With my seat belt fastened, my seat-back upright and locked position, and my tray table secured, my attention turned to the conversations taking place around me in Haitian Creole, a dialect of French.
Despite my initial disappointment, however, I would soon be blown away by the incredible speed with which God would allow me to learn, understand, and speak Haitian Creole.
When I attempted to tune into what was being said, I realized I was at a loss. Despite having taken a year of French in college and two years of French in high school, it was as though I was attempting to listen to a phone conversation plagued by static. Every ten to fifteen seconds, a word or two would come through clearly. With little success understanding Haitian Creole, I attempted to use French to communicate with another passenger while we waited patiently for the restroom. Again, this attempt crashed and burned when I lacked the words needed to communicate. With no option to turn the plane around, the sense that I had gotten myself into something much larger than I could handle would weigh heavily on my mind as the plane neared its destination: Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Following our arrival, we met up with a group of young Haitians in their twenties at a church in Port-au-Prince. Over the next two weeks, we would spend time together, serve together, share meals together, and meet together one on one. In the time we spent one on one, we would discuss how to share the gospel with others, what it looked like to put Christ at the center of your life, and a few other key biblical concepts. Why? So that they could live out of these concepts and truths themselves, and in-turn teach and equip their friends, family, and non-believers living among them to do the same
For our time together, I found myself paired up with a young Haitian who spoke French, Haitian Creole, and little English. Following our initial time one on one, I was frustrated and discouraged; communicating was like pulling teeth and I was not sure I was cut out to be a dentist. Despite my initial disappointment, however, I would soon be blown away by the incredible speed with which God would allow me to learn, understand, and speak Haitian Creole.
With only God deserving the glory and praise, I finished the trip having gained a rudimentary grasp of Haitian Creole, having led a workshop on prayer using Haitian Creole, and having formed incredible friendships with a handful of Haitians. And although I did not fully understand the Haitian Creole conversations that filled the air on the flight back to the United States, listening to them was both comforting and exciting. As the plane neared its destination, in many ways, it felt like I was leaving home.