Thursday, August 18, 2016

Grace Village, Elder Visits and a Mass Grave

Today, we hopped onto our tap-tap with our trusty guides and headed up to Titanyen, the region where Grace Village is located.  During the drive out of the city, we saw people squatting along the road to sell clothes, food, and even phone minutes!  The dusty, busy roads gave way to a more open countryside and slightly greener vistas.  Soon, we were on a curvy road near the coast, with the blue water glistening calmly down the hillside, seemingly to my American mindset just waiting for oceanfront properties to pop up.  Instead, goats meandered and munched on the wide expanses of desert scrub brush.  A few Haitians seemed to be down in the water, enjoying the beautiful day in the waves. 

We arrived at Grace Village and toured the facility.  We saw an amazing thing:  in the middle of a country where so many people struggle just to survive each day, a place of new beginnings is flourishing.  A fish farm was begun and helps to feed around 500 people a day.  A library was started and it is a beautiful place full of books and ideas just waiting for children to take hold of them.  Family homes were developed to replace dormitories so that children can thrive in a family setting and have a sense of belonging and personal space.  I was amazed at people who can dream these things and put them into reality, even if they have to be changed or improved upon. 

And then ... on to our elder visits.  This was my favorite part of the day.  We visited with three elder Haitians, one of which had their entire village show up.  We washed their feet and then rubbed them with lotion, massaged their shoulders and held their hands.  Then we sang with them.  This was my favorite part because we were doing it together.   As we sang favorite hymns and choruses, some in Creole, some in English, we were no longer rich or poor, old or young, Haitian or American, black or white.  We were all beggars at the throne of grace, brothers and sisters in Christ singing to our God in a simple act of worship.  Together.

Our final stop of the day was at the memorial of the 2010 earthquake, which is where hundreds of thousands of the victims are buried in a mass grave.  One of our drivers told his story of his experiences during the earthquake, which were, needless to say, terrifying.   As we walked around the quiet, unfinished monument, I thought of the frailty of life and how I don't want to leave things unfinished.  And  I thought of the verse "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it."  Thank God He is the author and finisher.

~ Erica