This morning we woke up before dawn and attended a Haitian worship service at a church down the street. It was amazing to see the sun shining over the mountains and the people purposefully walking as we approached the huge tent. As we searched for our seats and looked around to wait for church to start, we quickly realized it was already starting and people don’t simply sit and listen. This was an experience like no other. It was refreshing to feel the hope, trust and faith the Haitians have in God. His presence was truly felt as we praised and worshipped God along side the people of Haiti.
After church, we walked home through the streets filled with people, pigs, goats, dogs, mud, potholes and garbage.
Today our plan was to make some elderly visits, see Grace Village and play with the children of Yvonne’s orphanage. We had a few unexpected moments, but a very fulfilling day!
Our first stop was Grace Village. Hallelujah, it is beautiful! What a work of God! The children in the village followed our truck up the road and through the gate, running alongside us. We were greeted, and again, the kids followed us holding our hands. The view of the countryside was gorgeous! We had a tour of the future feeding center, dormitories, playground, fish farm and hydroponic gardens. Jeff also shared his visions of a home for the elderly and the restavek children (slave children), a future village for children as they “graduate”, garden area and irrigation system. The dormitories and feeding center are anticipated to be ready for the children in about 6 weeks. They have dug a well and found water, which was a more plentiful well than could ever have been imagined. God’s work was definitely evident here!
Next, we visited the elderly individuals. We went to visit Antoine, who was not home yesterday. We were concerned when he still was not home. A neighbor woman offered to lead us to the garden where he had ridden his donkey to tend to his rice. This turned out to be quite an adventure through the hillside, searching for him in the hot sun. We were delighted by the butterflies and beautiful view… not to mention the humor we were able to find in this journey within the journey! However, we still could not find him.
We visited another individual in the elderly program, Jude Jean Paul, a young teenaged parapalegic. Although not elderly in age, he is still in the program because of his disabilities and isolation. Had he been in the US, he would possibly have been treated to prevent this and most certainly would be given therapy, medication and treatment. These individuals are left aside and ignored here. He was cared for by his loving mother who appeared to attend to his needs the best she could. We brought him some supplies, food, water and medicine. We prayed for him, sang songs with him and massaged his hands and feet. This was an opportunity to truly be the hands and feet of Christ.
Then, we had a fun visit to Yvonne’s Orphanage, where we played with the children and had a busy afternoon. The children were delighted in the video of the St. Michael’s Crosswalk children and adored the cards and notes from them. They worked hard on some cards to return to St. Michael’s. We can’t wait to share them! They sang for us and invited us in to play. We brought a parachute to play with them, some jump ropes, soccer balls, bubbles, and crafts. The kids loved every minute and we all did, too! The shine in the eyes and their bright smiles reassured that we were in the right place today!
I am sure you are wondering, we finally found Antoine. He was home resting with his donkey. He was thin and frail, dressed only in shorts, lying next to his home on a tarp in the hard rocky dirt. He invited us into his home and we gave him some necessities and visited with him. His home, made of tarps, wood and tin, was so hot, it was hard to imagine how he would sleep at night. We discussed his health and gave him our blessings.
Thus far, our trip has been such an eye-opening experience. The sight of the garbage, rubble and scantily built homes, the smells of the dirt, the garbage and smoldering fires, the feeling of the hot, heavy sun, the loud sounds of trucks, cars and honking horns, and the tired, weary people in the streets have been so hard to see and accept as a reality. But, the rainbow through the hazy sky on the way home, was a vision of hope and refreshing reminder that God is present and has His hand is working to heal the wounds in Haiti.
Healing Haiti Team Member
Healing Haiti Team Member