Make sure to follow Kate’s journey in the mission field at her blog, HERE.
Night Church is almost over at Papas church house and it’s time for us to go.
Papa drives down death hill so I can walk with some of the ladies. Haiti has a very, very fine dust that covers everything and if you’re not careful you’ll end up on your butt before you know it. I can picture myself now saying “Rose I’ll help you and don’t you worry because I’ve got you” as I grasp her arm desperately while dragging her down the hill for a painful and poor rendition of a slip and slide.
Fortunately, my imagination does not become a reality and we are able to walk safely down the hill. We round up a group of motos and I tell Jolene I’ll take her with me since she hasn’t gotten a good adventure yet. (Like getting a passport, leaving the states for the first time and traveling across the country of Haiti in a ghetto bus wasn’t enough.) Come on Jolene lets go! Marcy knows me and loves adventure so of course, she jumps on the back. She is a little fella and has to jump…because she is vertically challenged. I tell them we are going to take a “shortcut” and we pass everyone as they make a right turn.
Batakol has not exactly been running very well and if I let off the gas at all she stalls.
Poor gal. At every stop, I am revving her up and I look like the guy at the red light who sees you and revs up his truck to impress.
Yeah. That’s me. The whitey revving her gold, glowing star bedazzled bike with two more whiteys on the back. We are a complete embarrassment. We continue driving up the back way so we can really “cut some time off” the drive home. What I hadn’t accounted for was how much the roads change when you haven’t seen them for a year. The “shortcut” is turning out to be not so short and is full of ditches and potholes and puddles.
We bounce along the road praying Batakol does not stall and leave us stranded. I make the mistake as I’m driving and let off the gas. Batakol stalls but we’re still coasting. I kick the little kick starter thing down and am kicking desperately as Jolene’s leg bounces outstretched to stay out of the way of my frantic leg. Picture seeing this as someone driving behind us in pitch darkness. All you can see is the silhouette of the three stooges. Small Marcy clinging like Velcro to Jolene. Jolene clinging to me with all of our legs flailing in the air. Me trying to manhandle my bike while trying to desperately to kickstart.
I get Batakol started and in my excitement may or may not have popped the clutch and given it a little gas and popped a wheelie. As I see my front tire in the air I have mixed feelings of terror and pure joy. Part of me pictures Marcy’s head smashing against the rocks and part of me is extremely overjoyed because I have tried to pop wheelies for years and have never succeeded. This seems like a long wheelie. As my wheel lands back on the ground I ask if everyone is still on board, and to my surprise, Marcy stayed on! I can only imagine what we look like at that moment. Marcy hanging onto Jolene like a tree frog. Jolene’s legs flying up in the air and my face overjoyed at this wheelie stunt. Jolene, Marc and I are laughing so hard and Jolene says she is going to pee on my bike. No. You will not disrespect Batakol in such a way. Jolene swears she didn’t pee. To this day I do not believe her. The last thing I needed was her pee on my back or my bike.
It’s times like this I am grateful for hilarious stunts, up for everything friends, terrible roads, stalling bikes, pitch darkness, and insurmountable joy.
Joy can be in whatever we choose it to be.
Joy is a choice.
To choose joy in our hardships and terrifying moments.
Love every moment, even the ones where you get peed on and almost smash your head against rocks.
So, who feels safe sending their kids on a mission trip with me?
Kate Bartow is a Christian missionary who has served in Haiti for most of her life. She gained notoriety after confronting gang leaders during riots in January 2017. You can follow her mission work at her blog, HERE.