Hey everyone, this is Tina, the New Englander on the team, I came from Connecticut, and this is my first time on this mission, or any mission trip in general! Just wanted to say first off that yesterday was really difficult for me, very emotional, and eye opening, I’ve seldom been so deeply touched and deep in thought contemplating how much Gods grace in our salvation is the ultimate true hope of the world, as there is so much need in this world, even more than any of us can meet. But praise Him, that hope in a life outside of this one thanks to the sacrifice Jesus made, that his people will one day know no more suffering.
Today was different. After breakfast, we were heading out to go to help another team deliver water to Cite Soleil. But first we stopped at Fleri Farm, which is a farm that Healing Haiti bought to grow crops, experiment with crops, and try to create more sustainable farming practices with the goal to create more jobs and sustainable agriculture in Haiti. We walked amongst trees and bushes for papaya, mango, pomegranates, peas, limes, and even more tropical deliciousness. The we went to City Soleil!
Oh! Before I forget, shout out to our awesome Haitian driver Derival and our interpreter Jonas. I got to speak to Derival riding in the front of the tap tap, which is our taxi for Healing Haiti, and watch the crazy driving with no rules, and see the way the Haitians live. And Jonas as well, riding in the tap tap with the rest of the crew, and both of these guys were so involved with the kids all day, it was adorable and special to see. Inspirational men of God, both of them.
Cite Soleil is a part of Haiti that, as our driver Derival described, is forgotten about by the government. Healing Haiti has made a specific mission in this area of the country, where, before Healing Haiti (which is the only NGO that delivers water to that area), they had to rely on the government, or rainwater to get water, or buy it with money they didn’t have. So the people are quite eager to get water!! We arrived earlier than the truck to a neighborhood called 4 coffins, and basically got out of the tap tap, and were swarmed with Haitian children. All ages, some just wanting to be held, some wanting to play, they were fascinated by specific things, such as tattoos, hair, makeup, and even the hair on my arms! The words these kids knew were, “photo!, hey you!, what is your name? and tattoo!” and loved saying as much as they could to get our attention. I will say, its one thing to look at the pictures we have of these kids and see our faces with a random Haitian kid, but to us, they are someones child, they have names and would tell us them, and all of them had distinct personalities that became apparent real quick! I looked at them and didn’t think, “Haitian children!” I looked at them and melted because they were, well, just kids, and goodness, I love to cuddle with kids so it was the world to me.
The kids walked us to the water truck, where people had started lining up to get their buckets filled and it seemed like mayhem to me, whose first time doing this it was. Kids still grasping to be held, adults grabbing water, KIDS putting huge and heavy buckets of water on their heads to carry home! A few mothers asked me to hold their child while they did their business. And then a few kids asked me to help them carry their water to their homes. And their homes were very different than our homes. Tonight it rained hard and we thought of how it must be for those in City Soleil to weather the rain, because their homes are made of upright corrugated metal mainly, very small spaces, interwoven amongst so many other homes, with dirt floors, and not too much else. But honestly, those kids, were so happy to show me to their homes, and so happy to bring me to and from safely! And would you know, I actually cut myself very small on a piece of metal, and I couldn’t believe how caring the Haitians were, so many stopped me when they saw my arm bleeding and wanted to help.
After the water truck, we went to a beautiful, beautiful place called Dios, an orphanage for disabled children. Oh my word, Gods hand is upon that place. Those children were so happy, so inspiring, so cuddly, so warm and inviting and so much like just adorable delightful children. And I feel personally very drawn toward people with special needs, because I think they are some of the happiest people in the world, and they humble ourselves who are able bodied, with their strength and faith. There were children with developmental disorders, some with what seemed like cerebal palsy, downs syndrome, and various other distorders. One girl didn’t say much but she sang beautifully, and blessed us with two songs. One girl wouldn’t let go of my hand and had the brightest smile. One little boy was in a wheelchair, his legs were shriveled and didn’t work, and when the kids were dancing I bent down to pick him up out of his wheelchair, and his face!!!! He may not have been picked up before to dance, and he just wrapped his little arms around my neck and loved the dancing, as I held his body upright, even though he had soiled himself, I didn’t care at the moment and still don’t, all I remember is that smile that joy and just the feeling that comes from a child wrapping their arms around you and laying heir head on your chest. What amazing love God gives to his children, and when they share it this way, I think this is where we get a glimpse of heaven. Of what it is like to be immeasurably loved, immeasurably wanted, and that relationship going both ways. The kids sang for us, danced with us, let us participate in a service they had praising God, and I didn’t want to leave.
We got back, went in the pool again today, but I felt there was a different feel to it – joy permeates and spreads. I had a day yesterday that was sad, and today it was a delight, and it can be easy to see other parts of the world living differently than we do, and feel guilty for our lives compared. But this is not what God wants for us. Because it is not in those worldly things that we have our value. Its in the value God gives us by his mercy, choosing us as his children. So being able to see in Haiti both sides of our experience on this earth, sorrow and joy within two days, was a lesson it can take years to learn. I have so many things to say, but I can’t take over all of this blog!!
I will end this with Galatians 5:13. Remember as I share it, that I say this both of the Haitians and of ourselves, for we are all children of the Most High.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘love your neighbor as yourself.” Haiti is close, Haitians are our neighbors just as the person on the pew next to you at church is your neighbor The Haitians treat us this way, and I can only hope to be able to give so much back.