Welcome to the Healing Haiti + Eagle Brook Mission Blog. We invite you to follow mission team members as they experience what God is doing both through them and in them while in the mission field of Haiti.
'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
A Day in the Life of Healing Haiti
Let's start from the beginning. The girls woke up early to help precious Jean make breakfast (Jean is very quickly becoming my Haitian best friend. I'm sure he feels the same way...). I was a bit delayed in waking up, but as I rolled out of bed into the kitchen, I joined Shan in the art of french-toast-making. Under Jean's watchful eye, we successfully prepared scrumptious french toast for our oh-so-affirmative team (heavy on the sarcasm... but just kidding now, because after tonight, we have become aware of our love languages, and I'm sure words of affirmation will be lathered on from this point forward).
After we filled our bellies, we dressed up in our Sunday best and headed out the door to our "Dan-Dan" (ask Punch for the story). Bumping and rocking, we made our way to the Home for the Sick and Dying. Voices praising God in Creole greeted us as we were introduced to the nuns and were given a tour of our surroundings. Hmmm, how can I describe what I saw? Cribs were tightly lined up throughout the room, nuns and volunteers were pacing up and down the rows, and our team was trying to squeeze into any space we could fit into. As I looked throughout the room letting all this soak in, there were these big, brown eyes that locked with mine.... and I knew just right where to start. I grabbed this sweet 18-month-girl (who I later found out is named Julianne), took her out into the courtyard, and starting making a friend. It was a neat sight to look up shortly after and see each team member grab a baby themselves and shower them with all the affection in the world. Or more accurately, shower them with all the affection Christ Himself has given to us. As Shan said, "Let's love on these kids!" and that's exactly what we did.... for hours. Praise Jesus for the time to pray over those kids, kiss their soft skin, and sing their nursery songs right along with their little voices.
It was time to go sooner than we would have liked, but we took comfort in the fact that we would return in a few hours. What would a mission trip be without an obstacle though? When we walked out of the Home for the Sick and Dying, our Taptap had a flat tire. I'm not a man, so I can't give you the technical terms of what happened or even give you a detailed description, but our male counterparts jumped at the chance to use their hands and helped our Haitian friends do what they could do. Thanks to the help of a random man (I still haven't figured out where he came from); we replaced the flat with a spare and were on our way. (I should mention the ladies made themselves very useful and built relationships with the Haitian women overlooking the scene.) I would say overall it was a pretty awesome bonding experience!
Next Stop: Guertrude's Orphanage which housed special needs children. Our host, Fanfan, led the way into the home with his guitar and as we walked into each of the rooms, we were further introduced to each age group of children. We waved and said, "Bonswa!" as we weaved throughout the house looking for a place to begin. The charge started with Fanfan as he shouted, "Feed the kids!" Some of our team members were handed bowls and they sat down in the nearest chair. Arms lifted with a spoon in hand, our team set aside any fear or anxiety and they served these kid-os and fed them their lunch meal. Some situations were challenging, but many of our team members were able to literally experience Matthew 25:35,40 where Jesus said, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me...Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Personally, I was able to spend a good chunk of my time with a boy named Maurice who joined the orphanage that day. He is a sweet boy living with a form of autism, and he reminded me of this kid-o back home that I have the privilege of working with. Thanks to this previous experience I knew to squeeze Maurice's hands and arms knowing that he would respond well to physical touch; he totally did! I hope the Lord used me to make this boy feel safe and comfortable at his new home. Hmmm, I love it when our God proves Himself faithful.
After we finished up our time at Guertrude's, we hopped back on the taptap and headed back to the Home for the Sick and Dying after a few swigs of water. This time, our team headed towards the second floor where the toddlers were staying. Most of the kid-os remembered us (more importantly, remembered their special person), and we picked up where we left off. Fanfan grabbed his guitar and shouted songs of praise to our Savior and the kids shouted back just as loud. The swarm of kids around each of the team members was so encouraging; the Lord creates bonds in the power of His love that none of us could ever make on our own. I was able to sneak away after my little girl left my lap to return downstairs to the babies. Punch beat me to it, but I found Julianne and scooped her up as soon as her brown eyes looked up into mine. There's nothing better than when a pensive child nestles her head into your chest because she trusts you... and that's what Julianne did at the end of the day. Thank you God for the love your little ones show us. If I fell in love with this precious girl only a couple hours after meeting her, how much more does her Heavenly Father love her who has not only created her but has known her all her life? Wow. Just wow.
At the end of the night, our team worked our way into our spots in the living room and we started to debrief the day. We shared words such as surrender, love, helpless, and embrace (those that know me may be surprised to hear embrace was not my word!). We saw Christ from the eyes of the little ones to the workers at the special needs orphanage to the blue sky surrounding us. Man, you guys, our Lord was with us, surrounding us, holding us, sustaining us, encouraging us, strengthening us, and most importantly, He was working in each of our hearts to make us more like Him.
I want to leave you with a psalm that has done nothing but encourage my heart and mind as I've encountered each difficult and joyful moment alike:
"I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
He will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore."
Peeps, doesn't that make you want to praise Jesus?! I don't know about you, but my team intends to do just that in the days to come.
Signing off (I've always wanted to say that),
Deemed MVD (Most Valuable Dancer) by Jean, Salsa Master