The team from Five Fork Baptist has arrived safely in Pignon. Their journey was unforgettable; some would say that it was indescribable yet they have done their best to put the sights and emotions to paper. Keep reading to hear about the team’s journey.
June 28, 2018 – First Day in Haiti
Seventeen of our team members met at GSP at 6:30 Thursday morning for the first leg of our flight to Haiti. Before boarding for Atlanta, Paul brought us our first of three devotions for the day. He told us about how often people go to the mission field with truck loads of expectations, never considering that God has a whole different set of plans. He challenged each of us to put our own expectations on a shelf and instead seek to focus on God’s leading, so we can instead fulfill His plan.
Once in Atlanta, we met Jason to round out our team to an even 18. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then made our way to the International Terminal where we had our midday devotion. Barbara explained how each of us are bringing our own special gifts with us on this trip. She in turn gave us a second challenge – to be open to see what God wants to share with us and whether we have hidden talents that we may not be aware of. We should each get out of our comfort zones and be willing to stretch our talents and gifts.
The team’s first meal in Haiti
The second leg of our trip was a very full flight to Port-au-Prince. Interestingly, the plane carried no less than 4 identifiable missions teams. Now think about that… four missions teams. Each with 18 to 25 or more team members. On a single plane from Atlanta. On a Thursday. Landing at 2:30 in the afternoon. How many other missions teams of various sizes, from multiple locations, arrive throughout the day, every day of the week, week after week, month after month? All to do God’s work in a tiny little country the size of Maryland, with a population of 10.6 million. If that doesn’t speak to a desperate situation, then what does?
Once we landed, it took about an hour to get through the airport and then to locate our host, Christi and her team of drivers. All of our luggage was quickly strapped to the tops of two vans and we piled in for the third leg of our trip – a 3 hour drive to Pignon, located in the central plains of Haiti.
If you’ve never experienced the thrill of traveling the roads of Haiti, you just don’t know what you’re missing. First, the center line is really just a formality; a suggestion maybe. Okay, let’s just call it what it is… a decoration. Second, the horn of a Haitian vehicle will wear out long before anything else. The cacophony of beeps and honks and the occasional perfectly timed pig grunt, is a call and response system, alerting other drivers that you are about to cross the decorative line and pass them. Never mind the fact that cars, trucks and motorcycles are all careening toward you in the oncoming lane. Finally, there is no observed speed limit. None. Regardless of whether you are traveling paved roads or a dirt path. Full on, wide open pedal-to-the-metal is the rule. Imagine a NASCAR track, but with two races going on at the same time. In opposite directions… with donkeys, goats and pedestrians wandering around on the track for good measure.
While hanging on for dear life, we were able to take in many of the sights and smells of Haiti.
The Trash – it’s everywhere. The roadside was lined with heaps of rubbish and refuse. With no evidence that it mattered to anyone that the capital of Haiti is for all intents and purposes a landfill.
The landscape – devastatingly arid and barren are the first words that come to mind. Despite being brutally hit by hurricanes time after time and the tremendous earthquake that hit south of Port-au-Prince in 2010, nothing compares to the sheer impact humanity has had on this city. The ground is useless because of the deforestation of the countryside. This has led to erosion causing massive landslides. There are no trees of any size and with little to no topsoil, only cactus and scrubby shrubs are able to survive.
The smells – acrid scents of what can only be attributed to burning trash and perhaps other things being burned for cooking and fuel.
The people – Everyone seemed to be out on the street. Walking, sitting, waiting. Waiting for what, is not apparent.
Finally, we arrived at the Many Hands For Haiti campus in Pignon around 7:30 pm. We were warmly welcomed into the main house by Christi and her husband Craig. After a fabulous (and SPICY) supper, we met on a roof top porch for our last devotion for the day. Jason read from Acts 8 about Phillip being called by God to go out and meet the Ethiopian Eunuch. We were reminded that we have all been called to go forth and do as God expects.
We went to bed exhausted, excited and ready to meet our first real day in Haiti fully expecting to see God take the lead; accepting that He has a plan and we need to be focused on it rather than our own expectations. Looking for hidden talents that, right now, we don’t even know exist. Knowing that God has called us to His mission field no matter the time, the place, or the people.
Please continue to pray for us here in Haiti, For health, safety, compassion, understanding and more than anything to spread God’s love to the people of Haiti.