The past two weeks have been, like always a whirl of activity and unexpected events. Almost every team that comes comments on the desire to know more about what the projects are and what their team will be doing exactly. But then once they get here they learn to understand pretty quickly, that even with thorough planning, everything seems to change. We rarely get to follow plan A, or B for that matter. Actually, like David and Beth liked to joke, we usually end up with plan D or F. Thus the way another week at Haiti ARISE went by, and we are all really sad to see David and Beth go back home to Saskatchewan.
Marc and I spent the week before this last team arrived away on a short break. Though the quiet stillness gave us a chance to rest and sit back to reflect, the silence killed us! We were also very saddened by the news of Japan’s disaster and it brought back floods of emotion and memories from the Haiti earthquake last year. Our prayers have gone out many times to the Japanese and we encourage anyone who is looking for a place to give to do so through the local ministry and churches in Japan. Here is a good link to go through: Minister’s Fellowship International
is collecting donations for churches in Japan.
We were thrilled to get our hands back to work when we arrived back at Haiti ARISE the same time with the teams- a group from Abbotsford and a group from Nelson, BC, who ended up flowing so well together into one group in unity. Our plans for the team while here were to work on building another commnity home, Children’s VBS and pour the next part of the roof on the technical school. Although they did accomplish these things, there was lots more in store for them to help with that we had not planned for!
So, the containers, yes, plural, finally arrived! After six months in port, another month in shipping, and another who knows how many months in planning, gathering and packing in Canada. We ended up receiving two in two days. Boy, were we and all the long-term missionary staff glad to have the teams of 22 people here to help unload, sort and start to distribute them. One of the containers, we accepted to receive on behalf of another ministry in Haiti who is not yet registered with the government. It was their first time shipping and quite a learning curve, as was for us when we shipped our first container. The container that was ours was shipped from Crossroads Church in Red Deer, Alberta and the moment we opened it, we felt it was well worth the $6,000 to get it out of port and the hassle of shipping it. Red Deer College donated a complete industrial stainless steel kitchen, enough equipment to set up our cooking/ service classes once the first floor of the technical school is done. That is thrilling! There was also a lot of great tools, furniture and clothing in there too. The most entertaining part of the whole show though, was the process of getting the 40’ container off the truck bed. In Haiti, there are no lifts, or easy breakaways from the semi-truck.
The chained the container to a tree, which I feared would not be able to support the weight of the thing, then proceeded to drive away, scraping the bottom of the box until it crashed to the ground. There was much more to it than that, but for sake of space in a blog, I won’t share every detail. Let’s just say I am relieved it did not roll or kill someone in the process!
The most precious highlight of the whole week though was inaugurating the first 3 community homes with prayer and handing over the keys to each family. It was priceless to see the gratitude and pride in each of their faces when they received their keys and opened their homes for everyone to see.
There were so many tears and that day made all the work we do here worth it. Madam Luc’ words truly impacted me when she expressed, “Only God knows the humiliation my family went through in losing our home and living in tents. He heard my cry and prayers and today I can’t share enough gratitude for what Haiti ARISE has done for my family.”
The days are so full, I find it overwhelming to try to share it all. I apologize for not keeping up on the blog more. The last few entries I had written somehow got lost in cyberspace when our site was down for a day.