NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This past December, a total of nine student-athletes, from four different sports travelled to Grand Guave, Haiti for a seven day mission trip. They helped a local church with a building project and led a multi-day after school camp for middle school kids.
For the next several weeks, BelmontBruins.com will be posting personal reflections from the nine student-athletes who took part in the trip.
Our next set of reflections comes from three members of the baseball team, Kyle Klotz, Cully Day, and Austin Reynolds.
Mission Trip Photo Gallery
This trip was one that has changed my life and will be a benchmark that I look back on and think, "That trip and those moments with that group of people has altered the way I look at life and the way I live life." This trip humbled me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have always prided myself on being strong and independent, but my injury made me rely on the people around me to get around and be productive. Which brings me to my next point, the fellowship that we had when we were there was unlike any other I have ever had. I have never seen 10 people become so close through devotion and worship. I think it just shows how powerful God is. The physical and spiritual strength of everyone on our team was admirable and really set the tone for a good trip. I have never been to a more beautiful place in my entire life. I am so thankful for everyone that went and for Jordan who led us and directed us with such passion and wisdom while we were down there.
To say the trip to Haiti this winter break was one to remember would be an understatement. For me, this trip was loaded with firsts. This was the first time leaving the country, first time flying, first time going on a mission trip, and many more. With all of these firsts came a lot of new experiences that will remain with me for quite a while. I couldn't be more thankful for being given such a great opportunity to grow and spread the love of God and I know this was only possible due to such kind people such as my parents, Jordan, Betty Wiseman, and many others.
The way this trip to Haiti was able to challenge me led me to spend a lot of time outside of what has been comfortable for me in the past. For me, just simply being able to spend more time reflecting on who I am as a person and what my true relationship with God looks like really helped me to identify how I could grow further. The time spent with Devotion every night there was greatly influential to not only me, but everyone who was able to be a part of it. Having everyone share pieces of what makes them unique and how they have overcome such challenges just showed how everyone is challenged in different ways, but what seems to be the underlying theme in everyone's road to success is God. At times in my life it has been way too easy to venture away from God being the center, which seemed to be more of a unique issue to me before hearing about everyone's journeys. Just having relatable people around me to help shape the path that should be traveled was exactly what was needed to realize what my own actions need to be.
Although the centerpiece of this trip seemed to be us growing in our own relationships with God, there was many other aspects to this trip that weighed greatly on me. One lasting piece is the relationships I built with my fellow students that I had barely known before going to Haiti with them. Once we left Haiti at the end of our week there, it felt like I had known some of these people my whole life. It is so clear that several of them will be true friends to me through the rest of my life. Also, the experience of seeing what a true poverty struck country looks like is something that I will never forget. The vast differences in the way we live our everyday lives just from the amount of tangible things we have access to is amazing to me. However, through this, it has become very clear how materialistically centered we are as a country and how we don't have much of a clue how lucky we truly are not to worry about every day essentials like some people do. One thing is for certain though, Haitian people do not lack spiritual richness. These people could so easily have a negative outlook on life just seeing all the extra things other countries around them have, but instead have much more powerful relationships with our God than most of us possess. It is inspiring to see how little is needed to have such a strong relationship with God.
Through this whole trip I have learned more than I ever thought I would. I went into this knowing I would be experiencing a lot of new stuff but never knew what kind of effect it would leave on me. I truly believe through this trip I have grown to not only be a better person but to be a better servant for God and can only hope that this will stay with me through my life beyond this trip.
Our trip to Haiti is something that isn't really easy to reflect on, simply due to the fact that there were so many different thoughts and emotions piled all into one week. The week started with me leaving the country to go serve the Lord in a third world country with a group of people that were mostly strangers, and it ended with us leaving as a family. There were many special events and moments throughout the trip, but nothing was more special then the people I was able to share those events and moments with.
At first, when I was deciding to go on the trip to Haiti, I was extremely nervous. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect and I wasn't really sure if I was qualified to be going on the trip in the first place. I have always grown up in church, my family attended services every Sunday that we could, but this was my first time really doing anything outside of the church setting. It was something that I had wanted to do for a long time and the opportunity finally presented itself. So as you can imagine, I was pretty nervous. However, from the moment that we all started to get to know each other I knew everything was going to be just fine. I felt like in our group we all had different roles while we were there, and those roles could not have been more diverse. But in a weird way those diverse roles are what eventually brought us all so close and held all of us together. There were times throughout our trip where I was forced so far out of my comfort zone I didn't know which way was up, but somehow I always felt like I could just simply turn to the person next to me and they would help me figure things out. This happened countless times throughout the duration of our trip.
I wish this was easier to type onto paper and half of it probably makes no sense to the people reading it, but sometimes you are just at a loss for words, and I feel like the entire trip caused me to be a loss for words. It is impossible for me to explain the feelings I felt while we were in Haiti but I am firm believer that things happen for a reason, and I truly believe that God put all of us there together, at the same time, for a reason. I took countless things away from this trip but for some reason the thing that sticks out to me the most was simply the people I was surrounded by. The sense of community and fellowship we all shared together was truly powerful. Every single person that attended this trip helped me in some form or fashion. It could have been helping me grow in the Lord, asking questions that I may have had, asking me questions to help me better understand something, or simply just being there and being someone I could openly talk to. We all talked about this while we were in Haiti but that week was full of unconditional, love filled, distraction free FRIENDSHIP and I could not be more thankful to have had those people by my side. The ways that we were all able to work and serve with each other was truly remarkable. There were many instances where we all had to work as a team to finish a job or come up with an idea, but the things that I am able to remember the most and take the most away from is simply the conversations that we had with one another. They were the most genuine and truth filled conversations I have ever had in my life.
Like I said before I wish that this was easier to put onto paper but some things are just difficult. I just hope that I was able to help other members of our group a fraction of the amount that they were able to help me. The bond I was able to share with these people is something that I will be able to hold onto for a lifetime, and I can honestly say that I am blessed that I have them in my life.