Thursday, September 14, 2017

Serenity Village Community Church 9/14/2017

Everyday at dinner each of our team picks a "word of the day" that describes how we felt about the day.    As I write this, my word is "water".

At home I use water in a variety of ways each day - to shower, to cook, to wash the dishes, to brush my teeth and to drink among others.  

Today we visited Cite Soleil, which is one of the poorest places in the world and where people don't have access to clean water on a regular basis.  They are reliant on water trucks who distribute water throughout the city and who visit the area where they live approximately once per week.   We were blessed today to be part of bringing life essential water into 3 different areas and it was an amazing and sobering experience.  

The water truck holds 3000 gallons of water with a big hose that gushes water when turned on.  When the water truck drives to its stop children run and ride on the back of the truck in excitement.  People line up with water containers of all shapes and sizes - as many as they have, with the hopes of getting water for their family for the week.  The water they are so joyous and thankful to receive isn't safe for us to drink without becoming sick.

Pastor Jed commented today that the different water jugs were a great depiction of the many things we observed while helping to distribute water.

Children come with joy - they rush to be held, they touch hair and skin that is so different from what they know, they play games.   A tattoo is a thing of wonder.  Water is used to play, to bathe and to refresh.   Beautiful smiles grace their faces and it is obvious that water day is a day they truly look forward to.

Adults, mainly women, line up their water containers pushing them forward quickly to receive water. They come with the great responsibility of taking care of their family. Requests are made to help them bring their containers home.   A container I can barely lift and carry is put on top of their head and carried with ease.   Children help their parents by carrying containers or tugging on your arm and asking for help in getting water to their houses - everyone but the very youngest understand the importance of getting the water home as quickly as possible.

At the third stop I had the chance to help fill and move buckets as they were filled by the hose.   It was completely chaotic - there were people who lined up to wait their turn for the water and then others who came to the front of the line to push their way in without waiting.   Our task was to try and keep the line moving filling buckets and moving them as quickly as possible so not one precious drop was unnecessarily wasted.   A task made more difficult as people pushed and worked to get their bucket under the hose next.   Desperation was the word here as people worked as hard as they could to fill their containers before the water truck ran out of water.

I would like to be able to say that everyone went home with all of their containers filled, but sadly that was not the case.  My hope is that just as we were there to love and help where we could today, that they too will help neighbors and friends who went home with empty containers by sharing.

Water also describes the tears that we each cried today as we reflected on our experience.   Back at the guest house as I stood rinsing off  my shoes and feet it was impossible not to picture the water containers that would have been filled by the water I used.

My real word of the day was "grateful".   Grateful for the chance to be here in Haiti with an awesome team bringing love and hope to the many people we touched today and grateful for the water I have access to at home that is safe to drink and that I use in almost every aspect of my life.

Serenity Village Community Church 09/13/2017

Day Two:

In the morning we went with the another missions team in Haiti, who are also from Minnesota to the orphanage called No Place Like Home. When we first arrived the children backed to the far edge of the structure they were in side of. They were standoffish to us at first.  Once we brought out the markers and paper fans they were filled with love and enjoy. They were giggling and having the time of their lives. We brought out a parachute and began waving it up and down. The purpose was for them to hide under, as some did, but they began to help us and were so quick to pick everything up. After spending a few hours with the little ones who weren't any older than 4, the other kids who were older came running out and we made airplanes with them out of Popsicle sticks.

After a few hours of hanging out with the kids, Reggie, a guy who worked there gave us a tour of the whole compound. This orphanage had many awesome qualities. It was also a school and once the kids got into 4th grade they were sent to a near by school to keep moving forward in their education. Their goal was to send their kids to college in the United States. They never kicked out the kids once they turned 18, they're always welcome. Currently they had 40 kids and are working on getting the funds to build another building that will allow them to take care of 50 more kiddos.

This whole program started from a man and his wife pitching a tent on the floor and adopting kids. Eventually they reached a point where they can't adopt any more precious children, so they got the amazing idea to start an orphanage. The progress is amazing and is one of the nicer ones in Haiti. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to experience it and play with all the kids. It was an awesome blessing from God that I'll never forget. I cant't wait to see what the rest of the week has in store. I know it is all apart God's plan.  

Team 2 finally arrived, a day later then the first team but we are all together now. Just arriving in Haiti for me was a blessing, it was long awaited, just the opposition i faced trying to get ready and leading up to this point was strong and it almost seemed as if i wasn't going to get here like the devil was doing everything he could to deter me from this. When i think about it long enough i see why that could be, i think that god has something big planned there for me, weather its just to be of service to someone else through love or compassion, a conversation, or maybe even something so little as a look or a hand waving hello, i know that he is going to work through me and for me. I try not to think in those terms of what or where  but rather just to let his spirit move me in the way he sees fit to be his hands and feet.

 After arriving at the Guest house to drop off our gear and quickly regroup and refresh  we were all exhausted but happy to finally be here and even happier to be greeted by the first part of our team that had to fly out the day before us. It was an exciting feeling because we were now a whole team and we were ready to do the work we came here to do. Our first mission was to go to the Apparent project to see what it is they do. It was started by a woman named Shelly that originally came to Haiti to adopt a child, the story is that the woman she wanted to adopt the child from really didn't want to give her baby up but really just couldn't afford to raise them. So instead of adopting the child she founded the apparent project that creates jobs by using resources that are readily available and in huge supply to create jewelry and other goods to sell in a shop where part of the proceeds go back to the family's who worked to create them. It was fascinating to be taken on a tour to see the production side of things and to actually meet the people and see what it is there doing and how our ministry we represent had blessed them with a kiln to create pottery  which created jobs that created income for these men and women to take care of whole familys and children and without this may not be able to.

There also started a daycare for the woman to be able to drop of there children and they are taken care of free of charge, during the work day the woman are able to come down and spend time with the children throughout the day. it was an amazing experience to see  and here how all of this came to be of how it started as something completely different then it turned out to be. after the tour we were able to purchase some of these goods knowing that everything we put into it was going to help out familys or multiple familys. For me overall this was very encouraging to know and see.