This is written by Sarah Rankin and Rachel Lehr, Central College students currently in Pignon, Haiti with family.
We started off our trip extremely early in the morning. I left my small town of Reasnor at 2:45 in the morning, to be exact. We all met at the Des Moines airport at 4:00 and got everything checked and ready to go by our 6:00 flight. We flew out from Des Moines and headed to Dallas/Ft. Worth first. We all had way too much fun on the shuttle and some even tried surfing the whole ride there. From there, we got to eat and we went to the Miami airport. Then we went straight to Port-au-Prince. I have been to Haiti two other times before now and the changes are crazy. I went only last March, but the airport has changed a lot. It has improved by a ton and was not near as chaotic as I remembered it, which was really neat. All 16 of us piled up in one small white van and headed out to our Pignon destination. It was a tight squeeze, but we were all up for the challenge. Since we landed around 5:30 PM, it got dark fairly fast. We saw a lot of goats (which were Adam’s favorite), big trucks, and cactus. As I remembered, the ride was filled with fast mountain driving, which I, personally, thought was awesome! I always love a good adventure, especially since I don’t get many of those in Iowa. We finally reached our destination in over three hours and had very sore butts when we get out. When we got here, Tim showed us around the compound and we quickly went to bed after that. It had been an extremely long day, so the beds and showers felt amazing! For me, it felt so good being back in Haiti. This is my first time staying in Pignon, so I’m really excited to be in a different atmosphere. I’m ready to be put out of my comfort zone, play with adorable kids, and share the gospel with the Haitians.
Today we got up for a little morning devotional/worship session to get our minds and hearts in the right place. We watched a really cool video from the series “A Hole in the Gospel”. The point of the series is that God calls us to reach out to the poor (blessed to be a blessing, etc) but we seldom do. I would recommend giving it a look!
After this- the work began! My group started off the day passing out food and the book of John to people and praying for them. I was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming the Haitian people were to us. They invited us inside their homes and were really happy to talk to us. At the first house we visited there was an extremely sick man lying in bed. Our translator explained that he couldn’t speak or walk. The woman whose house he was staying in (a family member) asked us to pray for healing. Our translator asked who would like to pray for the man and the family. I nervously volunteered saying, “is it ok that it’s in English??” To which the translator replied, “I will translate”… smooth Rach! So I prayed for healing for the man, thanked God for the family and asked that he would bless their house. That was one of the most uncomfortable/coolest things I had ever done. Next we helped to move cinder blocks and bags of cement to an area in the village we had been in all morning. They are building a sewing room to teach the ladies of the village how to sew and be self-sustainable. This was hard work- by NOON I was exhausted! We came back to our house to have lunch and regroup for vacation Bible school in another village. (This break was much needed!) We spent about 2 ½ hours at the VBS sharing the story of Shaddrack, Meshack, and Abendigo, painting nails, blowing bubbles, playing soccer, making crafts, etc. But mostly (for me anyway) my time was spent awkwardly trying to hurdle the language barrier. This looked like playing clapping games with a group of middle school girls, playing follow the leader (excellent idea Lauren Meyer!) and yelling random things and dancing. I’ve learned that a smile goes a long way, so I just tried to smile the whole time as well.
It’s now 7pm and I’m still exhausted. I feel like God is revealing more to me than I can process, let alone put in a blog. But it does make me think about how I am “being Jesus to the least of them” whether it’s in Haiti or in the US. I have to say, I don’t feel like I do a great job of this. I’m hoping this trip will continue to make me uncomfortable and convicted because I think that’s what it takes to be Christ-like in this world, especially to the people it deems as outcasts.
Rachel LehrBible story time, with Ebens translating. Painting nails The wide view of VBS. Painting nails/craft time, sports, parachute play, and Frisbee. The kids and adults singing during VBS