This is Haitian Creole for "Good Food & Good Ministry".
We want to take a moment to highlight our experience with the meals prepared for us by the dedicated Haiti Arise kitchen staff.
The food has been wonderful! We have seen a variety of meals with scrambled eggs, oatmeal or porridge for breakfast; sandwiches, casserole, or spaghetti for lunch; and a fresh dish prepared with goat, chicken, or fish for dinner. Fresh baked bread, fresh cherry juice, rice and/or potatoes are the staples for almost every meal.
To the typical American diet, the items that are obviously missing from this menu are beef, packaged and highly processed products, and deserts. Fruits typically include pineapple, papaya, and mango. The food is typically not spicy or hot, other than the cole slaw which is made with peppers, The primary seasonings include star anise, cinnamon, and a variety of peppers.
Gluten intolerance has not been an issue for Barbara and Brian as we have been able to enjoy fresh bread and pastas.
Our running joke is that missionaries grow in the Lord while at Haiti Arise, but they also grow in their bellies because the food is so good.
Haiti Arise also has exceptionally clean drinking water. Each day, under the backdrop of a noisy diesel generator, we make a short trek to the well to fill 5 gallon Culligan water containers, as many as 9 at a time, to be used at the main building for drinking water.
Update Wednesday, April 5, 2017): As I am writing this, we have had two individuals get sick (Jakob and Jannie), but we believe it was from a restaurant in Grand Goave on Sunday night and not from the meals at Haiti Arise. After 36 hours, Jakob seems to be recovering. Jannie, however after 24 hours is still sick.
As "team leader" I am thrilled to report that the ministry work of the Grace Gate Community Church first short-term missionary team to Haiti is engaging in incredible ministry of the Lord with the Haitian people, with Haiti Arise staff, with other visiting teams, and within our own team.
Each member of the team is playing a vital role within the team and is ministering to those the Lord is calling us to serve both as individuals and as a team.
On our first full morning while touring the Haiti Arise properties, we had the opportunity to pray with the wife of one of the new couples who have moved into one of the Children's Village family duplex and agreed to adopt an at-risk child. There are currently 4 units (2 duplexes) with a total of 18 units (3 duplexes and 3 four-plexes).
At our first church service (bible study) on Tuesday night, Jakob had the opportunity to share his powerful testimony. He later shared with us that he had never shared his testimony in that specific way before.
The entire team pitched in to complete a work service project by painting over 11,000 sf (2 coats at 5,712 each) of interior concrete walls at the new elementary school of the HA Children's Village with 35 gallons of paint in 8 working hours.
Timmy and Jannie blessed us all, including the team of 9 from Canada, by singing a few worship songs while we gathered on the roof one evening.
Barbara and Jannie were incredible blessings and created amazing smiles with the children from the primary school.
Jakob and Timmy served with Pastor Marc on a house building project through rural house construction, prayer, friendship, and fellowship for 3 days and 2 nights in the hurricane damaged area of SW Haiti (4 hrs from Grand Gouve)
Cody, Barbara, and Jannie, blessed several local residents by praying into specific needs with them during community visitations. There were some very powerful Spirit led moments.
Jannie worshiped with the worship team at the Sunday service and gave her incredible testimony in front of a very gracious body of Christ.
Pastor Cody, with Pastor Marc translating, delivered a message that seemed to touch nearly every soul in church on Sunday.
Children and families were blessed as we partnered with the team from Canada at the Children's Church in Tappion through songs, scripture, and all around fun.
On Sunday, we learned that our hosts, Wade and Marylyn Fitzpatrick needed to return home for the passing of Wade's father in Canada. They had just made a similar last minute trip in January for Marilyn's father. The team came around Wade and Marilyn as the body of Christ to thank them for their service to us and to encourage and bless them on their trip.
On Monday, we visited the legal defense association established by Haiti Arise in Petit Goave (larger town) that provides legal service for people awaiting trial in the local district prison. We also purchased distributed muffins and drinks for women ad teenage boys in the local jail.
Monday evening, another team did some more local community visitation with neighbors around Haiti Arise.
On Tuesday, the team started the day with devotions with the medical team and patients at the medical clinic. Then later that morning, Brian, Timmy, Barbara, and Cody worked at the goat farm for a few hours clearing debris and repairing a fence. This turned out to be one of our hottest work experiences in near 90 degree weather and over 60% humidity.
Again, it has been a privilege watching the Lord at work in and through this gifted missionary team from Grace Gate Community Church.