by Morgan Tranmer
Sarafina, Josephine, Gesner, Pierre, Raoul, Lazar, Steve, Teddy, Ti Laza, Vilner, & Marhitza. These are the names of just a few of the people I had the opportunity to play with, learn with, pray with, and love during a week-long stay at Wings of Hope, a home for mentally and physically disabled people, in Jacmel, Haiti.
At the end of May, myself and 11 other people from the Lutheran Center, First Lutheran, UNK, and Wisconsin, boarded a plane for Haiti. I had read the required reading material, I got my immunizations, and I had a week’s worth of insect repellent. I believed I was prepared for the trip ahead of me.
But, I was not prepared for the humid heat, the still evident damage from the 2010 earthquake, the value of my bartering skills, and the relationships I built with the residents, staff, and even within our team. But, one thing stood out above all others: the love at Wings of Hope.
The amount of love I felt, so freely given and received, was overwhelming as well as humbling. Love was in the basketball games in the sweltering heat as the concrete baked in the sun, and in the patience of meal times as more rice landed on the floor than in mouths. Love was in the sharing of music and song and dance during worship. Love was in the repetition of counting to 10 in Creole for hours as we helped in math class – En, De, Twa, Kat, Senk… Love was in the laps we walked with the residents as we chatted, and in the rocking hugs or snuggles we were given. And the love was simple. There were no gimmicks and no ifs. It was a simple, pure love of neighbor.
It is this freely given and received love that I hope to carry with me long after my return home. And while I may never be able to wrap my head around the extraordinary love Christ has for each one of us, I think Haiti helped me understand and see His love just a wee bit better. God’s love is expressed to us in so many ways, in God’s love for Jesus, in our calling, in receiving grace and forgiveness, and in our salvation. God’s love is everlasting, and nothing can separate us from Christ’s love of each and every one of us. And that is truly delightful.