Remembering Haiti

Wow. On the last day of October in 2013…(my teammate Morgan’s favorite day of the year!)…I found myself re-reading my blog posts from my time there last year. It was my Month 2 on the World Race.

Reading them brought back full-force the emotions I felt during our time in Carrefour.


  • The joy of holding a small child’s hand and feeling them run their fingers through my curly red hair, so foreign to them.

    From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

  • The hilarity of seeing naked children run out from everywhere and shout “Blanc!”
  • The lack of understanding, confusion, and the fear I felt upon coming face-to-face with intense spiritual warfare…the most intense I had yet felt in my lifetime. It rendered me almost immobile for a little while…the fear and anxiety threatening to do its worst in me.
  • The desperation at the lack of personal space—19 women in 1 house with no furniture, very few windows to let in any sort of air—claustrophobic and stuck inside “for our safety.”
  • The delight of being on the rooftop…open air, beautiful skies…freedom and perspective in the midst of chaos and stress.
    From jesseischens.theworldrace.org
    From jesseischens.theworldrace.org
    From jesseischens.theworldrace.org
    From jesseischens.theworldrace.org
  • The frustration at the lack of anything to do…very little ministry…and our contact simply wishing money from us.
  • The relief and excitement my team felt when our translator, Watson, one of the best people we met on the Race, took us up to the mountains where we preached at his church, met his beautiful wife and family, and ate the best meal we had all month.
    From jesseischens.theworldrace.org
    From jesseischens.theworldrace.org
    From jesseischens.theworldrace.org
  • The horror of horrible sickness—watching 15 out of the 19 women in our house battle what we learned later was dengue fever. [See my squadmate Becky’s blog about her healing.]
  • The intensity of how it felt to pray harder than I’ve ever prayed before in my life—for healing, for protection, for FREEDOM for Haiti, for Christ to rescue and heal this broken land. [Check out my Ode to Haiti for more]
  • The excitement of discovering that the Lord really does speak to me—learning more about hearing His voice and the joy that comes in speaking His truth and life over the others around me. [Check out my blog: Prophecy Parties: Come, Holy Spirit!]

I forgot what it was like to walk down the streets in the hot sun, weaving my way through people and jumping out of the way of rattling, rusty automobiles as they rushed through the craze.

I forgot how homesick I was this month, and how desperate I felt to go home.

I forgot that in the midst of non-existent ministry, crazy spiritual warfare, constant sickness and malnutrition, and intense heat…I grew by leaps and bounds.

I forgot that this month formed the basis,
the foundation that we built off of for the rest of our Race.

I forgot that in the midst of my desperation to get away, that Jesus came and showed me I could only do it through Him and His strength.
I forgot the beauty of the sunrises and sunsets. I forgot how awed I was by the vastness of the stars each night. I forgot about how unique the clouds were, and how fast and ferociously the thunderstorms rolled in.

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

I forgot the chaos of going to the market…the density of the stalls, the muck and mud and mess of smells.

I forgot what it was like to ride in a “tap tap,” nice and sweaty and squished.

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

I forgot how the best nights were spent all huddled together,
asking the Lord for each other and encouraging each other.

I forgot how close we all got, as we daily battled in prayer and drew close to God together, drawing strength from Him, our Source, and comfort from community.

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

I forgot how fun it was to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving and the excuse it gave us to bust our budgets and make homemade peach & apple crisp, and how that night we prayed, and the Lord multiplied that dessert so all of us could have seconds and thirds.

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

I forgot about the trip to the “beach,” where we marveled in the beauty of the green-and-blue water, accented by the surrounding mountains and flawless azul sky.

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

I forgot about the night where our whole squad gathered on our rooftop to pray and worship
after God healed our squadmates miraculously in the hospital…
how I cried because I was so grateful and so in awe of my God’s love for us and how powerful He is,
how I knew that He will always come through, no matter what.

I forgot about the day when we walked around and prayed, and how God healed a man from cancer, how I saw an image of the cancer exploding in his body…being annihilated. How I knew without seeing that it was GONE. I forgot that was the day we stood together in the middle of the street and worshipped—our tired, dusty faces grinning at each other, holding hands in triumph as we declared the Lord’s glory and victory over the city of Carrefour. How for a moment, all was well with our souls, no matter how tired and sick and depleted we were physically.

We were never promised that it would be easy. But we ARE promised that we can do it with His strength. I guess that’s what I discovered and walked through last year. Haiti was just the beginning.

Thank you, Lord, for helping me to remember what Haiti was like…to remember what I learned here.  


“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
– Philippians 4:13

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

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