Written by Bev Brand with the Promise for Haiti/HELP team currently serving in Haiti November 1 – 8.

Its Saturday morning and we were awakened by the beautiful singing coming from the church next door. As the sun rose slowly and peacefully the music drifted over our compound and gently enveloped our thoughts and turned them to the God of all creation. We are praising and thanking him this morning for a safe trip, for the new friends we have made, for the sights and sounds we are experiencing, for health and for the many new questions we are wrestling with as this trip unfolds.

Yesterday was a holiday – Holy Day – in Haiti. All Saints weekend is a national holiday and is celebrated by going to church. We heard heightened activity with all the voodoo drums during the night on Friday coming from the mountains and this morning the singing and ringing of church bells proclaiming Jesus is Lord of all! What a contrast. We are thankful for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are claiming the power of Jesus over darkness and are no longer fearful when witch doctors demand penance for protection from the spirits that they fear roam at night. (the bearing of drums and chanting are believed to keep the evil spirits away)

Deb Sunderman painting at the school.

Yesterday was a full day. Part of the group worked on getting the desks for the schools organized and started. There were assorted pieces of desks in various places, so they assessed what we had and started cutting new pieces and assembling the next set of new schools desks that we will deliver at the end of our stay. The other half of the group went out to Rocky Christian School to upgrade the classrooms. They painted the front wall of the rooms, stenciled number and letter lines, added shapes of color to walls and painted all the chalkboard with chalkboard paint. The principal showed us the condition most of the chalkboards were in (we would not use them at home!) and so decided to make and install 6 new chalkboards. They look GREAT! What a surprise when the teachers and principal return on Monday!

Needless to say, we had lots of help from kids in the area! Some helped us wash down walls, others helped us tape stencils, and some just sang and played and made the time fly by. Marcena was able to meet the child she sponsors through HELP, a little 5 year old who has no mother or father and lives with her aunt. They were so excited to meet her sponsor and Marcena was delighted to meet them. What a joy to see that we can really make a difference in a child’s life and that someday, this little girl may make a real difference for her family and even her country.

Last night, we had some great questions, much wrestling with what we Americans do with all our “stuff” and what God is really laying on our hearts. This morning most of the group is off to the river and then to the market. This afternoon we will upgrade the Meredith Christian School and others will work on desks. Sunday we will go to Zeke’s wife’s church (Babe’s church) and then have dinner at her parents house. This will be a real treat for us and they are excited to be able to invite us.

Tim Van Maanen and Woodson putting in new chalkboards at Rocky Mountain school in Pignon.

We will be thinking of our families back home as we worship and pray with our Haitian friends knowing that we all are worshipping the same God. What an honor and privilege to serve our awesome God.

The Lord is clearly leading – and we are blessed to serve him in Haiti.