|Haiti: Jul 2007|
It's been two years since our last trip to Haiti. One of the first things I noticed when we arrived is how much some of the kids have grown. Marvik, the baby before, is now running around like he owns the place. About the same age as Marvik, Wilson is a new addition at the orphanage. Pastor Bob told us Wilson's story the first day we were there.
His mother was into Voodoo and at one of their gatherings, she was possessed by a spirit. She slithered up a tree like a snake and as she was slithering back down she fell, broke her neck and died. Not long after that, Wilson's father was getting off a tap-tap (taxi) and his shirt was caught on the vehicle somehow. He was dragged to death as the tap-tap drove down a mountain.
On top of losing his parents, some people then tried to use Wilson's story to get money for themselves. Poppy learned about this and was able to bring Wilson to the orphanage to live. He is now part of the family and you would never be able to tell by looking at him the tragedy he's had to face so early in life.
Several years ago, we met a woman named Nicole. She has lived with pain for more than 10 years, but still holds onto her faith in Jesus. Since we first met her, we have made it a priority to visit her, bring her to service and then give her family food and clothing. She's in noticeably worse health than when we saw her two years ago. It was painful to watch as she struggled, holding onto her husband, to even walk from her yard up to her front porch. Nicole needs continued prayer.
Like previous trips, we headed out into the neighborhood to witness, pray for people and invite them to service that evening. We were only able to do this twice on this trip, but we had a great experience on our second outing. Winston led his team to the right and Sara led our team to the left. We stopped at a house and learned that the woman there was a Christian and a member of the church. We prayed for her and her family and then headed to the next house. We were surprised that the woman was walking with us - we had picked up a new team member! One of our hopes is to challenge the Christians in Haiti to be active in spreading their faith. We didn't even have to challenge this lady and she was involved in leading her neighbor to Jesus! We then headed to the next house and talked to a woman who was a Christian, but had some bad pain in her knees so that she couldn't really move around. We all prayed for her and promised to visit her again. We didn't have a chance while the entire group was there, but Sara said she would go see her at least once this week. (Sara and Uwe are staying an extra ten days.)
We always try to do something special for our close friends at and around the orphanage. We make preparations and then have the Haitians sit while we serve them a meal (a challenge because they're not used to being served). This trip, we brought toys and gifts and then wrapped presents for everyone - we brought Christmas. Unfortunately, the airline's allowance for baggage weight has been reduced from 70 pounds to 50 pounds for checked luggage (a reduction of 40 pounds per person over two bags). We weren't able to bring as much as we wanted to, but it was still a special time.
Time for fun
We always schedule some time to go swimming. This time we went to my favorite spot - Pastor Bob's beach house. It's a small house with a large courtyard that has direct access to the beach. We were there for three hours and had a great time - one of the highlights of the trip. Usually a day at the beach is followed by an evening off. This time, though, we held our final service that evening.
Of course we played soccer with the kids. This time, some of the older kids have responsibilities and weren't available to play. We also recruited a couple of them to play on our side. The remaining Haitian team wasn't necessarily the best possible team they could have had, but it was still good enough to beat us. One kid in particular, Teabah, has grown and is becoming a great soccer player. He used to be the smallest on the Haitian team and was still one of the most dangerous. I'm the goalie for our team and he's scary to have to stop. I never know when he'll kick the ball or at what angle it will travel past me into the goal. With the right opportunities, he has potential to go somewhere with his soccer skills.
Something new this time was our "B-team" vs. the little kids. Our missions team members who don't play against the bigger kids played a couple of games against Marvik, Wilson and some of the other younger kids. The little kids were thrilled to win the first game and our B-team was thrilled to tie the second.