The Mt. Olivet Church team has concluded their trip with waterfalls, truck rides, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. They have been very observant of the culture around them. Walk with them as they paint a picture of their last few days in Haiti.
To read the team’s latest blog, click here.
What experience are you most excited to share with family back home? By: Derek Thompson
One of the experiences that I am excited to share with my family when I return is riding in the bed of a pickup. Our method of transportation is riding in the back of an old Toyota pickup. Because I am out in the open I am able to observe what kind of environment the Haitians live in. You may think that this part of the trip would not be very enjoyable because of all of the trash on the ground and the poor living conditions they have to deal with. However, what makes this enjoyable for me is that fact that, despite the poor living conditions, the Haitians seem happy. The children are almost always excited when they see us and they start waving at us. Many of the adults gladly greet me with a “good morning” or “good afternoon” when we drive by. Their joy, despite the conditions that they must live in is inspiring to me.
Describe the Haitian family dynamics you have observed. By: Kevin Baltzer
To be honest, I can’t really say for sure what type of family values are being shared by other families and within themselves. A reason for this is because I am a person that is viewed as helping them because I’m from the United States. But from what I saw, families were very community-orientated by helping others out, even helping out strangers. One example that I saw today was that one of our translators came with the group swimming at the basin we visited. He asked for a complete stranger to wash his socks for him, and she kindly obliged without any questions being asked. So overall, I may not be the person to ask exactly how their culture works, but from my perspective, they seem to be very kind. But one way one could accomplish this better would be to serve long-term missions or talk to honest community members. But it is a great thought to process, because to serve God, one-week mission trips tend to be very tricky when trying to cement quality relationships with others.
How has your faith been challenged? By: Tyler Pierson
When I first arrived in Haiti, there was a brick road that we drove on that made the ride very smooth. But as the week went on, it turned out that their infrastructure is very poor. One of the ways Many Hands (the group we work with) decided to help the community was to help fix one small section of a road. We have seen heavy rainfall twice so far while we’ve been here, which has led to roads worsening dramatically. The part we worked on had a huge section that was about two feet lower than the higher part of the road on either side. Our task was to grab pick axes and remove the dirt from the upper part and spread it out to the lower part. There were 10 community Haitians and 11 from our group working constantly with minimal breaks for an hour and a half just on about 40 feet of the road. This experience reminded me that to work alongside them and make friends with them (even though I couldn’t keep up or speak the language) builds relationships. This also applies to my faith, I need to work hard at it no matter what the situation is.
All good things must come to an end. As we reflect on the past week, it’s hard to believe it has flown by so quickly. It seems like only yesterday we stepped off the MFI plane onto the grassy airstrip in Pignon. For most of us, our experiences were once-in-a-lifetime; stories that we will tell our children and grandchildren for years to come. From the friendships we made and the relationships that developed throughout the week, we all walk away with the same thought – the people of Haiti are a loving, strong and hardworking people. There is no lack of ambition or desire to better themselves. Almost everyone we spoke to had a dream to better him or herself and to help those around them. We as Americans, could learn a lesson from this strong bond of community.
Another thing we were made aware of was the simplicity, yet authenticity, of worship here. There is not much in regards to physical appearance of buildings or resources. But the worship time is real; the preaching of the gospel is powerful and unfiltered. Another lesson the American church could benefit from by taking note. We walk away having a greater understanding of what it sounds and feels like to worship with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ from a different culture. Our love for Haiti is real. Our hearts are broken for those in need. And while we leave with sadness, we will forever keep our friends lifted up in prayer.