This past week has been a complete whirlwind. My last blog update was about some of the difficulties that our team faced trying to get to La Source. Well, a change in numbers, an overnight in Miami, a flight and a 4 hour boat ride later, we were there. We set up camp in the dark. Trying to figure out stringing lights all around camp from a generator, setting up tents, chairs, and showers and unloading luggage in the dark was crazy. But the group never complained. In fact, we worked together very well. Thinking about the week before we left, I knew that this was going to be a great group. I just had no idea how awesome everyone would be until we were actually all together on the island.
Thursday and Friday, we did morning VBS. Lanette taught the kids some songs in sign language that they loved- you could tell because they continued to run around holding their thumb as the "light" from "This Little Light of Mine." One day we had guy time and girl time. The boys went outside to play soccer and do boy things while the girls sat down and made bracelets and painted nails. It wasn't too long before the boys wanted bracelets and nails painted too! The kids craved this one-on-one time, and it was a great opportunity to love on them like Jesus. In the afternoons, the guys built school benches while the girls bagged rice & beans for some of the families. One afternoon, we started to go on a "house visit," but were interrupted by the Governor of the entire island, La Gonave, who was handing out food to each village. We were able to talk with him for a while and actually got to pray for him, his country, and his time in office. That was one of the highlights of the week for me. We joked about meeting the "gov-na," but to actually have prayed with a man in office whose decisions directly affect this village was incredible. While we were doing VBS, Connie & Michelle were busy knitting with the women, a ministry they started a little while ago. The women knit beautiful dishcloths, we buy from them, and then sell them in the States. This is a huge opportunity to minister to the women, because they are making something with their own hands that will provide for their families. Connie and Michelle were able to pray with each woman that they bought from. These women are learning that they are just as important as their children that we are so quick to love on.
On Saturday, we hosted a Christmas party for the 2 schools. The kids performed songs, as well as their sign language songs, and I spoke briefly on James 1:17 "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes from the Father, with whom there is no change." I emphasized that gifts that we give and receive ultimately come from God, and that is who we should look to for our needs. We don't deserve any gifts we are given. The team doesn't deserve to be served and loved the way we are when we are there, and the villagers don't deserve to be sponsored for school. All of these are gifts because of the love of Jesus. We then fed them lunch and handed out backpacks, rice and beans. When we weren't doing "planned" events, the team was loving on the people. Haitians "helped" the guys build the school benches. And let me have a huge shout-out to Johan, Drew Channell, Drew Jones and Jordy- these guys built benches before breakfast, in the afternoon, and at night by flashlight. It was so great to watch them work and enjoy (in some sense) what they were doing- don't worry, we only had 4 hammers, or the girls would have helped too. Also going on during this whole time was a men's teaching, where my dad taught about 20-30 men more about the Gospel, the Bible, marriage, being a godly father, and answered a TON of questions. It was so cool to listen in when he brought my mom up and asked her what she thought a godly husband looked like. They just kind of stared at her for a while. There were so many things going on throughout the week- way too many to blog about, but just know that God was at work. We sent a pregnant mom in a lot of pain to the hospital in time for her to deliver healthy twin boys. We sang worship songs that Haitians started to sing in Creole, and it was beautiful.
One night I did the devotion on Philippians 1- reminding everyone that not all of our work was Christian-to-non-Christian, but that a lot of it was "thanking God for our partnership in the Gospel" with fellow Christians and encouraging them in their walk. Then we sang "The Love of God," and Kailene, a school teacher who was in camp with us started to sing it in Creole. It was the most beautiful picture of what the body of Christ looks like that I have seen in a really long time. The entire week was so uplifting and encouraging, amid the heartbreaking stories and realities of poverty, disease, and sin. We spent an entire day at a resort, Wahoo Bay, where Jordy proposed to Lanette while we ALL watched from the balcony!! I have been so blessed in my friendship with Jordy, and meeting Lanette through him has been so great. I'm so thankful that we all got to spend the week together and get to know each other better- I'm so excited for them and their future marriage. The team was almost as excited as they were :) The next morning, the group took me to the orphanage in Port au Prince where I will be working until May. That is where I am right now. As much of a blessing as the week in La Source was, it has left me very tired. When you are on a week-trip, you pour your all into everything you do. Now that I'm staying to do something else for a while, I'm having to slowly recover from that even as I am kind of in a culture shock. Village Haiti and city Haiti are 2 different places. Yesterday I tried to get oriented with my co-workers, housemates, orphanage kids, nannies, rules, dos, don'ts, internship requirements, a weird Haitian phone, and not flushing toilet paper, all in one day. To say I'm slightly overwhelmed is an understatement, but I'm so glad that I'm here. I want to blog more about the O soon and what this week has been like, but this is all my brain can handle for right now.
Peace & Blessings, yall.