Saturday, November 12, 2011
Back to Haiti!
What a joy it is to once again be traveling in the name of Jesus to Haiti. Our team is actually being led this trip by Scott Warner of OMS/Men for Missions, and along with 4 other guys the six of us are attempting to put a roof on the church at St. Charles. St. Charles is a small village southeast of Jeremie, about an hour drive toward Port au Prince. Since arriving we’ve loved on some kids, been loved back, made new friends, prayed together, worked together and shared Jesus. We’ve also got quite a bit of work done!
We are all so grateful to God for our church, family, and friends that have made the sacrifice to make this work of grace possible. It is an honor of the deepest sort, to partner with you to do this kingdom work. One of my personal prayers is that God will richly bless you, pressed down and pouring over!
We arrived in Port au Prince on Wednesday afternoon and was met at the airport by Nadair, who works with OMS/MFM. One of his roles is to offer safe passage through Port au Prince. He is a great lovable man, with a whooping sort of laugh. (If that makes any sense!) But, I’m telling you when he smiles or laughs, a room will light up. When people show up at the airport with him, they are warmly greeted, and fellow Haitians know it’s likely a bunch of American Missionaries there to offer help! They’re glad to see us!
Before I go any further, I need to tell you who our team is. As I mentioned earlier, Scott Warner is leading the charge here. Scott and his bride, Debbie have recently joined the forces of OMS/MFM and are excited at what God is going to do in, and through them. Scott has done a great job getting to know some of the locals here in Jeremie, as well as up in St. Charles. He has also brought his considerable carpentry skills to use and leads us as we attempt to put a roof on the church. Also on the team this trip are: Ray DeSpain, Terry Ford, Ken Holland, and Rick Weigand. All of them bringing together their amazing talents for the glory of God!
On Thursday, we spent a considerable amount of time getting acquainted with the children at the orphanage. One of the things that still amazes me here is the deep level of poverty. The children are well fed and blessed to have roofs over their heads, good educations, and caretakers that love them and care for them. In the afternoon, we headed up to St. Charles so all the guys could get a look at the project we’re here to finish. We also needed to get some last measurements before we started building the trusses. With God’s grace, we’ll get it done, it is a lot of work, but we have a great God, whom we all believe has called us to this place and supplied our needs. So, we’re agreed as a team, we’re going to give it our all! What a great team!
Friday morning after breakfast, we waited around for our truck to arrive to go pick up our lumber supplies. Terry Ford and Ken Holland are both electricians by trade, and we’d been informed that the Solar Panel system was not properly working, so they spent a large portion of their morning troubleshooting that system. The “citie’s” electricity in Jeremie only comes on after the sun goes down, and then it’s prone to go out periodically. So, most of the daylight hours the electricity used by the orphanage is supplied by the Solar Panels. It’s very smart way to get energy, when it’s working right that is! They also have a large generator that is in the compound where we are staying. It kicked on Wednesday evening and it sounded like a train in our courtyard. It’s expensive, but sometimes necessary to run it, so getting the solar panels up and running is a priority too! So, while they were working on that, Adrien, Scott, Rick, Ray and I went to get our lumber. You know how when you go to Lowe’s or Menard’s in the states, they’ll actually load it for you in some cases, or at least help you get it to your car? If it’s a large order, which ours was, they’ll usually deliver it for you! Not so here! We walked into their warehouse and they pointed out the lumber we were to get our order from and we proceeded to load our own truck. 2x4’s in Haiti are actually 2”x4” so they look big, but it’ll be nice for building a roof. So, after we got back to the orphanage, we found that we also needed some bolts, so Adrien, Scott, Ray and I went on a hunt to find some bolts. After five stops we found none. We have a “b” plan we’ll need to break out. But, when we returned to the orphanage, much to our surprise, Rick and some of the kids had already unloaded the truck. Thanks Rick and kids!
We decided to build the new trusses here in the courtyard at the orphanage, then once they’re done, we’ll haul them up to St. Charles. We are praying for a lot of local help, because the trusses are heavy and the hill to the church is extremely steep. We spent the rest of the day figuring out exactly how we were going to build them, then we made our templates and proceeded to measure, mark and cut lumber. We finished our work Friday and will assemble them Saturday, ready to haul them up to St. Charles on Monday.
Friday evening after dinner, Ray, Terry and I got to share in one of the extreme blessings of doing a trip like this. We have brought your personal hygiene kits, new underwear, flip-flops, peanut butter, and other gifts you donated. And as we watched Yvrose, (who operates the orphanage), passed out the gifts...it was precious...precious I’m telling you! These kids sat, mostly quietly, wide-eyed, hoping there’d be a pair of flip-flops that would fit them, and maybe, just maybe, they’d get a pair that looked kinda cool too. It’s funny, the “looking cool” part is usually the highest priority for we Americans, but not so much here! They are thankful to have them! $1 flip-flops! Yvrose, was so patient with them, she’d pick up a pair, call out a name, the child would step forward, try them on, and she’d quietly call the next name. For those of you that don’t know, she has been struggling with recovering from malaria, that she caught about a month ago. She told me she thought she was going to die. But, said she’s feeling great now! I think she still has some recovering to go, she moves just a little slower than I remember and her voice is not full strength yet. Then the blessing of blessings, the children sang to us. They sang the old hymn “Trust and Obey” then a number of worship songs, and finished with a couple of Christmas songs! It was Christmas to them!
Thanks for participating in this journey! Thanks for praying for this team, the kids at the orphanage and the church at St. Charles! We’ll be attempting to post up some more of the adventures as we’re able! So stay tuned and keep praying for the grace, mercy and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus to be evident in and through us!