Grace Village is an orphanage that houses about seventy children, educates four hundred, and feeds five hundred children every single day. Excluding today because it's a national holiday called Flag Day. The houses at Grace Village are family style and they work to help kids feel as though they are a part of a family. When they are at the orphanage they are taught skills that they can use when they leave the orphanage. When they turn eighteen, they graduate from Grace Village's school. Then Grace Village has a transition program for the older kids that helps them get ready for when they leave. While we were there we were able to put on a faith lesson for the children. We chose to do David and Goliath, where Ethan was Goliath (he is one of the tallest) and we had a Haitian student as our David. The kids got a kick out of it and were very involved with the whole story! After we did our play, we were able to draw on little stone bags and make sticker art with the kids. My favorite part at Grace Village was seeing everyone interact with the children there. Right away it seemed that the younger boys were drawn to the men in our group, which was pretty cool to see. They all loved piggy backs and riding on our shoulders. The view from Grace Village is mesmerizing because you can see all the mountains and the Atlantic ocean out in the distance. God really worked within us there at the orphanage and helped us make connections that we will always remember.
The next part of our day was my favorite of all. We went to bless the elders who are a part of Grace Village and church. First we met a couple who welcomed us with hugs into their home. The best part was, even though we were there to bless them, when we walked in the first thing Pierre did (the elder) was offer us a seat to sit down on. We began to praise the Lord with our amazing guitar player Peter and our interpreter Emmanuel playing the piano. Some of the team, including myself began washing the feet of the husband and wife while other team members were giving them lotion massages. It was amazing to see people stepping out of their comfort zones and taking that leap of faith and working out the gifts God has given them. I work at a nursing home back home and today was just beautiful to me. Elders should be respected and treated with dignity and I believe that we should all take time to listen to the stories and wisdom that many of them have to give to us. If you take the time, you may be able to learn something truly amazing. We then went to another woman's house to wash her feet and give her a massage. This time we had Allie playing the piano and Peter on the guitar as we were all worshipping. One of our group members named Kenzie was able to make a connection with the elder while giving her an arm massage when the elder Marie was holding her hand. It's amazing how God will work through people to help you see connections.
The last part of our day was visiting the mass grave site memorial of the earthquake on January 12th 2010. They had buried roughly about 300,000 people there because they ran out of graves to bury people in. When we arrived inside the memorial we were able to hear the story of our Healing Haiti interpreter who was there in town during the earthquake. Even through all of the hard times he experienced he still had his faith and still was able to be joyful afterwards. I would say that there aren't many words to describe the mass grave memorial, it's something you really would need to just see for yourself. But God is great and he is always at the end of every storm.
To wrap up our day as a group, we end with a word of the day and worship. This night in particular was very special because instead of just having one person close in prayer, instead four team members were prayed over. We have been praying and loving on the Haitians for most of the week and this experience brought us even closer as a team because we prayed over each other. There is a special anointing that happens when every team member joins in on prayer. Please continue to pray for all of us to get through the rest of the week. Every day so far has been unexpected but God has blessed every piece of these amazing adventure. It's so much fun being the hands and feet of Jesus.
To finish this blog post, tomorrow is WATER TRUCK DAY! Maybe, well hopefully. But if not, hey, that was all a part of Gods plan for us! I hope that everyone on our trip has continued good health and is filled with joy as we turn to the weekend. With only three and a half days left it's hard to believe our trip is getting closer to the end. We are so thankful for this beautiful and amazing trip and can't wait to update you all on tomorrow's adventures! God bless you all.
Written by Maddie
Helped written by Anna