15 Jul Haiti – July 14, 2014 : Day 6
Our day started, as you all know, with us preparing for the day by getting our nutrition with breakfast. We had pancakes and sausage, so I was a very happy person! All of our meals have been exceptional with our three lovely Haitian cooks who make sure we have full and satisfied bellies. I have enjoyed eating on the balcony with everyone. The music ministry team from Florida that were sharing the house with us left early this morning to go back home. It was sad to see them leave because we all had a good time together sharing meals and bonding over conversations and card games. After breakfast, we gathered our supplies and loaded them into the truck to bring to the school for the last time. We had a couple of people not feel so well, but thank God no serious sickness.
I know you have read in previous blogs about driving and traffic in Haiti. Well, let me tell you that I am still amazed at how crazy traffic is here! After witnessing the craziness of the road, I know that the people of Haiti have no fear. I know I would not be able to survive driving in this country, which is why I have been so thankful for our driver in the big truck because he knows how to work traffic and drive 10 plus people around on the road. I have been able to watch traffic and local scenery while feeling safe in the truck with our talented driver. That being said, it has been quite fascinating to see how people go about their day to day activities. Even at 8am, the city is full of life with the hustle and bustle of people trying to make a living. Many people walk long distances while skillfully holding their heavy and large belongings on their head without breaking a sweat! Alongside that, everyone sells products and clothes right on the sidewalks and people buy what they need as they walk from place to place. As for on the road, if there is an empty space on the street, it is safe to stay someone will use it if the vehicle will fit! So, traffic itself has been a very interesting experience.
As we drive closer to Vaudreuil, the scenery changes to a more calm, country setting. The atmosphere was different this time because we did not go to the school on Sunday, so all the kids were extra excited and enthusiastic when they saw our trucks passing by. It was great to see all the kids again when we finally arrived on site. You could tell the kids were so happy to see all of us. I was running the program for the day, so being me I was anxious about it. But, as soon as I got up front and saw all the kids beautiful faces, my anxiety subsided as they brought joy to my heart as well as sadness knowing this was my last time to see them. We had our usual program with songs, an interactive puppet show, and an awesome short sermon by Sam on obedience (based on the story of Abed, Mesh, Shack–3 men sent to burn for not bowing to King) with an altar call at the end. It is always exciting to see the kids go up to the front for prayer. Throughout the program, it was clear that the kids had much more energy than the previous days. After the program, we all played in the courtyard as we had our final time to play and take pictures with the kids. When the kids were ushered back into the church, I was able to say a few closing words to let the kids know that we are going to miss them and have loved every minute we had with them. It was very emotional for me to say goodbye in front of all of them, and at one point I had to hold back my tears as my mother Vonette translated for me. At the end the kids were given balloon animals and candy to take home.
We had a late start to complete painting the classrooms because there were so many kids who did not want to leave and they were all pretty hyper. But once we got the crowd situation under control with our few kid helpers, we were able to get to work on the walls. At the end, we were able to complete all but one classroom and boy do they look great! I can’t wait for them to go to school and have class in their rooms. We know that every time the kids go to class, they can remember us and the time we spent with them. There was so much bonding that when we packed up our stuff and started giving goodbyes, it was emotional. The principle of the school shared his gratitude for all the work and time we spent on helping the community and the kids. He went to each one of us to shake our hand and personally thank us. I know for me it was really hard to say goodbye to my girl who I became real close with and consider my little sister. This is why I entitled this blog bittersweet Monday, because although we completed our mission here and were able to share God’s love with all the kids, it was hard to leave knowing that it may very be the last time we ever get to see the kids. But, I know that God is with them and we have planted a seed in their hearts.
After returning home and eating dinner, we had our devotional and debrief time to talk about our experiences, feelings, and emotions. We had the opportunity to hear Kerbe’s (translator) testimony about his earthquake experience and how it helped him come back to God. His story of how God saved him and how it lead him to devote himself to fulltime ministry is inspiring. He prayed a beautiful prayer, in which we all appreciated. It was a good end to wrap up our conversation. Now we are all excited to enjoy our time at the beach tomorrow!
I just want to thank all the parents who supported their child in coming on this mission trip because they have been beyond amazing in making this trip successful. They put their hearts and souls into bringing God’s love to the children, and it blessed my heart to be able to work with them. They are all amazing and wonderful children of God going beyond their comfort zone to help those in need. It has been the best first mission trip for me because I had an awesome team to share it with! Karen (Convoy of Hope) and Glorianne (AG ministries–apologize if I spelled your name wrong!) have been a blessing to the team, as well as, our translators Kerbe, Max, and Iminskey for helping bridge the language barrier. Stan and Laura, along with Bill and Dorothy have been great hosts and we thank them for making our stay so enjoyable. Thanks and God Bless!!!!