The Central College team share how God is working differently in each one of them, as they continue to share Jesus with servant-hearts.

You can catch up on their previous blog here.

by Gretchen Mann and Hannah Scotton

This morning started off bright and early at 5am. Our team left at 5:30 to hike up Mount Pignon. For most of us, this was the first time hiking up the mountain. It was a unique experience for each of us. We started off together, but ended up in four different groups based on comfort level with the trail. It was a rough hike for some, but it was so worth it when we reached the top and saw the beautiful view. On average, it took us about an hour to get to the top. When finally reaching the peak, we all climbed on top of the communication tower and sat on the roof. We worshipped in Creole and in English. It was extremely powerful to feel God’s presence in this way, while overlooking the city of Pignon.

The view of Pignon from the top Worship with song

The trek back down the mountain posed a different challenge than going up. It was slippery from a long night of rain and the rocks were not always stable. Occasionally, cacti would randomly jump out of the brush and poke us. Many of us were slipping along and falling down. We had a competition to see who could keep their butt off the ground. Thanks to Scott and Taylor, many of us had zero official falls. They held our hands, caught us, and helped stabilize us. Overall, climbing the mountain was an incredible experience. It brought our team closer together as we helped each other along. The whole time, everyone was so encouraging both physically and mentally.

After cleaning up and getting some food in our bellies, we drove downtown to the market. We split up into three different groups and were sent off to explore. It was crazy to see how crowded the streets were and how much there was to buy. It was like the Iowa State Fair on steroids. Everyone came back with different stories and goodies to share with the team. 

Buying charcoal at the market

We stayed at the market a little longer than expected, so we ate a quick lunch and prepared for our afternoon VBS event. When the students started coming through the gate, there was so much joy. We started off by greeting each other, singing and dancing, while waiting for all the kids to arrive. VBS officially started with sharing the story of Jesus through a mime that we had prepared. Our whole team was involved and eager to share this story with the kids.  Right from the start, the students rushed to the front so that they could be close to the action and see what was being done. After the mime, Hannah explained the message behind the skit to the students, while Kenedy translated.

Next, Taylor shared his testimony with the students. Many of them could relate to his story and they were all very engaged during this time. They seemed to take it to heart and apply it to their own lives. As a way to remember the gospel, the students made bracelets with colored beads representing their Christian faith. Each member of our team led a group of six kids in this activity. When all the students had finished their bracelets, we sang “No Longer Slaves” in Creole. Right when we began singing, the kids joined in.

Making bracelets

Next, we passed out snacks and went into a game time. Kids were running around playing soccer, jumping rope, playing catch with a Frisbee, getting their nails painted, or just sitting with us. Many of the girls kept wanting their picture taken. They loved posing and then seeing the picture afterwards. Towards the end, students began using Taylor as a jungle gym. It was great to see their smiling faces as they climbed all over him. We know Taylor will be sleeping well tonight.

Playing jump rope at VBS Playing soccer on campus

As the crazy day began winding down we hung out, played games, and shared stories from the day. It is encouraging to hear how God is working differently in each and every one of us while in Haiti. We have grown so close together and have become like a family. During our devotional tonight, we talked about how Isaiah 41:4-10 relates so closely to us right now. We look forward to seeing how God will continue to use this passage to impact us.

“Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord – with the first of them and with the last – I am he.” The islands have seen it and fear; the ends of the earth tremble. They approach and come forward; they help each other and say to their companions, “Be strong!” The metalworker encourages the goldsmith, and the one who smooths with the hammer spurs on the one who strikes the anvil. One says of the welding, “It is good.” The other nails down the idol so it will not topple. “But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41: 4-10

by Scott Wilson and Emily Opsal

Today we got to sleep in, beginning our day at 7:45 (Not sleeping in at all).  We went to church this morning and it looked a little different than normal.  We worshipped in a small shelter that was made of little wood poles with a tin room on it.  We were greeted by Haitians and ushered to our uncomfortable wooden benches with no leg room (for people above 6 feet tall).  There was a lot of call and response from the pastor to the congregation.  The service was lightly hydrated (Emily’s words) with praise songs.  The service was in Creole so we were not able to understand most of it.  We were able to join in on a few songs and read the Bible passages that they were studying.  At the service we had the opportunity to perform the mime and sing our song in Creole. The Haitians were very welcoming.

Taking communion at church

After church we drove into Pignon and ate a typical Haitian lunch at a restaurant.  This was the same meal that we have from our Haitian cooks, they just get Sunday off.  We had rice and beans with chicken and a couple of salads.  We also got to experience drinking water out of a plastic bag.

Lunch at the restaurant

When we had finished with lunch, we came back to the Many Hands campus and grabbed some games before heading to the “deaf school”.  We drove for about 20 minutes and arrived. 

Front gate of the Many Hands campus Riding on the taptap

Thankfully Lindsey is fluent in sign language and we were able to communicate through her.  The School has two classrooms and all of the students live in a dorm building on the property.  Both of the teachers at the school are deaf and are rarely able to communicate with the long term missionaries down here so it was great to have Lindsey along.  The students were super excited to sign us their songs (a bible verse in sign language).  We then learned how to sign a song and took turns signing it back to them.  We performed the mime again which is perfect because it is without words. 

Audience for the mime Learning sign language Curtain call

It was really cool that we could share the gospel with them in a way that they could understand.  The student’s facial expressions were magnified because that is how they are able to communicate their emotions without vocal inflection.  We then played games with the kids. It was amazing to see how much they appreciated our time together.  They were even more joyful than other Haitians we have met, and that is near impossible.  Many of us got a sign name which is a sign that a deaf person gives you to represent your name.  They do this because it would be way too much work to spell out someone’s name to get their attention.  We had a game that was Americans vs. Haitians in soccer and we won!  People also played basketball, Frisbee, and jump rope with the Haitians.  We said goodbye to the deaf students and they all were signing “I love you” as we pulled away.

We went from the deaf school to an orphanage in Pignon.  There we saw Woodson!!!  Some of us (Scott also others) knew him from previous trips to Haiti.  We again performed our mime and song for the orphans.  They told us the meaning of the mime before we explained it to them.  It was really cool to see that the Haitians understand the gospel that we are sharing with them.  Although we have not been doing much physical labor, we are spreading the gospel, which is much more important.  We played games with these Haitians and left them with soccer balls, jump ropes, and Frisbees.  They were extremely grateful for our visit.

Playing at the orphanage New friends

When we came back, Liz made us supper with help from a few of us.  We had American spaghetti, which was wonderful and Emily says “the garlic bread was killer.”  After supper, or as most of you hooligans call it, dinner, Caitlyn led us in a devo where we wrote our own Psalm.  Now we are just listening to praise music before heading to bed.  Tomorrow we are getting up and leaving for the Citadel at 5 am.  Yay Sleep!  Emily says “sleep is optional.”

From the coolest couple (don’t tell Taylor and Anna),