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I Will Never Be the Same After Haiti

I Will Never Be the Same After Haiti

First and foremost, my trip to Haiti was an amazingly transformative experience that not only shaped my views on God and this world, but also myself. I came away with more questions remaining than questions answered but that was okay. For some reason the fact that I still had unanswered questions reassured me that my time in Haiti was well spent.

I expected my trip to Haiti to be like my mission trip to Mexico I took freshman year, but they weren’t that similar. I wasn’t expecting the trip to have as much of an impact on me as it did. Leading up to the trip, our group of twenty students would meet and discuss what’d we’d be doing there. After a while all that mission trip diction began to blend together and become an audible buzz in the back of my head. I began tuning it out because I heard it so much, I was ready for the real deal. I was ready to stop talking about going and finally go. So, when I actually got to Haiti, I was shocked to realize it wasn’t anything like I had expected. It exceeded all my expectations and blew them out of the water.

God met me in Haiti. He comforted me, He laughed with me, He cried with me (I mean really cried with me), He was with me everyday in a way I don’t usually feel in Irvine. I felt his presence in the stillness of the orphanage and saw his love in the wide smiles of the orphans. God had reminded me that He is God, the ultimate power of this universe, and he’s got my back. God reminded me that He loves me, my fellow student leaders, and those Haitian orphans with a passion. I will never be the same after Haiti. I don’t know when but I know I’m going back. I have to. I need to see the faces of those orphans again. I left Haiti with a hunger to do God’s work and show love to the outcast.

I waited till senior year to apply because I was lazy. Please, I’m begging you, do not be lazy. If you keep putting it off just because you tell yourself “it doesn't feel like the right time” or “I don’t hear God really calling me to go” or “I have so many other things going on” you’ll never apply. When I applied I wasn’t anywhere ready to go on a mission trip across the world, but I put my trust in God and applied. Applying is just the first step, the easiest step. Even if you have the smallest inkling of desire to apply... DO IT! Haiti was a wonderful experience that I will cherish for as long as I live. To pass up an opportunity to go to Haiti would be a mistake. Trust me when I say this, you will 100% not regret signing up for Haiti. You’ll love it.

- Brennan Ernst


Student Leader


Clickbait Life

Clickbait Life

“I really should be doing that history assignment right now… ” I thought to myself. But I was too far gone. Nothing could have held me back. I needed to know the truth. I clicked the link titled “Which Taco Bell menu item are you? QUIZ”, and my heart started to race. Filled to the brim with anticipation, I answered five or six questions that were completely unrelated to dirt-cheap, inauthentic mexican cuisine, only to find out that I’m a side dish of cheesy fiesta potatoes?! Ridiculous. 

As evidenced by my susceptibility to clickbait, I am a very distractible person. And unfortunately, I’m not alone. We live in a day and age where there are a plethora of distractions around every single corner. Whether it be social media, friends, smart-phone games, school, or otherwise: we are distracted creatures here in the 21st century. The reason why is simple. We don’t know what to be focused on. It’s not a hard trap to fall into, really. There are so many influences that are incessantly grabbing for our attention, time, and focus that we often lose sight of those that actually matter. 

Romans 8:5 tells us this: “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”         

We can be so set on what the flesh desires: pleasure, popularity, wealth, lust, etc., that we completely neglect making room for anything else. What should be coming first in our list of priorities sometimes doesn’t even make it onto the list at all. Soon enough, we don’t even recognize distractions at face value.  They can take the form of hobbies, passions, schoolwork, social gatherings, and *gasp* relationships.  

If God is not first in our lives, even good things can become distractions. 

This reiterates what Matthew 6:33 says: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you also… “  

This is the point where being a Christian can become difficult. We know that we need to be focused on God, but seeking God first means, well, putting everything else second. Having the discipline to put your desires aside and embrace God’s will for your life is something we all could use a lot of practice in.  Although sometimes it’s easy to view living out God’s will as a monumental sacrifice, Paul reminds us that it is nothing but the best for us.

Romans 12:2:  “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will…

If you aren’t influencing, you’re being influenced.  

Unless you are actively living out Christ’s love and sacrifice in your daily life, you are being conformed to the world, like Paul warned against. Think of it this way. There’s two types of people: thermometers and thermostats. A thermometer is nothing more than a reflection of what transpires in its environment, but a thermostat functions with the sole purpose of altering its environment.  Do not be a thermometer. Like the liquid inside actual thermometers, living your life like one is toxic. . So get out there and be a thermostat for Jesus; be a force of change for your Lord and Savior. This can take shape in ways as small as setting an example for a younger sibling, or as large as devoting your life to a ministry you feel called to. 

If nothing else, take a few minutes out of your day and be present with God. If you are up for the task, do some soul searching. Recognize the distractions that distance you from God and assess the areas of your life in which you prioritize your desires over God’s will. And most importantly, strive to be an influencer for Christ in every opportunity He provides you with.


In the abundance of His blessings,

A side dish of cheesy fiesta potatoes...


Emily, Luke, and Abbie’s Stories...(Haiti Day 4)

Emily, Luke, and Abbie’s Stories...(Haiti Day 4)

Hi! My name is Emily Steinhouser and all I can say is that I am in love with this country! Already on day 2 God has shown me His overwhelming love for these people and has put something on my heart I was not expecting. I am excited to share it with you all!

To start off, going on this trip was something I have dreamed and prayed about since the 5th grade, now going into my Junior year I was ecstatic. I was nervous about setting up expectations that couldn’t be met and having to readjust when I got here. So to prepare I felt God telling me to go into this faith adventure with no expectations. Which I have to be honest, is difficult for me. I’m what you call a “planner,” I prefer for things to be organized and perfect in order to be done right. So you can imagine how “going with the flow” was not in my day to day routine, but nevertheless I went along with it.

As a result of being a planner, before this trip I had my life mapped out and like some people, never questioned if it was the one God has called me to live out. During these past two days I have been praying for the boldness to step out of my comfort zone and to not feel anxious in the process. I can say with certainty that those prayers have been met during my time with the kids so far. As soon as we stepped off the bus today at the orphanage these kids made sure you felt their love and after that any anxiety I was feeling was washed away. From praying over strangers, playing with the kids and getting to know the culture I have felt as sense of purpose. That not only stepping out of my comfort zone allowed for deeper relationships, but also that being in this place feels natural. I am not exactly sure what this means but I am so excited to continue to explore this change in my heart.

Hi everyone! I’m Abbie Nelson and I have the pleasure of returning to Haiti for the second time this year. Last year, I immediately fell in love with this country and everything in it. From the kids, to the community, to the power of God’s love, I was obsessed and couldn’t wait to come back. However, in the last couple of weeks leading up to the trip, I felt a feeling of uneasiness. I didn’t want to leave the comfort of our homes and come to a third world country. I didn’t want to come and go through the heat and hunger for a week. I was also afraid that I wouldn’t have as good of an experience as last time. So, I began to pray that God would show me why I was meant to return. Sure enough, the past two days have been filled with reassurance and have shown me the clear reasons of why Haiti has been my calling. I’ve immediately fallen back in love. The amount of  joy I feel when I am around these kids is overwhelming. In some ways, I can’t even explain to you how insanely full and happy these kids make me feel. In the back of my mind, I’ve always known that mission trips are what I’m meant to do, but this environment has yet again made it so clear to me. I’m so excited to continue to witness God’s love and power throughout this trip, as well as where this path will take me in the future.

Hey everyone, my name is Luke and I am super happy to be reporting from Haiti. Today we went to our partner church in Haiti with the leaders and Pastor Sam and we spent time with the kids at the church. When we arrived on our bus, the kids rushed out and held our hands. One boy named Marshon, grabbed my arm and guided me into the church. After we got all situated, the kids began to sing in creole and it blew us all away. During crafts me and Marshon colored together and we instantly had a connection. I gave him my hat, we would always stay together, we played frisbee with 2 other kids and Matthew, and basically just had a great time. Today was a great day for me. When I first arrived at our first stop I was super nervous and kept to myself. But today God really touched me and told me to get out though and do what I called you to do, to spread the light and love of Jesus Christ by forming relationships with the kids and showing them love. I am really hoping to see God do more work through me these next couple days. Bye everyone, Catch Ya on the Flip Side.

Delaney: Worship Story

Delaney: Worship Story

Delany is one of the faithful Student Leaders in JHM. We are so exited to have her and the incoming Freshman class join us this Summer at HSM! She has a passion for worship and the impact it can have on our hearts. Click on the video below to hear more about her story.

Adam: Student Story

Adam: Student Story

Summer + Haileigh

Summer + Haileigh