This is written by Becky McIntosh, a member of the team from Memorial Lutheran in Nevada, IA. Becky is from New Hope Assembly in Des Moines, IA. This is Becky’s first time to Haiti. .
As we ventured out today, I was truly struck by what the family of God means. It’s not blood, heritage or even where you live. It’s a common bond that is created when you are all under the wing of one caring Father. And that bond has no borders.
We started out the day, by going to church. 3 Lutherans, a Pentecostal, Federated Fellowship attender, and a Dutch Reformed all at a Baptist church! Who but God pulls that together? We sang, heard kids from the orphanage recite scripture, saw a baby dedication and enjoyed a sermon spattered with Creole and English. (I think we were nodding off a bit after our 2 days of travel, so he was trying to keep us awake!)
We ventured back to find a tent going up right in front of the compound. A family had lost a young boy and an older family member to a sickness that same week so were getting ready to mourn their passing. Again, this was a two day event where family and community pull together to help one another. We chatted with them a bit and played with the young girls. Kathy and I sent out a bit later and painted some of the girls’ nails.
Lunch was next on the agenda. DELICIOUS! Think I will bring that cook home with me! (I know my son would love that!)
The afternoon was spent visiting Woodson’s family. We crashed their hair braiding party but they welcomed us with open arms. We painted nails, handed out toys, sang songs and admired grandma’s homemade cloth coffee filters and sheet made from clothing. (They don’t really need quilts there!)
The rest of the afternoon was spent delivering sewing machines and working on bead projects and origami. Woodson is a quick learn and jumped right in. I have been so impressed by the integrity and gentleness of the young men in this place. They are polite, always wait until they are asked to join us to eat and always willing to help. There is definitely hope for this community as these men take over.
Tonight we had ceremony to dedicate the new sewing center. As we trampled down a gullied path to make our way to the celebration, Tim described the venture of the people to make this happen. The people of this community think nothing of carrying bricks about a mile up and down hills strewn with rock and rubble to make this happen. The focus was on the end result of teaching the women a skill. The gathering of families and community support reflected the year of sweat and the hope for a better future.
What really struck me during this day was how very much like us they are. As I looked out over the church service, I saw families from my own community there. At the dedication, they sang, gave speeches and shared food at the dedication, just as we do to mark graduations, sports events and new businesses. As the kids run and play and sing in the streets, I see the same twinkle of mischievousness and need for love in the kids in my neighborhood and hometown.
So, thank you to everyone that is praying not just for us but for the rest of your family and community here in Haiti. May the God of all richly bless you!
Safely under His wing
Becky (Hi Nicole, Ben, Bailey and Kaleb! House still standing????)