well I had typed several paragraphs on my last message that didn’t get saved for some weird reason…UGH! I hate that!
But here is a group picture from our Trip.This is when all of us met for the first time. Seattle Airport. Our team leader gave us a scripture for the trip Psalms 121 :1-2. It proved to be special for us. As it was given to us as a scripture by a local during a service….it was so true!
Anyway The first work day in the village was scorching hot and humid. UGH! This gal from the pacific northwest was on fire! Not to mention having to pickle myself in 100% deet and then lathering all the sunscreen on the thick layer of mud and sweat that was collecting on my skin…yummilicious!
I still was not feeling well. SO I got up and worked a bit…had to rest alot, drink alot. While everyone went to eat lunch I decided to go to my cot and rest. I fell asleep for a few hours. Then I got up and spent much time with the boys in the village. My team went in to dinner and I continued to stay with them. I couldn’t bare to eat.
I was trying to teach them body parts in English. SO they would touch my cheek and I would tell them….the game went on all night with every body part. Did I mention that there is no personal bubble space in Haiti culture. SO they just grab your boob and want you to tell them what it is. I would gently brush their hands away….and say “breast” and they would then laugh…..yeah that game stopped quickly. We went back to nose, ears, hair, ect. I was called “blanca” ( white) every where I went. I am unusually white because I burn….so I don’t go in the sun and if I do I wear sunscreen. Lots of hats. I was also called “fat” and English word it seemed every Haitian seemed to know. nice. To be fat isn’t really a bad thing there though…so it was ok. It wasn’t an insult. Women are really fond of breasts. So the bigger the better…it’s a status symbol to have big breasts. Due to the cost…..most of them didn’t wear any bras. At least not out of city limits….and that was awkward at times …with there not being any personal space and all. After wearing my bra several days in a row in that environment….without a wash or shower…mine went in the garbage. I am pretty sure it walked there by itself. just sayin.
I had several little boyfriends. I kissed a few on the cheeked and hugged them. I have friends for life. A white fat lady kissed them…they followed me every where. LOL It was really cute. One of them slipped me a note on the next day (9th) with a note that was phonetically spelled “youre pridy” It was the cutest thing. I wish I could have brought them all home with me so they could eat every day.
Most of the framing for the roof was accomplished this day. Many desks were made..and a good start on the painting.
We also went out into the village and to see the ocean. It was disgusting. Garbage all over the shore. In the water and brown. The water was brown as far as the eye could see. There was no swimming taking place except a few men in our group decided to risk getting in the water. The locals looked at them like they were looney. Quite honestly they were. They figured since they were on antibiotics they could risk it. They couldn’t swim because there was to much garbage in the water. There was more than garbage..but I will let your imagination run. nothing I would consider risking…just saying. We also got to see their local market. Interesting. But we were told not to eat any of the food. A few of them bought candy and what not to give to the locals. Sugar cane as well…the kids went crazy for sugar cane.
On the 9th it started raining. So were able to get the roof on and finish the paining. Then a few of the men worked on the chicken coop. It was all finished late on Friday. Were packed up all the tools and supplies so we could leave the next day. Then we had a service with the locals.
There is a Nazarene church in the village. Small church but 200 adults attend every Sunday…not to mention several 100 children.
The most beautiful moment I experienced in Haiti..I couldn’t hold back the tears. The service was held by a leader in their church named Mary. Strong voice and passionate about the Lord. She prayers a blessing for us and gave us a scripture Psalms 121 : 1-2 ( same one our leader gave us!) and then she started singing hymns. Several in her congregation joined her…..The first one was “How great though art” We of course recognized the tune. So we sang in English while they sang in French. Beautiful. Brothers and sisters in Christ from across the globe, singing a song together in their respective languages. Beautiful. I know that was pleasing to God on so many levels. To be a part of it was AMAZING! Then they started singing “I surrender all”…which of course we knew as well. Beautiful sounds.
We said our good-byes on that note as we were to leave in the morning. God had other plans. It had rained off and on all night. The river we crossed to get to the village was flooded…there was no way we could cross. So we were stranded. We stayed, played cards, journaled, sang some more songs with the locals…and prayed.
The guys got a wild hair and decided to build a snorkel for the work truck so if we had to we could maybe drive that across. The real major problem was that we were short of food and water. I didn’t truly care about food…..I can afford to miss a few meals. However water was quite and issue. So God arranged a miracle. Several locals were strong enough that they swam food and water across a raging river for all of us. AMAZING! We all got together and prayed for that.
A local Haitian also came to us and said he had a Yacht to get us across the ocean if we needed? Yes he used the word yacht. I immediately said “I am sure it is a Haitian yacht.” It was. It was a fishing boat..and old one. We may have made it across. only a few at a time though. LOL. I wasn’t fond of that idea. I said I would wait on God.
Then we gathered again before sleep on Saturday night and prayed for the rains to stop because we needed the river to go down to cross. It rained hard all night long. No off and on.
When I lay awake sitting in bed listening to the rain..feeling it drip on my feet through my mosquito net ( real comfy). It popped into my head…..”you won’t be home when you say you will be home” I had told several that I kept hearing that before I left for the trip. I just didn’t know what it meant. While laying there I thought…oh this is it. I kept referring to the compound as home. So God had been preparing me for this even before I left. I felt comforted by that and thought…OK well then I will just do what I need to do.
So I was the first one to wake up and get around. I thought well..if I am going to church I need to clean up…adn get my skirt out..try to wash my hair ect. I dropped my good shirt in the mud. I feared I would never learn the ropes to dressing and showering in a small space..keeping everything cleaned and dry. The team members were laying around…and said “why should we bother..it rained all night…we aren’t going home today” Our faithful leader, Steve, Started the truck for his daily drive to check out the river….I even thought “why is he bothering..it defies logic that the river would go down…with all the rain.” I went to the kitchen so I could chat and see what was happening. Elise our caretaker and Absolu our translator were there relaxing, praying and hoping for teh rain to stop. Elise got a call..then she started yelling ” go tell them to pack” I ran to our sleeping areas..and woke everyone up so we could pack up all of our bedding and clothing. We were packed in 15- 20 minutes..no joke. We all gathered after packing the truck..sang a song to worship God for answering our prayers in an unexpected way….and prayed thanks!
We got in the cattle truck. This time around i got in the cab of the truck….so I could actually see what was going on. It was cozy. but eventful. Steve got a call on the way to the river..it had gone up by two feet since we packed..we needed to get there or we wouldn’t be able to cross. We go there hooked the cattle truck to the work truck with a tow strap. we drove across…..but I have to say STRESS! The water was up to the window in that cattle truck cab. We have video that one of my team mates took from the back and the water never touched them…the bed sits higher than the cab of course..but I have to say I had my doubts that we would make it. We did! Thank you GOD!
Then it was on to our 8 hour drive across the island. UGH! HOT, muggy and yucky.
Learned alot during the drive. Not to mention we could see lots. I even saw sewing factory with about 4 women sewing on old treadles……that was probably the only shop I wished I could go in and see what they were making.
Then another defining moment on the trip for me. In each town we woudl see different things…but in several spots you could see burning tires and what not….Steve explained that that was leftovers from a protest the night before. That meant there was lots of violence and hurt the night before. What do you know we cam across a town turn around a corner and there is a gang of men….100 of them at least. Burning tires and causing a block….there was a united nations vehicle on the side. They were refusing to let it through. Some kind of protest.
Our first truck they directed to one side of the barricade..they wanted to use our trucks to further the barricade. Steve refused to pull up and help them. But we were trapped there were people all around us…adn now here for us to go. They picked up rocks, sticks..one guy had a machete and they started towards us. I immediately started praying to God. we needed protection we were helpless. I really wanted to cry…I really thought we were in for it. I also didn’t know if the peole in teh back of the truck actually knew what was going on…God clued them in and they started praying a well ( I found out later). Coleson got out of the truck with Elise. Coleson started talking to some of the leaders. God only knows what he said or how he convinced them to free us…but they did.
I still cry thinking about it.
That was a moment where I know God was so close to me (us) that you can’t deny it! He saved us once again. Living in that “thin space” so close to God because he is your only protection, outlet and saving grace. Honestly. It is AWESOME to experience that. He thinks I am so worthy he saved me once again. But at the same time…I really don’t crave that kind of stress often…honestly. I am just so grateful to be home and live where i live. I can’t imagine what that is like every moment of every day.
We did make it home safely after that……took a real shower and gave testimony. Had a devoition and prayer time. This was also a dinner night I had to skip because spam was served. See how people are starving all around me and I am so spoiled I refused to eat because it was something I didn’t like. What a spoiled rotten brat I am! I felt guilty about that. But honestly I wasn’t hungry either because I had been through much stress all day.
This was Sunday.