Aug 3, 2023


I long for Haiti. 

I long for the place I have come to call my second home. I long for my eyes to see the faces of those I’ve grown to love and for my ears to hear the sounds of the hustle and bustle of the Port-au-Prince’s streets. 

I long for my heart to feel whole again. 

This is where I am today. But this is not where I was 12 years ago when my relationship with Haiti began. I went to a place I had no attachment to, no desire for, and no knowledge of. I went there because I couldn’t not go. 

Believe me, I tried to say no. But God had other plans. 

Once I realized the Lord was clearly directing me to Haiti, I began to long for a rewind: 

Lord, would you please just erase whatever You’re doing to draw me there? Would You please undo whatever it is You’re doing to my heart? It would be so much easier if I could live a life of no pull to enter the unknown – to just remain content in my comfortable life. I don’t like the unknown. I don’t like change. I don’t like it messy. 

But I knew something would happen just by going… because God had already been creating discontent within me. 

God was clear in His response. And so I went.

I boarded an airplane in September 2011, and in the days that followed, Haiti created a place for herself in my heart. The Lord revealed Himself to me in the people of Haiti–people I was blessed to speak with, to care for, to commune with, to laugh and cry with. God showed Himself in the beauty of the vistas around me, from the crowded streets to the mountain tops. One week later, I came home with a broken heart, struggling to figure out what to do with the mess that was me. 

If I had had no family to return to, I would have never boarded that returned flight home. Bringing home the person I had become during my time in Haiti, with my insides in disarray, was profoundly difficult. But I came back because I love my family, whom the Lord had also given me. I returned fueled by a longing for clarity and understanding of my new directive and purpose in life.

Lord, what have You done to me?  

What do I do with this? 

What’s next? 

In the twelve years since my return, God has slowly answered those questions. He has opened my eyes to His people all around me. He has given me a heart, not only for the vulnerable and hurting, but for all of the people with whom I cross paths. He has led me to change my career twice, and now I work daily for the future of Haiti. He has allowed me to return to Haiti countless times, serving short-term teams, and getting a front-row seat watching God at work in them. 

God has led into the depths of His love in so many ways.

I could rest in this longing to return to my dear Haiti, simply waiting around for the next opportunity to “go”. But I choose not to. Instead, I long for this land to see justice, to experience peace, to thrive, to be restored to its natural beauty, and to be a people who collectively follow God. 

I long for the people I love, and for those I do not know, to step outside of their homes with assurance of their safety, to be gainfully employed and watch their families flourish, and to see the next generation step into the fullness of their calling in Christ.

In my longing, I have found a peaceful place of rest and security in my Father. I lay these longings at His feet daily, knowing full well that “I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)

“With all my heart I long for You in the night, at dawn I see for You; for when Your laws prevail on earth, the inhabitants of the world learn what justice is.” (Isaiah 26:9)

Post written by Lois Girgis-Coyle, Director of Mobilization at Healing Haiti