August 27, 2019 : OBEDIENCE
If these boys were expecting a routine, check-the-box, dutiful, “I’m going to be a senior” missions trip, wow -- were they mistaken. Instead, it was a FULL SEND experience.
Day 1 calls for a bit of background for this news update:
The perspective of tonight’s writer: a suburban mom who just met most of these young men. The group consists of 5 Eden Prairie students who’ve played baseball for years, plus a Minnetonka swimmer (my son), making it six 17 year old boys plus 4 chaperones who also double as parents.
LET’S ROLL from the get-go. The boys not only executed three Water Stops today delivering fresh water to the worst slum in the Western Hemisphere, but they did so under 95 degree temps and challenging, chaotic, crisis-like conditions. To give you an idea of the environment surrounding Water Truck Stop day, one neighborhood was called Four Coffins. A tragedy involving 4 children too sad to be repeated.
If you haven’t had fresh water for a week, you might fight to get your bucket first in line, too. Getting clean water into long-forgotten “streets” isn’t easy. My observations of these six boys:
Isaac H: clearly has a soft heart under that strong exterior and could easily lift the heaviest of water buckets shoved at him by dozens of children. The most reflective of the group after one day.
Michael G: offered the most smiles all day long and didn’t fade, even at Water Truck Stop #3. Appeared to truly enjoy the work – picked up crying babies and finding joy in the circumstances.
Noah P: Perseverance. Definitely. More stoic than some of the others, but keenly aware of his duty to serve and his purpose for being here. I’d take him on my team any day.
Isaac A: Willing to engage deeply with the outcast children – the ones with nothing to wear, the ones with no bucket, the ones with no parents; an advocate for those on the lowest rung of the slum pecking order. Carried water into neighborhoods much farther than expected.
Danny P: Embracing the experience with enthusiasm -- undaunted by what the street looked or smelled like. Calm and purposeful all throughout the day. Willing to pull his weight and then some.
Joe C: Wow, what a workhorse. “Git’er done Joe. Full Send Joe. Held the water hose more than anyone else today and didn’t quit until the tank was empty. Pick Joe in an emergency. Period.
As prior Healing Haiti groups have so aptly done, describing the difference between our living conditions in The United States and Haiti (specifically Cite Soleil) is impossible. You’ve seen the pictures. You know what’s going on here. You don’t see the smells or hear the cries (or the laughter) but it’s no secret that living conditions aren’t exactly Bear Path or Lake Minnetonka. However, the positive changes Healing Haiti is making in the community is truly palpable. More on that tomorrow.
Put bluntly: there are no “safe spaces” in Cite Soleil, yet Healing Haiti is doing a yeoman’s like effort to create hope among the pockets of poverty. I do feel the presence of the Holy Spirit while working in and amongst the children of Haiti. Prayers, hard work, even giving up your last week of summer vacation –that’s answering God’s call.