I can remember having butterflies in my stomach for weeks leading up to my first trip to Haiti. What would it be like? Would it be safe? Would I be able to sleep? What would the food be like? Would I have the words to say to the Haitians?
Since that first trip I have been back to Haiti eleven times in five years. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been an amazing blessing.
I recently read the story of David & Goliath with fresh eyes and I was reminded of my time in Haiti. In 1 Samuel 17, when Saul was King and Israel was fighting the Philistines, a mighty Philistine named Goliath would come out day after day and say, “Why have you come to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us. I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together” (1 Samuel 17:8-10).
For forty days this “giant” would dare the Israelites to send a man to oppose him, but for forty days Israel was greatly afraid and no one stood up to defend their nation – God’s chosen people. Then one day, David, who was the youngest of eight children, took bread to his brothers who were drawn up in a line of battle with the Philistines. While delivering the bread, David heard Goliath speak the same words as before. In hearing this, young David stepped forward to fight Goliath.
I have read this story many times, but this time I was struck by where David’s confidence was found. David’s confidence definitely did not come from his own strength, as Goliath clearly had more experience in battle and more strength. His confidence was not in his armor, as he declined to wear King Saul’s armor and went with five simple stones and a sling. Nor was his confidence in the army of Israel, as they had no one else willing to fight Goliath.
In 1 Samuel 7:37, David showed us from where his confidence had come. David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” David’s only confidence came from a God who had proven Himself faithful to David.
Looking at these faces of our WWV team members over the last couple years, each of them have faced their own fears in coming to Haiti. When asked what their biggest fears were, this is what some of our team members had to say:
“The unknown! Not being able to communicate with the Haitian people and the humidity!” – Cynthia Foster
“Spiders…and not knowing what to say or do.” – Marcia Evans
“Safety.” – Heidi Goetzinger “The heat.” – Jeff Thompson
“If it would be safe… I just got home safely from my 10th trip!” – Lori Ackerson
“The food and getting sick…9 trips and no issues!” – Matt Anderson
“My Crohn’s disease and the lack of restrooms. God has blessed me with no health problems while I’m in Haiti. Just returned from my 4th trip in a year. Can’t wait to go back again.” – Michelle Shambora
“That I wouldn’t know what to say or how to help.” – Natasha Miller
At some point each of these team members have come to the realization like David, that the Lord is faithful. The same God who helped David defeat the mighty Goliath with just five smooth stones and a sling is the same God who is faithful to us as believers in Christ. They all faced their fears, relied on God, and were blessed to travel to Haiti not once, but many times!
Following God may mean traveling to Haiti or another country to help spread His gospel. Following God may mean walking next door to share the love of Christ with your neighbor. Following God may mean sacrificing one meal out per month so you can give education to a child in need. Whatever God is asking you to do today, remember that he was there fighting for David and he will be there fighting for you, too. It doesn’t mean we’ll always walk the easy road, but as we follow the Lord we will experience His faithfulness.
Even more importantly, God will be glorified in these moments where we trust and follow Him. David understood this well as he said to Goliath, “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel…”
My prayer is that as we step out of our comfort zones and follow God into moments that may be intimidating, we would remember that we serve a faithful and powerful God. As we serve God like David did, God will receive the glory and His name will be made famous in Haiti and in “all the earth.”