Friday was another great day of teaching. I am beginning to build such great relationships with my students. Being 19 and having many of them almost the same age as me has allowed the relationships to become more friendships than anything else. The more relationships I build here the more eager I am to return.. and the more difficult it is going to be leaving this home. We spent a lot of time laughing today. I guess fridays here are just like fridays at home. Maybe it's my own fault for starting the laughter. They are about as eager to teach me creole as I am to learn it, and it definitely a student- teacher deal going both ways in my classroom. Any pride I had the Lord quickly wiped away.
Saturday morning we woke up at 4am ready (or so we thought) for a day of unknown adventures. We had planned our trip the night before, and decided to head out to the island of La Gonaive, a small island about 4 hours off of Haiti. We had our backpacks full for a day at the beach, tubs full of food for lunch and a few culligans of drinking water. At this point, we had no idea what to excpect. I enjoy going in with no expectations, it usually turns out better that way- something I am continually learning in Haiti. When we arrived at the dock to leave, we found our very rustic, simple fishing boat and began loading everything in. The boat had no benches or seats, and is usually used to haul charcoal back and forth from the island. We sat on the small edge of the boat, or hid under the ledges for shade for the next four hours. There are no words to explain the beauty of our God and His creation, as we swayed back and forth in the middle of the ocean ,watching the sunrise and seeing the mountains of Haiti disappear into to horizon. Four hours later, after a lot of sweat and a lot of sun we finally arrived on this remote island. Immeditely I felt as though we were invading the land of these people who seemed so surprised. As we made our way through the ocean side village, the reactions and expressions that we recieved were very new to me. It was as though they had never seen white people before, and Pastor Sonny soon informed me that we were very likely the first white people to ever visit the island. Seeing the community was like nothing that I have ever seen before. The island seemed to foreign to me. Beautiful white sand covered the entire island, there was almost no solid ground, and no vegetation minus the palm trees the spotted the land. On our way through we saw about only 30 people, and maybe only 20 small huts. It seemed so surreal that in a place so incredibly beautiful, and isolated, with no technology, power and very limited resources, people could actually build a life here. But yet, here stood a small community right in front of my eyes. It is in Jesus alone that they find all that they need. The only concrete building on the island runs a small church and school for about 300 students. We ate our lunch at the church, and shared whatever was left with the children that had gathered around politely standing outside all the doors and windows, staring at us as though we weren't even humans. When we finally arrived at the beach I wanted nothing more than to go back and explore the community more and get to know the people here.
The beach was so incredibly beautiful. It took about 30 seconds for the water to fill up with little Haitian boys, laughing and climbing all over us. The joy here is so contagious and never ending. It is simple: be grateful for what you have. Because we were on a "private" beach, the boys weren't allowed to come and sit with us, so instead that sat 30 feet away, staring at us and wishing that they could come and play. So of course, I gathered the rest of my coconut, water and any other snacks that I could find and went and made myself right at home among them. When I asked them if they wanted any water (in creole) they stared at me as if they had no idea what I said. They were so confused that I knew their language and began asking, where are you from?? The questions came flooding in, and soon they asked "Eske ou konnen Jezi?" (Do you know Jesus?). The Lord never ceases to open doors and provide opportunities. I spent the next hour sitting under palm trees on the white sandy beaches of this foreign island, sharing the gospel to the group of men and children that had gathered. While I stared out into the different shades of blue that filled the water, I had to ask myself, "Is this really my life?" Am I really this blessed, to be spending my days doing this? Yes, yes I am.
My Sunday services are beginning to run out. There is nothing bittersweet about that, just bitter. In no way am I prepared to come home. The Lord has made a home for me here. This morning Sirus spoke on Ester. What an incredible story. Yeah, the Lord has placed some significant things on my heart during my time here, but what am I going to do about them when I get back to North America? Are they going to change the way I live my life at home? Or just become a faded memory of my time in Haiti? I don't just mean little things, like the amount of money I spend at Tim Hortons in a week, how much water I use to take a shower, or how often I fill up my car with gas, I mean the bigger things. Like the way I worship? The way I view the body of Christ? The way I view poverty and sickness? God has opened my eyes and my heart to experience these things, but now it becomes my repsonsibilty to make a change with them.
Your grace abounds to me, Your grace abounds to me. Jesus, in You I find all that I need.