The Rain Didn't Stop Us

May 02, 2012

     Upon returning home and having some quality time with my family, I showered all the DEET off and crashed in bed.   Maybe it was the roosters in the night, or reflecting on all the “God moments” we were seeing, or trying to remember a Creole phrase to use the next day.  Maybe it was trying to get comfortable in our cots, missing family, or just taking in the enormity of the poverty...but I didn’t sleep well in Haiti. So after some sleep at home, here are some thoughts about our amazing trip!

Wednesday in Haiti:

     Before our day on the work site even started, we began planning for our time with the school children for later today. We divided up into who would like to do what.  Some would lead a craft, others wanted to help act out scripture, and we hoped to incorporate music to help us bridge the language barrier. We sorted through all the donations from our churches to see how they could be used with our new Haitian friends. What should we save to give to the orphanage, what should go to the pastor and the church, what could be used by the school, what should we use today? We had toothbrushes and toothpaste; we counted and hoped there would be enough for all 160 children.  We counted our snacks and decided to break them up into pieces, bringing home the story of feeding the 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes even more clearly. I was so glad my friend had donated musical instruments!  We ended up using them all week and found that music was definitely a universal language.

     We headed off to the work site, even though it had started sprinkling.  Rock and rubble needed to be moved.  Cows, donkeys and pigs watched us get ready to work. We had two teams working on the front and back ends of the area we were clearing for the septic system. One person took turns shoveling the rubble into buckets & into a wheelbarrow while the rest of us carried the buckets up the hill to be dumped. Everyone worked hard in the rain…our shoes got stuck in the mud and we even slid down a hill a bit carrying the buckets. DEET and sun screen got into our eyes, and mud was all over our clothes. But the work felt great. The community children helped in the rain too. They were so full of joy amidst their struggles. We encouraged them to draw. Even our translators drew their hopes and dreams- some drew a home they hoped to live in some day while others drew pictures of their favorite things.

     I watched how everyone on our team gave of themselves….putting their whole body into helping build this church and interacting with the children. We were the body of Christ. We were really happy to be meeting our brothers and sisters in Haiti. The smiles and the playfulness of the children warmed our hearts.  We exchanged common phrases in Creole, French and English. A grandmother, mom, 14 year old granddaughter and her 3 month old boy lived in the stick/mud hut next to where we worked. Later in the week, they would ask us to take the baby with us to America.  Several of the little boys under age 5 wore a shirt but no shorts or pants. We were glad to see people getting buckets of water from wells to help prevent cholera.

     We headed back to the school, excited to be with the school children.  But apparently when it rains, children are sent home early from school because the roads get flooded and prevent travel. This is why our Haitian workers had a hard time getting to work at the church site sometimes, we heard.  So our plans changed.  We tried calling the Ryan Epps Home for Children, but a better day to see them would be on Saturday, they said.  So, while it was raining, we decided to take a taptap truck into the closest town where all the metal work art pieces were created for Haiti.  We watched the artists at work.  What an experience.  Many of us purchased art to take home.

     We had a beef stew with veggies over rice tonight. All the food was delicious!  It felt good to be a part of helping the welfare of the people and the economy through UMVIM (United Methodist Volunteers in Mission) which hires workers, interpreters, cooks, etc..  But at the same time, we felt bad eating well when people were asking for food all around us. One of the ladies from the church who had tried to braid our hair earlier in the week offered to do some laundry for us.

     The pastor from La Tremblay church joined us and shared some history.  He had been there for the last 25 years.  He was a powerful speaker, and we read the Wesley Covenant Prayer together. After the earthquake, teams started coming down to help rebuild the church in March of 2011, he said. He was grateful for our presence and invited us to the dedication of the new building sometime in 2013. We spent the evening singing and hanging out with our interpreters and La Tremblay's church members.  Music brought us together, and we sang everything from “Amen” to “Sanctuary” to “Precious Lord.”   We spent time with 2 brothers trying to learn English who touched our hearts.  The 16 year old wants to be a pastor. We were moved by the resourcefulness and resilience of the people we met. Our devotion tonight was about getting lost so that you can be found.  We put DEET on before going to bed, got zipped up into our mosquito nets for the night, and read with flashlights. The roosters would be calling soon!  I couldn’t wait to see what God had in store for tomorrow!

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