As I ponder my recent trip to Haiti, it is hard to put into words that which would make you feel the exhilaration that I experienced.
I was in Haiti two years ago so the sites, smells, and chaos were not so new to me. As I looked at our “youngster” in the group I could feel for her; I believe the word terrified might be used, right, Jordan?
She was assured that quiet would soon ensue, but not any too soon for her I’m sure. It is hard to really describe the scenes one encounters as we travel to the Methodist Guest House in which we would spend our first night. The roads are not made for as many trucks, cars, bikes, and pedestrians that try to occupy the same space all at once—you can throw in women carrying bananas or other wares on their heads as they traverse the road in front of your vehicle. Too close for any kind of comfort.
The next morning we gathered all our team, all the luggage, and anything else Matt and the driver thought we might need. We now have nine people inside the vehicle and luggage piled high. All secure enough to endure the rugged terrain as we travel to Yvon. Rugged seems too easy—as the ride was filled with bumps, turns and going over rocks (they seemed like boulders) on the road that literally lifted one’s body from the seat—despite a seat belt’s attempt to keep one grounded. Can you imagine going up a hill and not being able to see what’s on the other side? There was a lot of that.
Because we stayed in the old church higher up the mountain than when I was there two years ago, traveling to the worksite (school building) was a bit more challenging this time. I do know that I could not have endured the physical and sometimes exhausting work/walking we did without God’s help. I want to thank all who sent up prayers for our team. There was always someone from the team that lent me a shoulder or arm as we traversed up and down the rugged terrain. Sorry that I couldn’t always keep up with the singing as we walked, but I felt breathing was a little more important.
So many blessings. It is hard to just pick out one or two. Seeing a blind man getting to hear the Bible (in Creole) on the solar-powered Proclaimer; Praying with an older Haitian woman in her house (you would call it a shack) that was divided into two rooms by hanging clothes from a line across the room; getting down on our knees with her at her bedside and feeling the Holy Spirit as we lifted her up in prayer, and playing with children who are so excited just to have some bubbles to blow and spend time with us.
Sunday morning was a blessing, worshiping with our team and the many Haitians who joined us that morning. Sunday afternoon I got to experience an ADVENTURE that I will not soon forget, if ever. The entire team plus the circuit minister took motorbike rides UP and DOWN the mountain and ACROSS a stream, not once, but seven times before getting to our destination. Yes on bikes that had a narrow seat behind a young, skilled (I prayed) Haitian young man. We arrived at about 2 PM up in a more primitive area than we were staying in. Here we got to see first hand a new church start. To my amazement, there were over 70 people who gathered in their “Sunday Best” to welcome us to their very primi1ve but beautiful church. It was made with wooden stakes for walls and canvas for the ceiling. After a brief devotion and prayer, we presented some homemade dresses for young girls. These dresses were made by a group of UMW members and a community group out of the Cumberland/Toledo area and the Carmi area. Wow! God is on the move. Our prayer is that they will have the leadership to continue learning of God’s love and grace for them.
In closing, I want to thank Matt Henson for his leadership and being there for all the team, from the time we leave Illinois to the time we return. Matt firmly believes in working side by side with the people and they respect that. He knows the area and the people and he really makes the journey an adventure to remember. I know the people of Haiti love him dearly.
There is just something about being up on the mountain, walking the rugged terrain, seeing the beautiful sunrise, walking to the coconut grove or to the bakery (yes there is a bakery where the bread is baked in an oven, none of which I believe is workable in the USA), playing with the children and hearing their laughter and seeing God’s love poured out that melts one’s heart; to feel the presence of God’s love and to share that with others—nothing beats it, not even a hot shower. God bless and if God is tickling your heart for mission work—say YES, you will not regret it.