Such was the case recently for one V-Tripper (“Chris”) who came to Haiti from a dark, personal place. Chris was convinced a rough past had permanently marred his life. The void would define him – past, present, and future, and the weight of that fate was crushing. Even the songs of Haitian children couldn’t lift him, as he sat in a corner with his head in his hands. One boy in the Haitian choir noticed Chris’ burden, stopped singing, came over, placed both hands over this American and began to pray. Other Haitian boys joined with “Jezi remem ou” – Jesus loves you. God used the spontaneous outpouring of love from a child, the gift of prayer, and the power of Truth to work in Chris’ heart.
Later that weekend at the bead ceremony, Chris shared that for the first time he felt free. The baggage isn’t gone, but he is no longer weighed down by it. If you met Chris today and asked him that common, return-home question, “How was Haiti?” he probably wouldn’t talk about the church sermon, soccer games, or even the children. You’d likely hear, “I went with baggage; now I’m free.”
I identify with Chris. I’ve known the burden of carrying my baggage, and I know the joy of being set free by the grace of Jesus. How about you? Have you taken this trip? Not the physical trip to Haiti, but the spiritual journey Chris took to freedom?
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. – John 8:36
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28