Ken Landgrebe, The Way Church member and Business Operations Team Lead for MH4H, expresses the ways God has been opening their hearts to see as they serve in Haiti.
As soon as the plane landed in port au prince. I quickly realized that everything is different. As Dorthy said, “We aren’t in Kansas anymore!”. It’s hard to describe the culture difference. It’s hard to explain culture difference until you have experienced them. While I have experienced different cultures within the US. This was something uniquely different.
As we moved throughout the airport, God almost instantly began speaking to me. An answer to prayer as I was pretty nervous. The whisper from God was clear. This trip you’ll see with your heart not your eyes. We loaded on the van and headed out.The team on the bumpy ride to Pignon
A four hour van ride to the Many Hands campus was instore. This was the part of the trip I actually was most nervous about. Along the ride it was clear to me what the whisper from God meant.
I was seeing things, as if for the first time. It was clear I was seeing things through a different lens. The lens of my heart. My heart broke as drove past starving children, everywhere. You couldn’t look anywhere and not see a child. A UN convoy truck reminded me once again that we weren’t in America anymore. As for me I don’t think I’m the same anymore.The roads in rural Pignon
After about 4 hours, through paved roads, though dirt roads, many bumps, and through creeks, we arrived on the Many Hands Campus. What a work of God this place is. An oasis in the middle of poverty. A beacon of hope for many. As we walked and prayed you could feel the Holy Spirit pouring out over the campus, in ways I’ve not experienced before. Or maybe my heart was simply “seeing” in a different way. Whatever it was it was clear God is moving.The campus in Sylvain
We spent the first night in Pignon, Haiti, walking around the city meeting people. The kids, so many smiling and laughing faces, in spite of circumstances. We all agreed that the only difference between them and us was the place they were born. God has certainly blessed me more than I ever knew. We visited a house that was being built, through Many Hands, for a family who lost their home in a fire. A family on the team donated the home a few months back when they saw what happened. What blessing. Tears of joy were shed as our team met with the family.The team visiting
We stopped by the hospital, where I was greeted with another startling reality. This “medical facility” was nothing close to anything we have in the states. From my time in there I could see really nothing of modern medical science or practices. No matter how long I have to wait for Doctor in the US, I promise Ill forever be grateful for the medical care we are able to receive. We prayed for a friend, and we moved on.
The next morning, Friday, as I was doing devotions before the team woke up, my Bible blew open to Luke 10:2 “The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few”. Fitting, I thought. I love when God speaks through his word. With that we were on our way to pour concrete floors.
There were two floors being poured that morning so we split into two groups. The two nurses in the group went back at 930 to help with heights, weights and health checks with the Thrive for 5 program. The rest worked a bucket brigade hauling buckets of concrete into the home. I was once again amazed by the thankfulness and hospitality of the Haitian people. Upon completion the family offered us tea and bread. An amazing gesture as you consider what they have and how many mouths they have to feed.The team helping put in the concrete floor
Upon arriving back at the campus I was greeted by my sponsor child and his grandma who was just finishing up at thrive. There is something special and moving to be able to see, feel, touch and interact with the child you have been helping. Overwhelmed is the word I would use, however, I am not sure if that is accurate. Perhaps overwhelmed emotionally, physically, and most of all spiritually would closer describe that moment. For me this has been the highlight of the trip through a few short days.
The next morning was Saturday which is market day, so after breakfast the team headed into town to experience the market. If you never have experienced a third world market it’s definitely something I won’t forget. Thousands of people, walking around, selling used and new items, food items of which most I’m still mostly unsure of. We purchased beds, sheets, chairs, pots and pans once again for the family that lost their home in a fire. Upon delivering and again playing with the children, and praying with and over the family, is an experience I can’t put into words.
The afternoon we spent assembling and distributing PET bikes. As we watched a man with crutches receive his PET I was reminded of the scripture Matthew 11:5 “The blind see and lame walk…” I can only imagine the life transformation for those who use them. Praise God for the PET team in Leighton, IA and their willingness to serve the people Haiti.
Un-boxing the P.E.T. Putting the P.E.T. together A proud P.E.T. recipient and Christi Gabhart This man, who walked with crutches, is testing out his new P.E.T.! Another happy recipient
Sunday Morning was Church, which can be the subject of another blog. The Afternoon we spent giving food to families in need. We say those in need, but those in need are everybody, so more accurately we were giving to families that had a greater need.The team after church
This whole experience was incredible moving as we heard stories of the families as many as 10 people were living in each of the homes. Homes probably no more than 200 sq ft. We were struck by how most of these people had no way of producing income or even food. We all wondered how, how do they even get food. It’s a hard thought to comprehend as in the states when we need money, you go make some. In the very least if you cant do that. There are so many programs to get food, clothing and shelter. I cant imagine having 6-10 kids and have no idea where my next meal will come from.Some of these families have 10 or more members living under one roof!
One family commented that she had a dream she saw a team of missionaries coming into their home bringing them food and praying with them. Their son told us about how he helped to provide for his family, as his Dad was blind. Can you imagine being blind in a third world country? Having no source of income and no way of feeding your family. In some ways, until this trip, I was blind. Certainly blind in my heart seeing.Kim shares a moment with 2 kids
Our trip has been a blessing to those on the team. We ask for you continued prayers for protection and boldness. Pray that we all continue to see with our hearts. Pray that Gods provision will pour out in Haiti, that God will raise a generation sold out to Jesus. Pray that God will raise up Godly men who will lead their families and communities with the heart of Jesus Christ. Pray for our families back home as we continue to carry out Gods plans for Haiti.