Today is day eight of our wonderful, fulfilling experience in Haiti. It was a productive and spiritually uplifting day for all of us. Our team split into two groups in the morning and for half of the afternoon. One group went over to the children’s village where we worked hard at laying more tiles in the houses. We had four local boys that joined us and we taught them the ropes about tiling. We were impressed about how hard they worked at the job(s) that they were given. They were all from the Haiti Arise trade school and were taught well with tiling and we were there for support and encouragement as we helped them along. It was a hot and sweaty day of labor, but well worth it to see the progress that we made. As today was the last day of tiling, the young boys told us how much the appreciated and were grateful for our assistance and guidance along the way. They expressed that they wished that our time here was longer. It was fulfilling to see the joy and pride in their eyes and how much they look forward to working alongside with us.
The other group was busy with the preparation for the large concrete roof pour tomorrow. They worked with rebar tying, form placement, and shoring. This will create the roof of the mechanic shop at the back of the property in the future.
After our work was complete for the day, we cleaned up out of our dirty, sweaty clothes to our “Sunday best” so that we can make our way to community visitation as a group later in the afternoon. This was a time where we were blessed to get to know some families in the community. We were able to bare some of our testimonies, prayed with them, and share our love for Jesus Christ to them. It was enlightening to see how most knew the Lord, but some didn’t attend church regularly. However, they were all welcoming with smiles and prayer requests. From an old grandmother to a small child, they all had life in their eyes and were truly happy to see us at their homes. They were receptive with open hearts. This activity was a pivotal time for all of us on the team to bring back home to Canada with us.
He has Risen, He has Risen in deed!!!!
Wow, what a day to be in Haiti …
To be able to celebrate and remember with our brothers and sisters in Haiti, the life after death that is gifted to us through the life of our Lord Jesus Christ … Our God is not dead He is surly alive!!! Amen.
Our day started with an 8 am church service here on the Haiti Arise compound … The service was full of men’s, women’s’ and children’s choirs and a lot of worship. Though we could not understand all the words all the time, we were able to worship when a familiar tune came up. I must say, there is something awesome about worship when you can’t concentrate on the words on a screen but to simply have to allow your heart and mind to connect with the Lord in utter simplicity … simply AWESOME!! It was a real blessing to be here for this day …
After morning church we had some time to just hang around the compound with each other and rest and relax in the heat of the day …
At 3pm we all loaded up and made a 15min trek to a small church called Tapion …
This church is made up of 95% children … as we are told, quite a few years ago, a missionary ventured out to this area and planted a church. This church grew quite quickly and became quite vibrant … as the years went by it seemed that the congregants were living “on the fence” with one foot on the world and the other seemingly in the church. This congregation was one day called on their behavior and told to choose either to live for the world or commit fully to the Lord, unfortunately many chose to run away from the church, what was left was only children. With the help of two volunteers (Roslyn and John) this church continues to run 9 years later, full of children that appear to be between the ages of 3 and 17 … The opportunity to worship with and encourage this church was an absolute blessing, words escape how precious this time was with these children.
We are all quite tired but greatly anticipate what tomorrow holds for us all … most likely though, a lot of work!! 🙂
Day six was a day of experiencing the community. The market is on Saturday and the team set out to get the feel of what that meant. The sights, sounds, smells and the crush of people were almost overwhelming. As we took in the whole experience, our guides and translators led us to the few items that we were looking for. This led us to most of the areas as well as the system of bartering. We regrouped after the event and were glad to have had a safe encounter with the local community. The greatest danger again was the vehicular traffic which kept us on our toes.
In the afternoon, we set out for the orphanage called Hands and Feet. This orphanage is the beneficiary of the Christian rock band Audio Adrenalin. A ten minute drive had us at their gates and the welcoming handshake of the director. They have almost 30 children in their care and are expanding to create room for more. A great commitment for a strong future. A short tour followed by a “God Bless” had us on our way again.
We then headed for the beach “again” for a cooling swim and to celebrate Darcy’s birthday. The treat of the day was fresh lobster cooked over a charcoal fire. Pastor Marc Honorat and his family also joined us at the beach. This was the first chance for most of us to meet him since his return from Calgary today. Some bartering for items from the vendors filled our souvenir needs. We then returned to the compound for a quiet night and a chance to cool down before bed time. God is Good.
Written by: Darcy, Ralph, Monika, Richelle, and Joanne
As the team prepared for day five, the beautiful weather and intense sun convinced everyone to seek protection. High humidity and 35c was a great reason to head for the beach. A walk through the village and greeting the local families and workers offered a closer relationship with the people outside the compound walls. They are truly a wonderful people with close community involvement as the norm. Dry creek beds and lush vegetation along the road held the domestic animals such as goats, pigs, cows and chickens. All were tethered and monitored by the community. As pedestrians, we DO NOT have the right of way, and the tweet of a horn would have us scurrying to the edge of the road. Jeeps and motorcycles, all carrying numerous people and items would cruise by with a friendly Bonjour.
The arrival at the beach was stunning, to be next to the Caribbean ocean with the mountains rising continually up from the beach. We wasted no time in heading for the water. As the word of our arrival spread, the local vendors started setting up their blankets loaded with trinkets. Each of the vendors approached us separately and whispered to us about the special “deal of the day”, just for us. We were barely out of the water when the bartering began. From a $5 dollar dug-out canoe ride to paintings and necklaces and everything in between. A few items were purchased including a couple of coconuts that were sampled by a few of the team. The return trek was underway shortly thereafter with a different path back to the compound.
We participated in Good Friday services at the community church on the compound. Singing, scripture readings, a skit with local actors and with the addition of three different adult choirs filled the three hour service. It was a great time of worship even though the language barrier was evident.
An excellent evening meal followed by the mission teams gathering on the rooftop for a time of sharing and encouragement that took us into the evening for a bit of down time.
Written by Darcy and Ralph
Bonswa mezanmi (Good evening friends):
We had a substantial amount of rain last night knocking off a few of the mangos from the trees (it is mango season here).
We started off our day celebrating Ralph’s birthday – his first one celebrated overseas, which is exciting! To recap our day’s events, a few of our team members went over to the children’s village to tile inside the houses along with some tiling students from the trade school. It was an exciting opportunity for some of us as it was our first opportunity learning how to tile under more experienced tilers. It was great to interact with them as well as we are working alongside with them. There is the old saying “If you show a man how to fish, he will eat for a day; but if you teach him how to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.” This is applicable to working along the Haitians and developing relationships with them. We don’t want to come along and do it for them – we want to teach them how to do it so that they can become more sustainable within their everyday environments.
Other members of our team finished painting the trims of the medical clinic today! That was an accomplishment! We had our second day of facilitating Vacation Bible School this afternoon focusing on the trials of Jesus leading up to Good Friday. We had approximately 240 children today – more than yesterday! Praise the Lord for bringing more children to VBS today. It was organized chaos, but the children received the message well.
One thing that is quite refreshing to see is how the Haitian children and adults find joy in the smallest things. In North America, our children are reliant on technology and screen time. Children here don’t have these benefits and they are quite happy to play marbles on the ground, kick around a soccer ball, or skip rope. This joy is a gift from the Lord and it helps to raise bright and resilient children.
In Haiti, they have church service three times a week – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. There is also a children’s church at Tapion on Sundays. We attended the service tonight at the church service. We are still getting used to the language, but there is a translator to help us along to follow the message of the service. Tonight’s message was the last words of Jesus – relevant to the Easter season.
Bondye beni ou (God Bless)
Day 3 and another Haiti sunrise on the roof. You must experience these surroundings. As you climb to the rooftop the sight of a tree covered in mangos catches your eye. The sun instantly pops through the darkness and it reminds me of when God created light.
My devotion today took me to Galatians 4:7. “Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, everything he has belongs to you “. It again confirms God’s perfect timing as his word expresses the truth for Haiti. Marc Honorat, the Haitian founder of this incredible ministry, was a slave child. God planted the dream in him to help free other children from the same demise.
Today the team organized the VBS and we had about 225 children come to hear the Gospel, sing praise to the Lord and do a craft. With Easter approaching we acted out Mark 14. It was an amazing time with the children; however it was crazy and overwhelming how quickly 225 children can over run 10 adultsJ. We are truly blessed to have this opportunity and see a little deeper in to the lives of these children.
Another group tried to get some tiling going in a close by children’s village, and I say tried … it took them a while to find all the tools they thought they would need for the job … upon getting to the site they noticed they had forgotten some pails and a few other things … 30 min later they attempted to start again, however the drill overheated and they need more pails. After waiting another 30 min. for new tools to arrive they surely were on their way … hahaha … they finally got the thinset mixed and ready to lay some tiles but … nope, they could not find tiles … so alas we have postponed this project till tomorrow … just another day in Haiti!!!
We heard it snowed in Red Deer so we thought you should know the temperature here has well exceeded 30+ degrees and the humidity sweltering. However, please know that we would all rather be here in this heat than back in the snow and cold.
Please pray for continued unity of our team as we all continue to serve Him and the Haitian people. As the reality of Haitian living and poverty settle in, please pray that we may see beyond those realities and clearly see the hope that there truly is for Haiti.
We woke between 6:00 to 7:00am after a restful sleep in our inconsistently air conditioned rooms under our mosquito nets. We gathered in the kitchen to a wonderful bowl of hearty porridge seasoned with the Haitian cinnamon sticks and a strong cup of local java J.
Our purpose here is to seek God through relationships and hear what God is revealing to each of us. As task oriented Canadians, we need to readjust our focus and be more relational. In saying that, we were given our duties and jobs to work on as a team after breakfast. Time here is fluid and we have been adapting to Haiti time which means lunch is 12:00ish and church is 5:00ish.
We split into two groups – one was the painting crew and the other construction. Due to the growth of Tapion, the children’s church, the crew completed the roof extension with tin.
Around 3:00 we attended the Vacation Bible School which was led by Haiti Arise staff. There were over 150 excited children crowded into the pews ready to absorb God’s word. It was loud, energized and spiritually uplifting.
This evening we attended the service. We were very thankful that Lisa, Haiti Arise co-founder, translated the message for us. Some of the children gravitated to various team members throughout the service. Their smiles are contagious!
Each evening we gather as a team on the roof for a time of debriefing and devotions. We have learned to stop and hear God as we reflect on our imperfections and to trust and rely on our everlasting God.
We have made it to Haiti!!!! Wow what a trip it was … in short we had 2 very early mornings followed by plenty of waiting in airports and sitting on planes … one crazy 2 hour ride from Port au Prince out to the Haiti Arise compound, where we saw an awful accident between a mini bus and rather large truck (the driving and roads here do not mix well), and alas we find ourselves at our destination. Many of our first impressions and emotions are mixed up by lack of sleep, heat, humidity and an inability to truly describe what we are seeing, hear and feeling.
What can be said thought is this is truly a beautiful country!!! Don’t get me wrong … there is a poverty of physical assets and monetary wealth that we from North America can hardly understand. There is poor infrastructure and city planning, and probably poorer road rules then desired, or then we are used to, and again we find it hard to put it all into words. BUT, as Joanne said so eloquently … “God is here, he is most definitely here!!!”
Walking through the village for the first time we encounter children everywhere … laughing, pulling on our arms, wanting so bad to have their photos taken and then see them on your screen right away. Many wearing minimal clothing if any at all, but with the biggest smiles and loudest laughs, eager to get you attention … YOU MUST EXPERIENCE THIS SOME TIME!!!!
We are very excited to get some rest tonight and start tomorrow with … well we are not exactly sure yet but with some sleep under our belts we will be ready to attack anything …. We continue to covet your prayers … please pray for clarity of though and ease of processing and deep encounter with our God …
Blessings Friends and Family, we love and miss you deeply!!!!
KEEP POSTED FOR PHOTOS TO COME!!!!
I had a God enlightening moment this morning when the song by Matthew West came on the radio titled “Do Something.” It is not only a reminder of what His purpose for us in Haiti but also how we should live everyday! When asked the ever common question in the beginning of this song “why aren’t you doing anything God?” We need to remind ourselves that He did – He created each of us to live out His mission – to serve, to love one another, to help others, to provide healing and hope, to preach His good Word, to be disciples of Christ, and to build relationships with one another. This song is a reminder of that, and when it came on the radio this morning, it was God’s voice telling me the message of this song! I hope you enjoy this song as much as I did!