It takes thirty days to make a habit.

We lived in Haiti for 35 days.

One of the missionaries told us we stayed for the perfect amount of time. Long enough to grow accustomed and connected to the culture, but short enough to avoid getting burned out or homesick.

We felt like we belonged. Of course our skin was a different color–no amount of tanning could change the fact that we were still very “blanc,” as the Haitian guys liked to call out. We couldn’t understand their language, although we learned enough to communicate with the kids and express our needs to the Haitian staff. Technically speaking, we should have felt out of place.

But there was something in the way the passersby softly greeted us with “bonjou” in the mornings, the way the neighbor kids smiled at us shyly, the way the babies–completely trusting us to take care of them–nestled their heads on our shoulders, that told us we belonged.

We didn’t belong because we fit in. We belonged because God had placed us there.

After five weeks in Haiti, we grew into the routines, such as walking a mile through trash-filled, rocky Haitian roads each morning, taking freezing cold showers every other night, and answering to the name “mama.”

Now we’re home. I have to remind myself to speak to kids in English instead of Creole. I can’t bring myself to waste clean drinking water. I turn whenever I hear someone say “mama.”

I’m reminding myself that for this next season of my life, I belong here, in America. But ultimately, I don’t belong in Haiti or the United States or any other country; Heaven is my home.

And until I get there, the center of God’s will is where I truly belong.

Written for Lisa-Jo’s Five-Minute Friday: Belong

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brenda
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 16:55:01

    Beautifully written.


  2. Rachelle Rea
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 18:54:00

    This is beautiful, Jessica.


  3. Gretchen Louise
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 19:57:21

    Welcome home, sis. As Allegra McBirney says, “Heaven is my home; earth is my business address.”


  4. shortybear
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 21:07:24

    awesome writing.


  5. Trackback: a sense of belonging - Gretchen Louise
  6. Stephanie
    Jul 20, 2013 @ 01:48:20

    Lovely. Thank you for serving in Haiti; I heard much about it from some who have served there. What a lovely perspective on belonging…


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