The Oskaloosa CRC Senior High Youth Team wrap up their final day by continuing to serve the needs of the community and learning to “be the change”.

Our last full day started out similar to all the others…breakfast at 7:30 a.m.  We then split up into our work groups and went to our separate sites.  The task for Team 1 in the morning was pouring concrete floors.  We did this at two separate homes.  It is surprising to see how manual the labor is down here compared to at home.  For example, there were 29 men mowing the runway with machetes where our airplane will take off tomorrow.  Hopefully that will make it a smooth takeoff for us.  In the afternoon, we did the food distributions to five different homes of people in need.  This touched our hearts as many of them had bedridden family members with usually the daughter as the caregiver. 

Some of the concrete floor crew! Concrete workers for the morning! Another house with a new floor Food distribution Taking food to a family!

Team 2 started off the morning with a great devotion with the MH4H staff about God’s love for us and loving others.  They went on to capturing their five goats.  One had to be caught with a lasso!!  The team loaded up and headed to a nearby community where we met the families that will receive their goat.  We talked with them and prayed with them and asked questions about how this goat would impact their lives.  After they give their first female born back to MH4H, the babies (the kids) would be sold and the money would be used for hospital bills and for food.  We left feeling very joyful about the giving experience.  In the afternoon, we painted the second coat on the rooms in the educational center.  It looks quite fabulous!

Distributing goats with MH4H Agronomist Claudin (left) Getting ready for the final session of painting!

Team 3 also started the morning off with staff devotions. Afterward it was over to the Equipping Center to assist with the Thrive for Five program. This consisted of praise & worship time, playing blocks, balls, and coloring with the kids. Afterward, lunch was served for the Haitian women and children. On the menu today was rice. In the afternoon we got to visit one of the orphanages. What a joyous experience this was! We brought them soccer balls, played games, took pictures, painted nails, and passed out suckers (Bon-Bons). When one of our teens held up the bag and said “Bon-Bon,” they came sprinting from all directions. The delight on their faces over just these simple actions is something that will stay in our hearts forever.

Team 3 at Thrive

Team 3 selfie at Thrive

Playing blocks Having a fun time with art

Thrive meal Team three ready to GO Spending time on the orphange Good friends Kids at the orphanage Playing with the parachute

One special thing we did today involved the additional Steve Van Maanen memorial money that had straggled in.  We had about $500 that we had not used, and we asked Christi if there was a need that she knew of that we could bless someone with.  She suggested a family made up of a dad and six sons.  This included two year old twins.  His wife had passed away recently and he was struggling to provide.  In Haiti, it would be acceptable for a father to leave his children behind in a situation as this.  But this father was going against the norm and staying to be a leader to his sons.  Their house was made of sticks and mud that was needing new crepe put on.  This is a layer similar to cement that would be applied on the inside and the outside walls to keep out the weather conditions.  One son suggested another need…he needs a birth certificate to be able to continue his education in the 9th grade.  This is quite the process to obtain here and there is a cost.  Between the leaders, we plan to donate the cost so he is able to continue his education.  This family seemed quite sad and overwhelmed with their situation, and we pray this will be a blessing and encouragement in their family.  Please add them to your prayer list.

Meeting the special family

Our final devotion time here tonight was what we normally call our “Object Lesson”.  At the beginning of the week, everyone is told to look for an object that represents how God has worked in their life here in Haiti and then a Bible verse to go along with it.  This was a special time of sharing together and to see how God has worked in each of us in different ways.  Some of the objects found were a mango pit, a rock, a domino, a stake, a pack of gum, a coil, a mango, a Creole hymnal, a cactus, a goat picture, a mountain picture, a book of matches, a paint roller, cement, a picture of the trucks crossing the river, a shell, an empty bag of water, a mist bottle and a few others.  How well do you know your child??  Guess which one was theirs and ask them about it when they get home.  Christi closed our devotion time together in prayer…it was a special moment.

Ready for evening devotions

We always give the kids a remembrance gift.  This year we gave them each a key chain with a Haitian Gourde coin, a 2016 penny with the phrase “Be the Change” stamped on it and also a pendant with “Haiti 2016” and “James 2:22” on them.  We gave one of these to each of the youth along with some special people dear to us here in Haiti…Craig & Christi, and our Haitian translators…Roodsen, Woodsen and Jasmine aka Dimples.  The God thing about this is that earlier in the day, Roodsen, had a t-shirt on that said “Be the Change” on the back.  It is no coincidence that the same phrase on the day we were giving the gifts was on the back of his t-shirt! 

A motto for the group BE THE CHANGE The key chain and pendant we handed out

Fast forward to Thursday morning…Leah Van Maanen’s 17th birthday!!  She was serenaded with the happy birthday song, candles in her bread and cards made with love.  We are now cleaning and packing everything up.  God has been good to us here in Haiti, in the relationships we deepened with each other and also with our new friends made here.  God is at work here in many ways, and it will be exciting to see all the change as time goes by. 

Happy Birthday song

Having fun with Jasimin, Roodson and Woodson Saying THANKS to our good friends before we go Late night games Late night talk on the balcony

We have appreciated so much the leadership here with Craig and Christi along with Heidi and Liz.  They have been a blessing to us…and want us to come back next year!  J