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Haiti Trip Teaches Openness to God

Posted: September 03, 2017


by Julie Utrup
from the August 27, 2017 bulletin

        I’ve traveled quite a bit to poorer countries, but always drove through the poor areas and straight to the resorts.  No big deal…… 

        The first 24 hours in Haiti were awful, brazenly I say, disgusting.  I thought I had made a horrible, horrible mistake coming.  I was going to have to dig deep to cope with this. 

Children clamor for a latest snapshot from Julie Utrup’s camera.

Children clamor for a latest snapshot from Julie Utrup’s camera.

        On the second day, we went to the school and the orphanage and everything changed. What followed were the best seven days ever. 

        At the school and orphanage,  I took out a Polaroid instant camera because I was told the kids love to see themselves.  I started taking snapshots of the children, and giving them the photos.  They were elated;  overcome.  They couldn’t get enough. 

        I have thousands of digital pictures on my phone that I completely dismiss or delete because, ugh, my wrinkles show, I have a double chin, is that a lazy eye?  

        But they were so happy with just a Polaroid picture, a low quality, tiny picture…

        We took the camera to a health clinic and took pictures of moms (some dads too) and their babies.  They stared at the photographs, with the biggest smiles.  They carried them as if they were holding something so precious.   I felt so small.  These were very moving moments.

        I went to Haiti to find a way to help. I think I did find ways I can help Sister Luvia and those beautiful precious girls.  But I also found ways to help myself. 

        I need to make myself vulnerable.  I need to make myself uncomfortable.  I need to push myself a little farther than I think I can go. In the homily from a few weeks ago, Fr. Chris talked about God’s seed needing good ground to grow in. That the ground needs to be turned, disturbed, fertilized, tended and the seed will grow. 

        Haiti definitely helped prepare my ground and I am so much more aware of my need to tend it.  I feel blessed to have gone and implore everyone to find a way to make themselves vulnerable and open to God’s intercession. 

Julie is a mother of two and a certified public accountant who serves as a catechist at St. Pius X.