Today was our final day of service here in Haiti, and the entire team is feeling blessed, joyful, and begrudgingly a little fatigued from all of our wonderful service. We awoke to yet another wonderful breakfast prepared by our lovely caretakers and discussed our plan for the day. We decided to begin the day by returning to Cite Soleil, where we began our service on our first day; something we were all very excited about. We were planning on beginning the day by playing with the local children and arousing some joyful smiles with some soccer (or futbol as the locals call it), basketball, bubbles and more fun games and toys. We were then going to attempt something that has never been attempted by Healing Haiti, in which the team was very eager to be pioneers for this new ministerial activity. Historically, Healing Haiti has loved on a group of elders in Cite Soleil by visiting their homes to provide them with a meal, a beverage, and by washing their feet. Today, we were going to break that norm and instead have all of our elders, of which there were 13, were going to meet us at Grace Church to do so for all of them at once. We were all so very eager to return to the first city we visited and share God's love with the plan we had prepared. God however, in His infinite wisdom, had better plans for us.
When we arrived at Hope church, there was a total of 31 elders joyfully anticipating us, and we knew we needed to amend our previously discussed itinerary. We entered the church and engaged the elders with some worship that was much enjoyed by all of the elders and the missionary team alike. A member of our team, Barb, prepared a brief but profound lesson to share for the elders regarding Colossians 3:17; which was very well received. The elders were then invited to share any wisdom they wished to impart on the missionaries. Many of the elders wished to thank the missionaries for coming to Haiti and wanted to convey their love and prayers onto us. They also shared with us that despite their circumstances in life, their advanced age and their various infirmities, that they were truly joyful and that their joy comes from their love in Christ. They also very boldly requested we continue our support, our love and our prayers for the people of Haiti. We then proceeded to provide some food and cold beverages to the elders while we got ready to wash their feet. The gratitude that each elder imparted was so genuine and humble, one simply not help but smile. Many elders even insisted that we each got a hug and a kiss on our cheeks. We then washed the feet of each elder and engaged with them through our gracious interpreters and yet more lovely worship. The whole experience was a wonderful reminder of two very important truths. The first truth is that despite our desire to be in control of our own paths, God's plan is always better than our own. We should always be willing to relent control to fulfill God's glorious design. The second truth is that when we choose to accept Christ, we truly do become one with the body of Christ, and all divisions that could possibly exist among us will fall away.
The next ministerial activity that we engaged with was the first ministerial activity we engaged in on our very first day: assisting with the distribution of the water from the water trucks. The entire team has been reflecting on our first day and this first activity all week. Many of us have, numerous times, expressed the desire to repeat this activity. When the opportunity arose before us, it furthered the first of the two aforementioned truths; God's plan is always better than our own. The team was delighted to once again fill water buckets and distribute them to the very humble and grateful citizens of Cite Soleil and play with the local children. When the water truck ran out of water to distribute, the team enjoyed a refreshing break of drinking some much needed water and sitting in the shade. During this time, the team relayed it's joy that our subconscious prayers of participating in the distribution of the water truck was graciously answered by God, as well as how thankful we were to be the pioneers of the new activity of serving many elders simultaneously as opposed to the previous way of doing things. Once refreshed, the team further engaged the community of Cite Soleil by playing with the children. We danced, played with a parachute, and held babies. We all had a great deal of fun and left with smiles on our faces.
Our final stop for the day was Fleri Farm, an endeavor created by Healing Haiti on the outskirts of Cite Soleil. The farm's growth is overseen, both figuratively and literally, by the very intelligent long-term missionary, Kenny. Kenny gave us a tour of the farm, which had many different crops with each one having many different purposes. The Farm exists to provide local jobs as well as food and useful crops for the people of Haiti. Kenny very excitingly explained to us the many different methods that were being entertained and employed by the farm to generate jobs, food, useful crops and capital. We all learned a great deal from Kenny, and his passion is second-to-none for doing the Lord's work and serving His people. Upon returning home for the evening, we decided to visit the local pool once more to refresh and rejuvenate ourselves. The day was very productive and lovely, but it had also been a very, very long and hot one. We then returned home once more for yet another beautiful meal prepared by our caretakers. The meal was a creole dish consisting of chicken, rice, various vegetables and different spices. Soon after we finished our meal, we got together to reflect on our wonderful last day serving here in Haiti, as well as our experience ministering to Haiti as a whole during our time here. We shared a lot of heartfelt prayer, worship and words. To end the night, John taught us how to salsa dance that we all really enjoyed!
We all believe the Lord brought each and every one of us here for His glorious design, and we are all so very thankful. In such a short amount of time, each of us has changed profoundly for greater and we are all so excited to return home to share our wonderful experiences here and to share the encouragement the Lord has shared here with us. Tomorrow we shall enjoy a day of rest on the Sabbath by attending church and going to the beach. We have loved our time here, but we are eager to be home once again. Please continue to pray for us.
Hosanna! Team 2