Sunday, December 17, 2017
Day 6 Thankfully we all got to sleep in much longer than yesterday’s 5 a.m. wakeup call. This morning greeted us with even more delicious pancakes and oatmeal. We gratefully loaded up because today would call for a lot of energy: water truck day. At 9:30 (we were on time today), we climbed into the tap-tap to head to Cite Soleil. Nothing can prepare you for water truck day. I do not care if you are Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I’ll hand you a five-gallon bucket overflowing with water while you have two kids clinging onto you and you’ll see just how strong you are. Those handles are no joke and for once in my life I think I may have a callous. The first stop did not begin very well for Michelle. The kids were so excited to see her that she lost her bearings and fell straight into murky waters. Thankfully, our man Jonas was able to get her hosed down and cleaned up before some troublemakers came by and dumped five gallons of water over her head. I, unfortunately, missed everything but, according to Jessie With The Hat, she had a legit mullet going on. Cool. The kids were beyond excited to see us again and greeted us with, “Hey you! Hey you!”. The love in their eyes is incredible. They are the happiest, most joyous children I have ever met. The heat in Haiti is unbelievable—-like a sauna in the middle of August. About twenty minutes in we were soaked, not by the water but our own sweat. None of us seemed to care, though, as the kids and people are all so inviting that it makes everything worth it. In between stops we toured Fleri farms. Stevenson was our guide, an incredibly educated farmer. He actually graduated with a degree in agriculture so, as we say back in Gratiot County, he’s kinda a big deal. He was excited to show us his work and have us try some of the crops. The first one we tried was sugar cane aka nature’s Jolly Rancher. This man,I kid you not, whipped out a machete to cut down some stalks. It was single handedly the coolest thing we had ever witnessed. Next were the peppers. Come to find out, Kayley and Cole have absolutely no taste buds whatsoever. They swallowed it like it was nothing meanwhile Jessie saw her life flash before her with just a lick. To end our journey, they cut open fresh coconuts for all of us (again with the machete, so cool, right?). It was interesting to get to drink right out of a coconut straight off of the tree. We also had a couple bites of it which was determined to be an acquired taste. After a little bit of rest and snacks (Jonas really likes Scooby snacks, come to find out) we headed to our last stop. This stop in particular was right on the coast. Jonas lead us out onto the pier before we left and it was just like a scene out of Pirates of the Caribbean in terms of the view and the boats. The boats were carved out of wood with huge sails to direct them. People were sitting on the dock cleaning fish and airing out their nets. This was definitely a memorable sight. The kids all touched our hearts today. It is just absolutely incredible the amount of love such a small body can contain. Neither of us new each other’s language but we had one thing in common: we are all children of God. At the guesthouse we all gathered at 7 o’clock to talk about the day and look at the pictures taken. These moments I will forever cherish because they are filled with laughter and God’s presence. This trip has touched us far more than we imagine we have been able to touch the Haitians. Haiti, we came here to help you and, instead, you have helped us.
Day 5 We started the day before the sun came up (and for those of you who do not know when that is, it’s five in the morning) to attend tent church. You can literally hear the music from the church for miles away. It was true worship with singing and dancing for Jesus! It was truly a beautiful and enthusiastic morning filled with praise and worship in a way we’ve never been a part of. People aged everywhere between elders down to young children were in attendance during this hour. As soon as we entered the church we were filled with joy as the Haitians welcomed us in as if were have been attending our whole lives. Hands were raised in honor to God as people danced and moved around the church greeting and praying for each other. The worship leader thanked God for everything, right down to deodorant and reminded all of us that we are all equal..there is no one person better than another. The service incorporated a number of songs in Creole and English which was beautiful. As the service went on we could see the sun come up which was incredible as we headed back for breakfast. After breakfast we headed to Titanyen to visit some elders. We picked up hot meals on the way along with water and juice to give to the elders. Once we arrived, the elders were excited to see us, hugging and kissing everyone as we entered their homes, all 22 of us. At each visit we gave them a full spa treatment - washed their hands and feet, rubbed down their arms and legs with lotion, and even painted the woman’s nails. We sang and prayed for each elder and you could feel the presence of the Lord. One man touched our hearts with his very simple prayer request of being with his wife forever. And as Rosetta said it, “it hit her in the feels”. As our experiences continued, we toured Grace Village’s bakery and restaurant, Fleri. Fleri means to flourish in English and that is exactly what they are currently doing, all thanks to God! Fleri is aimed at job creation and boosting the local economy. So far, this business has been able to put well over $8,000 back into the local economy, hallelujah! Jake (from State Farm) gave us a tour of the bakery and restaurant. He was a wonderful soul to encounter. He is from America and managed to learn Creole from the local kids as well as his employees. His heart is focused on not himself, but Haiti. He wants nothing more than to see Haiti flourish. Next up on the agenda was Grace Village. Grace sits along the mountainside with an incredible view— a perfect view of God’s work and His people. The gates open to what looks just like an oasis. Kids are clean and clothed, running around without a care in the world. They were friendly but not overly eager to have us pick them up, a sign that they were not attention starved but instead receiving the love and nourishment they deserve. Grace (ironic because we were at Grace Village, ya know?) gave us a tour of the orphanage amidst the blazing heat. She told us about the stop-and-go program at Grace Village. In short, this program allows kids from orphanages that are being shut down to be temporarily welcomed into Grace. Due to a combination of lack of funding and multitudes of orphans, orphanages shutting down is a big problem in Haiti. If we can give one prayer request thus far, please pray for the orphans. Imagine not having a stable home. Imagine not knowing if your parents will ever come for you again. Imagine not having a childhood. The beauty in all of this is that we serve the same God as them and through prayer we know God will bring redemption. After a hot day outside, we travelled back to Fleri to eat dinner. We engorged ourselves with wings, fries, plantains and salsa (even Madi approved of this), and lots and lots of pizza. It is truly amazing how much a group of missionaries can eat in just a short period of time after a day in the sweltering heat. Unfortunately, we seemed to have forgotten that we would have at least an hour drive home in that same sweltering heat. It did not take too long at all once we started our ride home for us to realize we can’t hang. Haitian heat: 10. Harnell Team:0.