“Letters of Love” or #heartmail, are one of the ways we encourage and share stories at Lovelight stories! It’s a storytelling technique that helps to convey more than just words on paper, but to invoke feeling, understanding, and meaning through the style of letter writing! These letters are a way to encourage those whom the letters are intended for, while also telling a story through the unique perspective of the writer’s experience.
Our team had such an impactful experience that we’ve already found ourselves describing our trip as being so much more than what can be seen or heard. Alas, I hope these “Letters of Love” help you to feel and better understand what’s happening in La Beyi, written by each member of our team. (Some names changed to protect privacy)
To the people of La Beyi, Haiti:
Thank you for welcoming me so graciously to your community and into your homes. I was welcomed in a way I have never been before. You are so genuine. You love so fully. I admire your peace in troubling times. You have reminded me to stand firm in my faith and to never give up on God or the people around me. My week with you was life changing in so many ways, and I met so many memorable people. My sponsored child, Judna, has filled a place in my heart where there was once a hole. She is so smart, beautiful, and thoughtful. She is truly my child, no matter our blood - her sponsor mama!
I was reminded by your women’s group of just how important it is to spread Jesus's word not only across the world, but at home too. One of your community members and I shared such a special bond. We both fill our lives with activities and work while we wait to share this life with a partner. It showed me that no-matter where we live or what our culture may be, we all have the same struggles and we all must remain patient for God’s perfect timing. In your words, as we said our goodbyes: Look up at the moon and stars and know that I am looking at the same moon and stars. We will see each other again in heaven.
I want to thank you for welcoming me into your community and homes. This visit was more than I could have ever imagined it to be. To all of you who I had the privilege to talk with and get to truly know: How you opened up and told your stories was truly amazing. I appreciated that you also asked about my stories and the things I was struggling with.
I loved the kids! On the first day, as we were walking together through the community, we passed a home and I saw you, a little boy. As we continued walking, you came to the road and yelled and then all of sudden ran right into my arms and gave me the biggest hug! I will always treasure that moment. I also loved how as I walked around most of the week, I would turn around and have a tribe of your children walking with me!
When we first arrived, you told us to consider La Beyi as our home, and this place and community is now definitely my second home. I will never forget the things you told me and asked me to personally pray for you. One memory that sticks out to me specifically, was a grandmother who lived at the top of your community. While we visited her, she asked us to pray for her health and strength to keep going for her grandchildren. I connected deeply with this, and asked if she could pray for both of my grandma’s health as well, because I want them to stick around like she wants to. You have all become my family and friends. I’ll always be thinking about you and be praying for you. Thank you for welcoming me into your family as well. I can’t wait to come back and see all of the friends I’ve made here, and to see the things you have asked us to pray for come to life!
I see the love you have for the families in your community and it warms my heart. The way you embrace visitors with sincere kindness is notable and can be an example to others. I admire your concern for the children of your community and for their education. The way you trust in God is righteous and honorable. You have imparted a lasting impression in my mind and left an indelible mark on my soul. The Holy Spirit of God has engrafted us; I am grateful that we will be forever joined together as family.
You will be continuously in my prayers.
The love and friendship you have shown to me is overwhelming and pure. It is a love that God has given you, and you have shared with us. Walking into your church and sitting on your benches for the first time, I was unsure what to expect, and you showed me more than I could ever imagine with your warm welcome and kind words.
The way you love and serve your community is close to what I would expect Heaven to be like - everyone is working together for one another and with one another - truly loving each other and God while wanting the best for their neighbor regardless of their own personal gain.
This love and service is not something I just heard about in the stories of your community. I saw it, as you all knew each other’s names, highs, and lows. Walking into your homes and hearing your stories and prayer requests was so authentic and genuine to your lives and reliance on God.
Please know I will never forget this week with you - through the memories we made, notes I took, and photos we shared. I will continue to pray for you and the country of Haiti. Even though we are oceans apart, we will always be connected through prayer. And as you all said, we see the same moon and stars, and when I look at the moon, I know Haiti says hi.
Thank you for your love and friendship, and as sad as I am to leave you, I can have joy in knowing that we will meet again one day in Heaven. Never lose your love for God and your wisdom of the power of prayer.
Love, Laura Ann
It’s hard to put my feelings into words, because I am so overwhelmed with emotions. First and foremost, I feel joy. Joy for what I got to see with you in La Beyi, joy for renewing and strengthening our friendship, joy for the work God is doing in your community (and that He did in me), and joy for getting to spend so much time with my sweet sponsored boys, Wollson and Ernest. I also feel sadness. Sadness only because I had to say goodbye to you. The time we spent together is special, but it always seems too short! When I left you last time, I left knowing I would return!
When we parted you told me your desires and prayers for your community, and I also began praying for these things, as they became the desires of my heart. So an ocean apart, we began praying together for clean water, benches and a sound system for your church, better housing for those who lost their homes in Hurricane Matthew, and for community growth! I prayed for God to fund these projects alongside you and He heard our prayers and answered! Not only did He provide the funds for the water well, but he provided Business Startup Training, and made a way for Pastor Training too. When I walked into your church and saw all God had done, I cried tears of Joy! He answered all our prayers. I got to sit on the beautiful benches you helped build. I got to see the speaker and microphone you were using that very week to put on a conference. What joy I had while praying over the almost completed water well that you are building!
You showed me so many homes with new roofs and walls. Getting to see Janet’s old home made of tarps on the beach and then walking up the hill to see her new home and see the joy and pride on her face was awe-inspiring!
Thank you for introducing me to so many incredible, driven, women in your community. I loved sharing time with your women’s Business Association and hearing how God is working in their lives! How wonderful to see that my friends I met last year, Rose and Janet, not only serve on the leadership council, but also as President and Vice President of the Women’s Business Association. I really enjoyed spending time with your women’s church group and having a thoughtful discussion about the role of women in church too. Wow, did they challenge me with how they are serving your community! The women in your community have inspired a challenge in me to go back and do more for my own community! Many times you said to me “one we are weak and together we are strong”. I will go back to my own community and work with others to be strong.
Lastly, you gave me a new list of prayers and needs for your community, as well as, wrote down mine. As you pray for me, I will be praying and thinking of you daily. I can’t wait to see you again my Zanmi (“friends” in Haitian Creole) and see what God has done for you and through you. As you look at the moon and stars, know I am looking at the same moon and stars, and in that moment we are together!
My dear friends in Haiti, I thought visiting you last year was special. But this year was different. It was better, and I didn’t even know that was possible! To see you again and build our friendship upon the foundation laid a year ago, was truly special. Even though we speak different languages, communication isn’t a barrier for us. The way your eyes lit up during our introductions the first day told me you remembered. I could feel the joy and love in your soul when we attempted to communicate and a translator wasn’t nearby. I felt pure joy and peace celebrating all you’ve done in your community and the prayers God has granted over the past year! I felt the energy in La Beyi as we toured: visiting homes, people, and new developments. I was filled with happiness to see people out playing, swimming in the river, spending time together in the gazebo, and even dancing to a D.J.! The importance of going back to visit you again has really been driven home for me - the connection, memories, and experiences we had together - all add so much color and meaning to what we are doing together in La Beyi. Not only am I encouraged from our time together, but I know it encourages you too!
At different times and in more than one way, you said, “As women, even though you know the country isn’t entirely safe, you came anyway. This makes me think this love you have for La Beyi can only come from God.” Hearing this really spoke to me, because we encountered multiple “roadblocks” throughout the time we were preparing to visit you - with the latest and most serious being the country’s unstable protests. Yet, I had a strong sense of peace and calm, believing we would come visit you, because I could feel God orchestrating it all. Knowing how much it meant to you that we still wanted to come, makes it that much more special to me too. And as you said, the love we have for La Beyi could only come from God. I felt it the entire time we were there. There aren’t proper words to describe it, but we had an overwhelming sense of peace, calm, and love. It felt as if we were in a place as close to Heaven on earth as one can possibly get. As I said last year: “Because of you, my heart is in Haiti” - and this year, I’m not sure I brought all of it back. I already miss you, my sweet friends, and I hope to be back soon.
For more, read last year’s Letter of Love: Haiti - Admiration for your way of life.
Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Reading these letters warms my heart, and I’m so proud of our team! Each of us embraced the purpose for which we were called and allowed the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. As we are standing on the shoulders of those who have come before us, this is just a small piece of what God is doing on the southern coast of Haiti. Another story is coming soon about the incredible development progress we saw since last year!
Do you have similar stories and “Letters of Love” you’d like to share with others? Send me a message! I’d like to use this platform to share your “Letters of Love” from your own experiences too. Let’s get creative and see what we can do together!