Meet Destiney Copeland: she said YES to the Lord and then quickly to His call to serve His people near and far, finding that serving for Him truly is a gift.
How did the Lord call you to Haiti?
I knew the Lord was calling me to Haiti once I was baptized just months prior at my home church, and the opportunity to serve globally was offered to me. As a new Christian at the time, I was beaming with the new joy of housing the Holy spirit, so I was ready to get out of my comfort zone and exit the country for the first time…in Haiti! I went back and forth many days questioning if Haiti was the place for me or if I should start small and serve locally, since I felt under equipped considering my walk with the Lord was so new and my goal of $1,700 seemed so large. As the dust started to settle and my comfort level rose in my own abilities in Christ, funding started following suit, and the Lord created comfort and clarity. Before I knew it, the trip was covered in full and with the help of friends, family, faith, and Fund the Nations, the dream of serving in Haiti became a reality.
After working with schools there, how have your views on American education changed?
Viewing the school system, or lack thereof, in Haiti really was humbling for me. Being a current college student spending most of my days on a school campus, I came home really reflecting on the blessings we have here in America. The blessings of solid buildings, public transportation, air conditioning, technology, well equipped teachers, and a diverse classroom, can easily get over looked. In Haiti, you have little boys and girls fighting to stay focused when all they had in their tummies were a half a cup of rice and shoes 2 sizes too small on their feet. Many students traveled barefoot down a mountain side to attend classes. You have student learning math with pebbles and sticks for counting. It was a great experience to see the determination of the children and teachers to succeed and to let all other cares of the world fall waist side and let their education come to the forefront when within those four walls.
What’s one of the major difference you noticed between everyday life in Haiti versus everyday life in America?
One of the major differences I have noticed between everyday life in Haiti verses everyday life in America is physical activity. Since many do not have phones, even fewer have smartphones, both the kids and adults are very active. Driving down the streets, you will see groups of people playing soccer, harvesting, walking, playing, and even dancing.
What’s one thing about your trip you hope to never forget?
During my trip, I had a sweet friend named Snyder. Snyder is 16 years old and reminded me of my little brother that I had left in the states. He was my “protector” when the kids got too physical when wanting to touch me and he was also my translator when people run up to me all excited. It was a common thing that girls wanted to touch and braid my hair, but Snyder was always there saying, “Dou! Dou!”, which means “gentle” in Haitian Creole. I was able to play soccer with Snyder and his friends, see him learn in his classroom, and share a “WWJD” bracelet with him. Most importantly, I was able to share the gospel with him, and that is something I hope to never forget.
What’s one thing you wish you’d known before your first international mission trip?
I wish I had given my body enough time to adjust to international differences when it came to diet and emotion. Coming from America with a lot of fast and processed food then going to Haiti where all of the food if fresh, it was quite a treat, but when I came home and had my first meal out, I got absolutely sick. A week of fresh fruit and veggies really set my body and mind right, but I came home thinking I could go back to my old ways, but I was very wrong. I was sick the first 3 days home, which was physically and mentally draining. I wasn’t able to share my testimony like I wanted to, and it took me a long time to process my emotions since I was so weak. After seeing so many sad images and hearing some heavy testimonies, coming back home to a comfortable apartment surrounded by your abundance of blessings, you cannot help but feel sad and almost guilty. So all in all, I wish I had time to prepare before and after the trip both in terms of diet and emotion.
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