It has long been a desire of mine to visit a country whose culture is vastly different from my own. I am ashamed to admit I have never ventured beyond my white bread, Norman Rockwell, Western existence. It’s not for lack of desire, but mainly lack of opportunity. I know such a trip would not only confront my cultural stereotypes but would also open my eyes to the difficulties faced by many around the globe, not to mention my own relative luxury and waste.
As hard as it would be, as convicting and heartbreaking and unsettling, I want to go. As a believer, the command of Jesus to go and carry His gospel to the nations is one that resonates in my heart.
In Margaret Trost’s memoir, On That Day, Everybody Ate: One Woman’s Story of Hope and Possibility in Haiti, she tells of her trip to a culture vastly different from her own, to Haiti, a “pilgrimage of reverse mission…’reverse’ because it was designed to be transformational for the participants.” This book is not only the story of that first life-changing trip, it is the story of the beauty and desperation of the Haitian people and Trost’s desire to bring hope to the hopeless. From the product description:
Margaret Trost was in her 30s when her husband died suddenly of asthma, leaving her to raise their young son alone. In despair, seeking meaning in her life and in her husband’s death, she accepted an invitation to visit Haiti as part of a pilgrimage of reverse mission, to serve the poor as a means to transform the providers. This is a moving account of her immersion in the West’s most impoverished nation. Gently and viscerally, Trost describes her experiences in a hospice and in the horrific slums of Cité Soleil. As she struggles to make sense of such extreme conditions existing so near the US, readers discover with her the healing power of reaching out. In the process, we meet and come to love the eternally optimistic and enterprising Father Jean-Just, and the wise octogenarian Manmi Dét, who teaches Margaret to work hard and also to play and to dance. And we have a front-row seat as this unlikely group of friends creates a food program for Haiti’s children. In straightforward, conversational prose, with humility, candor, and love, Trost shares the story of a serendipitous flow of events that guided her on her passage from despair to hope.
Trost’s memoir is beautifully written, full of genuine affection for the Haitian people and a determination to partner with them to feed their starving children. Her reverse mission trip sowed the seeds of a program which now serves thousands of meals a week. A remarkable, inspiring story of hope and the difference one woman can make.
I have yet to go on my own pilgrimage, yet experiencing vicariously Trost’s pilgrimage through the pages of On That Day, Everybody Ate both whetted my appetite and served to fuel the desire even further!
Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes….