As I told you in my last post, it was a total God thing that I even got to be a part of this awesome team! I only knew for two weeks prior that I would be going and was so amazed at how He worked out all the details so perfectly! No matter how many times He shows up in big ways and small, I am always in awe!
I have to start by telling you what an amazing group of people I was blessed to go with! Each person brought something unique to the rest of the team and it was evident that the Lord orchestrated it.
Wes and Nicole, Taylor, Kari, Jamie and Matt, Brent, Stephen, Me
March 17, 2012
Saturday was a long day of travel, but making it to Haiti and being greeted by Pastor Joseph was well worth it! He was waiting by the parking lot at the airport with our driver and greeted us with his always smiling self, hugs, and kisses on the cheek! We made our way through Port-au-Prince and towards Petit Goave on the crazy and busy road that connected them. The 40 mile drive can take anywhere from 2-5 hours because of the road conditions and traffic but we were on the shorter end of that this time. Things looked pretty similar to when Daniel and I were there almost 2 years ago. There were some improvements to the roads and some bulidings, but still several tent cities lining the roads. It was definitely hard to see these conditions again. Even though I had seen this very place before it served as a reminder of how a lot of the world lives. Often struggling with becoming too busy, this was a reminder I needed that as Christians we are called to minister to the poor, the widows and orphans, and everyone who needs the hope of Jesus where God has us now and where He will lead us.
After getting settled in our hotel rooms and eating dinner it was dark outside and let me tell you, I have never in my life seen as many stars as you could see from our balcony. The sky was crystal clear and we were able to spot constellations and planets. What a testimony of how BIG God is!
March 18, 2012
We started the morning off with a ride in the Tap-Tap. I absolutely love the tap-tap! Let me explain it: a tap-tap is basically a smaller truck like a ranger that has wooden planks in the bed to sit on and railing around the bed of the truck. Whenever you all pile in and are ready to go someone in the bed taps the roof of the truck so the driver knows when to go! I don't know why, but I think it is the cutest thing!
Some of us in the Tap-Tap on the way to church
When we pulled up to the church we couldn't believe our eyes! Almost 2 years ago the church was nothing but a concrete slab and a few concrete pillars left after the earthquake. Today it is one of the most beautiful buildings we saw in Petit Goave! Pastor Joseph and Philadelphia Baptist Church has served as a beacon of Christ's light in their community and it is so awesome to see how the Lord has provided for them to have a beautiful place to worship.
Nearly 2 years ago after the earthquake
The same angle that the pic from 2 years ago was taken...wow!
The beautiful wood pulpit
Worshiping with Haitian brothers and sisters was such an amazing experience. Even though we didn't know what words they were saying because it was all in Creole, it was evident that they love the Lord and His presence was in that room! They all had such beautiful voices and are so enthusiastic! We could definitely use a little more of their excitement in America! :) It was really cool too because we could recognize some of the song tunes such as the Doxology and sing along in English. One thing they kept shouting was Hallelujah which was awesome because Hallelujah is the same or very similar in most languages! What a sweet reminder that no matter our language, we serve the same God. I also couldn't help but think about heaven and when people from every tongue and tribe are all gathered around singing praise to the Lord! In a class, Perspectives, that Daniel and I took they talked about how every people group has some way of worshipping God that no other group can offer and it is such a beautiful thing to think about!
Miel and her sisters singing
After church we went to check out the site where we would be having the basketball camp. It was a great slab with 2 goals behind one of the schools.
One of the goals in front of a tree full of mangos
After lunch back at the hotel, we had some free time that afternoon so we decided to go out on a boat trip to a beach further around the island. What a beautiful place Haiti is! Blue water, white sandy beaches, and mountains! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves! On the beach we found sand dollars and huge conch shells and we were surprised when we were served lobster, fries, and plantains!
We went back to the evening worship service and they were having a type of open mic where several people came up to sing. One high school aged boy came up to sing and said his mother wanted so badly for him to be educated, but she never taught him about Jesus. He said, "now that I know Jesus, I am teaching my mother and sister about him". The next group was 3 little girls including the pastor's daughter who sang. They were around 8 years old and the middle girl with the mic said, "We are going to sing for the glory of God". The translator was sitting right beside us, so he would tell us what they were saying! I loved being able to hear some of their stories and testimonies! One of Pastor Joseph's friends who is also a pastor gave the message and it was translated for us! It was awesome to hear God speaking truth and challenging the congregation through the message.
I got to Skype with Daniel that night which was wonderful! I really missed him being with us on the trip but am so blessed with how encouraging and supportive he is of me!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Haiti recap and thanks for reading!