Monday, April 16, 2007

Interview With A Special Young Lady

It is wonderful to see God working in a young individual, and when that person is related, in this case, my niece Sarah Earleywine, it is cause to be proud. I have watched Sarah grow up and ask become a Christ-follower at a young age. She was always involved with her church, leading in praise and worship, and has a glow and vitality that comes when one is filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Sarah has traveled to Haiti in mission several times. The stories shared have brought me joy as well as tears. She has a gift for working with impoverished children and bringing them a ray of hope that is in Christ. This coming June Sarah will be returning to Haiti, with an honor bestowed that is rare for such a young person. Sarah has been asked to be the Godmother of the children of the village who will be graduating. I don’t understand the customs and what this all entails, but it does mean that Sarah, who is in college and has no full or part time job to help fund this trip, is totally relying on God. When Sarah was questioning whether or not to plan on a trip to Haiti in June, God gave her a very clear message during worship one Sunday evening, that she needed to go, and He would get her there. Would you like to be a part of this vision?

Recently a fund was set up for the Haiti mission – all donations are tax deductible. If you would like to help Sarah return to Haiti to discover what God had called her to do, you may send checks or money orders to:
Schools For Haiti
301 Wyota St.
Cassville, WI 53806

In the memo of your check please indicate Sarah E.

To help you learn more about Sarah, I sent her interview questions via e-mail.

What prompted your first trip to Haiti?
I first went to Haiti in January of 2003 when I was a freshman in high school. My youth leader from my church had gone twice, and she decided to plan a trip through my church. I thought it would be neat to go, but did not say anything. Whenever I saw pictures of kids from organizations like Compassion International, or saw pictures in magazines or on TV of starving children around the world, my heart melted for them. "God, what can I do?" I remember thinking as young as fifth grade. After I heard about the trip to Haiti through my church, my mom actually approached me and said, "Sarah, I really want to go to Haiti; do you want to?" That settled it. I was going!

How did the trip affect you?
When I first arrived in Haiti, the culture shock was unbearable. I had seen all the pictures, heard all the stories and saw the videos. It looked exactly like how I imagined. But there was something about being there- it was real. Starvation and poverty really did exist outside my comfy life in the United States; it was not just on TV. I remember driving on the way to our mission site and looking out the window. I saw two half naked boys playing soccer with a deflated ball without shoes, right next to a pig who was rummaging through a massive pile of garbage and waste in a street ally with a river of sewage running between the garbage. I remember thinking, "God, I can't do this. I want to go home and be in my safe bed where this doesn't exist." I wanted to deny the reality my eyes were witnessing. Not that going home was a choice at that point, but staying there for the next ten days changed my life. I learned so much from the people and saw how strong their faith was. One instance that has stuck with me from my first trip was a conversation with a woman. When asked how she was doing, she responded, "I give thanks to God when I have, and I give thanks to God when I don't have." I often think about her words. There are so many stores of how my trips and relationships with the people in Haiti have affected me, but one thing God has made clear to me is my love and passion for Haiti and its people. Each time I go, I fall more and more in love, and am passionate for them.

How many times have you been to Haiti now, and with what organizations?
I have been to Haiti three times now. The first two times I went through an organization called Lifeline Christian Mission which began about 26 years ago by a husband and wife from Ohio. This past January 2007, I went to a mission called Haiti Evangelical Christian Mission (HECM), which was started by a Haitian man and is made up of about twenty churches around Haiti who encourage and support one another.

What type of work do you do there?
At Lifeline, they are pretty well established and therefore have numerous ministries that we are able to help with, including medical/dental/eye clinic, clothing pantry, food nutrition programs, delivery of baby layettes, projects around the mission (painting, welding, electrical, plumbing, building, fixing, anything and everything), and the most recent is home building. The atmosphere at HECM is quite different. Most of our time spent there was not doing physical labor, but building relationships with the people of the mission, encouraging them, learning and experience life as they do everyday, and learning their language.

Why do you desire to return to Haiti? (and possibly, how do you see Haiti as a part of your future?)
I don't know why I want to return to Haiti so badly other than the fact that God has placed Haiti on my heart in a huge way. I do not know what God has planned for my future, but I do know that Haiti will be a part of me for the rest of my life in some way. Right now, however, God has put me on a path toward physical therapy, and so that is what I plan on studying for right now. Eventually, my hope, God willing, is to take physical therapy to the mission field. I believe that there are a lot of missionaries who go into the mission field to just love people, and tell them about Jesus, and that is great. For me, though, God has really put it on my heart that I need to take a talent or skill, like physical therapy, to the people. I want to help heal their physical pain so that through that, getting to know the people, building relationships with them, and earning their trust, I can tell them about the hope that they will only find in Jesus. He is the Ultimate Healer and only He can heal them completely.

1 comment:

Kimmie said...

Good luck to her Rita....she will be in my thoughts