To My Dear Mercy Family,
This past June, the Mercy Life Teen Group
(www.lifeteen.com) took our first ever Mission Trip to the Life Teen Mission Base in Madian, Haiti. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for helping us get there and for your prayers and support which were truly efficacious in our lives and in the lives of the incredible Haitian people we encountered.
The Life Teen Mission Base, also called the St. John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization, has been active in serving the people of Haiti for 6 years. When the devastating earthquake struck the island in January of 2010, Life Teen International sent multiple mission groups to the country to aid in the rebuilding efforts, and one fact quickly became clear – the people of Haiti, especially the teens, were hungry for Jesus Christ. At that time, no Catholic Youth Ministry existed in Haiti. After an earnest appeal to Life Teen from the Bishop of Haiti, the St. John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization was founded.
This Mission Trip was different from others. We received the opportunity to not just meet the physical needs of our Haitian brothers and sisters, but also their spiritual needs. Each day was a new adventure filled with Eucharistic – prayer, hard work, lots of laughter, and an abundance of joy.
A few highlights of our trip were: getting to visit families and play with the kids in villages near the mission base; learning their culture and language; and studying Scripture with them. We had the opportunity to spend 4 hours of prayer and silence in the Haitian Mountain tops, an experience that rejuvenated and inspired us from the inside out. But by far one of the most impactful moments was visiting a community called Azel. Azel houses the poorest of the poor, and the sickest of the sick. Among other experiences in Azel, we had the chance to visit with a woman named Mari-Louise who had no family, was paralyzed and an amputee, yet whose favorite form of prayer was to sing praise to God. We comforted and prayed with a grieving father whose only child was terminally ill; and bathed a dying man, helping him receive the dignity of being loved, especially in his last precious living moments. At Azel we received the unexpected gift of seeing what a true hope and steadfast faith in Jesus really looks like.
The lessons of living in the present moment, loving those in front of you, being present to each other, and always being in communication with God, is a lesson not just left in Haiti, but one that we’ve carried back with us in our hearts to our home in Louisiana. This is the gift of Haiti to us. We are fully alive because our life is in Christ. Thank you again to everyone who helped us get there, especially Chefs Jesse Romero and Kelley McCann who provided a successful and delicious benefit dinner which helped defray the costs of this life-changing experience!
If you would like to experience this life fully alive, and become involved in Youth Ministry, I encourage you to reach out to the Life Teen Team!
Joyfully yours in Christ Jesus,
“If I were the sky, I’d give you a star, but I’m not the sky, so I’ll give you my heart” Song of Mari-Louise.