deep breath….deep breath…deep breath….

I’m going to Haiti, friends. 

I was asked several weeks ago to consider joining a blogger trip to Haiti with Help One Now. After spending time investigating in more depth the work that they do in Haiti (I was impressed), talking to a few people I trust, hashing it out from all perspectives, including family logistics(!) with my husband, and, of course, doing my Holy-Spirit praying and heart-of-God seeking, I felt strangely compelled to go.

I say strangely because this isn’t the kind of thing that I do. In fact, I’ve been pretty honest about how I am sadly intimidated by poverty, and I am wary of my privilege, and my perspective, and I am weary of sensationalism, emotional manipulation. I’m afraid of leaving my tinies, and my husband, and I’m afraid of being a poverty tourist, and I’m afraid of having my life wrecked in a Jesus-sort-of-way, and I’m afraid of failing, and I’m afraid I’m making this all about me, and completely missing the point here. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)

But I am learning to be fearless. Perfect love casts out fear, and this is yet another casting out, by inviting in the beautiful and sacred and hopeful mess of real life. I want to love, and I want to love, and I want to love, and there is no room for fear now, no room for Self.

As I prayed, and talked it out with Brian, I felt some part of my heart, I think it might have been God because it seemed so outside of my own brain, say: just go.

Just go.

Leave all of your own evangelical hero complex baggage behind for once, and just go, innocent and wise and open-handed, treat everyone you meet with reverence, and crack open your heart, and worship together, and pray, and make friends, and see what the great I AM is already doing in Haiti, and bear witness to the every-day work of the Kingdom of God.

And then write about it, like you always do, just write it out.

Fear often sounds like a “no” and so fearless, for me, sounds like learning to say YES. Yes to writing the stories of the gorgeous, hope-filled people of Haiti. Yes to the local leaders that working and making space for God. Yes to meeting in real life the complex people of Haiti I’ve only ever known through a newspaper or a tv or a computer, and yes to seeing with my own eyes the community development work, and yes to everything that God has for us all together in each other.

There is nothing to fear. So yes, let’s go to Haiti.

The team of people is amazing (not sure how I fit, to be honest, but I’m not asking too many questions):

I leave on October 8 – Canadian Thanksgiving! pray for us over your turkey perhaps? – and I’ll be in Haiti that entire week. The plan – always subject to change – is to visit an orphange, a community development project, a tent city, a church service, and hang out with local pastors and leaders.

You can visit the team page here and pick up a few nifty blog badges to help spread the word. You can also learn more about how to help by sponsoring a kid or by holding a community garage sale for orphans there.

During the trip, we’ll be posting daily, but we’ll hopefully also be available on Twitter and Facebook. You can follow along in real time with the hashtag #Help1Haiti.

deep breath …deep breath….deep breath

In which I'm not preacher or a teacher, I'm an artist
In which I am here, breastfeeding, but not for much longer
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  • Kirsten LaBlanc

    Beautiful! I wish you the best experience posible. This is sure to be a once in a lifetime opportunity & sure to “wreck you” 🙂

  • I’m excited for you!

  • Tara_pohlkottepress

    so excited for you!!! I really want to be involved in something like this – something that doesn’t just snap pictures, guilt people with explotations of poverty – but really speaks of the people. of the true humanity, not just what looks good on a poster. all my love to you. I will be following along super close, and praying even harder for you all.

  • Wowieee! I’m so excited for you and your babies and Brian. Cause Lord knows your experience is going to percolate into your family’s life as well.

    Also, I love the term “poverty tourist”. You nailed it. I’m also so scared about sounding like I’m leveraging someone else’s life and reality. I’ve struggled for a succinct term/phrase to define it. Poverty tourist is perfect. Thank you. Adding it to my vocab.

    Hugs S!

  • Where in Haiti will you be? Dh has been several times to Pignon, our church sends groups regularly to an orphanage in Port-a-Prince. Excited for you – and looking forward to hearing about it all.

  • I was thrilled to hear you were going, Sarah. You totally fit. Your heart will break in all the right places, and you will take us with you, to feel it alongside you — in a way that only YOU can do. I just know it…. I had so hoped to go on this trip with you and the Dude and the rest of that amazing crew. But I will be here on the ground, praying for you all every single day.

    Grace and peace,Jennifer Dukes Lee

  • Good for God for pulling these strings, and good for you for saying yes. Praying for you even now.

  • That is a leap of faith, going where you know that God has to catch you if you want to land on your feet. May there be joy and blessings all around as you go!

  • You are on this trip for a reason, Sarah, and I’m excited to see how all the pieces come together. Proud of you for taking this step. I’ll be praying as you prepare.

  • oh how terrifyingly exciting. I’m glad you’re saying Yes. I can’t wait to follow along with all of you. What a great group of people to go with!

  • the Blah Blah Blahger

    Good girl…this was meant to be and I’m proud of you for pushing through your discomfort and saying yes!

  • My heart is in Haiti and I am so excited for you. 😉

  • omgosh! jen hatmaker and kristen howerten???? you guys are the awareness blogger version of the dream team. i am so unbelievably pumped for you.

    • LOL… it is kind of a rock star team, huh? i’m still in awe myself…

      • mollie donovan burpo

        yes, still not sure how i convinced y’all to take me back 🙂

      • mollie donovan burpo

        yes, still not sure how i convinced y’all to take me back 🙂

  • well, that is exciting. what a team, too! looking forward to reading all about it.

  • I share many of your ‘strangely’s’ so I am anticipating the witnessing the writing of your JUST GOing and how it is all played out in God’s glory. Blessings on your trip.

  • Oh wow. Proud of you. Can’t wait to read along with all of you. I’m going on a trip to Uganda with a small organization just before you go to Haiti (I think I’ll be the only one blogging), and I feel all those same things. I’m so afraid of getting it wrong, of stumbling over my own ignorance, of missing the point entirely. Treading carefully can sometimes freeze us into inaction (oh please God no writer’s block), but it can also look like wisdom, like humility. Praying it’s the latter for both of us. Thanks for listening to that outside-your-own-brain voice. xo

  • I do love my husband (the dude), but I am most excited to be following your post because your words always capture and speak my heart. So glad you are going.

  • I’m so excited for you Sarah. I can’t wait to read what flows from your heart when you return! Three years ago God woke me from a slumber and prompted me to put my “yes” on the table. I had no idea what the question was, but I said yes and within a week, someone had asked me to go to Africa. Life has never been the same and I’m forever changed. I love my brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone so dearly and I know you will develop amazing friendships in Haiti. I’ll pray for your team!!

  • this is great news Sarah. I relate with all your reasons of not wanting to go, especially the “emotional manipulation” and “poverty tourist.” Go in peace and be lathered in that perfect love!

  • Have fun!

  • Grace Elizabeth

    Dare to live safely, someone very wise taught me this when I went to the Dominican Republic. Dare to live. Dare to live. Dare to live. ‘Just go’…so much to think about. Well done Sarah! So excited, ooooh you’re so beautiful. All is grace, I am learning that, Ann Voskamp highlighted it to me, now God reminds me daily. All is grace, even all the mess and yuck.

  • cjdeboer

    What a fantastic opportunity Sarah – so excited for you!!!!!

  • Fantastic! Be prepared to fall in love. I was there in April and can’t wait to go back. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and God is on the move there in a very palpable way.

  • JennaDeWitt

    Wow talk about a fun group!

  • Exciting! And what an amazing team of people…..excited to walk with you through this and I will definitely be praying over my turkey and before!

  • Jennifer Strope

    Oh love, I’m so happy/proud/ecstatic!

    And I’m so amazed at where “fearless” is taking you now.

  • Jocelyn

    Awesome! I went to Haiti two years ago and I, too, had never experience anything like it. It was amazing for me and God was amazing there. So very excited for you~

  • What a great opportunity! So thrilled for you and all the relationships which will come to be. Can wait to read your stories of Haiti.

  • that is so awesome! What a great team. I went to Haiti in 10th grade, and it forever changed me. My heart has a special place for the Haitian people. I hope that they will make the same impression on you as they did me.

  • Sarah

    I have attached an amazing woman blogger that has been teaching in Haiti before the earthquake.

  • Diana Trautwein

    Wow, Mrs. B. Way to move right on through your fear. And boy, do I get that fear. You will be changed, your will be overwhelmed, you will be blessed through and through. And you will be a blessing, too. To those you travel with, those you meet and to all of us as you share what you’re seeing/feeling/smelling/thinking/wondering. Blessing upon blessing as you go.

  • fiona lynne

    “Fear often sounds like a “no” and so fearless, for me, sounds like learning to say YES.” So glad you are saying yes, and inspiring us to keep saying no to fear and yes to the fullness of life God has for us.

  • Lindsey

    I’m excited to read the posts in October! My sister has been living in Haiti and here back and forth for about 4 years. She has seen many many poverty tourists. She highly recommends “When Helping Hurts” by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.

  • ColleenMary

    May it be an amazing experience. I look forward to reading what you have to say about it (I love your writing, Sarah!). Before you go, I have a book recommendation–I just read a review of this at Commonweal, the progressive Catholic magazine–the book is Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. Sounds like it could give you some context for thinking about some very difficult problems . . .

  • mollie donovan burpo

    so ready to get back to haiti and love on my friends there and so thrilled to be accompanying such a talented group on my return. i found my words sparse after my first trip there and i can’t wait to read those of others who are much more gifted storytellers!

  • Emily Wierenga

    well i’m just so darn proud of you girl. this is absolutely amazing. but i disagree with you. i think you totally belong on that team.

    • i agree! and you, emily, we need to work on getting you on a trip like this… would you be interested? let’s talk!

  • Carlie

    Have a good trip! My brother’s family has been in the process of adopting a boy from Haiti for at least a couple of years and they’re making another trip next week as one of the final steps toward bringing him home with them. Right now he lives in Kingdom of Kids Orphanage (KKO).

  • i don’t know you, but i can relate to what i read here, and i trust the place your heart is at. but i disagree in this: i think it’s a wonderful place for Self. yourSelf was created by God, no? created to seek satisfaction in Him, and in the good gifts He gives? yourSelf is going to feel pretty happy about this, i think.

  • Handsfull

    Well done – that is a big one to say ‘yes’ to! I can understand your qualms… I’m feeling a few just at the thought of reading what you’re going to write! Lol, I know that’s totally not at the same level, but thought I’d share anyway.
    Also, well done to Brian, for being willing to let you go, and keep things going at home. That’s no small task with 3 littles 🙂

  • Stephanie

    Such a great line-up of bloggers! I look forward to following along as you are transformed – in and out.