Sunday, September 25, 2016

Day 7 - Eagle Brook Woodbury

Another great day in Haiti!  I'm not usually up for the sunrise, but for some reason I was today.  It was a beautiful way to start the day and I was grateful for Carissa's quiet presence with me.  We were all asked to come up with a word for the week, and Carissa's was renewed.  She feels as though a trip to Haiti (this is her third) is therapy for the soul and I can completely see why, now that I've experienced it myself.  I feel like I witnessed Carissa's "renewal" this week, getting to know her was like the opening of a beautiful flower.

We headed to Port-au-Prince Fellowship for church this morning.  I sat next to Angie, one of our fearless leaders and it was fun to watch her interact with some of the people she has formed a relationship with here.  It's apparent she has a big heart for God... and Haitians!

After church, a trip up the mountain was on the agenda.  Mike and Lois braved the front seat to take pictures for yet another wild ride.  Those two have grown dear to me this week.  Mike has brought so much biblical insight and Lois is such a sweet, patient and kind woman.  I'm so happy I've been able to share in this experience with them.

The rest of us piled into the back of the tap tap.  I sat towards the front with Jeff, where we could both see many of the close calls coming our way.  I have truly enjoyed getting to know Jeff this week, rich love and emotion just pours from him, he truly exemplifies the qualities of an amazing Godly man.

At the top of the mountain we were able to stand at a look out point and I think Andrea and I were both pretty awe struck at the view. We were fortunate that it was a pretty clear day and could see a lot of the areas we had traveled.  Andrea and I found out that we are kindred spirits on this trip.  She is a vision of strength, persistence and stamina and I'm so looking forward to getting to know her even better in the future. 

After we took a few pictures (because who could resist a photo op like that!) we made our way back to the tap tap while being surrounded by merchants wanting us to buy something so they "could get a taxi home."  It was quite overwhelming; as soon as Becky purchased something they were even more persistent and as we all waited on the tap tap, here's Becky walking towards us with a drove of merchants surrounding her.  Now, if you know Becky, her infectious, joyful heart attracts many people but I don't think that was the situation this time.  Or maybe it was, you just never know with her!

At this point, it was time to head back down the mountain.  On the way we stopped again to take a look at some of the creations the merchants had out.  Jeff and Dri decided to stay in the tap tap, which was probably a good choice!  Dri has such a kind and giving heart that I'm guessing the sales tactics were a bit much for her, plus there were no babies to hold.  The children just flock to her because of the warmth she pours out.

Continuing our descent we bumped our way back to the guesthouse.  It's funny how quickly we all became comfortable with each other.  If I was being jostled around (quite closely I must add) with a bunch of sweaty people anywhere else I think I would do almost anything to remove myself from the situation, but here it's different.  Thankfully, there is always plenty of humor to make the time pass quickly.  One of the people I expect this from the most is Jim.  He always knows how to lighten the mood with his great one-liners.  But underneath all of the jokes is a man who's endured his fair share of heartbreak.  What I appreciate about him is that those trials have not hardened him, but rather smoothed over some of his edges.

Once back at the guesthouse, many people decided to take a quick dip in the pool at the nearby hotel.  Our youngest team member, Nick went with. Nick is wise beyond his years.  My favorite thing about Nick is his gentle and reserved personality and I will always remember how much the children here loved him.

After dinner we all met for our nightly group debriefing session.  At the close Jason, our other leader and campus pastor, reminded us of our responsibility as Christians when we get home.  Serving doesn't have to end here.  We are all so fortunate to have had him on this trip to bring wisdom and leadership like only he can.  Jason's words inspire and make me want to do and be better as a follower of Christ.

After our group debriefing session, I (again) bugged Grace, the long term missionary at the guesthouse, to treat us to a worship session.  Grace is extremely gifted musically and we all were blessed to have her oblige in my request.  As she was singing, I could see Rachel out of the corner of my eye.  Hands raised in glory to our God, she was a beautiful image of praise.  Rachel is one of the most compassionate people I have ever met.  She truly longs for what Jesus longs for and cries for what He cries for.

After the music was done, it was the first evening here that I didn't rush to the AC in our bedroom.  The relaxing breeze kept Paula and I comfortable while we shared one last one on one moment together.  I just love this lady!  She is whole-hearted goodness from head to toe.  Every time she blesses me with a smile it warms my soul.  Paula is one of those lucky women who is truly in love with her spouse and he in love with her.  I've been so fortunate to be able to witness the sweet affection between Mike and Paula this week.  Not syrupy sweet, but genuine love for each other shown with kindness and respect has given me renewed hope for love in my future.

I want to thank all of my teammates for the love they have given.  It's been one of the best weeks of my life and a large part of that was due to these fabulous people serving along side each other.

- Meg Koenig