Stop telling me not to go to Haiti

I know, you’re concerned.

I know, you care about me.

I know, the news makes it look dangerous.

I’ve noticed, too.

Honestly, your concerns are very logical. Trouble is, the God I serve doesn’t use my (or your) logic. I’m really glad about that!  The logic of the Gospel is altruism in its purest form — I love you enough to humble myself and serve you, even at the cost of my own life.

Thing is, that’s the message all the time. It’s the message of Christmas (not the stuff). It’s the message of Easter (not the bunny). It’s the message of the daily joy and struggle of discipleship (not the few minutes we pray or read the bible). Will we obey and think of others more highly than ourselves?

Yes, I see the risk. I understand, you’re looking out for me. So is God. No matter what happens. Home. Haiti. Wherever.

I do get scared. I get scared over silly things like whether or not someone will like me or reject me. I am not scared to go to the poorest, oppressed, neediest people in my part of the globe because I am going with Gospel logic. I’m not noble. I’m not better. The only thing I am is willing to do my part. Whatever that looks like. Wherever that is. You can call me crazy if you want to. I’ll say thank you, because I think if we all operate this way that together we can change the world. Let’s do this.

15 Responses to “Stop telling me not to go to Haiti”

  1. Tammie
    December 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    I think I’ve written this comment and deleted it half a dozen times. I was thinking about times in the past when I’ve gone against man’s wisdom in my travels and how much of a blessing it was to use, as you phrased it, Gospel logic. In the end, through all the written and re-written comments, the crux of my message (hopefully of encouragement) to you is: Stay the course, be faithful to the vision God has given you for this trip.

  2. Patrice Athanasidy
    December 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    Patti, sometimes God puts people in your life to make you stop for a moment and question. You may still come to the same conclusion, but He wants to be sure you have truly considered everything. Take the time to listen with an open heart. I know the friends I rely on the most are the ones that ask the questions I don’t want to hear sometimes.

    You sound like you have thought it all through and weighed the risks. Just remember those asking the questions want reassurance.

  3. Adam McLane
    December 9, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    Wanna know what is worth fearing? Not listening to Gods call. That’s a guaranteed way to get yourself swallowed by a whale or worse.

    Go without fear. Remember that going now will be important and a powerful reminder to gods people that te world still cares about Haiti.

  4. patti
    December 9, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    Thank you, Tammie. I appreciate that encouragement. As Patrice said, resistance via questions is part of discernment. Adam can attest to the reality that the questions of many have shaped this trip and my part in it. This is not my first opportunity, but it is the one that I’m called to seize. Encouraging people in the midst of hardship has been a common thread for my life’s ministry, no matter the geographic location – from youth workers on the web, to Schenectady, Belfast, Haiti – there’s a theme developing.

    And, Adam, being swallowed by a whale would be scarier…and squishy. I don’t like squishy.

  5. Benjer McVeigh
    December 9, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    Keep listening to God’s call! Our church’s Haiti team has heard this a bunch as well. Yes there are risks. Love is nothing without risk. My God abundantly bless your trip, regardless of how it goes from a human point of view.

  6. Becky
    December 9, 2010 at 10:18 pm #

    Thank you for articulating my current lifestyle – not in Haiti, but in Knoxville, Iowa and how people, including some family members just don’t get it. I may steal some of this some day.

  7. Joel Diaz
    December 10, 2010 at 12:09 am #

    So stoked that you’re coming with our team. Christ’s Peace.

  8. Leen
    December 10, 2010 at 10:26 am #


    You will go to Haiti and do wonderful things. What God places on your heart, no one can take away.

    I’ve experienced the same thing you are going through when I traveled to South Africa 12 years ago. “Apartheid just ended so you will be getting mistreated.” “Your plane could crash over the ocean and you can’t swim.” “You can’t drink the water over there.” “There’s diseases we don’t have over there.” “What if you get hurt?”

    Patrice makes a valid point for those you consider friends. In my case, it was family members coming from a place of “fear of the unknown”.

    My response was, God would not have made a way for me financially if this trip wasn’t in His plans for me. I was just a sophmore in college. But God opened doors where I thought none existed and my family only had to come out of pocket a few hundred dollars.

    The best part of my 3 weeks was the end result. The shanty town we chose to support was finally able to be recognized by the South African government. Before then, the people were just an eye sore in tin and cardboard homes who didn’t exist. Now they “exist” in a real town and their names (and household information) were logged so they could register with the government and start getting assistance.

    When you come back, you will be changed for the better. It’s amazing how much we take for granted until we are made aware of others circumstances and sacrifices.

    Oh yeah… I also got to pet a live cheetah! 😀

  9. ARob
    December 10, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    Stay the course! Thank you for your candor and service!

  10. adam mclane
    December 11, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    Another thought on this. I’ve noticed that usually the people who tell me these types of things have never actually been to where they are telling me not to go.

    Now, if someone on the ground right now says… “Don’t come” than that is totally different.

    I think people watch too much news.

  11. patti
    December 11, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    Benjer, thank you, I love how you phrased that encouragement. I will pray for your Haiti team as well.

    Becky, quote away, it’s my philosophy of life as well and I’m happy to share it with you. I don’t want to evade or delay what God wants me to do, it’s just that simple.

    Joel, thanks for making the way!

    Leen! Thank you for telling your story!

    Adam, you’re completely right. If AIM’s people told us not to come, that would be a completely different story. Thus far, that hasn’t happened. I think many people don’t realize that these kinds of random protests were fairly commonplace pre-earthquake, and pretty much only the US media is taking much note of it because they were there covering the election proceedings.

  12. julie
    December 11, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    patti, every time i’ve taken a team to guatemala my brother sends me all the govt alerts of all the risky things that could happen there. most of them could happen here too. i think your friend is right – people are seeking to protect you and wanting reassurance that you are going to be ok. and you will!

  13. Philter
    December 18, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    great post, thanks friend, your inspirational.

  14. Jeff Goins
    December 23, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    I love this. You rock, Patti. Good for you. It’s not unwise to count the cost and step into risk. It is, I would argue, biblical.

    “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” -Matt. 10:28


    Given the fear of going to Haiti contrasted with the above, it doesn’t seem as hard of a choice.

    I’m excited for you, Patti… and proud to know you. Go with God. My prayers are with you.

  15. karen swank
    December 23, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    I love your heart! And it blesses me to hear your courage and willingness.

    Just a couple of months ago I too stepped off into a ministry that caused a lot of alarm and upset among some of my loved ones. I had spent years researching the ministry, had visited several times, had checked it out really as thoroughly as possible as an outsider…and then people who had never even heard of it had all manner of ideas they found more credible than my hard-won knowledge. It frustrated me and left me feeling insulted or offended all too often.

    What helped me: remembering that at least part of their very unwelcome admonishments came from a place of love or concern for me, even if it was badly expressed. I spent a lot of time listening (for real, not just waiting to talk) and giving them more respect than they were giving me. That, along with a whole lotta prayer and the day-by-day blog I’m writing for the first 100 days to ease them through my transition…it’s all helping. A LOT.

    Fun song to hum to yourself along the way, and meanwhile, HAVE FUN chasing where God is sending you…

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