The Five Forks Baptist Church mission group has been looking forward to a very special visit. They were not disappointed as they played games, learned sign language, and distributed gifts. The school for deaf children was a highlight of this impactful trip. Keep reading to see how the group passed the weekend. 

To read the team’s previous blog, click here.

This entry will likely be our last blog from Pignon but covers our very full weekend.  Suffice it to say, donkeys and roosters do not take the weekend off.  In fact, it’s not clear that they sleep at all.  As a result, they wake the dogs so all three can serenade those of us trying to sleep.

Saturday: 

Saturday started early off early for several team members, leaving before dawn to hike a 3.2 mile round trip up Mt. Pignon.  A steep grade and narrow path made for a very difficult trek up the mountain.  On their way, they ran across a farmer tending his garden on the steep slopes of the mountain.  All were amazed that he was able to keep a large garden in such a remote and seemingly inaccessible location.

Later in the morning, we all went to Market in the open-air “Tap-Taps”.  These are the pick up trucks with benches that we have been riding in.  They are called tap-taps because once the riders are settled in the back and on the truck cab, someone taps on the top to let the driver know they are ready to go.

We once again went to the Market.  Today’s visit was 10 times the experience we had the day before.  The grounds were covered with goods and the streets were thick with people, wheelbarrows, motorcycles and animals.  Again, we bought many items that will be used for various mission projects, as well as for the mission house.

The highlight of the day was going to visit the deaf orphanage headed by Dadi St. Amour.  For many on the team who have had the opportunity to meet and support Dadi’s effort to provide an safe place to live and learn for deaf children, this was the day we had been waiting for.  Currently, there are over 30 children ranging in ages from about pre-school through high school.  These beautiful and loving children were truly thankful for us to be there.  We played soccer, basketball, frisbee, and painted fingernails with the girls.  We toured the school with Dadi and saw first hand some of the obstacles he is facing.  These include a leaking water reservoir and unfinished construction, in addition to issues with the government related to the layout of the dorm rooms.  Unfortunately this may result in having to reconfigure many of the rooms.   But Dadi’s calm and even tempered demeanor was evidence that he has put these and other problems into the hand of God.   He will not be defeated.

We took gifts of clothing, flip-flops, sheet sets and school supplies to these sweet children.  They were so grateful for these simple gifts and showered us with silent “thank you’s”.  We responded in kind with newly learned signs and plenty of hugs.  Before we left, we were entertained by a few songs sung to us in American Sign Language and some dances.  At the end of our visit, we encircled the children to pray for them, as Dadi signed the translation.  It was truly an impactful visit for many of our team members.

We finished the day on the roof top of Irene’s House to see the sunset and have our last devotion for the day.  Today’s fellowship opportunities continued to explore various subjects such as God’s immensity and His nearness to His people.  

Time with the children at Dadi’s Orphanage

Maggie and Dadi

Children at orphanage thankful for their gifts.

Sunday

Sunday was indeed a day that the Lord had made.  Our morning devotion was on the sovereignty of God.

We went to a local church held inside an open structure.  We sat amongst the members who warmly welcomed us.  We listened to Sunday School and the recitation of bible verses.  This was followed by the church service. Pastor Mark was invited to pulpit where he brought a greeting from Five Forks to the Haitian congregation.  We sang familiar songs including No Longer Slaves, I Surrender All and the Apostles Creed.  This was followed by special music including a duet by Paul and Maggie.  

At the end of the service, all were asked to stay for a business meeting to discuss the financial records for the past two and a half years.  That’s right – two and one half years.   During lunch at a local restaurant in Pignon, we jokingly said this sounded like something the finance committee at Five Forks might want to look into.

A thought provoking devotion was brought by Maria about the how we need to work to not allow distractions to overpower the peace and tranquility that God has to offer us daily.  We then loaded into the Tap-Taps for a ride to a suspension bridge.  The bridge, in a very remote location, provides a necessary way across the river for many many people.  Amazingly, motorcycles were able to cross pretty easily.  Walking across was another story.

Our first American meal for the week was prepared by the team and one of the staff.   We finished the evening’s with a devotion by Chad about the familiar story of Jonah and the Whale.     Like Jonah, we should not allow our selfish intentions to cause us to run away from God.  Because, like Jonah, we will not escape God’s plans for our lives.

We hope you have enjoyed these blogs.  We still have one more full day here in Haiti before traveling home.  However, because of our full schedule, by the time you read this entry, we will be well on our long journey back to SC.  We will be sure to share more pictures and stories once we return.  Please continue to pray for Many Hands and the wonderful work they are doing as well as for the Deaf Orphanage.  We certainly plan on returning in the near future.  Finally, pray for safe travel for our team, especially on our crazy Haitian road trip back to Port-au-Prince.  Hang On!  HONK-HONK!!!

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