This is written by Robin Brand, currently in Pignon, Haiti with her husband, Steve, and children Kaleb (11), Nolan (11) and Kameron(8). Grandpa and Grandma Brand are there as well (Bev & Denny Brand).
Amazing. On our last day in Haiti, the Lord has touched my heart three separate times. We waited until our last day here before we decided to take our family hiking up Mt. Pignon. This was a climb that took 1 hour and 15 minutes. It was hot, steep, and challenging. We conquered it, together. When we arrived at the top, the Lord showed his face first. We heard a distant hum that continued to get louder and louder. Soon, we saw two Haitian men walking up the same path that we had just traveled. They trudged past, bible in hand. We watched them as they went over to another peak a couple hundred yards away. There they sat on a couple of large stones. Then, they started to sing. They sang loud praises to our God. It sent goose bumps through my entire body. Our family sat, way up on top of this mountain over looking Pignon, and listened to glorious praises to our King. I was speechless. That is when I realized that on my mission to bless this country of Haiti with my good deeds, I had been blessed.
For five days, I have been patiently waiting to go to Bohoc. This is the school for the deaf and mute. Teaching children has always been a passion of mine, but children with special needs, those that cannot help themselves, will always be closest to my heart. We visited this school that houses 15 students. They are children that would not survive here in Haiti. If it weren’t for one man and his compassion for others, this school would not exist. They took children that nobody else wanted and gave them hope. Summer, Kameron and I brought beads and string. It has been some time since I have used my sign language, but it wasn’t long before our communication became easy. We taught the girls to make necklaces and bracelets. They each made one. We put them over their braided hair and signed “tre belle”, which means “very pretty”. The girls’ faces brightened up instantly! I took the oldest girl and painted her fingernails a bright yellow. Then I explained to her that I would leave the rest of the polish and she was to paint the other girls nails. She was so proud of this. At the same time, Nolan, Kaleb and Bev were helping the boys make visors and decorate them. When we were all finished the children sang us a song. They signed it for us. It brought back a song that I used to sing in my first classroom years ago. I signed it back to them. Everyone was so gracious and thankful. When we had finished, they all watched us drive off. My heart was touched with compassion.
After lunch, we packed up clothes, socks, shampoo, soap and first aid kits. Then we took off down the bumpy, dirty, dirt roads in the back of the pick-up truck. We went to go serve the families that need it the most. These were all families that have joined the Health Development Account Program. This is a program where a family in the United States can sponsor a family here in Haiti. Doug Grunder, from Mount Vernon, IA started this program up about a year ago. The program helps fund the hospital in town and provides care for these families that participate in it. The families pay one dollar a piece to be included. This will help them to feel like they have an investment in the program. One dollar insures that they have health care for them for an entire year. Each home we visited was so very different from the next. However, they each had one thing in common. Extreme poverty. I have never seen anything like it. We meet people that live in sticks homes with leaky roofs. They had one bed so most members sleep on the dirt floor. Except when it rains, then they stand up so the mud doesn’t wash up on them. We meet children with little to no clothes. Many of them had no shoes, just the tough, dry, cracking skin that covers their feet. We checked on these families to help with their immediate needs. When we drove up, kids and adults gathered from all over and followed us toward their homes. When we dropped off the clothes and supplies to the families they were all very thankful. When we prayed for their health and that God would bless them, they showed faith. We gave them hope.
I have come to Haiti for three different reasons. Each of these reasons were met today. One reason was to give to the people of Haiti. I wanted to give them our time, friendship and gifts. I wanted us to bless them somehow. We, however, were the ones that were blessed. Another reason that I wanted to come was to open my children’s eyes so they could see and experience great compassion. My eyes were opened too. The third reason I came was to bring hope to others. I have seen hope in their eyes and in their voices. The Lord is working in miraculous ways here. He is working in more lives than just the Haitians, he is working in those who give. A friend told me once that ‘to those that are given much, much is expected.’ I believe this is true. There is hope in Haiti.