I’ve been waiting for this all year.

This time one week from now, I’ll be boarding a plane and headed back to the land that stole a piece of my heart. Or, maybe, it brought something to life inside that was dead. Either way, I’m going back and I am so ready.

My first trip was so last minute that I’m still surprised that I said yes, packed a bag, and got on the plane. I came back forever changed but completely unable to talk about it for months. I had been on mission trips, domestic and international, and had seen poverty up close and personal. It wasn’t new… but Haiti was different. Coming back to America forced me to wrestle with my beliefs and possessions and dreams. But there was no doubt about it: I would return to the land of the hallelujahs.

Haiti 2015 SAVE trip

Last March I boarded a different plane, this time full of expectation and hope, while also prepared for what I was entering into. I began to type “And God showed up” as the next sentence here — but I can’t say that, not truthfully, because He was already there. We just joined Him and loved on His people. It was still hard and dark, there were challenges and I experienced one of the worst nights of my life, one I still can’t fully talk about, and yet there He was — the Light of the world. I came back full of words, the complete opposite of the first trip, and I began to write — chapter 6 of my book, Even If Not, is all about that land I love so much.

And one week from now? I’ll be on my way back to her. Would you pray for this time, for the team, for the beautiful people of Haiti, for safe travel and for light to pierce the darkness?

The past two years, we’ve had a prayer document where you can sign up for a specific time that you commit to be in prayer for the trip. I can’t begin to tell you how much this has meant to our team or how much God has used it — but trust me, He has. We have faced countless obstacles and yet God has just shown off. I have no doubt that your prayers have made a difference!

You can sign up for a time slot right here, if you’d like! Please feel free to share this with your friends and families, too.

Although a blog post will go live here on March 22, I won’t have wifi while I’m gone. There’s a slight chance I’ll be able to post once or twice to Instagram, though, so feel free to follow along over there.

And because I can’t help myself… here are a few of my Instagram posts about my trip to Haiti last year:

Haiti 2015 SAVE trip

Posted March 10, 2016: It was early afternoon on our final day. Unless I held him, he cried and wailed and big fat tears rolled down. So, of course, I held him. For three hours. Months later @ebphotographyartistry sent me this photo and it caught me by surprise, right in the middle of pictures of playing children or old women laughing or helping in the clinic. I don’t know when she captured it, but I look at it often. It’s a reminder to me that even when we’re flat exhausted and messy, God can use us to love one of His own. Maybe being a bit empty isn’t so bad if the only thing left to pour out is Him. (One week, Haiti. See you so soon.)

Haiti Kaitlyn SAVE 2015

Posted November 25, 2015: “Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.” @annvoskamp + + While thinking about tomorrow and hundreds of thousands gathering with family and friends to talk and eat and say what they’re thankful for, this image came to mind. It was several days into the trip, I was sick and sweating and exhausted, but we pulled out what is basically a colorful tarp and all the children shyly hiding behind their mamas came to play. I saw joy and it was so simple, so easily given and then received. I gave thanks in that moment for their childlike wonder but today and tomorrow I’ll give thanks for the lessons Haiti has taught me. Thanksgiving precedes the miracle. It must come first.

Haiti SAVE 2015 Kaitlyn

Posted September 27, 2015: Today I sat down to write about Haiti and out came 6,000 words. Six. Thousand. And still I can’t fully capture the unbridled joy, the undeserved trust that comes when you play patty cake for a solid thirty minutes, the smiles of young and old when the littles keep forgetting to play because they’re stuck staring at your white skin, the feeling of a tiny hand slipping into yours and the sound of laughter in the air. I can’t catch it, but I sure miss it.

Haiti 2015 SAVE Kaitlyn

Posted August 26, 2015: Today I made my bed, did my job, washed the dishes, finished a good book, and crossed off things on a to-do list. It was a regular, beautiful day.

And then an email comes through that all the Haiti pictures are ready to be viewed and my fingers can’t open the link fast enough. I scrolled and scrolled and smiled so wide my eyes could barely see the images and then I came to this one. And I thought how beautiful it is. And then I realized it was me.

What you don’t see in this picture is that he cried and cried and cried. What you don’t know just from looking is that my arms were heavy from carrying his weight, but the only time the crying would stop was if I held him. Always, he ended up in my arms. As if I somehow looked familiar or had become a safe place for him to rest. And so I held him for what felt like hours and I stared at his long, perfect eyelashes and I couldn’t get over how beautiful a gift it is to simply love a stranger.

Two days ago I wrote a blog post that I’ve been carrying in my heart for months. It is messy and I keep re-reading my own words because I can’t get over the story of God showing up in the ordinary and in the chaos. In between those Monday words there’s a picture of me holding this little one. And then smack in the middle of my ordinary day, this picture arrives. Thanks, Jesus, for showing off in the timing of a black and white picture. And thank you @ebphotographyartistry for the gift of this moment captured.

{You can read all Haiti-related posts here.}

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