William Howard is sharing the shocking and yet joyful trip he took to Haiti in 2014 with other members of Lakeland.

“The first night we were in Haiti they said ‘don’t drink the water.’” He makes a face. “And I stuck my toothbrush under the water and had to brush my teeth with my finger the whole time.”

While the team’s flight was delayed coming back to Haiti, when they finally touched down in Kansas City William had an errand to run. “When we got back it was about noon and I went to CVS to get a toothbrush. I was dirty, wearing dirty clothes, and I was just sitting there looking at 30 choices of toothbrushes. I was thinking I came from a place where they didn’t have any toothbrushes. It brought me back and I kind of always think about it. It was uncomfortable, it was hard, a stretch, but it was good.”

Many of our members who have gone on this life-changing trip have shared how much the overwhelming poverty, refuse and lack of things we take for granted, like access to a grocery store, have altered their views and increased their awareness of how much they’re blessed.

William is one of those members. “This one kid, he colored and his crayon broke.” A small smile, almost wistful, appears. “But he was so happy because then he had another crayon to give to his friend so they could share. It was just little things like that that stick with me.”


“They were poor. Poverty-stricken. But they were still so happy.”

About My Stories

Every month Pastor Marta Gillilan and members of the Lakeland Social Media Team interview an individual, couple or family. From struggles in faith to joyful events, Lakelanders are sharing their stories through the “Humans of Lakeland” blog series. Get to know the people who call Lakeland home.