Monday, October 3, 2011

Lois's Post

We started our Sunday morning with worship led by our dear friend, Fanfan. Our worship time began with songs of praise, and Fanfan’s message was based on John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches…” This verse spoke to all of us as it confirmed that, apart from God, we could not have served the Haitian people in the way we have. God’s presence and our open hearts to hear Him enabled us to act on the unexpected opportunities He put before us. This verse has never really spoken to us in quite the same way before. It takes on such a powerful meaning now -- We could not have been useful for His purposes on this trip had we not continually stayed "connected" to Him.

After our time of worship we piled into the taptap and explored downtown Port au Prince. Our first stop was the president’s palace that had collapsed in the earthquake. This pristine white building had fallen in on itself. The lawn was still beautifully maintained, while there were tents directly across the street. All the city parks were also filled with tents. What was supposed to be temporary has now become their permanent residence.

Next we stopped at various markets as we wound our way to the top of the mountain, Boutilier.We enjoyed bartering with the locals while purchasing some Haitian crafts for our loved ones back home. The closer we traveled to the top, the larger and more beautiful the homes became. In fact, only those who are truly wealthy can afford the homes at the top. Land is expensive and homes are expansive. The view is breathtaking! Although this part of Haiti is easy on the eyes, it is uncomfortable to think about. This small population has physically removed itself from the Haitians we had come to know and live among this past week - those whom we've grown to love deeply.

We enjoyed our last night at a very nice hotel restaurant for dinner, seated outside in the "cool" evening air. Good food, rich laughter, and great conversation was had by all around the table! We've become such a close group. We were friends before the trip, but because we have now shared such a life-changing experience, the depth of our knowledge of each other has become even greater. What a great way to end our trip...........

But wait! It's not over yet. For most of us it's time to dance!

Jean, another one of our fine Haitian friends, gave us a crash course in dance last night.

After dinner tonight he took us to a club to dance the night away. We had a wonderful time! (Even if we quite clearly didn't do the Salsa justice.) We braved the dance floor, but we also soaked in the atmosphere. These local Haitians belong on "Dancing with the Stars." Wow -- they were amazing to watch! What a great way to end our night and our trip. We crawled into bed around 2 a.m. with beautiful memories in our minds and smiles on our faces.

Tomorrow we go home. It is with a bittersweetness that we bid adieu to this country and to its people whom we've grown to know and love. Thank You, Lord, for choosing us to serve You and Your people this week. Thank You for using us.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Becoming comfortable…

As we moved into day five, we were given a choice of how we would like to serve. A majority of the team chose to do a few runs on the water truck in the morning, and serve at the Home for Sick and Dying Babies once again in the afternoon. The only team member to serve elsewhere was Chad, who has experience working a backhoe. Chad was able to help excavate the land and move many large rocks up at Grace Village, which he said was the hardest land he had ever worked.

As we made our way out to our first run on the water truck, it was evident how comfortable we had become, almost overnight, at our new jobs. We were thoroughly enjoying our time serving the people of Haiti. Where there was trepidation a few days earlier, now was confidence to run the water hose, organize the bucket line, and carry heavy buckets of water through winding paths to shacks far from the truck. We saw many more smiles, and heard peals of laughter ringing in the air. The heaviness of the last few days had lifted a bit as we continued serving with our new found confidence.

After a short rest at the guesthouse, we went to the Home for Sick and Dying Babies to once again serve the sick and dying children. As we entered the Home this time, it was interesting to watch all the teammates scatter to their “favorite” rooms or babies that they remembered from the previous visit. We found that all the children were still there from our previous visit, giving us relief that no children had died since Tuesday. Once again, we entered with an eagerness to serve. They had just finished having a special party for the kids, to celebrate their 19th year of operation. The little girls were all dressed in matching fancy dresses and bows in their hair, and the little boys had on matching blue pressed shirts and shorts. The older kids had been given suckers and were all in a very festive mood when we arrived. Again, the heaviness we felt during our previous visit was lifted a bit as we celebrated with the kids. There was singing and dancing, and lots of hugs. The hard part of this visit was leaving, as we knew we would not be back to see these little ones that we had become so attached to.

As light as the mood was throughout most of the day, I didn’t want to become immune to what I was seeing and experiencing around us. We were still surrounded by extreme poverty, garbage everywhere, and sickness and death. But because we had allowed God to push us out of our comfort zone, I believe we can now see God in the midst of this all. As our leader Jeff has been telling us all week, if we allow God to have His way with us, we will be amazed at what He can do through us. We have been challenged to see God in every child and adult that is put in our path, and even among the devastation, I believe we have all seen God in Haiti…in every smile, every hug, every tear, and every helping hand. God is so good, is so good, is so good!