Today was another amazing day in Haiti! First let me say how blessed I feel to be a part of Team Bethel! Coming from Saskatchewan and meeting most of the team for the first time in Calgary was a little daunting at first and I have felt welcomed from the very first moments in the Calgary airport!
We started the day a little slower than most and had a casual breakfast in the dining room before heading to church! They do so much here to make us feel welcome, they have power points with the song lyrics in both creole and english... Peter, Michelle and I headed over to the school for childrens church and Peter kept the children fascinated while he gave his message, much as he did during VBS. The children here love any and all attention and love they are offered, and the team has embraced giving this love as often as any of us can! Many of the team members can often be seen with a child's hand in each of their hands, often holding another child! So many projects have been completed.... Micah and Hannah planned the VBS and directed us all to a successful VBS, with 60 children the first day and at least twice that the second! The children appeared to be happy with crafts, games and snacks alike!! Greg has been busy with electrical assistance both small jobs around the main guest house (well he makes them look small) and with some larger jobs... having two teams here has overloaded the circuits and blown the breakers many times. He has also been working hard assisting in some background legwork with an important Haiti Arise expansion! Cam and Kim have been busy with building shelving for everywhere that needs shelving (the clinic is VERY thankful for their hard work!). They have also been very busy with keeping track of everyone, and leading us in twice daily team meetings, one for devotions in the morning on the roof of the guest house in the midst of the most amazing sunrises you can imagine, and another at night to debrief and share all our various projects! Cam has been leading the most amazing singing that both groups look forward to each day! Aaron has completed the tiling of the dining room with Elroy's assistance and he is moving over to the Children's Village to tile one of the duplex's there! He is also the person seen the most with the children, they are drawn to him, and love being thrown in the air, shown how to play football, or just cuddling into his shoulder. Bruce has lead the painting team and has completed all of the indoor painting! A huge job as it has not been done for years, he had Darcy and Peter's assistance with this much of the time! Darcy has also had the pleasure of welding to fix the rotatiller and assisting with the garden. Connie and Lincoln have been busy in the garden, and have worked hard creating a new garden for the cooks to be able to grow some of the Haiti Arise veggies themselves instead of having to buy them at the market! Reagan is busy much of the time with just being open to whatever needs to be done. She is another one that the children are drawn to, and she is often seen with children around her! Michelle and I (Leah) continue to work with the clinic staff in the pharmacy and in the patient care! Much different than Canada... but it works for them! They see 30-40 patients per day and are open 3 days a week.
This afternoon we took some time for rejunivation before the last couple of days working in Haiti to finish the projects we have already started, and also to complete a few others that have made their way to the TO DO board! We walked to the beach and were able to snorkel, swim or just relax on the beach if that was what was needed. It has been really great to watch the two teens from team Bethel be able to connect and bond with the teens from Team Impact! After the beach we headed in to Grande Goave to one of the only restaurants to have "goat and coke". It was a great experience with the rain starting part way through and the teens (and Hannah) all heading out to dance in the rain! Their joy was contagious, as we all watched and took pictures. It is Ra-Ra here (pardon the spelling as noone seems to know how it is spelt) but it is a week long celebration leading up to Mardi Gras! There was a parade of people playing the tuba and trumpets and dancing through the streets. They passed by the restaurant a couple of times while we were there. They showed a happiness that seems impossible to us "first world people" in these conditions. We look around and we often see the sadness and the pain in the faces and the eyes of the people, and then we are able to witness the hope and the happiness and it reminds us why we are here! It is not hard to find God in Haiti, it seems everywhere we look we are able to see this! The translators are all open to sharing their testimony, the fruit trees are loaded with mango and bananas despite it being the midst of a drought, the people flock to the church and worship with such abandon, believing only in the hope brought to them by the Lord Jesus Christ! One of the Team Impact members gave a testimony at church this morning saying that he was moved by the fact that as materially rich Canada is, he felt Haiti was richer with their spiritual richness. This thought has moved me all day as I watched the team bonding together, and relaxing together, and watching the locals celebrate in the midst of the devastation still evident in the streets. The Haitians have welcomed us from the moment we arrived, always eager to talk to us, and God working to make these conversations possible throughs sign language, broken english and french and the few creole phrases we have picked up (and also through some very amazing translators).
Much love from Haiti, and we thank you for your continued support through prayer! We appreciate and need each and every one of them.
Leah (Team Bethel)