Word of the Day: Hands
Technical difficulties= no post yesterday and now trying to repost all that happened with another day's memories to catalogue. I have found each day here, and each place we go, feels like a collection of days instead of just one...
Yesterday started with breakfast by Lisa and Heather... the Express Breakfast, or een the build your own omelette at work has nothing on what we've been having here. We had a morning of preparing and packing for the day: making cards for the orphans, cutting for the friendship bracelets, snack packing, and a little yoga to get everyone stretched out from riding in the truck. I've found yoga and I can be good friends... :) Jen has been a blessing with her instruction to help us all focus for the day ahead.
We first went to the Christian School sponsored by Healing Haiti. The children were let out a bit early for the Christian party they were having later on in the afternoon. Healing Haiti in sponsoring the school, pays the teacher salaries, among the other expenses of the building upkeep and so forth. I held the hands of two little boys as they showed off their school here. Their excitement and dancing of the children was priceless.
Our next stop was the marketplace for goats. Goats have the ability to provide milk as well as other food source, so we have the opportunity through Healing Haiti to make a way for a family in need to get a goat. Our team has over 20 goats to purchase, however, we are restricted by the availability of the goats, but know they will make it to the families soon. As we were walking through the market, I was struck by a couple of things... first- my friend Paul had "warned" me about a market saying I will/ may be overwhelmed because of my panic of unorganized and chaotic spaces. Honestly, he was a little right. It was hard for me to imagine buying food- onions, potatoes, watermelon, papaya, mango, let alone a goat or other food stuff in an open area like that and off the ground. It was a bit of a culture shock just because I had never been to such a marketplace - in the states or abroad. My second thought was of the children again. We teach our children at home to not talk to strangers and stay close by... the children of Haiti do the exact opposite. With a word Bonswa or Bonjour (spelling may be off here... ) and a smile, you've made an instant friend out of a child and they will wander and go where ever you are for as long as they can. Holding hands witha complete stranger's child has been such an experience for me here.
The third stop was just beautiful. We drove through the mountain areas and along the coast of the Caribbean to Grace Village. I'll get pictures when we return home, however, they will not do the actual scenery justice. Haiti is beautiful. God's creative hand did not skip over this country though much of the world pretends it does not exist. The mountains, the shoreline views, the vegetation as you head from Port au Prince to Titanyen is beautiful. (Dad- a CORN field. Seriously.) Grace Village will be the new home of Guilliane's and Yvonne's orphanages, as well as have a feeding center for the people of the area. There will be a soccer field and a basketball court (possibly on that one). What it will have is an organization and people who have a heart for these things like the hungry and orphaned. Hands come in the form of God's hand on the ministry of Healing Haiti and the impact here. In just a few years, with obedience and faithfulness, God has blessed this ministry. The design and look of the buildings will forever have Alyn's stamp on them though she will never physically see them. The hands of the masons and other people who have worked to build. The hand of the child who followed us up the hill and both walked with me and sat on my lap for a little snuggle in. I remember a song by the group First Call that says ..."everywhere there's evidence of God". It is no less true in Haiti though much may be working against God here. Chloe and I talked before coming down here, and she was concerned and fearful about things, and I asked her who was in charge- she said "God". So if God is in charge, the devil can't "win"... who does win? "God." We have to trust that God will protect and keep us while we're apart and throughout the day. "Right." With that though, also comes the affirmation that God can and will continue to work here. I am so anxious to see all that God will continue to accomplish here and through the work of Healing Haiti.
Our last stop was at Yvonne's orphanage. This trip has been one of a kind in that the children, the workers, everyone knew who Alyn was that we have interacted with. God does not do anything by accident, so being here has meant being able to share first hand the news of Alyn's death, but at the same time offer hope and comfort for that as well in our mission work. The children at Yvonne's were older, so many of them had more of a recollection of Alyn and were upset by the news. When we arrived, there was a group from Samaritan's purse there- doing rebuilding from North Carolina. Nothing with God is an accident. Who knows what may come of that one interaction with this group. Before the children sang for us, they went through a conversation of both us informing them of Alyn's passing, but also being able to have Yvonne say the children were upset about that, but so thankful to have us there. They sang a couple of songs, but one in particular "wrecked" a few of us. They sang "What the Lord has Done in Me" with tears streaming down their faces, and hands lifted in worship to God. The boys prayed and then the girls all prayed out loud- they were so pure, innocent, and very heart felt in their prayers- almost to the point of a shout as they prayed for Jeff and Alyn. Hands lifted to God. We handed out some treats, the cards we made, and then split the children to do friendship bracelets or cards for Jeff, and then switch afterward... moving on to bubbles with Brother Derek as Tom likes to call him. I have been so blessed by how our team has really worked together without pretense or upset- everyone just does what is needed, both in the field and at the house.
As I reflect on the day, it was as if there was evidence of the hand of God everywhere we went. God only knows how the rest of the trip may affect our team, and how things may go.