Haven CRC’s last two days in Haiti were filled with God calling them out of their comfort zones and seeing the world as He does, while they serve. 

You can catch up on Haven CRC’s Day 5 here.

Written by Hannah Flannagan

“God will stretch you. Whether you stay that way when you get home is something you need to work out with Him.”

Sometimes God calls us outside of our comfort zones…

When we wake up it’s still dark out. The roosters don’t seem to care. We don’t either. Because today is a big day.

Today we will journey to the Citadel, one of our world’s great wonders. It’s a short 3 hour drive from our home this week at Many Hands campus. We wipe the sleep from our eyes as we all climb into the back of our “taxi truck” for the hundredth time this week. The climbing part is starting to feel like second nature. The ride is a bit longer than usual, but for the first time since traveling in Haiti, we have the pleasure of experiencing bits and pieces of paved road. Our arms and backs (and backsides) appreciate this small relief.

Along the road we notice the scenery shifting, ever so slightly, from dry dirty desert to lush mountainous terrain. A waterfall flows from a great cliff. An old shredded billboard stands in tatters across our way. It’s an odd contrast-God’s beautiful nature all around amidst the filth of a broken community. Our laughter and awe of our surroundings as we bump along in the dirt remind us that God is good, and it’s ok to be a little uncomfortable.

We stop in the town of DonDon for a “Haitian drive thru breakfast” including warm bread, freshly roasted peanuts, coffee and bananas. Before long we are off again riding along in the morning breeze. It’s chilly. It’s uncomfortable. It’s beautiful.

Before long we’ve made it to the base of Sans Souci Palace. Our tour is wonderful. Our guide apologizes for his heavily accented English which he learned “by word of mouth”. We don’t mind. His face radiates with pride and patriotism as he reenacts significant historical moments. It’s uncomfortable to hear about Haiti’s tragic past and imperfect leadership. But we can see God’s hand in it all—and it’s beautiful. 

Magnificent Sans Souci Palace

We move onward to the Citadel. It’s vast and fascinating and our imaginations take us to places of Queen’s quarters and ancient gardens, great dance halls and dark dungeons. The elaborately detailed cannons and gunpowder house remind us that this fortress is a monument to fear. The cannons never served their intended purpose, yet they lay aimed and ready to this day. We pause to ponder the countless lives that were lost in constructing such a massive structure in the sky. It must have been horrible.

Interactive history lesson It won’t fit in my suitcase for sure Maybe it will fit in mine I got it Beautiful

As we make our trek back to Pignon and Sylvain, we realize we’ve changed. Each stairway and aquaduct was strategically placed to make the Citadel intimidating and grand. But we’ve gained a new appreciation for the beauty God has strategically weaved as a tapestry to make up this land of Haiti that we are just beginning to know.

Overlooking the city of Milot: Home to the Sans Souci Palace and Citadel

God is pushing us all out of our comfort zones a little bit this week. But when God stretches us, he creates a space for His goodness to come in. He says in Ezekiel 11:19, “…I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” We pray that God would continue to work in this team and give us a spirit of urgency to remember all we’ve experienced here. May He help us share the beauty of his grace and providence with all those we come in contact with back home.

 

Written by Trinity Kraal

The vision of Many Hands is to come along side the individual people of Haiti and bring them to a point of sustaining themselves. Today we saw that in action.

This morning started with pick axes, shovels, and machetes. We used them to dig up plantain trees and then replanted them in other people’s yards. This gift was not a free hand out, but something that would require them taking responsibility and initiative to continue to care for them.

Digging plantain shoots Preparing the plantain shoots for planting Two families in Sylvain will each receive 5 plantain shoots today It’s off to work we go Ready to work Swinging a pick Picks and shovels and a macheti We are Better Together

In the afternoon we got the privilege of helping distribute P.E.T. carts to aid people who can’t walk. It was truly amazing to see the gratitude of three men who now can take responsibility for their own lives, no longer having to rely on other people to carry them places. We watched the countenance of each one change as they moved on their own for the first time since being disabled. It was a picture of the joy and gratitude we all should have when we are given the ability to walk again, free of past discomforts and disabilities in Jesus Christ.

Ready to deliver PET carts Team helping with the delivery

Our last day in Haiti was a great conclusion to the trip. We were able to give people the gift of independence. Today we equipped people with the resources they needed to be able to continue to provide for themselves, whether that is a plantain tree for a food source, or a P.E.T. cart to be able to move on their own. Today was about moving farther than temporary relief from the poverty in this country, it was about seeing hope in the life of one person that can ripple out and impact an individual, a family, a whole community, and even an entire country.

A goat was given to a local family PET cart recipients as we prepare to pray a blessing over them

 

You can catch up on Haven CRC’s Day 5 here.

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