2019 Intern Testimonies
HCO summer interns play a vital role in the ministry, helping host teams, serving wherever needed, and learning a lot about the Haitian culture and our ministry. Our Summer 2019 Interns were Logan Schmidt, Jorja D’an Coomer, and Rebecca Rivers. We asked them to share some thoughts about their experience. If you came on a trip this summer or are thinking about applying to become an intern, check out their stories!
Summer 2020 intern applications are being accepted until Friday, November 1, 2019.
Logan Schmidt, Lead Intern
This past summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve as the lead intern for HCO. God used this summer to stretch and push me in many ways during my time in Peredo; both in my spiritual life and in my leadership abilities. I love being able to experience other cultures first-hand, so naturally it was very fun and exciting to be able to dive right in and to learn as much as I could during the nine weeks. Having two amazing interns alongside me helped tremendously, and I cannot thank them enough for all the help and support they provided both myself and the ministry!
The three of us were able to form life-long relationships, both with each other and with the community of Peredo. The time spent playing with the local kids was one of the most impactful parts of my summer, simply because it proved just how little you need to be able to speak verbally to show how much you care about one another. Laughter is a universal language, and there was plenty of that throughout this summer! My favorite memory was going to a local soccer match with the other interns to watch Jimmy and a few of the other local kids play. Seeing the kids come together and cheer their respective teams on was amazing to watch, because you could see how close they were to one another and how much passion they had for the game. They acted like family and were always there to pick someone up when they fell, and there was nothing but respect for one another. I would love to come back and spend another summer in Peredo as an intern for many reasons, but the main reason is simply to be back home. I have fallen in love with the people and I now have many who I consider family living across the world from me. I wouldn’t trade my time in Haiti for the world. Going back to Peredo would be like a family reunion for me, and I cannot wait for the day I am able to!
HCO has definitely followed through with its goal to do something for Haiti that will last. The easiest way that I can see this is through the hospital. Seeing patients come from all over the country to Peredo to be taken care of is truly incredible. People will drive for hours to be seen at the hospital in Peredo due to the overwhelmingly positive reputation it has built throughout Haiti and, from hearing the patients give their many testimonies of how the hospital has helped them, there is no doubt that lives are being saved and many hearts are being brought closer to God through the efforts of the hospital staff and through HCO.
As someone who has fallen deeply in love with this country, being able to show others my home away from home and to watch them find the same passion that I have for the people there has been amazing. God is truly working in this place and I cannot wait to see how HCO continues to advance, grow and change for years to come!
Jorja D’an Coomer
Haitian Christian Outreach allowed me to follow Jesus over a thousand miles away from home. It was very hard for me as I left my family and fiancé, but I was so excited for this new adventure in a new culture that I had to learn to adjust to for over two months. I went into this summer feeling unworthy of this calling that God has placed on my life and in my heart. Over time, He revealed to my heart that I was supposed to be there. It was very intimidating going into the summer with Logan and Rebecca. Logan had been an intern for the summer before and knew so much Creole. Rebecca had taken French, so it was very easy for her to pick up on the language. Then there was me, I could barely say the basic things in Creole. Everyone was so gracious towards me while I began my long journey trying to learn as much as I could while asking how to say things a million times. Each week I got better and better and I was able to communicate well with my Haitian friends. I learned so much through Logan and Rebecca. They were my strong backbone throughout this summer, and I have grown to love them dearly.
If you have been to the campus in Peredo, you know who Jimmy is. If there was someone in this world that truly reminds me of who I think Jesus would be, it would be Jimmy. The sweetest, most genuine person with the biggest smile you will ever meet. He was one of my absolute best friends this summer and has a very special place in my heart. He is so intelligent, and works so hard around campus, always doing something. He is the best. We made a deal that he would teach me Creole if I would help him improve on his already outstanding English. From there, we were best friends, there were many times throughout the summer he says that we act like siblings. He could do or say anything to make me burst into laughter. We had the same sense of humor and that is what really brought us closer together and sometimes into a bit of trouble. From sitting next to him on the same pew at church every Sunday morning, to our countless games of kazino (a card game), Jimmy became family to me quick. Becoming forever-friends with this sweet Haitian was one of my favorite parts of this summer.
I now have a second home, forever family, and friends. We got to experience a lot more than short-term teams get to. I got to see how life is there, the struggles, and the continuous love that these Haitians poured into me day after day. I was blessed by these people more than I could even think about blessing them. They are some of the most hardworking, genuine, loving people I have ever met. Some of my best friends are in Haiti. I created relationships with the kids that were always around, showing Jesus’ love to them through hugging on them, making bracelets, and playing cards with them, day after day. These are relationships that are going to last a lifetime and I cannot wait to see them all again soon.
When I applied for this internship with HCO, I did not doubt that I wanted to do this. If I was not getting married in December, I would absolutely be applying to do this internship again. This was the best summer of my life, and you bet I bawled like a baby when I left. Words cannot truly describe this incredible summer. At times I was emotionally exhausted, mainly from what God was breaking my heart for daily. A lot of days I was so tired, ready to break out into tears at any moment, but also ready to always love as hard as I could. I knew this summer would not last forever, and it flew by. I wanted to make the best out of the time I did have there.
The impact that this summer has had on my life has changed me in so many ways. Thank you, Jesus, for giving us opportunities to do your work and explore a different culture while doing it. Thank you, Jesus, for shaping my heart through the people I got to meet and build relationships with, and truly shaping my heart and pushing me out of my comfort zone. This organization and the people in Peredo have a piece of my heart forever. I may not be going back as an intern, but I cannot wait to go back on a trip to see all of my beautiful family and friends back in Peredo. I am so thankful for what HCO is doing, and the opportunity we have to witness it all. I am praying for HCO as they continue doing something for Haiti that will last.
Amazing, incredible, unbelievable.
Moving, purposeful, inspiring.
Challenging, trying, heart-shattering.
Full of joy, full of love, full of laughter.
Draining. Filling to overflowing.
Better than I ever could have imagined.
A HUGE blessing.
FILLED with God’s goodness.
The best summer of my life.
It has been incredibly hard for me to find the words to adequately describe my summer serving in Haiti as an intern with HCO. These here are just the first few that come to my mind.
This summer was a huge blessing in so many ways. One of those ways was how God used it to put me outside of my comfort zone, stretch me, grow me, and give me countless opportunities to rely on Him more than in my typical day-to-day life in the US. (Which, in turn, taught me that I need to be relying on God that much, and more, no matter where He has me in the world or what season I am in.) It can be challenging at first to live in a third world country with an unfamiliar language, a culture you don’t know deeply, and being surrounded by people you didn’t know or hardly knew previously. God helped me to overcome those challenges by giving me two other amazing interns and friends to serve with, allowing us to have the Corn family during our first two weeks to share tons of information and make us feel at home right away, by giving me the ability to learn the language quickly and well, and by helping me make wonderful connections and relationships in the community in Peredo. But ultimately, above all those things, God helped me to overcome any challenges by going into the summer with a heart to truly, fully, and effectively serve with the love of Jesus; not to be served. That spilled into every facet of life for me in Haiti and it looked different in every situation. It looked like finding every opportunity to serve others, loving fully and untainted, surrendering expectations, allowing my heart to break for the things that break God’s, not allowing fear to hold me back, being extremely joyful without the comforts of the US (yes, even in the crazy heat and humidity with no AC), and going all in with everything I did and everyone I encountered.
It was wonderful to live among Haitian friends and build lasting, intentional relationships with many of them. One of my most instrumental tools to do that well was learning the language well enough to have deeper and meaningful conversations. Everyone was so patient, helpful, and encouraging with me as I learned and developed my Creole speaking. Outside of language, I was able to build relationships through greetings, actions, gestures, expressions, shared laughter and smiles, and spending a lot of time with people. The more I knew about the language and culture; I could grow friendships deeper to family, share my faith, and encourage others in theirs. People often got excited that I could speak some Creole and I loved seeing that impact.
I can’t think of one favorite memory overall. The “simple” things will always have a special place in my heart: sitting up front every Sunday at church worshipping with fellowship to follow, sitting outside daily talking and listening to music, laughing and enjoying the company of friends, playing card games with everyone, soccer games, playing with kids, helping people with their daily tasks, walks to the river, going up the hill, meeting and serving with new team members weekly, and much more. Some of my other favorite memories were the “bigger” things: feeding hundreds of kids’ bellies during VBS weeks after feeding their spirits, providing medical care to hundreds of people and praying with almost all of them, getting to scrub into surgeries (with no medical experience except for a first aid certificate), and traveling to Anse a Boeuf to see clean water.
This summer was an experience I will forever be grateful to God for allowing me to have and to HCO for providing it for young adults. Through the good things, the not as good things, and the downright hard things, I wouldn’t trade any second of it for a summer doing anything else. A huge part of my heart is in Haiti and with the people there. If God opens the door for me to return for a second summer, I absolutely would without hesitation. My love for the beautiful people and country grew so much and I don’t think God is done with me there.
Interning with HCO was such a great learning and growing experience in effective missions. I love the mission of this organization and the ways they carry it out. It was amazing to daily see the lasting difference they are making in Haiti. I got to see it through spending time at the hospital, visiting schools and learning about how they are growing up the next generation of leaders, seeing new believers and members of the church every Sunday, working alongside Haitians who have been blessed by HCO, seeing the valuable skills they are teaching communities, and seeing individuals be reached by the Gospel and acts of love. God is doing amazing things in and through HCO.
Haitian Christian Outreach has such a love for the Lord, serving His children in Haiti, and doing something for them that will last. After seeing that daily for nine weeks, I can without a doubt say they are doing it very well. God continues to bless the ministry in so many incredible ways through people all over the world. Thank you so much to everyone who supports the work that is being done there through prayer and financial gifts and coming to serve on short term trips! It wouldn’t be possible without every piece. God is using you to make a lasting difference in Haiti.