MEI Secondary School
“I look back on my experience and can see what a blessing this school has been on my life.”
Having been at MEI for 12 years, I look back on my experience and can see what a blessing this school has been on my life. Not only is it a place of high academics and strong sports teams, it is a safe and inviting environment throughout all the grades. MEI not only gives students numerous opportunities outside of school for their enjoyment but students are also challenged to reach out to others and live life with a positive outlook. Today I want to share my story of how I was changed through MEI’s mission program.
I had the great privilege of being a part of Team Haiti in the summer of 2012. In elementary school I heard a lot about Heart 2 Heart. I knew it was an orphanage and school full of hundreds of kids that did not have families who could support them or take them to school. Every year I looked forward to the Run-Walk-Crawl fundraiser for Heart 2 Heart. The whole month of fundraising was exciting. In grade 3 I had a lemonade stand that made about $100. It was amazing to see how much people would pay for a glass of sugar water when they knew it was going to a good cause! In grade 5 I was on Student Council and I had to eat baby octopus and anchovies when the school raised $30 000 dollars. It was so gross that I almost threw up but it was all for good cause. All this time I never actually dreamed that one day I might actually get to play soccer and swim with the same kids we had prayed for and raised money for.
That all changed in the winter of grade 8 when our family felt called to join the MEI team that visited Heart 2 Heart in July of 2012. I was so excited. That spring as we met as a team I was really looking forward to playing with the kids. I dreamed of playing soccer, swimming and maybe even teaching them how to play mini hockey sticks.
When we arrived in Haiti I was not prepared for the level of poverty. The airport was still very run down from the 2010 earthquake and the entire 1 ½ hour drive was through nothing but shambled villages. When we arrived at the school I was amazed at their commitment to worship. They had church 4 times a week for between 3-5 hours at a time. This really challenged me to see that God has to be ever present in my life. Furthermore I was so impressed with the joy the students had even though they had nothing in material terms. They found joy in the simple things. Things like bouncing a ball back and forth, wrestling and eating a Jolly Rancher. When we went to the beach they did not stop smiling and laughing for the entire three hours. They live 15 minutes from a beautiful beach but they may only get to visit it once a year because they have no way to get there safely.
Now that I am back in Canada I have a much different perspective on many parts of my life. For example, I find myself thankful for the little things in life. A good mattress, a cold drink on demand, a pumped up soccer ball. Where I might have been frustrated by a Port Mann traffic jam, I am now happy that I don’t have to wait 11 hours in 40 degree heat but instead have air conditioning and a radio with unlimited station options.
MEI gave me the opportunity to get beyond my Christian bubble and explore what God is doing on the other side of the world. If given the opportunity I would gladly go back again to hear the kids laughter, hold their sweaty hands and play yet another game of soccer.