Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Day 2: Papillion, Le Phare, and Mother Teresa's

Hi everyone! My name is Ariana and today we visited Papillion, LePhare, and Mother Teresa's. Papillion was founded by an American woman who came to Haiti to adopt a child and during the process realized how many people don't want to give up their babies, but they have to because they can't provide. We received a tour at Papillion and were told about the free childcare the mothers receive and how Papillion employs approximately 250 Haitians. It was neat seeing how the beads are made and we were able to buy a lot of things in the gift shop! After Papillion we went to an orphanage called LePhare where we were greeted with a welcome song from the kids. Knowing they took the time to learn a song and sing it to us was very special. During our time there we painted the kids nails, played with chalk and bubbles, jumped rope, and had a lot of fun with face paint. It was uplifting to see these kids having fun and see the smiles on their faces. We then left the orphanage and went to the Home for the Sick and Dying Babies. Home for the Sick and Dying Babies has two rooms, both of them full of cribs holding sick children that were dropped off by their parents because they didn't have the means to take care of them. A lot of the parents visit and take their child back when they are better, but there are some orphans that are left behind. We were able to hold the children without IV's and could even bring them outside to play with them. It was heartbreaking to see these kids so helpless but also uplifting when we saw kids comforting other kids and helping each other. All of these children were so content to just be held and loved on and it was a very eye opening experience. Leaving the Home for the Sick and Dying Babies was difficult because they all cried when we put them back in their cribs and left, but I know Home for the Sick and Dying Babies will be an experience we won't forget. Day 2 was a success and I hope this week continues to be as great as it has started out!


Journey of Faith Haiti Trip Day 3 - Shannon Maier

Today was our first Water Day of trip!!  And what an incredible experience it was!!

To be honest, I woke up with such mixed emotions.  I felt excitement and was eager to share in the day that God had in store for us, but also I felt nervous and a bit of fearful.  The nerves totally caught me off guard, as the clean water initiative that Healing Haiti has built is one of the main reasons why I decided to come on this trip.  God has blessed me with a hospitable heart, so meeting the basic needs of others is something that pulls at my heart strings in intense and emotional ways.  This was the moment that I have been waiting for, to live out my God given gifts and to share His love with others, but I just couldn't stop thinking, 'I don't know if I can do this?  What if I fail?'

As we embarked out for our first water stop, in our always exciting ride on Tap Tap vehicle, I took a moment to focus my attention on the presence of God and He gifted me with Psalm 73:26 'My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever'.  A dear friend shared this wonderful promise with me right before I left on this trip.  It is one that I have been meditating on throughout the journey, thus far.  When I said the words over and over, I was reminded that I am eternally accepted just as God made me, nerves and all, and it was a reminder that I would fall back on over and over again as the day continued.

The first stop, in City Soleil, was right outside Hope Church and we visited the pier area for our second.  At both stops, I was startled with how fast the water started flowing, how many buckets were being filled, and the life felt all around us.  Darling kids came running up to us all, asking to be held and have their picture taken, or to help carry filled water buckets to their houses.  It was a beautiful whirlwind!

Instantly you could see the joy, hope, and life we were able to bring to so many lives.  I think I picked up my first three children and buckets purely on adrenaline!  The heaviness of the bucket was definitely felt by bucket number 4 both times.  WOW was it heavy!!!  I came to find out, at the end of the day, that each bucket probably weighed close to 37 pounds, which is well above my max lifting weight.  At those moments, the previous nerves started to flood in that 'I just can't do this'...'I am, obviously, not strong enough, at least physically!'  But God, just as He promised, reminded me of Psalm 73:26.  It didn't matter how fast or slow I was carrying that bucket, whether water was splashing everywhere or not, the only thing that matter was I was trying to carry that bucket to bring God glory and to share His love with others.  He would get me to where I needed to be in His strength.  What unconditional acceptance!  From there, I was able to carry a few more buckets, with the help of one of my teammates (way easier to work in pairs!...should have thought of that earlier), and pick up a hand full of sweet Haitian children along that way.

Water Day 1 surpassed my expectations on so many levels.  The hearts I got to touch, which also touched mine, the act of service I was able to be apart of for the City Soleil community, and just experiencing the beautiful island down by the water with one of the cutest Haitian children was just too much!  Water Day number 2 is tomorrow, so I will take the lessons learned from the first day, along with Psalm 73:26 to hold that close to my heart.

One more between both water stops, we had the opportunity to visit the Hope Church facility.  One of our leaders, this evening, called Hope Church an anchor for Christ in City Soleil, and it totally struck me cause that description does not fall short of the impact that this place is making on the community around it.  When we walked onto the property, I instantly felt an overwhelming feeling of hope that only Christ can bring to life.  This place is not only creating and growing hope in the local community, but also for all the missionaries that step onto their grounds.  I am looking forward to hear and witness what God continues to do through that property for the Haitian people and His kingdom.
Day 1: Elder School, Hope Church and Water Truck Day!

We were blessed with an amazing first day in Cite Soleil! First, we stopped at Elder school, where we were greeted by what seemed like a million bright smiling faces. The children ranged from about age 3 to 18. They took us on a tour of their school and concluded with a dance party on the top floor. We joined in song and dance as we got to get a first glimpse of what life is like for a child living in Haiti. After we said our goodbyes, we headed to our first water truck stop. As soon as we got off the tap-tap, a bunch of kids came running towards us. We helped little boys, little girls, mothers, and grandmas carry water buckets to their homes. By the end of the day, all our arms were sore and we couldn't believe how people carry that much everyday! Next, we headed to Hope church, which is a church that also operates as a school. The children literally tackled our group members to the ground when they first saw us. We danced and even did some pushups with them. On our next water truck stop, we ventured to the pier. Again, we were surrounded by tons of little workers. The children were so excited to see us, and some made sure to put us to work! It was amazing seeing how the children's faces lit up when you picked them up. The children impressed us with their working skills, but we were blown away by the amount of joy they displayed, despite the living circumstances. We all went to bed exhausted, but smiles were everywhere to be seen.

-Kristina Collins