Well two more days have flown by and we are now six days in to our journey here in Haiti. The past two days have flown by and have been absolutely incredible. They have also been completely different than what we had planned, but have been a great reminder of how God knows so much better than we do about what our mission is here in Haiti. It has been humbling and I hope this post gives you a glimpse in to what we have been experiencing during our time here.
Yesterday was our first day not heading to New Jerusalem. Instead, we headed to an orphanage that was funded by Pastor Michel before he died. We had visited the orphanage last year with Pastor Michel, and before he had passed he had informed me that he wanted us to build bunk beds for his orphans – he cared for six orphans financially, paying for their school, clothes, food, and lodging. We knew how much he cared for the orphans and we had fallen in love with them last year.
We planned to go there and continue helping them by building the benches he had asked us to build. We had sent money, packed the tools, and come up with a plan to build however many bunk beds they needed. However, when we arrived and began to talk with the lady who was caring for the children, it became apparent immediately that the needs had changed.
Pastor Michel had provided for some of the school year financially before he had passed, but much of it was still unpaid. On top of that, the children needed new clothes and shoes since they were growing out of their old ones. She could afford neither of these since no one had been able to step up and provide for the children. So instead of building benches, we were able to use the funds raised by many of you and our team to pay for much of the remaining school year and give some money to buy clothes for all of the children. Instead of building bunk beds, we played soccer, sang songs, colored, and just spent time with these children who have no parents and live off of the generosity of others.
I don’t think it hit many of us until later that these children – who were so joyful, had nothing, lived in small 3’x5′ rooms, and had lost everything – just needed someone to love on them and show them that they cared. Again, the key word for our trip has been humility – and we are encountering it in spades during our time here.
Since we did not have a project to work on today, we had a day where we did not know what to do. Amy and Liz had been dying to visit a ministry called Haiti Design Company so we took the opportunity to visit it this morning and see what it was all about. It ended up being an incredible example of what can be possible in Haiti.
As we entered the compound, we saw men and women working on various kinds of crafts from leather working to beading. We were taken upstairs into a store with all kinds of beautiful jewelry, handbags, and various other kinds of hand-made goods. Everything was made by Haitian men and women who receive profits from what is sold. It is run by an American couple who have been called to pick up their lives and move to Haiti to help the men and women there by training them and helping them provide for their families. It was a great experience for our team to see a different kind of ministry that is being done here in Haiti.
After taking time to sit on their porch overlooking Port-Au-Prince and taking pictures, our guides had suggested a place to go to the beach. So we loaded up and made the drive out to the beach. The drive was beautiful – mountains cascading down to the picture perfect ocean as we wound through the small towns and villages alongside the ocean and finally arrived at a small beach resort. We walked through the entrance and in to a picture perfect scene along the beach. There we were able to relax with our security team, swim in the ocean, and one of our team members (Adam DuCharme) was able to fish off the coast of Haiti with several locals and one of our security team. It was a great time together.
However, today was not what we expected. While it was great to be able to experience new things, see new sights, and relax by the beach, we are here to serve. I will be honest and say I didn’t know why things worked out the way that they did until later in the afternoon. As we all loaded back up in the car and began to head back to the guest house, stories began coming out of all the conversations and interactions each person had with our security team, translators, and drivers.
As story after story came up on the ride home and tonight during our devotion, we were reminded of the mission field before us every day. We have had the same team with us all week long at every sight. We ride alongside them every day and they take such great care of us. We were able to take them alongside us on these adventures to see parts of their country they rarely, if ever, get to see.
They got to sit on the beach and relax with us while providing for their families. We got to love on them and encourage them while they also encourage and challenge us with their faithfulness through tough times. We learn, little by little, about their lives and their families. They learn little by little about ours. Over time, we have developed a really special relationship with these men and are blessed by them daily. It really is nearly impossible for me to express to those of you not here just what these guys mean to us, but God has given us the opportunity to serve and love them, being the hands and feet of Jesus to the men who watch us serve each other and the people of Haiti each and every day.
We all are doing well and enjoying all that God is doing! Continue praying for us to finish strong and continue to be challenged in our faith to grow closer to Christ as we serve. Thanks!