Written by Hannah Lee, Mikaela Tribett and Maddie Hilsabeck – LutheranChurch of Hope Team for Many Hands for Haiti

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Although tired, sun burnt and at times dehydrated, we found ourselves inspired by the Haitians we met, excited about what God had shown us this week and sad that our week was coming to a close. With one full day left, our wonderful hosts, Craig and Christi, identified activities that matched each of our interests and skills. This was the first full day the group split up (and Jen departed early on MFI): helping the sick first hand at the hospital, working with children, building a prayer path and exploring the history of Haiti. A quick highlight of our day:

As you know Vicki is a paramedic (see Seth’s post yesterday). She was able to spend her day back at the local PignonHospital. Vicki was able to witness a C-section and conduct check ups on patients who had surgery. Although we can’t provide the details of her day, the expression on her face when we all met back at the dorm said it all: excited and exhausted, yet grateful to be side by side with the other Haitian doctors and nurses. Safe to say she made a difference in the lives of everyone she met and worked with this morning.

It was back to the school for Seth, Lauren, Katie, Jessica and Ken. They had the opportunity to help a neighboring pastor’s school, Jean Robert, build a prayer path. Seth finally got to use a machete to cut down a clear path. Although it was finals week for the children, the group also had the opportunity to be teachers for just a few hours teaching numbers and simple words in English. The group enjoyed being able to spend more time with the kids we had met the day before.

The morning started at 4:45 a.m. for David, Hannah, Maddie, Mikaela, Nicole, and Christi as they made the 25 mile trip in three hours for the Citadel. They loaded up in the back of a Toyota truck with quite a bit of character. The seats were made of long pieces of wood set in between welded metal. Christi saved all of our bodies with cushions and towels to help ease all the bouncing along our trip. (Feel free to Google the history of the Citadel.) We drove through a handful of towns, each with their distinct personality of people, homes and foliage. The closer we got to the Citadel, the more lush the scenery became filled with taller trees, farms and hibiscus flowers. A total of seven hours of travel in the truck lent us to sunburns, bruises, dirt in our eyes and great conversations.

The Citadel team, standing in the arches of the great fortress of Haiti.

On our way home someone asked, “What was your favorite part in Haiti?” There was silence among the group (despite the bumpy, rocky roads) as we all flipped through the memories of the week in our minds for an answer. We reminisced about the man who came to Christ while we delivered food – what an amazing moment to witness. Someone mentioned the feeding program – the opportunity to be part of a growing baby’s life by providing them formula since their mothers’ passed or were no longer part of their lives. Someone else mentioned the man who joyously played his instrument crafted from a traffic cone to express his passion for God (please see Jessica’s post).

Maddie summarized all of our thoughts and feelings in one simple sentence: “Everyone here is happy with nothing, everyone back home is unhappy even when they have everything.” Each time we drove through town or walked by a farm we saw Haitians working hard with every ounce of their body. Imagine a world without machines to do your work – cement mixers, plows, tills, and tractors – this is what we witnessed as the Haitians do this all by hand. Yes, even without work gloves and sometimes even shoeless. For those who have the opportunity to work they work hard from sunrise to sundown, for little money.

Hannah with one of the precious school children.

Hannah with one of the precious school children.

This is a child of God. Do for one what you wish you could do for all.

The kids – oh, the kids. Their eyes are filled with joy and faces are plastered with the widest grins you’ll ever see. They show respect to the adults in the room and follow instructions well. Although we don’t speak their language we each communicated through love, the universal language. Each interaction was filled with an enthusiastic wave during our drives or hugs at the school and orphanage. Some of us were even human jungle gyms, but loved every minute of it.

The car ride gave us the opportunity to look back and relive the moments God presented to us in Haiti. Getting back to the dormitory we had dinner and started packing our bags for our early flight. We thought the week was over… but everything’s in pencil in Haiti. As dinner started a neighbor lady carried her three year old daughter to the dormitory for baby formula. Christi requested Nicole accompany her to help understand why a three year old still needed baby formula. If you didn’t know, Nicole is an Early Childhood Consultant. God’s timing is perfect as she was able to diagnose this little girl as special needs. As she held Elinise in her arms our group had the opportunity to pray for her. We thought our work in Haiti was coming to a close, but God clearly had more for us to do.

As we close this week, we truly learned how much love God has for His people, whether rich or poor, light or dark, young or old. Each of our team members comes from different backgrounds yet we all leave with a love for Haiti in our hearts. We know this was a once in a lifetime experience as each one of us are thinking about our next move: another trip back to Haiti, a different mission trip or serving in our local communities. We’ve learned how to spread God’s love, and do it all for His glory.

 “…and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always, he will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fall. Isaiah 58:10-11” Craig and Christi, thank you for your time, energy, love, guidance and patience with us this week. Although you were our hosts, you quickly became our guiding lights during our week in Haiti. The work you have done in Haiti is inspiring. The relationships you’ve built with the communities portray the character and hope you both strongly possess.

To all those who have helped us spiritually and financially for Haiti, thank you. To all those who have been praying and reading our blogs this week, thank you. You may not know this, but you have changed our lives. Bondye beni ou, God bless you.

The beauty of this Earth is nothing compared to the glories that await us in Heaven. We caught a glimpse of it this week.