Saturday, June 1, 2019

DeMay / Gainor Day 4 & 5

The past two days have been filled with not only activities, but blessings beyond measure!  

Yesterday started out as we loaded into our Tap Taps and headed out to meet the water truck.  We spent the morning delivery water to Cite de Soleil. While we filled buckets, we played with children and shared Christ’s love with the families.  The smiles and hugs from the children were endless and filled our team’s hearts.

After our time in Cite de Soleil, we toured Fleri Farms, the latest of Healing Haiti’s initiative focused on job creation.  The vision for the farm is to create as many Haitian jobs as possible, both on the farm as well as in the community - selling produce to local businesses and partnering with other growers.  It will also provide an opportunity for vertical integration, feeding the children in both Grace Village and Hope School.

The late afternoon was spent playing with the neighbor children, games of soccer, sidewalk chalk, bean bag toss, and singing together.  The laughter could be heard throughout the streets and was warming to the heart. While language could be a barrier, the smiles are contagious and tell the story of friendships being created.  

We finished out the day by visiting the children’s hospital, where we helped feed the children.  As we held the children, we prayed over them for their healing and comfort. The moments spent holding a child and praying over them are tender, precious, and filled with the Holy Spirit.  

We wrapped up the day by enjoying dinner together and time spent in reflection and devotion.  Our team continues to grow closer, sharing all that God is doing in each person.

We woke this morning with another full agenda for the day.  We once again jumped into our beloved Tap Taps and headed out, our first stop an orphanage.  We were welcomed by the children signing for us. They sounded wonderful, only made sweeter by the smiles that stretched from ear to ear.  We played soccer, colored in coloring books, and painted nails for most of the morning. It was so much fun to learn words in Creole and French as we figured out a way to communicate.  Laughter could be heard all morning and high fives were flying. The special connections made between two people, when language is not common, is not only sweet, but so genuine. It is our hearts that connect through God’s love and each child is leaving an impression on our hearts that we will carry long after we return home.

Our team had the privilege to spend the afternoon at home for children of special needs.  These small miracles were such a blessing - showering us with love and making us smile. We played musical instruments, built structures out of building blocks, played games with the parachute and sang to the children.  The love was immeasurable, leaving all of us forever changed.

As our team reflected this evening, we shared all the places we see God in Haiti:  In the beauty of the country, the eyes of the people, in the friendships created, the smiles of children, in the joy among so many, in the tender moments holding babies, in the new opportunities Healing Haiti is bringing to Haiti and the future God has in store for them.  We feel God moving in this incredible place and we all feel Him moving in us. This week of blessings has forever changed us and it has been humbling to play a small part the past two days.

DeMay / Gainor Day 3

Bonswa from Haiti!

Today was day 3 of our trip in Haiti. Our first stop of the day was at a school called, Teach Haiti. It was started by a woman who wanted to provide education access to children who normally might not have the opportunity to attend school. Our team split up into 2 groups, one group spent time with the 10th graders and the other with the 3rd graders. We helped the kids to practice their English and they helped us to practice our creole! One of the questions that we were encouraged to ask the students is what are their dreams - what do they want to be when they grow up? There were a variety of answers: engineer, nurse, lawyer, police officer, even a pastor. It was a great reminder that we are all uniquely wired by God and given a variety of dreams!

Next we went to Papillon, which is a local artisan shop and restaurant. Papillon was started by a woman and her husband who came down to adopt a child from Haiti. During that process, they realized that many of the children in orphanages actually have parents and are 'orphans' due to economics. From this realization Papillon was born and now employees over 100 Haitian moms & dads. They make a variety of goods: coffee mugs, jewelry, t-shirts, hand bags, dolls, etc. We were able to get a tour and see how things are made - we even were fortunate enough to see some of the coffee mugs being made on the pottery wheel.

We wrapped up the day by going to Sakala, which is an after school ministry that seeks to provide a space for kids to come play and get help with their homework. Sakala was started by two friends who grew up in Cite Soleil and know firsthand the reality that some of these kids face with gangs in the area. We were able to get a tour of the ministry and it was inspiring! They've turned an area which used to be full of garbage into a garden which grows a variety of plants and trees - including moringa trees. The gardener, Frank, grew up in Cite Soleil and after going to university and spending some time in the US he decided to come back to Haiti because he wanted to make a difference in his country - now he works with the kids to teach them about gardening. On top of seeing the garden, we also saw the library, as well as the chess and ping pong area. We learned that one of the elementary school age girls is amazing at chess and will be competing in a competition in the Dominican this coming weekend - needless to say she absolutely schooled our goers who attempted to play her. Lastly, we also saw where some of the kids who have a passion for art and creativity make picture frames out of wood and garbage. They take things such as old nails, wires, bottle caps, etc., and use them to construct picture frames. It's a relatively simple thing to do, however as I stood back and admired the creativity I was reminded about how the Lord specializes in taking all the garbage in our lives and makes something beautiful out of it. I once heard it said that we are never more like God than when we create - today our team had the privilege to witness and be reminded of this first hand as we interacted with our Haitian brothers and sisters.

Glwa Pou Bondye!