This is written by Dylan Nikkel and Karyn Vander Wal of the Calvary Youth Trip from Pella, IA. They are currently serving in Pignon, Haiti.

Dylan Nikkel

Being the first to blog puts a lot of pressure on me. Today was a lot different than I could have imagined, but it was an awesome day nonetheless. After receiving the go-ahead to resume the travel to Haiti, the group arrived in Pignon this morning. As we drove from the “airport” to the compound, we had the opportunity to observe the everyday goings-on of the Haitian people. We’ve all seen pictures and heard stories but these don’t even begin to represent the unique culture and people of Pignon. Naked kids, donkeys carrying items down the road, ladies balancing huge things on their heads (no hands), and a complete lack of law when it comes to driving were amusing and interesting to witness. As the day went on, we encountered many people and endured several experiences. One that really stuck out was our visit to the hospital tonight.

Patient praying at the hospital in Pignon.

Patient praying at the hospital in Pignon.

We had been given permission to visit the patients at the hospital- to sing and pray with them. As we sang English praise songs, the patients joined in, singing the same song, but in Creole. It was awesome to see everyone united, singing to the same God. Emily Van Hal told me to quote her saying, “…it was like a slice of heaven pie. Language does not matter when you are praising him.” After we sang, we proceeded to go around the hospital in groups, offering prayers to the patients. Not one patient denied being prayed for. And many had smiles on their faces despite their horrible injuries or sicknesses as well as poor conditions. It made me rethink my priorities. So far the team has been great. Hopefuly the rest of the trip goes well.

Karyn Vander Wal

Our first day in Haiti was amazing. From the moment I stepped off the plane my smile never left as we drove to the compound where we would be staying. The people here are all beautiful. After we got all settled in a few of the girls sat on the ledge outside and watch the town. Theres a house near by, and some children came out. We shouted at them, waved, and smiled. Their faces lit up. They started to run around their yard and wave their arms at us. There wasn’t anything we could really say to them so we just kept smiling, waving, and saying hello. After awhile they started to sing to us. When they were done we all clapped and cheer. It was just amazing to see how much joy and love these children had. One image that has stuck in my mind happened this afternoon. We were on our way back from visiting another compound that is still in the process of being built. We got to see some houses that were built by local people. One house we went to was up a hill. We had to walk through a corn field to get there (are we still in Iowa?).

The home we recently finished in the community.

We prayed with the women there and as we left she was so over joyed. She reached out to all of us and embraced each one of us. These people are so thankful. As we were leaving a little boy came over to me. I smiled at him and said hello. He seemed so excited that I was talking to him. As I told him goodbye his face just kinda fell. He looked like he was about to cry as the truck pulled away from him. It was heartbreaking. I wanted to pick him up and hold him. These people are filled with so much love. As we were walking back from the hospital we were attacked by children. They wanted to hold our hands. They didn’t want us to go through the gate and away from them. They would tell us their names and age and that they love us. I feel so incredibly blessed by these people. And for my team. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us tomorrow.