Hi, my name is Zach Ennis and this is my story of how my life will never be the same because I said yes to a Mission Trip to Mission Starfish Haiti. I grew up knowing about Starfish and all the Difference Makers through my family that had been connected to Haiti for sometime, but not in a million years would I ever think that I would be one of them. I remember the day I said yes to Haiti, my family was traveling, leading a mission trip and I wanted to go. To be honest, I said yes because I thought it could be fun and I could get out of school for a week, not because I thought I really could help. Little did I know what God was up to and how me saying yes was just the beginning of a life-changing experience.
It wasn’t until we landed in Haiti did things begin to change. The second I got off the plane I was in shock of how badly these people needed help. From the elderly, to the infants, extreme poverty was all around me. I was in shock of a different culture, and the hurt that stirred in my heart for these people was raw and real. The next morning I woke up at the Mission Starfish School to hundreds of children laughing and playing. Children with no shoes and clothes that didn’t fit. Children that hadn’t had breakfast and probably had not had food in a day or two. Yet, they smiled. A smile so deep you could feel it. That’s when I broke down. I thought to myself, they literally have nothing, yet they have everything. More joy than anyone I know back in the states. My eyes were opened to a joy I have never known. At that moment I fell in love not only with all of Starfish and the children, but with the country of Haiti. We are such privileged people. So much competing for God’s attention. I didn’t see this at Starfish. No one was stuck on their phones, they were having real relationships, and helping each other survive. I knew I could help and work hard to become a difference maker for Starfish, but I also knew Starfish had already become the difference maker for me.
I came home and my purpose and plan for my life completely changed. My perspective changed. My heart changed. I became an advocate for my new family and a country that stole my heart. I did absolutely everything I could to get the word out about Starfish, from telling my friends, to talking about it in front of my class. Every time I was given homework to write or present a speech it had something to do with Haiti. I realized I fell in love with Haiti, but I also fell in love with the ability to help others and make a real difference in a place no normal 15-year-old would. I began volunteering my time at fundraiser after fundraiser in order to raise money for Mission Starfish and for the children that our family sponsored. Since I was 15, I have continued to travel to Haiti every six months with my family to do everything I can to build relationships with people that have come to feel like family, and help in any way I can to make a difference at the school and in the lives of the Haitian people. I know this was all a part of God’s plan for me, and falling in love with Haiti was just the beginning. I was now 18, and I felt called to go into the mission field so I can be a difference-maker for the rest of my life. I hoped to be in Haiti long term one day. For my heart was left in Haiti and in Haiti I knew it would always stay.
What I did not know is that over the next 2 years, Haiti would rapidly fall into chaos and I would not be able to return to Starfish due to insecurity in the country. No matter how badly I wanted to go to Haiti I wasn’t allowed! So I made it my mission to work and raise money for Haiti, so when the time comes I’ll be ready to go! Finally in 2021 I found an opportunity to go do something called a DTS in Port de Paix Haiti. I had no idea what a DTS was or even where Port de Paix was! Everyone was telling me that I was crazy, that it’s still too dangerous. But to me it didn’t matter if it was dangerous or not, God had called me to go so I was doing everything in my power to go! So next thing you know I quit my job, left my family, my country and hoped on a plane to Haiti for the next 5 months. It was sooo amazing, I was able to see Haiti in a way that I had never before. Those 3 months were everyday training, studying, learning something new to equip us to be able to know and make disciples across the nations. Then we put what we just learned into action and went out into Haiti and the Dominican Republic and reached the nation’s for Jesus! During this amazing journey, I felt God calling me to come back after DTS to join the Port of Peace family. So that is exactly what I did after months of praying about it. I signed up for staff and got accepted to join the family!
When I moved to Haiti I met up with my team in Les Cayes where we were helping staff a DTS there. Fast forward to now, a lot has happened since moving to Haiti! I staffed a DTS, Traveled all over Haiti and the DR. I got Married to my beautiful wife Mica!!! and now I am back here in Port de Paix making Jesus’ name known to our community. I am so thankful for this journey God has called me on and I can’t wait to see what God has for me next!