Ten Things We Want You To Know Before We Leave for Haiti

January 15, 2013 | 26 comments

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. 

We have packed the suitcases, have swallowed the pills, have whimpered over the long needles, have welcomed the TV guy in the front door for a quick interview with the girls.

We have prayed more than we’ve worried, and that’s worth something.

And now, the time has come.

We’re headed to Haiti. With our miniatures. Yes, we’re taking two girls, ages 11 and 8, to a third-world country, poorest country in the western Hemisphere, where abject poverty throws its arms around you and won’t let go.

It seems like I should be scared.

This might be the craziest thing we’ve done as parents. But we trust that it’s also the most right thing.

Before we go, there’s a few things we want you to know about us,
and about Haiti,
and about you
and about God:

1 — We’ve been asked, in the kindest ways, if Haiti is safe. We believe we are in very good hands with our conscientious Haitian and American hosts. We believe we are in good hands with our God. We know that bad things can happen anywhere, but today, we consider other dangers, such as: turning our backs on our friends in Haiti,  ignoring the call of God,  being numb to the pain of others. But this is not an indictment of any other person who is NOT going to Haiti because ….

2 — You don’t have to go to Haiti to do God’s work in this world. You are not a bad parent if you don’t take your kid to a third-world country. There is plenty to do right where we are. A person’s mission field is most accurately described as the spot where she is standing. (If you’re looking for great ways to change your world, right where you are, visit Amy Sullivan’s blog now and then. Follow along with Jen Hatmaker and her book 7. Pray your “Anything” with Jennie Allen. )

3 — You are not doing something wrong if you take your kids to Disney World or a beachside vacation. We thought you ought to know that. We don’t want our trip to Haiti to be a source of guilt for you. We love Haiti, but we have also enjoyed our visits with Mickey Mouse and Cinderella in Orlando. We think pixie dust is the best.

4 — Our girls are normal American kids. Yes, they raised a lot of money — with your generous help! — for a new playground and basketball court. But it looks pretty normal around here most days. They  fight over the last Oreo and who gets to play the iPad first. They leave stray socks everywhere. And their mother sets a poor example by rarely making her bed.

5 — We’re still trying to figure it all out. And we’re not always doing it right. The other night, despite my personal pledge NOT to do this, I used Haiti as a way to get the children to do what I want them to do, as in: “You’ll meet kids in Haiti who would give anything for that piece of chicken.”

6 — We fully expect that Haiti will have a greater influence on us, than we do on Haiti. And we think that might be part of the point.

7 — The only hero in this house is Jesus. And we prayed that when the camera guy came, we would put the spotlight on our Savior, not ourselves. (I will link to the KELOLAND-TV story after it airs.)


8 — The Haitian people are not our charity projects, but our friends. And we’re going to Haiti to do what friends do: listen and love and laugh a lot. We’re going to pray together, hold hands, worship at top of our lungs and the top of our hearts, hug, cry, find silver linings, remind each other that we matter to God and we matter to people.

9 — We will expect the unexpected. We will try not to take ourselves too seriously, will not watch the clock, will consider the interruptions to be our real work, will spy Jesus in the faces of the poor (and hopefully in our own mirrors), will listen more than talk, will need your prayers, will wish we could do more, will fall short, but we will give our very best anyway.

10 — We will be on the ground in Haiti, but you go with us. You know that, right? This would have never happened without your prayers and encouragement. We still need both.



This is the Bible we’re taking for our sponsored children: The Jesus Storybook Bible in Haitian Creole.

by | January 15, 2013 | 26 comments


  1. Lyla Lindquist

    Keeping an eye on you and the girls. Look forward to hearing more.


    • dukeslee

      Thanks for the call today, Lyla. It meant a lot to me … to all of us.

  2. Sharon Leavitt

    Love this, Jennifer.
    It encourages me too.
    Go with God…I know you are.

    • dukeslee

      Praying for you, too, Sharon. Crazy to think we’ll be there at the same time! Love to you.

  3. Megan Willome

    Staying home isn’t safe. Might as well go.

    (praying for you all)

    • dukeslee

      Your comments always make me smile. You’re a wise one. Thanks for your prayers. They mean the world.

  4. S. Etole

    #8 jumped right off the page and into my heart. People can so easily become ministry and projects yet Jesus called us friends. What a gift.

    • dukeslee

      I think it can be too easy for an imbalance to happen when we do God’s work in the world, like we set things up as people with the haves and the have-nots. For starters, some of the Haitians I know are the richest people I’ve met, in some very important ways. Thank you, Susan, for coming by today. You’re dear to me.

  5. Linda Worden

    Truth and trust… Take His name and He’ll provide open doors for His light to shine through each of you. Love hearing your stories and the wisdom you share.

  6. JP

    I can’t wait to see how this unfolds. There is truly something crazy brewing in Haiti and this trip is just another amazing part of the story! Please give lots of hugs and kisses to a very special little fella down there and bring us back a piece of Haiti!!
    Love what you guys are doing and so proud of your girls!

  7. Lisa Auter

    Prayers for you, Lee family. My 6 yr old was standing beside me as I read this. We read the Jesus Storybook Bible together last year. He points and says, “I know who that is. Jesus.” And my heart melted and I explained to him that that was the same book we read AND it was in a different language here for kids in Haiti who THESE kids (see pictures, honey?) are going to give them to. Such a sweet moment to share what God does in our lives. Prayers for your travels, Lee family, and prayers for what God can and will do through you. xoxxoxxo

  8. Monica Sharman

    And here’s something I want you to know: I’m praying! Your #6 and #7 are so YOU—all of this is so YOU!

  9. Julie

    So excited for you and your family! I cannot wait to hear your God stories from this trip! Praying for you all!


  10. Margaret Feinberg

    Praying for you and your family during this great adventure.

  11. Shari VandenHeuvel

    Praying for all of you as you travel to be The Hands and Feet of Jesus………..God Bless and Keep you all Safe and Close beside him always………………

  12. Melody Van Der Vliet

    I will be praying for you & Scott & the girls. I, too, will be going to Haiti next month. And it is just like you said, I am looking forward to building relationships.

  13. Amy Sullivan


    That is me jumping up and down, screaming with excitement.

    So crazy cool.

  14. kelliwoodford

    What an opportunity. Will be with you in prayer, friend. 🙂

  15. Linda

    Those are the best ten things I’ve read in a very long time Jennifer. My prayers go with you. Praying He will go before you and that His light will shine through you.

  16. Jennifer@Adam's Rib

    The safest place to be is the center of God’s will, not a specific GPS coordinate. I will continue praying for you, my friend.

  17. Jillie

    Bon Voyage Lee family! You are ‘livin’ large’ for God! Cannot wait to hear all about your trip to visit your Haitian friends. The children will be thrilled with those beautiful Bibles. All glory to God.
    Praying for you all.

  18. floyd

    Praying for a fruitful and safe trip in the hand of God.

  19. Amanda Conquers

    I will be praying for you and your family. I really loved your list of 10 things. They encouraged me as I pray through some opportunities… I think I could take each one and apply it to the mission field I hear God calling me to… just one city over. Thank you!

  20. Michelle Eichner

    Beautiful post – so thoughtful! I will be praying for you my friend! Love, Michelle

  21. Dorina Gilmore

    You’ve written my heart! We depart Jan. 24 for Haiti with our 3 girls. It’s a lifestyle – flying back & forth to see our friends, offer a hand up when we can. Blessings as you journey!


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