Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Day Three -Water Truck

Today our team ventured out into one of our longest days: water truck day in Cite Soleil. It doesn't matter if it is your first visit or your 10th visit, nothing in this world can prepare you for water truck day.

Our team woke up, had breakfast, and shuffled into the tap-tap after our morning prayer. The drive is slightly longer than the ones we have experienced so far while being here. With that being said, the team was able to see many new things. The difference between Cite Soleil and Port Au Price is shocking. Many of us had the understanding that Port Au Price was an underprivileged area when we first arrived, but upon reaching Cite Soleil our eyes were opened to so much more than we had expected and seen in our short time here. 

Before heading out to deliver free water we stopped at the newly open Hope Clinic. Our guide explained to us how the people in this specific community are in dire need of not only medical attention but also education and prevention methods. It was a blessing to witness and experience the progress that has been made in Cite Soleil so far through the Hope Clinic.

Our team was also blessed to see the new education implementation that is being started in Hope School. We met with a wonderful Haitian man named Ash who shared the vision God put on his heart to help the children and teachers in the community learn in a new way that will change the future of education in Cite Soleil and hopefully one day, in all of Haiti.

Once we stepped outside the gates of the clinic and school we were able to see the streets colored with different clusters of adults working, children playing, and animals roaming around in search of food. Our tap-tap was followed by a large water truck that was ready to distribute water to people lined up and down the street with buckets in hand. Walking up to a situation like this can be overwhelming for many but our team allowed God to lead them  and guide their steps in this new and uncomfortable experience. 

As a team we worked together on the water hose: one person in the back holding the hose up, one in the middle as support, and on in the front guiding the clean & free water flowing out into the never ending rotation of buckets that was ahead of us. While three people worked the hose in a rotation, the rest of team was either helping carry buckets to peoples homes or loving on children and communicating the people of the community.

This is one of the days we truly realize that we do not have much to offer the Haitian people other than our love and support by being there. We also have the opportunity to realize just how much the Haitian people have to offer us in their love, worship, acceptance, and joy. The love of The Lord shines through every pearly white smile we see. God is everywhere in Haiti. In the hugs, in the attempts to communicate, in the laughter, in the smiles and kisses and the deep embraces we each experienced with at least on child. It didn't matter if the kids were soaking wet from the water hose or even half dressed, we welcomed their love as if they were Jesus himself. 

We were blessed to share this day with one another.

Blessings <3

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Day Two- PeaceCycle, Papillon, Home for sick and dying Babies. 1-15-19

Today we had a wave of emotions. From learning how the Haitian people take their biggest problem and sell it, to loving on sick children.

We started off visiting the Peace Cycle which is a job creation company that reuses plastic bags that contain water. They use 8 million bags a day and it is thrown anywhere as trash. With their hard work they turn those bags into fashion bags, bibs, pencil pouches, and so much more. The resilience of the Haitian people is so inspiring and the pride they put into building up their country is so powerful.
After visiting Peace Cycle we visited Papillon Enterprises, which is another job creation company that helps parents work while keeping their children in school and daycare. They have a boutique that sells their hand-made beautiful Jewelry, handbags, and stuffed animals. We had a chance to see how they make all of the merchandise where many men and women that work so hard to provide for their families.

Lastly, we visited the Home for sick and dying Babies and nothing could've prepared us enough for what we experienced in that building. We each had our own experiences, but wouldn't change it for anything. We all connected with the children in ways God can only explain and poured as much love into them as we could. Being there, some of us had to learn and accept that we need to trust God in these moments. Even though things look so bad and it doesn't seem fair, we must remember that God has a plan and He knows what He's doing.

God Bless!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Day One - Travel Day 1/14/19

WOW! What a long day of travel for our SVCC team. We met at church at 1 AM, which meant most of us did not go to bed the day before...that equation makes for a sleepy team! We were able to make the best of our early arrival by laughing and playing games at the airport.

Despite our long day, we have found time to admire the beauty Haiti has to offer. Upon arrival, we were greeted with pearly white smiles and big bear hugs by Jean Jack and Valerie, two of our translators. This gesture provided a sense of relief to the team. Many of them being first time goers had no idea what to expect. After our meet and greet outside of the Port Au Prince airport we loaded into the colorful tap-tap (a caged in bed of a pick up truck with benches) and went on our way.

Many things stood out to us on our ride. To the new goers it was new smells, honking horns, cars zooming by. To the return goers the best thing was PAVED ROADS! Hallelujah! We pulled into the guest house after a 15 minute ride to find more friendly faces ready to meet us.

After settling in and enjoying dinner, a few team members gathered around the couch and spent time getting to know each other on a deeper level. Building these connections and becoming a family is one of the most important things we do on these trips.

We look forward to what God has in store for us tomorrow!



Saturday, January 12, 2019

UNW Day 6: WAHOO we had Fun in the Sun!

To wrap up and reflect on our week in Haiti, we went to Wahoo Bay. Once we arrived, we all piled into a small row boat to go snorkeling. For many of us this was our first time and it was an amazing experience. We got to see Dory and her friends along with beautiful coral reefs. On the way back we saw a couple jellyfish. After reapplying sunscreen (you’re welcome mom), we enjoyed a relaxing game of sand volleyball. Throughout the day each of us were able to relax in our own way, whether that be reading, laying in the sun, playing in the water and on the trampoline, or taking in the beautiful views. Each of these things allowed us to bond and grow closer together. Before we left Wahoo Bay, we took advantage of the breathtaking view and had a mini photo session with our “Be The Light” shirts.

Although we enjoyed a fun day in the sun, it also allowed each of us to reflect on the challenging and life-changing week of serving. There was a main focal point on God’s creation specifically compared to what we have seen this week, which included a lot of poverty. It was refreshing to the see the “other side of the penny” and how beautiful God intended His creation to be. It can be easy to think of Haiti as a country full of poverty but in reality, there are breathtaking views and beauty in the Haitians living here. Though the Haitians have little in regards to material things, their hearts are so full of joy from the Lord. Instead of focusing on the little that they have, Haitians are grateful for what God has provided for them and only look to praise Him. Another reflection we had was seeing the changes in Haiti because of the organization Healing Haiti. Their work through Hope Village and Grace Village has provided a sense of hope for all Haitians in years to come. 

Being able to experience life in Haiti would not have been possible without our coaches. We are so grateful to have coaches that, first and foremost, love the Lord and want to make God and serving others a priority in our lives. Not only have the Haitians changed our lives, but our coaches have helped shape us to live a life that reflects Christ. We will always be thankful for what we have experienced here in Haiti and the memories that will last forever. This trip would not have been as impactful and fun without our awesome translators and drivers that traveled with us each day. They allowed us to get the most out of this trip and are friends we will never forget. Our stay in Haiti was nothing short of great because of the amazing staff we had. We were well fed and taken care of each day and are so grateful for everyone who had a part in our trip. We will miss you Haiti!

Friday, January 11, 2019

UNW Team Day 5: God’s Plan

                Today we went to Church on the Rock at 6am. It touched us each of us because of the way they worshipped with their whole being. Few people were sitting down, many were walking around, hands high, praising the Lord. Although they were speaking another language, we knew God was moving and we could feel His presence. As we were taking it all in, it dawned on us that this is what heaven is going to be like. All believers will be together raising up God’s mighty name with our voices, actions and never-ending joy.

     Following the church service, we visited elders in Titanyen from Grace Church. We were welcomed into their living environment and had the opportunity to wash their feet, put lotion on their arms and legs, as well as sing and pray for them. Throughout our visits, we had an opportunity to learn more about them. A common thread we heard from each elder was that they were blessed and doing well because of Jesus’ provision in their lives. Their dependence and devotion to the Lord made the experience come full circle, we were intentional in serving them when ultimately they were the ones who touched us.

After the elder visits, we went to a small boutique called Rosie’s in Cabaret. Most of the merchandise was handmade by women and children in that community. Rosie’s goal is to empower members of their community by buying and selling their products.

We then went to Grace Village that Healing Haiti has created and developed into a beautiful place. We got a tour from the long-term missionary that is currently living there. It is safe to say that all of us were amazed and impressed for all that has been done there. The school has 430 children ages 3-19. About 50 of them live on campus in their family-style orphanage. Students get one meal a day, which is all purchased locally. Grace is supporting and building up their community by buying their resources locally. The teachers are educating students so they can go out and make a difference in their community. The kids helped build their technology center with the skills they have learned. We ended our tour with visiting the clinic in Grace Village. The clinic is not a free clinic, however it is very affordable. They keep the cost low, and it is known for being one of the best clinics in the area. The doctors are even able to test and diagnose cervical cancer, which is a huge step in the right direction for Haitian women.
Our final stop of the day was Fleri Bakery and Restaurant. We got a tour of the complex and were able to see the bread making process. Fleri employs 27 Haitians from the surrounding community. A few of them being kids from the school in Grace Village who are in the Transition Program. Those in the Transition Program are in the 13th grade and being prepared to be on their own in the real world. Fleri is all about creating jobs and giving back to the community. All of their ingredients are locally bought fresh from the local market. 90% of their business is simply based off of bread made for their community.
Today as a whole was renewing and was encouraging to our team. We had a lot of time build community with our team. We played games at Fleri, sang with one another loudly in the tap tap on our way home from Titanyen, and had a slip-n-slide on the balcony during the downpour. (They have not had a hard rain since Thanksgiving; it was much needed.) However, our favorite part of the day was having the opportunity to show Christ’s love through our actions and words by being pushed out of our comfort zones while we spent time with the elders in Titanyen.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

UNW Day 4- Filling Buckets

                To start the day off we had a devotion about filling each other’s buckets describing how there are many ways to fill other’s buckets. Our first mission of the day was a water truck stop, physically filling the Haitians buckets. As soon as we got off our tap tap, kids were at our feet waiting for us to give them attention by holding their hand or carrying them. As the previous water truck stops, some of us were on the hose line filling buckets and pushing full buckets aside for the people to take to their homes. Others spent the time playing, holding, and occupying children and helping carry buckets to people’s homes. As the water was coming to an end, the Haitians become more desperate to fill their buckets. We not only filled their physical buckets we also filled their hearts with love and compassion.  

     Our next stop was visiting elders in their homes. We went to four different homes of elders in Cite Soleil. At each stop we got to learn about their lives, like how long they have lived in Cite Solei, what their favorite activity to do when they have free time, and about their families. We also sang the doxology. The best part about visiting the elders was praying over them. We asked for prayer requests that the elders had and prayed for them. At each home during the prayer, everyone felt the Lords presence. We got the privilege to witness to someone who has never been to church. As soon as we prayed over him, he soon broke down in tears.  Being able to pray over the elders was such a powerful and moving experience for all us to witness and be able to share with others. Praying with the elders helped us and the elders filled our spiritual buckets overflowing with the spirit. 

     After we got back from Cite Soleil we went to Papillon, a restaurant and gift shop. We were able to relax and unwind from the emotional and fulfilling day. Each of us enjoyed a chilling smoothie and some delicious french fries. After enjoying our snacks, many of us went shopping in the gift shop. We hung around awhile playing games and hanging out with each other. Getting to relax and unwind filled our buckets with joy and comfort from laughter from getting to spend time with each other. 

     Towards the end of the day, we had time to reflect on today and how it has impacted us. Many team members brought up how different it is here in Haiti compared to back home; How the streets are filled with trash and children are found playing in it, but at home that is unseen for us to have even a couple pieces of trash on the ground. Being here in Haiti has opened many of our eyes to how blind we are to different parts of the world. We may think what we know but don’t know the severity of it. It has been eye opening and we have all gained a new perspective through the experiences we have had so far. We look forward to what is in store for us tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

UNW Day 3: Orphanage Visits

     We started the day off by visiting the Metal Market in Croix des Bouquet. The Market consisted of various shops full of beautiful handcrafted metal artwork. As we walked through the various shops, we were able to watch the Haitians create the artwork out of scrap metal. Each piece was intricate and unique in its own way reflecting the artist’s individuality. We were able to purchase pieces to support the artists and their business.

     Our next stop was Dios, which is an orphanage for children with special needs. When we arrived, some of us weren’t completely sure how to interact with the kids. However, within a few minutes we were laughing and having a blast. The kids loved to play soccer, color, and hide and chase one another. The joy radiating from their faces was contagious. Their special needs did not keep them from laughing and smiling with us. It amazed us by how happy they were by doing something as simple as blowing bubbles. Even though we were unable to communicate with them verbally because of the language barrier, simple gestures and facial expressions allowed us to connect with the kids. As devastating as it is to see these kids living in the orphanage, it was encouraging to see that they were well taken care of and loved on by the staff there. Our main priority was to be intentional in how we interacted with the kids to effectively show them the light of Christ. Although we were there to love on and brighten their day, we left feeling loved and filled with joy because of them.  

Our final stop was the Home for Sick and Dying Babies. We split up into two groups each going to a different room. A majority of us went to a very large room with around thirty infants and toddlers in cribs. Right away, we were told to grab food and feed all the children. We were able to then help the Sisters by changing the infant’s diapers. Once fed and changed, we were able to pick them up and give them the love they were longing for. Their eyes looked desperate for love and attention. We were able to satisfy that desire by simply holding them. It was very hard to be in the room with thirty plus kids and only be able to give attention to one or two at a time. It broke our hearts to put them down because you could see the sadness in their eyes. However, we were hopeful because these kids were there to receive the care they needed to get better so they can return home to their families.

 Although this was a challenging day, we were able to take a lot away from what we saw and experienced. We were humbled and grateful to spend time and make an impact on these kids. We were able to reflect on our day and were comforted by God’s never-ending love for His children. The children’s dependence and need for their caretakers reflected our desperate need for the Lord daily. We are so grateful for what today taught us and are excited to see how God moves in the days to come.

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