Last year when Dave and I went to Haiti to build a house, with a team from our church, we saw the door closed.
The community that was adjacent to that side, known as the Grand Ravine side of the seminary, was riddled with gang initiated violence. The shooting of a seminary watchman closed the door.
When Dave and I built last year, we built on the other side of the seminary. There have been over 30 houses built in that community. As the workers gave physical shelter the seminary students built relationships in the community. People have, and are, coming to Christ. Although the sights and smells were shocking to me last year, they were also alive with hope. People in the community smiled and sang with us, they nodded when we talked about Jesus. You could see God's Spirit at work.
This year we ventured back with our four children. We had heard that the gang leader from the Grand Ravine had approached our friend Mason, who is a missionary at the seminary, and asked him to begin building houses in the Grand Ravine. We rejoiced in this yet we were a little surprised when Mason told us we would be building on that side. Remember the four children part of this story?
We flew into Haiti on Monday and began work Tuesday morning. There were about 15 Haitians working on the house, plus Mason and our family. The first thing we did was make a human chain to transfer 100 concrete blocks onto the foundation to begin the walls. I passed a block to Rose and she promptly collapsed. The blocks were as heavy as she was and my only defense in handing her one was my optimistic nature. Rose was out. Then, I saw Dave pass a block to Avonlea. I saw all color drain from her face. Avonlea was out. We finished the block and the girls had better luck spreading mortar.
|Rowan with some of his friends from the Grand Ravine|
|Dave and Grant holding the ladder|
|Rose washing her own clothes in the sink!|
|Jennica, our first friend in the Grand Ravine|
The rest of the day was spent hauling block and concrete, playing with the kids, and building concrete frames.
At night we had dinner and hung out with Lauren and Mason. They were wonderful hosts.
The second day was more of the same. We built relationships with the children. I was amazed at the difference between the two sides of the seminary. The children in the Grand Ravine knew none of the hymns I tried to use to engage them. When I talked about God they shook their heads in confusion. The door into the Grand Ravine was open, but the darkness persisted.
Throughout the day I noticed a change. We taught the kids a Teen Mission song called Walking In the Light. We taught them This Little Light of Mine. We played and laughed and sang. The seminary students walked around and talked to people, sharing the gospel. I could see the Light starting to penetrate. As we left that day the children held our hands and accompanied us out of the door while we all sang Walking In the Light. Praise!
|The house before the roof went on|
|playing with the kids|
|The Grand Ravine|
|Rosy's favorite friend Venessa|
Thursday we went to Merger to see our sponsored children. Merger is a slum town where our church partnered with a national pastor to start a school. We played on the playground with the two little ones. Our older student, Ricardo, took us to his home. We had a translator and had a good conversation with him. Then we prayed over him. Rose first, then each of the children in succession of age, just like we pray at home. Dave and I prayed a benediction of Light over him. I was crying as we left. At lunch, we were told that one person in the Grand Ravine had responded and accepted the gospel while we were gone in Merger. Praise!
|Merger kindergarten class|
|Rose was surrounded by cuteness|
|Rose was a little overwhelmed by the love|
The scenery in Florida is beautiful but it doesn't hold a candle to the beauty of Haiti. God's creation is lovely, but the people He created are loveliest of all.
|Oh the beauty of them!|
This trip was a great gift. I was able to hold and love beautiful children. I was able to watch my children interact with all types of people. I could see the fruit of unconditional love in them, an acceptance of others no matter how dirty or naked. I was given a period of sickness to taste, for a bit, the darkness and despair of those around me without Christ. I was given fellowship with my husband and our friends, Mason and Lauren. I was given a front row seat in watching God open the door.
|Walking out together|