Area woman raising funds for mission trip to Haiti
It was in 2003 when Christina Boughton, then a college student at the University of South Carolina, trekked to the Haitian town of Grand Goave with members of a student Christian group to help with a construction project, participate in street corner evangelism and pass out clothes to families in need.
“When we went down there, it was just to come alongside the missionaries (stationed in Haiti) and just do what we could,” Boughton said.
Now, 16 years later, married and mom to three, she is raising money for a January 2020 return — this time to the city of Mole, where she will travel with members of the Crossroads Christian Church.
“It’s the missionaries that are there that continue to build those relationships and build the churches and grow the people and mentor them. We’re just there to help do tasks,” she said.
The Montourville team will meet up with another from Indiana to work with missionaries associated with the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. The missionaries and team members are still discussing what needs to be done, she said, but she is just happy to head back to the Haitian people.
“They’ve changed my life more than I could ever change their lives,” Boughton said.
Boughton needs to have $800 in by Oct. 1 for a down payment. To help, she has set up a GoFundMe page and also is taking orders for homemade pumpkin rolls.
Her decision to return to Haiti all these years later was serendipitous, she said.
“I just posted a picture on Facebook. It was one my best friend took of me in Haiti. Then the next day, Crossroads sent their email about the missionary trip. It was a good confirmation and just God’s way of saying he wanted me to go,” Boughton said.
She explained that returning to Haiti would mean encountering people living in deep poverty.
“(In Haiti), you don’t even know where you’re gonna get lunch,” Boughton said. “You don’t even know if you’re gonna get fresh water. All your time and focus and attention is always on how to survive. It is very sobering to realize that they have absolutely nothing… It’s very common for one house to have only a bowl of rice and just divide it 10 different ways, or divide it by however many people there are in the house.”
In spite of that, the Haitian people are “so joyful,” she said
“Hope is a very deep root and it sustains people in times of trouble,” Boughton said. “If you don’t have it, then you’re like a tree that’s not planted by water. It doesn’t have a good root system. You’ll just get blown over by whatever happens in life. The Haitian people are just so full of joy, especially the ones that have given their lives to Christ. They have these huge smiles when they worship.”
During her 2003 trip, she and her team were moved during a worship service.
“We just sat out on the rooftop and listened to them as they worshiped completely and wholeheartedly and they lifted up their voices and they clapped. They had very few instruments, other than what they made,” Boughton said.
She further explained the key to their joy: Despite their poverty, they usually are “not looking at themselves or their circumstances, but looking at the possibility of eternity or the possibility of helping others.”
As she continued to work with the Haitians, Boughton was also told that it was important to stay with their translator at all times.
“They speak French Creole,” she said. “However, if you speak French to them, they just kind of laugh. It’s like us speaking old English with the ‘thees’ and ‘thous.’ “
She did pick up some Haitian words on her trip.
“One of the first words I learned was ‘blanca,’ which means ‘white,’ “ she said. “When the kids saw us, they came running up to us saying, ‘Blanca! Blanca! Blanca!’ “
She is excited to return and do what she can to help more people. To support her, those looking to purchase a pumpkin roll can contact Crossroads Church at 570-398-5533
“I think every American would be a better person if they went and saw what the world was like outside of here and in a place like Haiti. I don’t know how someone could not be changed. When I came home (in 2003), I only had the clothes on my back because I gave away my favorite pair of sneakers and the rest of the clothes I took on the trip, and it didn’t matter,” she said. “I wish I could have given more.”