Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Just One

When I was a child I would watch the commercials on TV where celebrities would visit third world countries and feed the hungry and ask for donations…I remember thinking that if I were rich and famous I would love to go there too and feed all the hungry people. Unfortunately, I never became rich and famous so I did nothing.

When I was an adult, I had a conversation with my grandma and she said, I know if you had a million dollars you would take in hundreds of kids and live on a ranch! She was right, but I never had that kind of money so again, I did nothing.

Then I went to Haiti! One of the first things I did at the guest house was visit the gift shop. That was the beginning of the change for me. I saw a necklace that read, ““If you can't feed a hundred people, feed just one.” Mother Teresa. I wish I would have read that sooner…who knows how many people I could have fed by now either by giving them food or love…one by one…one person at a time. Maybe it would have motivated a friend or family member to reach out and help just one person…maybe by now that one act could have had led to hundreds of acts from either myself or others around me.

In Haiti we met some amazing people. They knew they had to help…knew they had to do something…didn’t know how they were going to afford it…didn’t know if they could physically take on the challenge but they knew they had to do something. Imagine if they gave up because they weren’t rich or famous…how many more Haitian kids would be living in poverty, without food or clothing…shelter or love. The individuals we met that ran the orphanages, cared for the disabled and ran the Sick and Dying Babies Center didn’t let excuses get in their way…they didn’t say things like “if only”, or “when it’s more convenient, I will help” They just did it…followed their calling…followed their faith and just did it.

I may not ever become rich and famous or be able to house hundreds of children but I now know that I don’t have to…I can feed just one person…make a difference to just one person…no excuses…just faith…just do it.

~Samantha Randle

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


As I have been back from Haiti for over a week now, it has given me time to pause and process some of the experiences I had.  While there was definitely a lot to think back on, taking time to collect ones thoughts and examine them are a natural way humans attempt to make sense of things.  But where to start?  What should I make of this or that?  Is one experience more powerful than another?  What do I do with the information?  What should I be doing now or in the future?  What changes do I need to make in my life? These are all things I kept asking myself as I recalled the journey we all took.

I think for me the lasting memories are twofold; the individual interactions with the Haitian people and those supporting them, as well as those within our own team.  It can be difficult to not think constantly about the hardships we saw or the general state of things in Haiti.  In fact, it can be downright overwhelming at times.  With that said however, I equally recall the warm and generous people we came across and the smiles that helped to ease some of the sadness.  I definitely came away with a stronger respect for the Haitian people and their sense of pride in whatever they do.  In addition, I was so impressed by the individuals who are devoting their lives to assist others wherever they can.  Their sacrifice and call to serve is like no other I have seen.  And finally, who can forget the children?  Their enthusiastic welcomes, beautiful faces and general excitement were simply amazing, regardless of their individual situations. 

As far as our team goes, I will have lasting memories there as well.  You cannot spend a week plus with a group of people and not generate some kind of bond from your shared experiences.  The ups and downs, the sights and smells, the support and caring given to each other throughout our time in Haiti was awesome.  Even when we were all physically and mentally drained, there were always smiles to be had and songs to be sang.  It was comforting to know that you could share your feelings openly and rely on your team to help pick you back up.  I have made new relationships that I hope to maintain and cultivate in the coming years as a result.

So in closing, what did I take from this whole experience (outside of my direct interactions with those I came across)?  What profound, life-altering decisions did I make?  When is my next mission trip?  What did I learn about myself?  I can honestly say that I still don’t know the answers to all of these questions.  Reflection is about continuing to analyze your experiences, actions, feelings and motives.  If anything, I am turning that reflection more inwards towards myself on how I can leverage those experiences in my everyday life, and in turn, hopeful that it will help guide me in the right direction for whatever I decide is next.  In a more simplistic way, reflection is a way to not forget and a vehicle for initiating change.        

Brian Olson