Today (Sunday) marks one week since we flew out of Kalispell and there are many things that God has been revealing to us and showing us over the last week. Of the many things that we could spend hours talking about, one of those things that is a constant theme is the need for one to actually experience Haiti. Allow me to explain. For me personally, this is my first trip to Haiti, I have heard the stories and seen the pictures, and have been very moved by them. However, none of these things even compare remotely with actually having feet on the ground in Haiti. As many of you know, I love what I do in the creative world with photography and video and am very passionate about documenting with those exact forms of media. However, there is something far deeper in moments like this that cannot be captured. There is a term thrown around in creative church circles that is somewhat unheard of that is far more effective in certain situations and carries with it a sense of reverence and holiness. This term is “visual silence”. This is a moment when, generally in a service, all visual and creative aspect are muted and only one thing is highlighted. For example having a cross lit up and highlighted during an Easter service and simplifying and muting everything else in the sanctuary, or having a manger spotlighted with a few candles around it and all other lights and visual elements dark during a Christmas service. While this term generally refers to a special service, it has been on the forefront for me here in Haiti. Two of the main things I love about visual silence is: 1- it peels back every distraction and gets one to focus on the one important thing, Jesus Christ. and 2-it forces you to be there in the moment. You actually get to experience that moment, anything more would take you out of the moment. I write all this to get to this point. We can and absolutely will take pictures, and I am actually in the process of gathering footage for a video that I am very excited to compile, however, these things will never take the place of actually being here. In fact, sometimes getting out a phone or camera actually takes away from the moment. To make this more practical; being in a Haitian worship service is profound beyond what words, pictures or video can depict, and as much as I would love to get out my camera, it is in that very act that I that I take away from that moment. It is the environment, the atmosphere, the smells, the sounds, what you feel, what you see that will never be replaced by images. What make it so reverent is being there. Nothing more. And it is in some of these certain moments that we may not have a picture, but we will get emotional as we talk about them.
Having said all that, we have been taking a lot of pictures and are very excited to show them to all of you! Since our last update we have gotten to experience some wonderful things that make us realize how far from home we are! Saturday morning we got to sleep in half an hour, followed by our daily devotional on the roof. After devotions and a quick breakfast we headed off to the market. What an experience! The market is packed shoulder to shoulder with vendors selling various items from clothes and shoes to Haitian fruit and raw meats. It is a very crazy but exciting experience. Following the market we had a quick lunch and walked to the beach. It was a semi-cloudy day but turned our perfect for us. We had a great swim, some of us snorkeled, some of us played catch with a football, and we capped it off with fresh lobster and fried plantain on the beach.
This morning at 7 we went off to church. It was profound to be a part of another expression of the church in a different part of the world, and very exciting to see all the similar ways in which different cultures do church. Worship was all done in Creole, and full of the presence of God! Haitians are very passionate in worship and it is exciting to be a part of. This was followed by a powerful message by a guest speaker from British Columbia. Right after church Griffin put together a baseball game with some locals and a few members of our team and the other team from Bethel Church in Alberta. Later in the day we drove to a children’s church named Tapion a little ways from Grand Goave. Rhonda put together a dynamic program including a skit and presentation of the gospel. It was amazing to see many kids worshiping together and a few accept Jesus for the first time! We finished off the day by going to a local restaurant and enjoyed some goat, chicken, slaw, and a chilled soda.
I do apologize for the long post, but God has been at work here and we have a lot on our hearts! (and a lot to catch you up on). This last week has gone by very quickly, and God is showing us so much. We are very excited about jumping into next week, as we begin Monday going to work on the children’s village and more home visits.
Lastly, I did want to share a song with you that has been a moving song for us in Haiti and a song we are listening to daily, and declaring this over ourselves. The song is "No Longer Slaves" by Bethel Music, listen to this with us and make these declarations of truth here.
God bless you all and we will do our best to get more pictures updated and another post very soon. Love all of you and thank you for praying!