Sunday, July 28, 2019

Hosanna Student Ministries Day 7!

Hi everyone - this is Sarah Johnson! The only reason I included my last name is because there are two Sarah's on this trip. The Haitian children all freak out every time they ask us both our names and we respond with the same word, apparently it isn't common here. Today was a super amazing day, but also very different than any day before.

We started out at RendezVous Christ Church which means "an appointment" with God. It was an open-air church built out of a giant metal structure with a tin roof. It resembled Hosanna, with colored lights, two big screens, a wooden backdrop/wall and a large amphitheater with comfortable chairs. Worship was amazing. The worship team started with a song in english, then a song in french, and finally a song in creole. It was cool that they accommodated everyone there, and the song they sang in french was actually amazing grace so we knew it well. For the sermon, they gave us headphones to listen to an english translator since the pastor spoke in french/creole. Pastor Marc spoke on thankfulness, using the passage of the 10 lepers from the Bible and many modern-day stories. Even though we were hearing the sermon through a translator, it was still very moving. It gave us all a lot to think about, including everything we take for granted at home like food, water, shelter, and health. One thing that really impacted me was when he talked about our ease of doing every-day things like getting out of bed, or scratching out heads, because we had fully functioning muscles and good health. This was very eye-opening because it is something I take for granted every day and rarely thank God for. Everyone at the church was so welcoming and it felt like God was truly working through everyone there.

Next we loaded the tap-tap for our hour long ride to Kaliko beach. Today was extra special because we switched to a different tap-tap from the one we had ridden all week, bench style, to one with coach-bus style chairs. Most of us fell asleep on the ride there because it felt so long and we hit lots of traffic. When we got there it was a super nice resort, all white with light blue accents. It was open air and as soon as we walked in we could see the ocean. We started out with a buffet that was very good, but we were all very cautious about eating things washed in the water here. We then went to what was the favorite part of the day for everyone, baptisms. Pastor Erik and Brianne gave everyone the opportunity to reaffirm their baptisms (if they were baptized as infants) or be baptized for the first time after deciding to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. We had prayed about it and a majority of the group decided they wanted to give their lives to Jesus, either for the first time or again. This was a moment I'll never forget and it was so inspiring to see so many of us give our lives to Christ. It was definitely one of the best moments of my life and Haiti will forever hold an even bigger place in my heart. We even inspired others to get baptized, one of the girls from a separate Healing Haiti team decided to get baptized with us at the beach, and it was amazing to see God working through others too. 

After baptisms, some of us continued to swim at the beach and some of us went up to the pool/cabana area. It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been, nestled between the sea and the lush green mountains. While some of us were swimming though, Abby got stung by a sea urchin when she was trying to look at a few small crabs on some nearby rocks. Our leaders iced the small area, disinfected the sting, prayed over the wound, and Abby's leg is already back to normal! She and some others had fun searching for sea shells that we will all be taking home as souvenirs. After we had a long fun day, we loaded the tap-tap to come back to the guest house. Our guide Smith brought his boombox so we spent the whole ride singing, something we have been doing a lot of. We got back to the guest house to a delicious mashed-potato dinner and our last meal with cane-sugar-sodas. 

It was so nice to relax today after a long week of both mental and physical strain. God was truly present with us today and this week and I am so blessed to be on this trip with so many new friends. Haiti has blessed and impacted us all beyond words, from water truck day, to visiting orphanages, to team time at the house building life-long friendships. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to go on this trip and to see all of the ways God is working in this truly amazing country.