My name is Audrey. I am the newest intern at Real Hope for Haiti.
When my husband and I first felt the call to become full time missionaries, I had no idea what life in Haiti would be like. I had never even stepped foot in the country. We had been involved with missions for over 13 years, both locally and international. I had been on foreign mission trips. I had seen poverty. I did all the research and knew all the statistics. My husband had made several trips into Haiti himself and I had seen pictures. I even went on a mission trip to Haiti myself. None of it prepared me. Nothing I read, saw in pictures or even in the short week-long mission trips I had been on could ever began to prepare me for the life I was about to begin in Haiti.
I wish I could tell you that obeying God and becoming a missionary was easy. It was not. I had to give up things that I loved and cherished. We sold our home, our cars, gave away most of our possessions. Things that made my life comfortable. Things that made me happy. And that was the easy part. I had to fly to a foreign country away from my husband (who stayed behind to take care of all of the last-minute details) and family and loved ones. I was homesick. I missed my husband. I missed my children. I even missed my dog.
I expected change, but I never knew just how much my world would change, how my world would be completely rocked.
Since I arrived I have seen children with almost nothing, so willingly share what little they do have. I have watched as they begin to regain strength as they are fed the nutritious meals here at the center. As they learn to trust their caregivers, as they begin to feel something besides hunger.
I have seen the eyes of a child light up, as a smile crosses their tiny little face and their little arms reach for me when I enter the room. As the older children run to me and wrap their arms around my legs. When the children come into the center they are quiet and rarely smile, now they love to run and play.
I have also seen death. I have laid my head on my pillow at night, tears streaming down my face with my heart feeling as though it had been shattered into a million pieces and ripped from my chest because a child I was holding only hours before had taken its last breath.
I have discovered that no matter how hard we try, we can’t save them all. It’s a hard truth here at the Rescue Center, where quite often abandoned and unwanted children live out their last moments due to the severe malnutrition and/or neglect they suffered before coming to Real Hope.
I prayed that I was able to give the child comfort in his or her last moments. That even if it was just for a short time, they felt loved and cared for.
I stepped off of that plane 6 weeks ago, and my life has been forever changed. I have discovered what true love is. I have seen those forgotten by the world; rejected; unwanted; unloved, and fallen completely in love with them.