This past weekend was an amazing time! We had the privilege of taking 38 of our church people on a mission trip to Camp Perrin, in the southwestern arm of the island. Each team member gave $300 HA for their contribution and some other church members sponsored a few of our young people to go since they could not go themselves. We had a week of training and prayer and testimony sharing practice before we headed out. We had originally planned to go for five days, but since funds are tight for most of our people, we brought it down to three days. We gathered early morning on Friday, some as early as 4am! Unfortunately, the driver of the bus we hired slept in and we did not end up leaving til 8am, but.... such is Haiti. We loaded the bus up high with everything but the kitchen sink- sound system, speakers, instruments, pots, pans, even charcoal bbq pits. We prayed, sang and parted on our way. We barely reached Petit Goave, when the bus already had a flat tire from hitting a post on a very narrow bridge that exits Thozin out to the highway. But no one was frustrated. We were all pumped and well prepared to have an awesome trip. Nurse Leah and I made sure to give everyone tickets to New York before we left- that's a Haitian joke we always say when we are going on a long trip, meaning that those who may feel sick need to make sure to take a preventative before departing. So half the team bought their 'ticket', an anti-nausea pill. Fortunately, the tickets brought everyone safely to our destination.
We arrived in Camp Perrin, parked the bus then unpacked all of our wares. The locals were eager to come to our aid to help carry the loads into the mountains, which was another 20 minute walk down, up, down, up and down and finally up again steep hills. We hired a motorbike to port the generator and speakers, and a few men braved carrying them on their heads as well.
The local people were very hospitable and received us with open arms. The head elder of the church we went to encourage, & his wife, gave us their home to store all of our luggage and cook the meals in the backyard. They also gave Marc and I a special room as the pastors. The rest of the team had all brought bedding to sleep altogether in the church, which is a small tarp & pole structure with a holey tin roof. The first day we settled in, rested, prayed, sang, prepared our meal, ate & then had a lively opening service in the small church, with our sound system so loud that it echoed through the valley.
The next morning, we rose up before the sun at 3AM- I would not normally call that morning, but hey, this is Haiti. Everyone is usually up and moving by 4AM. So we hiked up to the top of another mountain overlooking the valley community to sing & pray very loudly and announce the Good News by megaphone. We invited everyone in earshot to join us that evening for services. Then we hiked back down, prepared for breakfast with hot cocoa and buns, had showers by buckets of fresh cold mountain water from their local well pump, and set up for the day. We prayed and sang constantly and our team had a lot of fun spending time together, calling each other servant and servite, so as not to let the local demons know our names. :)
At 8AM we split into 5 groups of 5-6 people armed with the book of John in Creole and set out in every direction to go share the gospel in each neighborhood that surrounded the church. Despite a sudden downpour of showers, there was so much excitement and energy the whole day, when each team returned we shared testimonies with one another and reports on how many homes each team visited, and how many people they prayed for healing, salvation and re-dedications. I don't know the exact number of how many, but each team visited about 15-20 homes.
...wow, the trip was so amazing and there are so many details to share that I never posted this! Yikes. It was a life changing trip for all of our Haitian team. Can't wait for the next one.