Morning: Craft time with the women
Discipleship training with the men
Lunch at the hotel
Afternoon: Basketball camp at a local school with the children
Dinner at the hotel
March 19, 2012
We arrived at the church on Monday morning and 3 tables had been set up for us on the back patio with tablecloths and there were already about 10 women waiting for craft time! Once we had everything set up, Jamie shared a devotional and then we started teaching the fabric flowers. The translators were awesome, we definitely couldn't have done it without them! I gave a brief demonstration of the flowers and expected that we would just walk around and help them more one on one. Within 10 minutes most of the 28 ladies that had shown up by then had already made a flower and some were working on their second! I expected that they would be quick learners, but was amazed at just how quickly they picked it up! Over the two hours we were with them on the first day, they made dozens of flowers and began coming up with their own different designs which was so cool! Their creativity was flowing for sure. At the end of our craft time, we divided up the fabric so that each lady could take some home with their needles and thread to make more.
Working on their fabric flowers
A flower for her hat!
Our wonderful translators: Joslin and Mitial
While we were working with the women in the mornings, the men were training the men of the church in discipleship. They tackled tough issues and hard questions.
After lunch time back at the hotel it was time for our first day of basketball camp! Matt is a coach and had all sorts of fun drills and games for the kids to play. One of my favorites was Peel the Banana where 3 people were it and everyone else was running and trying not to get tagged. If you got tagged, you had to freeze and hold your arms up straight up over your head with your palms together (to look like a banana). If you weren't it or tagged, you could "peel" the bananas so that they could run again! Each day there was time for one of our team members to share their heart with a devotional for the kids. There were around 30 kids the first day and each day we had a few more as the word got out! Everyone had a ball and the kids were great students and listeners!
Listening to Coach Hoppe
March 20, 2012
At craft time on Tuesday, the ladies pulled out lots of flowers they had made at home the night before. They had gotten very creative and used things that they had in their homes. Miel and her sister brought these beautiful flowers that they had made for all of us girls using their own supplies. They were made with red striped shiny ribbon with serged edges. They figured out how to make centers by making a ball out of fabric and covering it with more fabric instead of having to use buttons. They had also sewn in some faux flower filler they had. What a sweet blessing this was! As a crafter myself handmade gifts have such meaning to me and this is one that I will treasure forever! They pinned them on each of us and we took a picture all together.
The girls with Miel and her sister wearing the flowers they made us!
Some flowers the ladies made at home
On Tuesday we taught them how to make paper beads using posters. The longer paper made for larger, rounder beads. They picked up bead-making just as quickly as the flowers and went to town making tons of beads!
I absolutely loved working with each one of these women! The only regret I had is that I wish I could have communicated more and better with them. With the language barrier it is hard to have deeper, more meaningful conversations to learn about their familes, lives, relationship with God, etc. I definitely see the importance of knowing the language of the people group you work with especially if you will be there for a longer period of time.
In basketball Tuesday, Matt had prepared several fun relay games. We split the kids into four teams for the relays and they had a blast! One was dribbling down and doing 10 jumping jacks and dribbling back. The next was dribbling down, doing a dance move, and dribbling back. They had some pretty great dance moves!!
George with some moves!
Jamie with her candy, the kids loved getting candy after camp everyday!
March 21, 2012
Wednesday was our last day and the week absolutely flew by! At craft time the women brought dozens of beads they had made at home and strung them into either a necklace or a bracelet. We also made tissue flowers if they had extra time and wanted to learn. Towards the end of the morning, Madam, Pastor Joseph's wife stood up and told us how appreciative they were and said they had great joy in their hearts. She kept saying how sad she was that we were leaving tomorrow. And in case I wasn't already crying enough, three more ladies stood up and said what these new skills meant to them, how they were going to teach others in their communities, and that they would sell their crafts in the market to make money for their families. I looked over at Taylor and we both had tears streaming down our faces. It is so amazing to me how you can get so close to people in such a short time and not even speak the same language. Our bond with these women is in Christ and I am so thankful for my new Haitian sisters!
The paper beads
Our beautiful Haitian sisters!
Our church is in the beginning stages of a microfinance project with Philadelphia Baptist Church in Haiti where we give them a loan for sewing machines and training and they learn skills, start their own business, and pay back the loan. After craft time, the ladies in this project changed into the dresses they had made to show us and tell us about their training so far. It was awesome to see that project in its initial stages and firsthand.
The dresses they made!
At lunch time back at the hotel, Pastor's family came to eat with us! Pas told us about meeting Madam and the kids told us what they wanted to be when they grew up. This was such a sweet time just eating with such a wonderful family! Before they left, we gathered in a circle and Pastor prayed for us in Creole. It was so hard to say goodbye to Madam because that was the last time we got to see her this trip. She is such a beauty inside and out and has the sweetest, most gentle spirit I've seen! What a strong, godly woman!
At basketball we had over 40 kids on Wednesday. We played several games with them: Peel the Banana, Partner tag, lay-up drills, etc. They had an absolute blast! Jamie shared the gospel through the ABC's with them at the end and they were very attentive. We then divided them up into families and they were so excited to receive basketballs and t-shirts! The goodbyes were hard. . . just like the women, we had gotten attached to these kiddos over the past few days. I adore these people and am so thankful that God gave us the opportunity to know and love on them!
March 22, 2012
Thursday was a long day of traveling and thinking about everything we had just experienced! God is at work all around us and it is so awesome to see! I was challenged through my time in Haiti to remember it is all about Him and not me and to be obedient in the here and now, where He puts me: in Haiti or in Nashville, TN or wherever else He may lead.
Thanks for reading!