Blessed. Proud.Hope.Fear.Comfort.Patience. These are just a few of the words that our team used to describe Day 3 of our time here with Healing Haiti. We arose to a bountiful feast again prepared by our wonderful staff which included delicious eggs, french toast, oatmeal and sweet bananas. The feast would provide us for a full day of ministering and serving to those most in need.
We started the day with a 45 minute drive and bumpy road up to get a tour of Grace Village. Grace Village provides schooling as well as housing for students at Grace Academy which opened its doors in 2011. We were fortunate to have Caleb who has been at Grace Village as a long term missionary with his family (wife and two daughters and their dog Annie) for the last year. It was even more special to have him lead the tour as this was his last and final tour. Come Sunday...he and his family would be relocating back to Minnesota.
Caleb walked us through the school showing us the classrooms and sharing with us a bit about the curriculum and also informed us that school there goes to Grade 13 and that the students need to successfully pass each grade with a test in order to move on, there is no "social promotion' to move to the next grade. We then were taken to the school library which was impressively filled with many children's books with titles we all would recognize but they were in their native languages of French or Creole. From there we were shown their gardens where they grow many crops such as Amaranth, carrots, radishes that are used to feed the students at Grace Academy. Farm to Table at its best.
Those with soccer skills (cue, our younger team members) indulged in a friendly game of soccer under the beautiful canopied shelter on the Grace Village grounds. While the score may not have been being kept, it was a great time to interact with the kids in a sport they all love.
The next stop proved to be perhaps the most impactful part of the day. We had the amazing opportunity to visit 4 Elders in the Tetayan community, each with their own challenges, struggles and stories. Our visits included singing, washing/cleansing/moisturizing/massaging their feet/hands/arms and providing loving human touch to those who can't do for themselves. We were greeted by one elder with a smile that would light up a room and who hugged each and every person on our team before we could bless and serve her. While another elder we visited, we simply sang and prayed over her while she is on her journey to be with the Lord. Each of our visits ended by asking for prayer requests and then praying as a team over them and blessing them. What was most amazing about this experience was the ability for people to get out of their comfort zone and provide human touch in a deeply personal way to a complete stranger. Equally transformative, were the tiny moments that individual team members experienced as well that will never be forgotten. The gift of serving is ironic in that while we are serving those most in need, we truly are the ones being served.
Finally, we finished the day at Fleri Bakery and restaurant which was built by Healing Haiti in 2015. Fleri Bakery employees people from the community and in turn gives them the ability to provide for their families and provides a service to the community, bringing it full circle. The bakery provides baked goods to schools, hotels, restaurants and fulfills a need that has grown beyond what they ever could have imagined.
After an informative bakery tour by Jake we were able to gather as a group and enjoy a feast of delicious home made Fleri Bakery pizzas that certainly satiated all of our tired, weary and hungry team members.
We left with full bellies, full hearts, full spirits with joy and hope for another day of blessings.
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Tom and Debbie Rice here sharing words for the entire Tammy Porto group. Our first amazing day in Haiti! There are 17 people in our group and 14 people in another group that is staying in the same guest house. It is a mix of ages that only God could choose. Teens with so much energy and us the grandpa and grandma with just a little less energy!
We traveled to Cite Soleil to provide donated water to the poorest of the poor. How to even put into words what our eyes saw, what our noses smelled, the sounds of the chaos and of course the feeling of our breaking hearts. So much garbage, so many people, so much need....yet the JOY of the people when they saw us was what we will remember the most! The children, the children, the children...so many...so much JOY to just touch us and be held! Each one so precious and wonderfully made in His image. He knows each one just like the stars...
It was obvious at our evening meeting that everyone was most impacted by the children...pictures will be provided at a later date. Please continue to pray for our team (that we will continue to follow God's leading) and of course for the precious people of Haiti (that the impact between us and them will be GREAT and always glorify God).