When we arrived on Saturday, I believe all of us were on sensory overload. We were excited to be in Haiti and ready to get to work, but before we could get out of the airport, we had to retrieve the 7 bags we checked. Now you may be thinking, "What's the big deal there?" Well, when you are in a country with an unemployment rate around 85%, everyone is trying to make money any way they can, so there are dozens of men trying to take your bags to your car. They want to take your bags to your car, so you will tip them and they can make some money. After fighting our way out of their airport, we hop in a van with Greg to learn that Haiti pretty much has no street laws. We are passing cars with no middle line, honking as we go by, bouncing up and down due to the rubble that still makes up the roads in Haiti. But finally and safely, we make it back to the Guest House where we will be staying. We are greeted by Zech, who will be our security man for the week. Zeck is a man a God, who will strike fear in anyone who wants to mess with him, but who is also the most caring gentle soul anyone could ever meet and get to know. We are also welcomed again by Greg and John, who give us the rundown of what we will be doing for the week. Greg is the main missionary for Chadasha, where we were staying. Chadasha is a foundation developed to serve the poor and make Jesus's name famous. Greg is one of the most amazing men I have ever met. He arrived in Haiti 2 days after the earthquake and has been plowing through Haiti ever since. He and his wife, Michelle, truly amaze me. (There will be more on John later.)
Side note: You can also check our Chadasha's blog at www.chadasha.blogspot.com
On Sunday, we attended Penier Baptist Church in Haiti, where we would be working for the majority of the week. Their church service was amazing! The congregation sang at the top of their lungs to God! It inspires me! It's hard to even describe the feeling I got when hearing them sing. I couldn't understand the words, but I knew they were giving their all to God. We also learned that the church had purchased the piece of property connected to it, so they can expand their church! Praise God! Little did we know when they made the announcement, that our guys would be working with them to begin digging the foundation the very next day! Our guys were excited and honored to work alongside the Haitian men to begin the addition to the church, but of course the Haitian men worked circles around them. They only gave them 2 hours to work because they knew they would be worn out! On Wed., Bryan Whitt returned to help them dig the foundation. I know he, as well as the rest of us, are excited to see God's glory shine in Haiti through this church and the people we met throughout the week.
We also ate lunch at a hotel where the UN stays and eats. It was ridiculous-they had a pool, great food, and I'm sure great accommodations. It was strange to see this fancied up place in the middle of Haiti, fenced off from the rubble that remains on the ground just outside.
We also went to a tent camp to see a little boy, KenKen, who had just turned a year old. A tent camp is a place set up for all the misplaced Haitians, whose home were destroyed during the Quake. They are made up of tarps and wood, which were sent by many foreign aid teams. KenKen just celebrated his first birthday in December, and it was overwhelming to see him. He has HIV/AIDS, TB, and is severely malnourished. KenKen is still tiny and has not met the developmental milestones for his age, such as crawling or walking, but God has proven that he is a BIG God by giving KenKen even one birthday! Continue to pray for KenKen as he continues to get stronger and grow.
We saw some amazing things upon our arrival in Haiti as well as during the first day. I will continue to update you on our trip, so check back over the next week to get more information.
I will leave you with this: Jean Claude Duvalier was quoted saying, "It is the destiny of the people of Haiti to suffer." Jean Claude Duvalier, or Bebe Doc (Baby Doc), was the president of Haiti in the 70's and 80's. As you will see over my next few quotes, I believe this is far from the truth. I believe more along the lines of Pope John Paul II visit to Haiti when he said, "Something must change here." I believe things are changing. Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti and for their hearts to change and to be softened to hear the voice of God.