Living in Port-de-Paix for five years at Sonlight gave me a front row seat to observe two types of groups who came to serve the Haitian people. Some people came in with their own agenda and wound up inadvertently doing more harm than good. But there were others who came alongside the long-term missionaries who were well aware of the lay of the land and the actual tangible needs... and these groups made a real difference. Southland teams have been a consistent example of what short-term teams should do! Southland always showed up prepared, but also ready to be flexible, in order to serve alongside the long-term missionaries and Haitian staff.
One of the most important parts of alleviating poverty is building relationships. It can be hard to cultivate relationships with people when you are only there for a week. While most Haitians have internet access and social media accounts these days, it’s still hard to cultivate a true friendship. Some of the most refreshing teams that came into Sonlight when I was there did everything they could to serve the long-term missionaries so we could be re-energized to continue cultivating the long-term relationships we were building.
Want to be part of impacting the country of Haiti by providing this kind of ministry to missionaries there? Sonlight has a trip in August, which will focus on serving the full-time missionaries and helping get the school in order for classes to begin. We need everyone who is willing - from skilled labor like plumbers and electricians to those who simply have the heart to be there and do what is needed.