It all started when I was 14 years old when I took my first trip to Haiti, in June 2011. I took my first adventure outside of the country, into the realm of what we in the States label “third world” countries. I was a Freshman in high school, was very shy, did not speak very much, and barely knew any of the other people in the group I was going with. When I approached my parents with the idea of me going to Haiti with the youth group, I had no doubt that they would tell me I could go. They knew that I had a passion for helping people and had been dreaming about going to Haiti since I was 11 years old. They could see that God had placed a passion in my heart for a country I had very little knowledge about.
So on a rainy June afternoon, after months of planning and preparation, I found myself sitting in the Detroit airport with 29 other high school students and leaders waiting to board a plane that would eventually take us to Haiti. I was nervous and excited. I clutched my passport and plane ticket and listened to the cheerful chatter of my teammates thinking about what was to come. I never could have predicted what would happen next. That trip changed me for the better. It opened my eyes to the reality of poverty and need. I fell in love with the people we worked alongside, especially the children. Our groups goal was to build a church, but I spent every free moment I had playing clapping games, letting little girls braid my hair, and loving on children that reached out to me. The moment that changed me the most was when a father asked me to take his little girl home because he thought that I could give her a better life in America. I came back to the United States with a heart on fire for God and serving the people that the world referred to as “the least of these.” For nine months following that trip, I experienced culture shock in my own culture. I resented the fact that I was back in the United States. I hated that I was living in the “American Dream” culture once more. I feel bad for the people around me as my one and only obsession was Haiti. I wanted to be back in Haiti so much, it hurt.
The following July I made my second trip to Haiti. Going back and being with the children and people once again, made me feel as if my heart and body were reunited once again. My goal was to find a need that I could try and fill from the United States. The answer was given to me by my friend Joel who was lamenting the fact that he had 130 children in his children’s program that could not afford to go to school. Thus, the More Hope for God’s Children sponsorship program was born. The first year that it was in place, 87 children ended up getting sponsored. It was a stressful year that had many roadblocks, but it was made worth it when I handed Pastor Jepthe Lucien, the man in charge of the school, the money. He thanked me for my efforts and explained that he had been praying for this money to come in because the school was starting to fail financially. I continued the program for a second year with not as much success, and was battling extreme burnout at 17 years old. I felt like a massive failure and I was letting God down.
I still had a passion for Haiti coming into the Moody Bible Institute. I still felt like God was calling me to be a missionary, but I was teetering on the edge of burnout and I hadn’t even started my missionary career yet. God started to mend the holes that the burnout had made in my heart, and I realized that I still wanted to help Haiti, but did not did know how to continue while I was studying at Moody. I frequently lamented this fact to my friends, who listened well and tried to understand the situation that I was in. Then three of my friends, Juan, Andrea, and Andrew, went to the Passion conference in Atlanta, Georgia. This sparked something in their hearts and they decided that they wanted to assist me in any way that they could, so they went to two of out other friends, Brad and Darby, and proposed the idea to them as well. Collectively they decided that they wanted to help in any ways that they could and offered me themselves to use at my disposal. So, after much prayer and many meetings Rendered Eternity was born. My blog may be called Rendered Eternity, and I thought of the name long before we voted to make this our service group’s name, but to them Rendered Eternity will be so much more than just a blog name. Rendered Eternity is our baby, our creation, and the fruits of our labour. I continue to use the name as my blog title, because this is how I want to live my life. I want my life to be rendered to the Lord for eternity.
Right now, Rendered Eternity is planning some great and exciting things for the remainder of this year. What we have now sparked from something that God placed in my 14 year old heart. This may only be the beginning for Rendered Eternity, but it’s the continuation of a work that God has been forming in my heart all of these years, and I can not wait to see what He has in store for all of us.