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Work gloves? Check. Headlamp? Check. Knife? Check.
Here I am, packing my bags yet again… Going through the same mental checklists, the same anxieties and the same excitement as I have many times before. And yet, as with every trip I’ve taken so far, there is an element of the unknown hovering right in front of me, pulling me always toward fear or anticipation. Sometimes both.
When I left for India, I had no idea what I’d be doing day-to-day. I knew that I would have a place to sleep and food to eat, but that was it. Talk about anxiety…
When I headed off to Kenya this past summer, I had no clue what life would be like living in Kibera slum. What would I eat? What would I do? Would I even be safe???
And now, as I prepare to spend 2-3 weeks in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, I am struck yet again with the fear of the unknown. How will I handle myself in a place of such devastation? Will I be able to accurately tell the stories of the people I meet and things I see? Or will I be simply overwhelmed by the agonizing injustice of it all?
As routine as packing for international travel has become for me, I don’t think I will ever get used to the whirlwind of emotions that bombard me whenever I open my suitcase…
Hmmm… Packets of tuna? Check. Books? Check. Camera? Check.
I am heading to Haiti for three reasons.
First, I am going as a journalist for World Next Door. Now, there are obviously a ton of reporters and photographers already in Haiti (most of which are a lot more talented that I am), but I still hope to contribute something unique to our readers.
I will be telling the stories of individuals – stories of doctors struggling to keep up, stories of children newly orphaned by the disaster, stories of people who are still clinging to hope… And, as with every location or organization I visit, I will be writing about what God is doing in the midst of the devastation and I will be giving our readers lots of ways to get involved themselves.
Second, I am going to support the work of Nehemiah Vision Ministries. I’ll do whatever I can to make sure that NVM is working at full capacity. If I need to pick up rubble, I will. If I need to carry patients, I will. And if I need to approach you, our readers, for additional funds or medical supplies to make NVM’s work possible, I will.
Third and finally, I am going as a representative and “scout” for Grace Community Church, where I attend. Our church, which has already raised a quarter of a million dollars to aid in relief work, is overflowing with volunteers anxious to get involved. I’ll be the eyes and ears on the ground for GCC as they prepare to send medical and construction teams and as they look for more ways to partner with what God is doing in Haiti.
Ok then… Laptop? Check. Malaria meds? Check. Water bottle? Check.
I will be traveling with NVM’s second medical team. To get to Port-au-Prince, we will be flying into the Dominican Republic and driving across the border to Haiti. I plan to stay in-country for 2-3 weeks.
Now, I desperately need your prayers for this trip. It will be emotionally, physically and spiritually intense. It will be undoubtedly difficult to put my swirling emotions into words, but I know that God can use my presence there for some big things if I let him.
While I’m there I will be posting regular updates to my twitter feed (@barryrod). Feel free to follow my posts and re-tweet to your heart’s content. It will be a great way to multiply the work that World Next Door will be doing down there…
If you would like to subscribe to the World Next Door email newsletter, please give us your information and we’ll be happy to add you to the list. We’re currently working on a nice template to use for this, but right now our emails are simply plain old text on a blank background. I’m sure you understand!
Finally, if you would like to help cover WND’s expenses for this Haiti trip, you can contribute on our website’s “give” page. Anything that you can donate (even $10!) will go a long way in helping us pay for food, transportation and lodging. Thank you!
Alright… Let’s see. Kleenex? Check. Bible? Check. Journal? Check.
Yeah. Don’t want to forget those last three…
I’m going to need them.
About the Author: Barry is the founder and director of World Next Door. A storyteller, traveller and giant nerd, he lives to compel suburban Americans to get engaged with social justice and find their place in God's kingdom revolution. His ultimate dream is to adopt a pet monkey named Kevin.