Today was one of my favorite days this week. Many of the team got up early to catch a beautiful Haitian sunrise; we then piled into the tap tap and went to church. Every single day, many Haitians rise early enough to attend church for an hour or more. This is my third trip here, and it always blows my mind to see so many people, gathering to thank God first thing in the morning. The coolest part about returning to the same place year after year is seeing the same people and how they're doing. This morning, the team seemed a little bit unsure as we entered church and, like good Minnesotans, quickly and quietly found seats. Haitians don't sit at church; they pace the isles. So being a group of 15 white people, we kind of stood out. As we entered, the most adorable elderly woman with a green head wrap came over to our group and warmly welcomed each of us with a smile and a hug. She danced with some of the team, and brought the most contagious joy to each and every one of us. I've seen this same woman year after year, she's always there, smiling from ear to ear, welcoming the American missionaries. She doesn't speak one word of English, but you always know exactly what she is saying and it is absolutely comforting, like coming home after an extended absence. We left church feeling filled and ready to take on another day.
After walking home to breakfast, we headed out for another day delivering water in Cite Soleil. It's been raining every night for a couple days, so today, the kids were able to play in the water and there again, their joy was contagious. Our team was given a unique opportunity to walk through the neighborhood out to a peninsula to visit the very poorest people living in the slum. As we walked I began to realize we'd left solid ground. We were literally walking on ground made of years and years of trash being dumped into the ocean. You could literally taste the stench of trash and human waste. This was a landfill and bathroom, yet there amongst the devastation were the most beautiful children singing and playing without a care in the world. As one teammate put it, the dichotomy was astounding. Utter poverty surrounded us, yet God was absolutely present in that place.
Our day ended with pizza dinner at an amazing restaurant. Laughter, fellowship and a crazy ride in the back of the tap tap were the perfect end to this incredible day. My word for today was joy because everywhere I looked that is exactly what I saw. It was an incredible day. I am so glad I came back for another week in Haiti.