Friday, November 11, 2016

Asper/Loween Day 5 - Gratitude

What a beautiful day we had today in Haiti.  The best word to describe today is gratitude.  We started the morning off with another visit to Church on the Rock.  The service today was done in English and in Creole.  Shortly after we arrived, the time of worship began.  We were surrounded by voices singing praise songs in both Creole and English.  Hands and hearts were lifted to God in thanksgiving for all He does for us, all He has done for us, and all He will do for us.  The best description for worship in Haiti is leaving everything at the door and truly surrendering to Christ.  The presence of God was felt several times today.  The Holy Spirit was moving!  People were pacing and hands were lifted worshipping.  I want to challenge those of you stateside to truly surrender to God as you attend worship on Sunday.  Give Him all you have!  Don’t hold anything back.  Thank Him for everything – food, sun, clouds, flowers, friends, and families…..absolutely everything.  Everything we have comes from Him!  Give Him praise for all.  Surrender to Him and allow His Spirit to work in and around you.
After Church on the Rock, we came back to the guesthouse and ate breakfast and prepared for the day.  I am so thankful for the amazing Haitian staff that cooks and cleans for us.  Breakfast each morning is a feast!  They work hard and give of their time to not only cook, but also to develop relationships with us.  They teach us creole and we teach them English.  We smile and laugh together. 
Next, we headed back into Cite Soleil for our ½ day of water truck.  I was blessed beyond measure today by the smiles of the Haitians whom I carried water for as well as the children when we interacted with them.  It was such a blessing to be reminded of the necessity of putting an effort into what God gives us.  Blessings do show up, but many times, we have to have open hearts to receive and have willing hands and feet to do what He asks.  We were blessed by seeing children be children.  They played soccer on the street with an empty metal can that had been filled with tomato.  We, as a team, worked side by side the Haitian children and adults to help them get their water buckets closer to their houses.  Have you ever noticed how many times it seems you are blessed when you bless?  It is similar to when you give love, you receive so much more love in return.  While I was carrying buckets down the street to our stopping point (sometimes even on my own head), I noticed a baby sitting on an elderly man’s lap.  I finally stopped and asked him in Creole if the baby was his grandson.  He smiled and said yes.  I smiled at the baby and looked into his eyes and then went back to carrying buckets.  A few trips later, the momma was standing in the doorway with the baby.  She came to me, grabbed me, and handed me her baby boy.  He couldn’t have been much more than 6 months old.  I stood right there and held this precious baby for several minutes.  Whenever his momma would speak, he would cry.  I turned him to see his momma and he would settle back down.  It was such a blessing for that grandfather to find his daughter and tell her about me and allow me the opportunity to love on him.  Blessings abounded today in Cite Soleil.  The stories above are just a couple of examples.  Many more happened today. 

After water truck, we headed back to the guest house to regroup for a few moments.  We then headed to Papillion (The Apparent Project) and saw what they are doing for the people of Haiti.  It was such a blessing to hear the story of this organization.  Many women are now able to care for their children by being employed here.  The biggest blessing is the fact that there is a daycare on site to care for the little ones while the mommas and papas are working.  The smiles on the faces of the men and women we saw working during the tour gave many of us hope.  Such a blessing to see many different organizations working together as well.
We ended our day with some amazing pizza at Pizza Amore.  This was a wonderful time of enjoying each other’s company over a meal away from the guesthouse.  Laughter.  Such a blessing!  The week gets heavy with all that we see.  However, tonight, we were all able to joke and laugh – a lot!  I know that my stomach muscles hurt from so much laughter.  This laughter carried through to our team devotion tonight.  We are blessed to see how far our group has come from being individuals to now working as a team!  We are so much closer tonight.  We were able to truly share our hearts and encourage and support each other.  The real blessing is that this all happened in less than a week!   
God is so good!  To all of us!  Look at your day and see how many blessings you can count!  Our list is super long tonight.  How long is yours?  Write your blessings out and watch Satan be pushed back!  So grateful! 
Blessings to all of you,
Austin and Stephanie