Wednesday, July 17, 2019

SVCC in Haiti - Day 3

Imagine its 90 degrees outside and you cannot turn on the air conditioner: that was tonight at dinner as we all sit around a long table with neatly sitting plates, cups and silverware. We are the Serenity Village team here in Haiti, all chowing down on the meal tonight called Yakisoba, prepared by the amazing staff. As the room falls silent because of our long day and undeniably delicious meal, our team leader brings up our word for the day. This is a time when we all share one word to describe our experience with the day, an excellent way to build the bonding in our team. It goes around with words like “Connection” and “Exuberance”. Then it comes to me, I first state that my “one word” is actually two; then I finally let out, “In awe”. I am in awe of God’s love for us and how it expelled out of every person we met today. Firstly we ate breakfast together then we all loaded up on sunscreen and bug spray. Then climbed in to what is called a tap tap, a large truck that carries us all in the back. It was a rushed, busy time of day, but because of the group’s discussion and closeness we didn’t notice. Once we reached our destination - Haiti Teen Challenge - we climbed out of the truck and were welcomed by the staff of Teen Challenge. Then we sat down and sang some worship songs in Creole with the fourteen women in residency there. We sat in a circle while two of the residents shared their testimonies and I immediately got teary-eyed. Being a graduate of Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge myself, I felt a rush of compassion for the ladies as they shared their vulnerability with us. I had to let out some words of encouragement but the lump in the back of my throat made my voice shaky. Finally, I was getting through the wave of emotions, and finally got to hear a testimony for Sara our team member. Her courage and testimony left the women with a glimmer in their eyes. Then I knew that I needed to let the women know what I have gone through. Listening to their testimonies, I realized that even if we lived on completely different continents and worlds apart, we felt the same inside. We felt discouraged, extremely sad, and hopeless, but now that we have found people like each other we don’t feel so alone in our fight to succeed and survive. We took a tour of the beautiful building the residents live in, the sewing room where they are learning how to sew their graduation outfits. And finally the garden where bananas, eggplants, and corn were planted as well as an almond tree. Before leaving, we sat down with each other one last time for prayer. We all prayed in our own way, language, and song. As my eyes were tearing up I started to hear the beautiful voices of the TC ladies sing, “I will call your name, keep my eyes above the waves,” “Oceans” from Hillsong. We all joined together to share an amazing experience only God would orchestrate. After the amazing experience at Teen Challenge we went to visit the kiln Serenity Village purchased for Papillon, a beautiful cafĂ© and pottery shop that started with one women’s dream and four employees, and is now giving jobs to 150 Haitians that can support their families with this income. Finally we stopped at an orphanage called La Loo, we were greeted by the 20 or so children and their angelic voices welcoming us. We all become quickly attached and active with the children, playing jump ropes, catching footballs and frisbees and learning Spanish! One of the children taught some of the team members all the Spanish words he knew from his notebook. What a full afternoon of the welcoming and loving faces of the beautiful people in this country. 

~ Becca 

SVCC in Haiti - Day 2

On our first full day in Haiti, we toured Hope Church/Clinic/School/Innovaton (IT) Lab, we had our first of two water truck days on this trip as well as visited Sakala School, and then returned to the field for a second stop with the water truck.  While this sounds rather mundane as it is stated in logistical facts it understates the impact that Healing Haiti’s operations are having on the community, the overwhelming experience that seeing Cite Soleil is, and the resiliency of all the Haitian people.

Hope Church continues to be a beacon of light in an area of the world that in the physical most would assume should be shrouded in darkness.  Their faithfulness continues to bear fruit.  The newest addition of an IT Lab for the students is training the world’s most disadvantaged children with the best software, hardware and curriculum that the world can provide them.  Their futures are shining brighter than their smiles.

As we helped carry water to the homes of the residents of Cite Soleil, we saw many things that by our standards might have been lacking but one thing that was not, was joy.  Their hearts overflowed with joy just as their buckets did with water.

When we went to Sakala school a member of the team was introducing us.  As he finished our introduction, he said we come from Minnesota where all the snow is, this was met with a sea of blank stares, so he couldn’t stop there.  “Who wants to have fun?” he asked.  The children erupted YAY! I can’t hear you! An even louder roar went up, and right on queue our delightful and extremely helpful Healing Haiti staff Smith put on some music and the dancing began.

Before we knew it, we were being asked to load back up and reconnect with the water truck.  The idea of a water truck was foreign to most of us before this trip as we are accustomed to running water but we helped deliver a basic necessity to people who otherwise do not have access nor the means to procure clean water.

Exhausted physically from the experience we returned home to a delicious meal of Haitian Lasagna prepared by our loving and diligent Healing Haiti staff at the guest houses.  As we all reflected on our day it was far from mundane. Somehow as we went out into the world to love God’s people just as they are, and give what we have away, we found we were the ones who felt had received the most and our hearts overflowed with gratitude for this opportunity.

~ Kyle

SVCC in Haiti - Day 1

Travel Day! Fairly uneventful…which is a good thing when we’re talking about getting 12 people to the airport by 4am, hopping two planes, and making our way through customs and such upon arrival. I almost made all of us late by sleeping through my alarm! Never been up and out the door so quickly in my life… 

We arrived at Guest House 1 around 3:30pm and went about the business of settling in. After dinner and free time, we found ourselves all in the living room for what turned into a 3+ hour conversation that included powerful revelation and connections made, as well as a level of vulnerability and transparency that I’ve never before experienced with a team on the first night. God bonded us quickly! I am SO excited for what is to come, and for what this team will experience in the days ahead.