More About MEETs
Discover, Serve, Transform
A Mission Education Encounter will challenge you to look beyond the headlines and learn for yourself what life is like for the average Haitian or Dominican family. As you encounter other people and cultures, you will discover as much about yourself as you will about those you meet. Your in-country experience will increase your awareness of blessings you have in your daily life. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere and its children endure lives impoverishment, not only is there a lack of money, education, and adequate housing, but there is also a lack of available healthcare. ICC fills this need at Grace Children's Hospital (GCH), through an Urban Community Health Program in the slums surrounding the hospital and the Integrated Community Health Program offered in the rural sections of northern Haiti. In the Dominican Republic you will learn about our Community Based Rehabilitation Program for children with disabilities through home visits or tour a community health post in a remote village. Come and learn first hand how hope is restored to children and families in Haiti and the Dominican Republic through the ministry of International Child Care.
By interacting with the children at Grace Children's Hospital and by communicating and connecting with the people ICC serves in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, you will come to know and share their lives. Only by sharing directly in their journey – by witnessing their daily struggles – can we even begin to recognize the truth of the Haitian proverb, “One must first learn in order to understand." As a member of a Mission Education Encounter Team you will encounter Haiti and the Dominican Republic as active learners and participants. You will build relationships, gain understanding, discover the needs and appreciate the struggles and strengths of the Haitian and Dominican people. While not a traditional work team, your engagement in service will enlighten, energize and transform. You will serve by assisting nurses to feed and bathe children at Grace Children's Hospital, by playing games, singing songs, and holding children who desperately need a loving touch. At International Child Care, we believe that ministry begins with being present, being aware, and being open to the precious lives of those we meet.
"In 2001, while preparing for my first trip to Haiti, I spent much time in prayer and study. In my preparation, I came across an article in which the author talked about his experience living in Central America. He wrote about how his time there went beyond the old cliché, 'we went there to help them, but they ended up helping us,' such that he actually felt broken down by the incredible material poverty, unfathomable hospitality and love shown by the people he lived with.
Later, he described it as being 'broken open,' rather than 'broken down.' His experience had broken open the stereotypes, assumptions, cultural superiority, theological tidiness, latent racism, political theories and economic hypotheses he carried deep inside himself. This 'breaking open' made room for God to move within his spirit, thus transforming his life and outlook forever. This is precisely the experience I have had in Haiti as an ICC Mission Education Encounter participant.
I tell people who are considering short-term mission travel that there are many mission organizations that offer opportunities to do good things both here in North America and around the world. But, very few missions focus on opportunities for those called to be 'broken open' for God, or who seek to be transformed and renewed in their walk of faith. A Mission Education Encounter does this, and more. You will never be the same or see the world the same way.
Paul wrote to the Church in Rome, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds..." (Romans 12:2a). A truly genuine path to living the life God intends for all of us to live calls us to pursue experiences that cultivate personal transformation, the broadening of horizons and the 'breaking open' of our hearts. Being part of a M.E.E.T. is one such experience; one that will put you on such a path that your life will be forever changed."
Reverend Don Wallick
"what Will I DO on my mission trip?"
We have been asked this many times. The question implies that to be valuable, one must do something palpable, or leave behind a visible outcome from their mission experience. As successful, energetic North Americans, it is in our very nature to measure our achievements based on tangible outcomes. Accomplishment, industry and fortitude are all values that run deep in our minds, hearts and actions. However, a Mission Education Encounter challenges these old values and questions their relevance in today's society and, more importantly, their validity for our interactions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In Haitian and Dominican culture, relationships take priority over accomplishments and success is measured by character rather than outcome. In other words, our Haitian and Dominican neighbors are more concerned with the character of our souls than the results of our achievements.
Haitians and Dominicans are productive, genuine, innovative and capable people. They simply lack resources, not expertise. With such staggering levels of unemployment, a Mission Education Encounter Team provides an alternative to sending work teams into an environment where there are already so many willing and able to do the job.
Through Mission Education Encounters, International Child Care builds relationships, not walls and barriers. We attempt to erect understanding and participation instead of walls or structures. Our program emphasizes interaction, participation and human connection rather than economic or capital development. We strive to build a shared humanity and serve as Christ has called us to, alongside our Haitian and Dominican brothers and sisters."