This verse echoes what we witnessed today in our visits. First, we honored and remembered those who were fallen during the 12 January 2010 earthquake that took nearly 300,000 lives. The site was a mass grave, with walls of memorials surrounding it, hillsides with countless graves. The stone/quarry paths upon which we walked also bore many lost lives under them. It was incredibly somber. Our team members reflected sadly on that day: where we were, when we heard it on the news. and our first thoughts were "what can we do to help?" We even spoke with a Haitian member of our Healing Haiti team who described the horror he felt when he realized what was really happening. He ran safely out of the cafe in which he was studying to find his friends and family, who came out of this tragedy alive and safe.
We then stopped at a little town called Titanyen, a word meaning "less than". We first toured the Healing Haiti Fleri (which means "to flourish") Bakery and Restaurant. We were warmly greeted by Jake, who oversees the bakery and restaurant operations. It employs approximately 26 Haitian employees, who have been properly trained in all aspects of the bakery and restaurant. The smells that lingered out of the bakery were less than heavenly, as smells of cinnamon, fresh-baked bread and cinnamons rolls had our mouths watering and made our nostrils very happy. The bread, we learned, is baked and sold to area hotels, restaurants, the Healing Haiti Guest Houses and 25-30 smaller vendors who sell throughout the community. This bakery provides a trade to benefit the transitional young adults, who have finished all their schooling and transitioning to independent living off of Grace Village.
The visits with the elders were beyond words and quite humbling. The word "humbling" has probably been used often in these blogs, but it is highly encouraged to study its meaning and how it reflects serving others. As we entered a brick encompassed home, we set our eyes on blind a 83-year old gentlemen. He was given a cold, refreshing 7-Up, a gentle foot washing, a foot massage and had lotion applied to his feet, arms and hands, which nearly put him into napping mode. He was humming as we were gently providing comfort care for him. We serenaded songs to him and prayed over him for his prayer requests, which was to have his vision restored so he could see his visitors.
Our next visit brought us to a shady area and a gentleman sitting at the base of tree on a small, handcrafted chair. We sang a song with him, washed his tender feet and applied lotion to his arms, hands, legs and feet. He was graciously accepting of this service to him. His prayer for us was that he be granted into Eternal Life. He shared with us that he's been baptized and has accepted Christ. We look forward to seeing him with Jesus in all his glory.
Up the road was a grandmother of four grandchildren who sat and watched intently as we prayed, washed her life-worn feet and comforted her with a gentle lotion massage. She was peaceful and gracious. She asked us to pray that her family would all follow Jesus and followed up the prayer with the song "How Great Is Our God". Such an appropriate ending to this very poignant visit.
Out final elder visit was with a newly married, 64-year-old couple., who lived with a child and four grandchildren in a single room home. They had just received an outdoor bathroom and steps that lead into their yard/home, steps up into their home and a gate that secured their premises. The man was jolly, happy and shared his love of the Lord through his laughter. This we all found to be quite contagious. He was carefree and so accepting of our services. Each received a foot washing, caressing of the feet and lotion on the wife's back for healing. His prayer request was for us to return tomorrow. Her request was to let us know her appreciation for all she's received from Healing Haiti.
Don, who is a long-term missionary at Grace Village, provided us a grand tour of their facilities, the classrooms, the clinic and the learning environment and rich history surrounding it. The views at times were stunning of the mountainous terrain and the indescribable blue Caribbean Sea beneath them.
If you're in the market for the best pizza and french fries in the world, the place to go is Fleri Restaurant. We were served the most appealing and tantalizing pizzas we've ever eaten and they were served by the talented (and patient) transitional student from Grace Village. The fries were hot, crispy and the garlic aioli was creamy and well-balanced with the spicy Haitian ketchup for our appetizers.
With all the poverty, the obvious desperation, the destruction that is still evident from a trembling earthquake seven years ago has left us feeling saddened and wondering, "why Lord"? But as we have served the Haitian people all week, we are reminded that God looks in their eyes as He does in our own eyes. He sees what needs to be accomplished and has chosen us for this trip to help with those tasks. He's never in a hurry, so we must live according to His timetable, His plan and for His glory. We were reminded this evening to not worry about Cite Solé, because there is also progress there and God is moving and He is not finished with His people here in Haiti. We are grateful and hopeful for this promise that He will do what He says He will do.
As Moses so eloquently said to the Israelites: "The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still" -Exodus 14:14.
Katie and Tracy