What a week we’ve had! Leaving UCI is always hard, but this trip we left in a very special way. Earlier in the week during one of our deep conversations at night, Janet & Mike decided they wanted to get baptized. Haiti holds a special place in their hearts and what better way to end our mission than to have Pastor JeanJean baptize them.

This baptism was BEAUTIFUL! None of us had ever seen anything like it. Approximately 100 people showed up to show their support. In the states we’re lucky to have 5-10 people show up. The baptism was held down at the river. The spot was so quiet and serene. There were a few women down there doing laundry but they didn’t seem to mind the company.

The youth choir came with about 30 kids and they sang. It sounded like angels! The men’s choir came in their Sunday best and performed during the baptism. All of our translators were there. Not to mention the other team from Iowa, who we just met, came to show their support. There were little boys on the other side of the river sitting in a tree watching the beautiful ceremony.

Words will never be able to describe the beautiful sight. Many of these people didn’t speak our same language but we all spoke the universal language of love. The Holy Spirit filled our hearts and it was emotional and beautiful. Something I’m sure none of us will ever forget.

After the baptism it was time to say our goodbyes to JeanJean, Kristie, and the translators. When we leave it’s like saying goodbye to family. We gave our hugs and headed to Pignon for our flight back to Port Au Prince. These planes were SMALL! So small we all had to get on the scale and so did our bags. While some of us were ecstatic for the adventure there were some brought to tears because of fear! Michele being one of them. Thank goodness for her brave son Aiden. He gave her pep talks and held her hand during the flight. HA!

Once we landed we headed to Wahoo Bay Beach. Leaving our Haitian family and heading to the beach can sometimes cause our hearts to be conflicted. It’s hard to enjoy yourself when you know some of the people we just met may not be getting dinner. But it’s important for us to reflect, relax, and begin our transition back into life in the U.S.

We had a huge surprise at Wahoo Bay Beach. Conan O’Brien was there filming a show about beautiful Haiti. Mike knew it was him right away! Some of us got pictures with him and he was the nicest guy. We were all grateful he was there to show the real Haiti. The beautiful Haiti.

Too often beauty is defined by what a person looks like on the outside. The same goes for countries. The appearance of Haiti isn’t what makes it beautiful (although Wahoo Bay Beach was stunning). The real beauty lies within. It lies within the people and the beautiful crops they plant to feed their communities. It lies within the simplicity and spiritual richness of their lives. This beauty sticks with us as we come home. We all desire to bring the true beauty of Haiti into our homes and relationships.

We hope through our message and Conan’s message people will get a glimpse of this beautiful country and its beautiful people.