We woke up at 4am this morning to begin the packing and leaving process. It was so strange just lying in my bed while they packed up their lives and prepared to head back home to Canada. The fact that I was staying alone in Haiti for the next few weeks became a reality as soon as I said my goodbyes and climbed back into the van in Port au Prince. It was evident almost immediately that the atmosphere of my trip and my time here was about to change, as well as the focus of my ministry. I am no longer leading a team of six college students, but instead ready to experience Haiti on my own, through the lens of an indivudal. For those individuals that argue the worth and success in short term missions, all of my doubts and questions were answered as I looked into the eyes of the six individuals that had experienced life changing moments in the past 12 days. I could see the transformation of their minds and hearts as they bid farwell to a place, and people that had made such significant impact in their understanding of the Lord, missions, and the body of Christ.
I spent the rest of the morning traveling through the city of Port au Prince with Sterling and Marc Eddi. We started off the morning by purchasing warm apple pied and 7up from the street vendors. Healthy breakfast. They took me into areas of the city that I have never seen before- the slums of Port au Prince. I think that I thought I had already seen poverty. I had seen it in the markets, I had seen it in the shacks on shacks along the sides of the roads, in the broken houses, and shoeless children, but nothing prepared me for what I witnessed this morning. The three of us sat in silence as we drove towards the hills and watched the rows on rows of sticks stuck in the mud tied together with cloth roofs. Hundreds of them, lining the hills with their colorful cloths all the way up the mountains. No room for them to cook, and definietly not enough room for a family to sleep. Something that we need to understand is that the earthquake didn't break Haiti, it just pushed the people into new dimensions of poverty and destruction that we as North Americans cannot even begin to understand. As we continued to drive through the city, Sterling broke the silence and began to sing " Jesus, all for Jesus. All I am, and have, and ever hope to be". What a humbling moment of reailzation; as we drive through one of the poorest areas in the Western hemisphere, people who have been apart of this destruction from the beginning are offering all they have to the Lord. My mind went straight to Psalm 121, "I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth". What a powerful prayer, and so relevant to the people of this country. So much hope in Christ.
There is so much joy in entering back into the gate of the compound to see the kids at the elementary school waiting and yelling for me to come and play with them. How blessed I am to get to spend the next 15 mornings doing something I love so much. I spent a majority of my afternoon meeting with students and preparing for my english classes that I will begin teaching Saturday. So looking forward to spending that time with the youth as I attempt to teach them english and as they laugh at my attempts to speak in Creole.
The church service tonight was so unique. It was like nothing that I have experienced before and I found myself wishing so badly that my team was here to experience it with me. Thursdays are prayer services, so the majority of the service is spent standing and shouting prayer and praises to the Lord in Creole. There is so much power in prayer as a body of believers. The atmosphere of the service quickly changed as the aisles of the church filled with people jumping and dancing with so much joy. Never have I experienced so much joy and happiness in one place. I felt right at home standing at the back of the wooden church, which was lit by two small bulbs tonight. It didn't take much convicing for me to join in with my Haitian brothers and sisters, and soon I found myself clapping, laughing and singing right along with them. An experience I won't forget.
As I attempt to find my new role and belonging in the community here I am excited for the ways in which the Lord will stretch me and challenge me. I am anxiously awaiting for the Lord to continue revealing my heart for this place, and his plan for Haiti in my future. Such a strange feeling as I prepare for bed alone in a room that was so recently filled with faces that I love.
Day one of my new journey has already ended, let the rest of the adventures begin!
love from Grand Goave,
ps team.. I hope your flights were great! Enjoy your stay in Edmonton tonight!