Monday, January 21, 2019

Shiloh Team Day One

It takes 9 months to give birth to a human baby. That's a long time, ask any mother.

This baby took 24 months to birth: Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church has a team on the ground in Haiti as of Monday afternoon. Not nearly as painful, but certainly as eventful for the people involved, and the congregation that sent them.

Labor commenced at 0300 Monday morning. But the seed was fertilized two years ago when we first started talking about taking a team with Healing Haiti to Port au Prince. There was some false labor about 1/2 way through, but the patient buckled down and started breathing deeply last April. Since then, things have moved along with a few bumps and starts, but the baby arrived in good health.

Four members of the church, Deacon Henry Wesley, Sister Carolyn Ross, Sister Kip Courtemanche, and Brother Joe Courtemanche arrived at the airport fully packed at an awful hour with the temperature below zero. By 0301 we were checking bags and moving toward the TSA checkpoint.

We made it through without any big alarms and got on a brand-new jet for our flight to Miami. Once there, we had a 4.5 hour layover while we waited for our flight to Haiti, and our newest team member to join us at the airport.

Clad in gray shirts, we arrived in Haiti around 4:50 and smoothly made it through customs. It's a very different airport than the last time I (Joe) flew here, and it's very nice. Customs was a breeze: the officials realize that missionaries rarely smuggle anything bigger than a jar of prenatal vitamins into Haiti.

A short ride in our Tap-tap (a heavy truck with a people cage on the back) arrived at the mission house along a newly paved road. Haiti is making great progress, and the changes are all for the better.

We feasted on tacos, and met the staff at the guest house. Healing Haiti is changing with the times, and the staff is led by Haitians. American missionaries still come down for long periods, but the day-to-day heavy lifting is done by the paid staff that live here. Parochialism is dying rapidly with this organization, and it's really a joy to see.

After dinner we broke up our bundles we'd carried down, distributed the cargo, and then held a devotional time. God is truly with us, and it's a wonderful thing to worship with all my new brothers and sisters on this trip. We're getting to really know each other, and I can see the growth in some people already. God opens your heart on these trips, and shows you all sorts of blessed things.

For me it's special, because not only have I new friends on the trip, but I have renewed friendships with the staff down here - they are my family as well.

We're all optimistic that God will be showing us great things this week. He started out with an 80 degree evening and a great meal. I'm totally down with that!

We'll be posting every day. Please stay tuned for news.

- Joe