Written by Kelly Hughes (happy late birthday, Daddy!) and Makenzie Harris of the Central College team serving in Pignon, Haiti.
Bonswa from Haiti!
This morning started off with a wonderful breakfast of French toast with syrup, honey, bananas, and cinnamon made by our lovely hosts and leaders, Craig, Christi, Alan, and Heidi. Then, it was time for our very first Haitian church service. The service started with the different “Sunday school groups” reciting their morning lesson, followed by LOTS of music and singing! We tried our best to follow along with the words from the projector. Our fearless leader, Alan, went up and introduced our group to the congregation and shared some encouraging words. We were also lucky enough to have an American guest pastor giving the sermon, so we actually understood what was going on! He was incredibly passionate—as was his translator—and shared about the importance of giving your whole heart to God. More singing ended the service, and they even sang one song in English for us! Other songs had recognizable tunes, such as “It Is Well”. It was really neat to see a church in a different culture and experience worship that was a bit different than our own.Alan and Pastor Francios, at Philadelphia Baptist Church this morning. Alan introduced the team to the congregation.
After church, Christi and Craig took us to a local restaurant with a total of one thing on the menu: rice, beans, and a chicken leg. We had been surprised by the large portion sizes, and many of us ended up sharing the meal. It was quite delicious and gave our cooks a much deserved break for the day!The group picture outside of the restaurant.
Eating the one item on the menu: rice, beans, and a chicken leg!
We headed back to the dorms to get supplies for more food deliveries. Today, we visited six different families, got to know them a bit, and prayed for them. Seeing the houses from the inside and hearing the tragic stories of experiences these families have faced was very humbling. So many mothers have outlived their children and husbands, yet show such strength and faithfulness. The other day we delivered food to a woman who didn’t have a good quality bed. Her mattress was basically just springs. So, today, we went out and purchased a new mattress for her and set it up in her home. The appreciation that each family shows is so overwhelming.The team spend Sunday afternoon visiting homes, delivering food, and praying with families. This is home of Jelimen Lexi. This is Jelimen Lexi with her 3 children, as the team shared food and prayed with her today. Singing “A Lam Kontan” with this family and children. The team helped this family in need by bringing some much needed food and praying with the family. The team decided to buy a new mattress for Krisiana Noel, an elderly lady in the community. Krisiana in her home with the new the mattress to sleep on.
For dinner, the young women that are missionaries working for the orphanage we visited yesterday came over to join us. It was interesting to hear their stories and to see how they have all let God into their lives and, as Pastor Tom said this morning, given their hearts to Jesus. They have completely given control to God. They aren’t just here for a week, but instead have left everything to live with and serve the people of Haiti. Nycole, who helps run the school that the children from the orphanage attend, shared a story of an older Haitian gentleman she had helped in the past year. He had broken his leg and not been properly taken care of by his family or doctors. Nycole had seen to his needs and got him medical attention, and has continued that relationship with him and his family—bringing them food and walking through life with them. After hearing this story, we had the opportunity to take our leftovers from dinner over to the family since they live nearby. I think we were all pretty shocked by the condition he was living in, even after seeing all the other houses throughout the day. He has been incredibly neglected by all his family, sleeping on the ground, rarely eating, and surviving with a barely functioning leg. He was grateful for our presence and prayer and even gave us a small smile or two before we left.
All in all, it was a very emotionally packed day. There was a lot to process—many highs and many lows. Our eyes were opened to darkness we hadn’t anticipated or imagined. But we also saw God through a passionate church service, the joy of screaming naked children, and our nightly group fellowship and craziness. Right now, we are shutting down after such a busy and draining day, so it is time to bid you all “bon mwit”!This is a familiar sight, as the team makes new friends everywhere they go. Hannah and Melanie, enjoying the ride in the back of the truck. Many laughs have been shared by the team, as this has been a life-changing experience. We are all better together in serving.