This is written by Courtney Allen and Patsy Snead of the Central College Team in Pignon, Haiti.
Click to read previous blogs:
Day 1 and Day 2 – Written by Rachel Lehr and Sarah Rankin
Day 3 – Written by Emily Lewis and Emily Stoakes
Day 4 – Written by Tim Wilson and Kris Van Gent
Day 5 – Written by Courtney Allen and Patsy Snead
Yesterday we had the opportunity to go to the school for the deaf. I’ve learned in the Haitian culture that being deaf is to be considered “the lowest of the lows”. All of our beautiful encounters with the children showed otherwise. Even though we weren’t able to show our love with our words, we were able to show them agape love through our actions. As we painted nails, play soccer and tag, and blew bubbles the children had smiles and even a few giggles throughout the morning. Most children in Haiti are quite loud when we spend time with them, but here the words weren’t needed. Amongst the quiet there was peace and the feeling of God’s grace all around. This may have been the most influential interaction with children I have had in Haiti thus far. As I held the child in my arms I could see the longing on all of their faces. At one point while we were playing with all of the students I looked around and most of us were sitting down with kids just holding them. Everyone in our group could see that most of the kids probably couldn’t remember the last time they were held. My heart broke for them because I only wish they could view themselves as God sees them. Even though there are so many differences between us one thing that remains the same. We have the same God and that God loves all of his children the same. As we rode home in our trucks we talked about how incredibly blessed we were to be given the gift of speaking.
In the afternoon we were able to put on another VBS down by the springs in the village. The space was very limited, but God always provides. Our Creole is limited, but with smiles we are able to convey God’s love. The children were told the story of David and Goliath. Following the skit we danced, blew bubbles, and painted nails.
At the end of the day the weather was kind of rainy so we went back to the compound early. Just as we got back the sky seemed to clear up. I would say there are at least ten mango trees in our compound alone. Once you see a yellow mango at the top of the tree curiosity starts to set in…. especially if our tour guides are betting we can’t retrieve it on our own! Our whole group starts to analyze the different trees to see which would be the easiest to climb. To say the least, Haitians are masters at climbing mango trees. Even though we weren’t able to get the mangos ourselves they were gracious enough to share some with all 16 of us. The mango juice was all over my hands and face and it made us all feel like children. One of the biggest lessons that have been shown to me time and time again is that it’s the little things in life that are to be appreciated the most.
“He has told you, Oh man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? But to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8
As I came into this trip, this verse resonated within me. The first two days here in Haiti, I had plenty of doubts and fears. I wondered why I even came and if God was even doing anything through me and the rest of the group. I don’t speak Creole. I experienced culture shock like none other when I stepped off the plane and no one knew English or Spanish. I was nowhere near my comfort zone, and my thoughts were on life back home: what am I going to do once I get back? Where does God want me? Worry and doubt flowed together.
However, God repeatedly showed me that I carry His presence wherever I go, and His power and love flows through me. All that He requires is that I am obedient and that I love both Him and His children. I prayed that God would give me His love and His eyes for Haiti and the people here. I realized that I needed to rely on His strength, and I saw my purpose as to be an encourager and intercessor for my fellow teammates and the people that we encountered.
As the hours grew into days, our team has felt more and more at home here in Pignon. We are learning bits and pieces of the language, and we are constantly holding little hands and praying over homes. Today, one of the Haitians told me that if I spent one month in Haiti, he was confident that I would be able to speak the language even better than he could. As the week carries on, I feel like each day erases more and more of the thoughts and emotions that I carried when I first stepped off the plane in Port-au-Prince. Life at home feels far away, and the lens feels smudged. Haiti has become our home and our reality. God is teaching me and our team to be present in the moment. He is I AM, He has brought us here for a purpose. As we walk through the dusty streets, we carry his mercy, love and presence.
A few highlights of the day: at 4:45 A.M., we hopped (or stumbled) out of ours beds and hiked to the nearby mountain peak. It seemed like a great idea. I think we were all a bit excited about the adventure. However, it was a lot harder than we thought. About 20 minutes in, we asked the boys leading us if we could take a break. We felt like we had been climbing forever. We asked if we were halfway and they just laughed. At the peak, we climbed an old shed and took a moment to let God’s beauty and peace wash over us as the sun rose over the mountain and lit up the city below. Although it was exhausting, it was an experience filled with joy, just like the rest of the trip.
In the afternoon, we walked through a neighborhood and gave out Bibles, diapers, and crafts to the kids. I can’t explain how much I love it when the kids run up to us and grab our hands or ask to be held. I’m pretty sure they have captured the hearts of us all. After dinner, most of the girls on the team headed to the roof of our house to do some journaling and to watch the sunset before we played a movie in the streets for the community.
The rest of the team and I are learning the power of prayer. God has made himself known. He was here long before us. We did not bring God to the Haitians. He is just using us to spread the flame of His glory further. Please pray for us as we finish our last few days in Haiti and we transition back home. Pray that God continues and finishes His great work here. God is good, all the time, across all nations and cultures. He has Haiti and all of us in His loving hands
– Patsy Snead
Great comments by both of you! What an inspiration! I wish I was there w you! What an opportunity! These kids and families will never be the same and you all will never be the same.
Love to you all! Sheryl Lewis