NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This past December, a total of nine student-athletes, from four different sports travelled to Grand Guave, Haiti for a seven day mission trip. They helped a local church with a building project and led a multi-day after school camp for middle school kids.
For the next several weeks, BelmontBruins.com will be posting personal reflections from the nine student-athletes who took part in the trip.
Our next set of reflections comes from two members of the golf teams, Emma Kate Liu and Daniel Booker.
Mission Trip Photo Gallery
Emma Kate Liu
I had a lot of fears leading up to the trip. I was unsure about how I would handle my anxiety and panic attacks in Haiti. Traveling to a very unfamiliar country with not the most familiar of friends scared me a little bit—enough to consider not going at all. But I felt this continuous and annoying nudge to just get over myself, get over of my worries and my fears, and go. I think this was the biggest nudge I'd felt from the Holy Spirit in a long time. I'm so glad I went on the trip. The Lord pushed me further out of my comfort zone to show me just how strong, capable, and dependable He is when I am not. He provided in every single circumstance for me in Haiti. I don't know why I had previously doubted he could not provide for me in the same way back home. In Haiti, I truly experienced the peace that passes understanding. It was unexplainable—I just knew I felt peace and no anxious emotions. I overcame so much during my time in Haiti only through the help of the Holy Spirit. It was a milestone for me considering what the past few months have consisted of. These "unfamiliar friends" turned into family. I have never seen vulnerability turn into something so powerful. Sharing our stories with each other put all of us on a new level of friendship. I am realizing the more I speak and boast about my weaknesses the more glory, honor, and praise is given to Christ. His strength is obviously revealed through my shortcomings.
I've learned more about praying with confidence. I am learning from the book of James to pray with a faith that God really does hear me when I call on Him. He hasn't ignored me, even when it's felt that way. In Haiti, it was easy to feel His presence. I want to approach each day at home in the states the same way we approached each day in Haiti: in hopeful expectation of what the Lord would do with the plans we had made for the day ahead. There is a Haitian phrase that translates "See you tomorrow, if God wills." I love how they used this phrase so often. They live according to his will, not their own. It reminds me that everything is according to HIS will alone. I may plan things, but who am I to say I will go here, or do this, that, etc. without acknowledging who is in control of it all. Now that I'm home, I'm learning to trust the Lord will provide for me at home as he did in Haiti.
Personally, the week in Haiti was life changing. I experienced an entirely new culture and developed a new understanding and awareness of the world around me. I learned to always be grateful for my blessings, because we do not know what circumstances other people are living through. As we all know, Haiti is a poverty stricken country, but the extent of poverty was something I was not prepared for. However, the perseverance, joy, and faith that the Haitian people display is absolutely amazing. Overall, three main points stick out to me when I look back on the week.
Since we did not have cell phones or television to distract us, all we had at night was ourselves, our Bible, and time. Therefore, I spent a lot of time alone in prayer and reading the Word and talking to God. Having this quiet time each night enhanced my faith tremendously. I came to the realization that back in the states, I allow my busy life to get in the way of sitting down with God one on one and just listening to Him. I do have a strong prayer life, but I have learned to take the initiative to have deliberate quiet time and actually listen instead of doing all of the talking myself.
When we began the trip, I knew a couple of our team members and the others I just knew of them. None to a personal level. Throughout the course of the week, each and every person on our team has become part of my family and we have developed lifelong relationships. I now know the true meaning of fellowship. The countless hours we spent sharing stories and laughing and relating while basing everything around our faith is something I will always treasure.
This was the overarching theme of our trip. Whether it was injuries that we incurred throughout the trip, the physical demand of lifting and carrying buckets of rocks, or the strength we witnessed from the Haitian people, we all persevered through any circumstance we encountered. I also came to the realization that there is a strength in numbers. We took on some daunting tasks as a team, but by using our numbers, we got them finished. We as Christians need to continue to reach out and spread God's love to increase the numbers in God's kingdom.