Four years ago, Vince Lubben was packing up for his first-ever trip to Haiti. He didn’t know what to expect, had no assumptions, and had no idea of the relationships he was about to build.

But four years and seven trips later, he’s still in awe, and his perspective on life has forever changed.

“These trips are really eye-opening,” Vince says. “They wreck you in a good way. You see how happy the people are who live there, and they have virtually nothing.”

Vince completes these trips with Mission-Haiti, a nonprofit ministry based out of Sioux Falls that focuses on helping children in Haiti and providing education. Vince not only travels to Haiti with his wife and children, he encourages his employees at Wireless World to come along, too.

“We build houses, paint, haul rock or build walls,” Vince says. “We just go there to help, but a lot of times, we are the ones who are helped. We are the ones who learn. It’s incredibly humbling, realizing how blessed we are to just live in America.”

Vince remembers his first trip in 2014 well.

“We first fly into Port-au-Prince then take a five-and-a-half hour bus ride to the village we serve, which is just overwhelming seeing the poverty and how the people live,” he says. “Garbage is everywhere, and market people are selling their food and clothing on top of the garbage. But when you get out along the ocean, it’s beautiful with palm trees and mountains.”

And he felt grateful.

“I remember getting back that first night to Mission-Haiti’s headquarters, where we at least had an outhouse and a cold shower, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, I’m thankful tonight for a cold, bucket shower, and I’m thankful for an outhouse.’ I learned perspective and the power of a grateful attitude that year.”

It continues to help him in his life today.

“If something goes wrong at home, it’s a first-world problem,” he says. “We have water and safe homes, and so many people would be thankful for what we take advantage of so often. There is so much happiness from a grateful heart! It all stems from that. If you don’t have gratitude, it’s hard to be happy.”

Vince plans to go back to Haiti this fall, with another trip the first of the new year as well. He visits the same families, catches up with the same kids, and he invites you to come along.

“We just want more people to join us,” Vince says. “Prayers and finances are always needed, but once we get someone down there, it will change their life, just like it did mine.”