HIS NAME IN HAITI: day six
I’m writing tonight under the stars. The ocean breeze is sweeping over the rooftop of the hospital as our team reflects on our amazing week. Most of us have been sleeping on cots up here because it’s much cooler than inside. Falling asleep as we search for constellations in the stars and waking to a brilliant sunrise are not bad benefits though. This morning’s sunrise did not disappoint. Rays of light filtered through the clouds illuminating the sky in oranges, reds, pinks, and finally blue. We watched this brilliant display as we read our Bibles and prepared for our epic day.
From sunrise to long after sunset, we bounced from one place to another. Each outing we took could be its own blog post. At 6 a.m., Scott Campbell, a former personal trainer, took some of our teammates and five security guards on an exercise excursion. We ran down the streets of Haiti to the Caribbean Sea, less than a half mile from Grace Village, and into a gated community park. We ran the stairs of a partially finished pavilion that faced the sea and around the sidewalk that circled the park. Four handsome teenage boys battle rapped – a combination of rap and acting – on the edge of the sidewalk. Fishermen worked the sea from their boats and pulled their nets in from the shore. We ran past wild chickens, goats, and a big bull cow grazing in what would have been a grassy area in an American park. Who gets to do stuff like this?
(the workout crew)
After breakfast we toured the tent village beside the hospital. At its maximum capacity, 25,000 people lived in tents on twelve acres of land. Residents have slowly been finding permanent shelter and Grace Village has begun to reclaim their land. A garden grows where tents once were. The walkways, once so narrow you could barely pass through, are now wide and easy to traverse. Noticeable change is happening and the people have hope for their future.
(Ann and Melanie in the tent village)
Next we drove to the Lambi site to see the homes that past Solid Rock teams have built, and we have great admiration for the “Road Warriors” who cleaned the knee-deep refuge from their canal. The Lambi women there take such pride in their new homes, hanging delicate lace curtains over windows and around beds. We had the opportunity to enter several of the homes and pray over the families, praising God for being El Roi, the God who sees, and praying for provision for their needs. Diane was blessed to see the house her Dad built, pray for that family, and give her scarf to the vibrant little girl who so proudly showed Diane around.
(Diane with the family that lives in the house her dad helped build)
When we asked the ladies at the widows’ home to tell us their story, they each told us about their bodies and the healing that they need. So we prayed for just that: healing for a limb paralyzed by a stroke, healing for legs injured during a fall. Whitney also led us in song, and they sang right along with us.
Today was Liz Eischen and Amanda Jones’ turn to shine with the kids. At the boys’ home, we used the supplies and toys they compiled to blow bubbles, color pictures, jump rope and sing songs. Our visit ended in a rowdy game with rubber balls being kicked and thrown in every direction. These kind, joy-filled boys are a true testament to the work the Juenes are doing to care for the orphan and the widow.
(Amanda and Liz at Lambi)
We also went to the Girls Home to meet some of Madam and Bishop’s fifty-five girls. We played the same games that we did with the boys and also made jewelry. While we played, these children stole our hearts.
(Jodi at the girls home)
Madam Jeune gave us the honor of sharing her story and asked us to photograph the older girls. She wants to use these photos to help share these graceful girls’ stories. Stay tuned for more information on how you can sponsor the boys and girls Bishop and Madam have welcomed into their home. These precious children need sponsors. When you see their faces and hear their stories, you’ll want to help.
Orlena Ballard led a hard-working crew from our team help the Haitians in the Lord’s Kitchen. They sorted beans and cooked huge bowls of rice and beans to serve the children in the tent village. While they cooked, they used an interpreter to hear the women’s stories.
(Ann, Kathleen, Whitney and Zebby posing as chickens by the chicken coops)
These women are just like us. They are eager to share their story with anyone who will genuinely listen. They love beautiful things and light up when you pay them a compliment. They like to see their photo after it’s been taken and are quick to give and receive love. They are truly lovely.
We closed our day with a Dude Devotional. Alex gave us a preview of his sermon for tomorrow. Jeff Hartley, our incredible Forward Edge Haiti Field Coordinator who has fearlessly led and served our team all week, shared his story of how he came to faith in Christ. It’s an incredible story – ask him sometime. He also revealed he has three sisters which explains why he’s been comfortable around so many women all week!
The week would not have been the same without all the moms on the team. Beth Viducich, Ann Menke, Julie Kohl and Mary Kay Taylor have mothered and loved on our team. Penny Stady, Kay Moore and Jodi Hughes have kept us on track and made sure we knew what to expect and that we were properly equipped. It has truly been a team effort and one that God perfectly orchestrated.
Thank you for your prayers and all your comments on the blogs. We have been invigorated by the love you’re sending across the miles.
With a grateful heart,
Madam Curt, Madam Jon, and Madam Josh
P.S. Jon and Curt—have fun at the Lord of the Rings marathon/sleepover. Remember, you have SIX children upstairs. (hugs to Grant, Katie, Karly, Alli, Kiki, and Paigey)
P.P.S. – To Scott, Beth, Josh, Jake, Savannah, and Zoey – love you guys. God has been so good and this trip has been amazing. Spent the day with my kitchen ladies – what a blessing! I also got to see Wetzel and took a picture with him. I know you guys are missing me as much as I’m missing you. Promise to bake cookies when I get home. Love- Orlena
P.P.P.S. – Husband! (John Joffer) – The things I’ve seen and the stories I’ve heard “are not even normal in my consciousness” and I can’t wait to share them with you. I miss and love you. See you soon!