The Chitwoods, minus our six year old daughter, Cai, had the privilege of spending spring break on a mission trip in Haiti earlier this month. With the approval of Michelle’s doctors (she is doing great!), we signed up for the Crossings International Mission Camp.
Not only did the trip allow us to serve the Haitian people and work with Crossings, of one of our strategic ministry partners, we also had the privilege of spending the week with dozens of teens and adult leaders from several of our Kentucky Baptist Convention churches. Team members came from Central Baptist Church in Corbin, FBC La Center, FBC Lawrenceburg, FBC Brandenburg, FBC Sturgis, and Raymond Baptist Church in Meade County.
The Crossings International Mission Camp gives teenagers a fabulous opportunity to get overseas missions experience in a country with tremendous spiritual and physical needs. Haiti is an impoverished, third world country that was struggling long before the devastating 2010 earthquake took the lives of 250,000 people and damaged and destroyed tens of thousands of buildings and homes. That earthquake and repeated hurricanes have elevated the suffering of a people who have known little else since being abducted from their African homeland by slave traders and shipped to the Caribbean island to work on France’s coffee and sugar plantations.
Yet, even as a people whose history is marked by enslavement, poverty, and natural disasters of biblical proportions, the Haitian people are not without hope. The faithful witness of Southern Baptists and other Great Commission Christians has found soft hearts and listening ears among many of the 9 million people who inhabit the island.
Our team of Kentucky Baptist teens and adults worked alongside our brothers and sisters from Baptist churches in Haiti, conducting Vacation Bible Schools and upgrading a youth camp owned by Baptist Haiti Mission, where thousands of Haitian children and teenagers hear the gospel each year. I was very impressed by the maturity of our team members. Choosing to spend their spring break sweating, swatting mosquitoes, and serving, these young people were a powerful testimony to the faithfulness of the churches who have discipled them and challenged them to take the gospel to the nations.
Michelle and I were also gratified to watch our son and oldest daughter be used by the Holy Spirit to lead lost Haitians to Christ. While I’ve never hesitated to show pictures of my son posing with his latest bow kill or yell from the stands at my daughter’s track meet or soccer game, the feelings of joy I experience when I see them living out and sharing their faith are incomparable. We are so grateful for the grace God showed us in Haiti.