Bonjour from Haiti

Apr 08, 2011

     It is 9;30 pm, and we are settling in for the night at the guesthouse for the Hatian UMC in Petionville.  We have had such a day of contrasts. I left my air conditioned home & my soft queen size bed, and drove to RDU on beautifully paved roads.  Comfort, comfort, comfort.  When we arrived in Haiti, I was struck by how spoiled I am.  Our team was transported to the guest house in what is fondly known as the "paddy wagon" or a "tap tap."  In the "bed" of that truck, we sat on 2 steel benches, facing each other, and enclosed by a roof and chickenwire for windows.  No ac, no real paved roads, and a lot of people everywhere.  It took almost an hour to go less than 10 miles!  80% of Haitians are unemployed, so the roadsides are full of people selling whatever they can (shoes, luggage, clothing, fruit, rice, meat).  Haiti is a bustling place.

     Despite my Creole language lessons, I am not doing well with understanding my new friends.  We are grateful for Lamer Napoleon, our interpreter, who speaks 4 languages and is also a school teacher.  Here at the guest house, 3 Americans are on staff with the Methodist church and the remaining employees are Haitians.  The guys are bunked in one room, and we girls are bunked across the hall in another bunch of bunks.  No air conditioning and very primitive plumbing.  The house rule is:  if it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's  brown, flush it down.  You get the picture, right?  And tomorrow, we go to the field for more primitive living conditions - bucket showers, no electricity, and well, we won't even talk about the toilet.

     Yes, the contrasts are amazing between the U.S. and the country of Haiti.  But One thing is constant - God is here, too.  We have seen him in the faces of the Haitian people who have been very kind to us.  Several have already thanked us for serving the people in their country by coming to Haiti to serve the church.  We have seen the beauty of God's creation in the beautiful pink blossoms on blooming trees and in the colorful artwork that is sold on the streets.  We have seen God as we gathered in a circle for prayer before a meal that we shared with our CUMC friends and new friends here in Haiti.  And, God prepared us for what we will see when we leave our "cushy" guesthouse for the field tomorrow.  Bob Watkins shared a devotion about the 23rd Psalm, reminding us that as we travel into the valley tomorrow, God is with us.  In fact, He has gone before us to prepare a way.

     We are grateful for your prayers . . . and for the CUMC prayer team that met us at the airport for a prayerful send off at 5:15 am.  Our work here wouldn't be possible without the mission work that our church family is doing to support us at home.  We truly are a team that spans two countries and a world that God holds in his hands.  I am so thankful to be resting in the palm of His hand tonight.


Deon Roach 

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Melisa Roberts on Apr 11, 2011 3:54pm

Deon, my prayers have been with the team since you left. I pray that you all remain safe and remain hopeful for the work that you're doing in God's name. I know that those that are accepting the help are grateful for it! I look forward to having your smiling face back in the office. All the best to you all, Melisa.

Kathy Parker on Apr 11, 2011 4:05pm

So glad to hear you got there safely, and that you are adjusting to your accommodations! You are in our thoughts and prayers!

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