Saturday, July 21, 2018

Haiti - July 21-28, 2018 - VBS / Day Camps

July 22, 2018

Our first 24 hours in Haiti have been full of surprises and blessings. I knew this trip was going to be one filled with many blessings once we were in Fort Lauderdale and eating lunch. The change from my meal was given to me in 2 dollars and 5 dimes. For those of you who don’t know me- I see dimes as a message from God and take finding dimes very seriously. Although the airport was full of craziness and new experiences, we made it through pretty smoothly considering the situation. I took the cattle truck to the compound from the airport and am so glad I did. As we rode through Haiti, I was so surprised by the number of people just walking along the streets and selling things on the side of the road. I was so surprised by how strong those women are carrying huge baskets and buckets on their head. The colorful signs and trucks were filled with so much joy! My favorite sign said “Praise Jesus” in red letters with a yellow background. Not only was it one of the few signs I could actually read but I also loved the message. Also, driving in Haiti is SO different. There are no road signs, speed limits or rules apparently. There are two lanes on the road but those lines must just be just a suggestion because we were all over the place. You have to drive fast enough to keep up with all the other traffic or you will get passed by the other trucks and motorcycles. All I could think of as we passed the huts that barely had a roof let alone running water or the trash that just littered the side of the road, was how beautiful this country is. What some might have seen as disastrous I saw as a place my heart had been longing to be in for so long. I am so thankful for this experience and it’s only the first day.

Today, we went to church at MPCA. The whole group loved how wholeheartedly the Haitians worshiped. They were so focused on loving and praising the Lord with all their heart that they seemed to forget everything else in their life. Our group got up in front and sang “How Great Thou Art” and stepped out of our comfort zone by singing the chorus in creole. The congregation found it cute and comical. Some of them even recorded us on their phones. It was cool to see that, because while they sang we videotaped them. It put us on even ground with one another.

While the group relaxed, read books, swam or napped this afternoon, Deb met with the Community Agents and was so blessed with their urgency to learn.

The weather has been surprisingly cool, especially at night. Actually as I write this, I can hear a storm rolling in on the ocean and the breeze is something that we for sure are not taking for granted.

Tomorrow, we head to Saint Marc to teach VBS. I am especially excited because this is where my sponsor child lives and I am praying so hard that she shows up tomorrow so I can meet her. I have been writing to her for a year now and although she never answers the many questions I ask her,  she does draw me cute pineapples that I hang all over my room with pride.

With Love, 

July 23, 2018

Our Monday was a busy day but we all had such a great experience! Today, the Community Agents came to do some health trainings with Deb and enjoyed hands-on activities.  The rest of the team visited the Mission Possible school in St. Marc and all had a part in running a very crazy but successful 1st day of VBS.  Everybody was assigned a job of running a station or being a crew leader, much like VBS in America. The stations included Music, Arts & Crafts, Storytelling, Bible Drama Skits, and Games. The crew leaders were quick to learn that the children of Haiti were not as easy to corral and lead from station to station… they just go and do whatever they please, but that is ok!! Everything went very well in the morning and we had twice as many kids for the afternoon, because news spreads fast here in Haiti. We all look forward to another day of VBS at Chardene tomorrow.

For devotions this evening, after some great praise and worship lead by Elisabeth, Stephanie shared her devotion from “Kisses from Katie” about how God reminds us in many ways that we are all beautiful to Him, even through all the sweat, dirt, and brokenness and says “I choose you…you are beautiful.”  Everyone then had the opportunity to share their impressions from today and on this trip so far, as well as the story of how they got here on this mission trip. Here are a few personal experiences some of the team members have experienced so far.

Eden: It’s funny how up until the moment I got to interact with the children, I already had a stereotype in my head as to what they would be like, and I think a lot of us could say the same. You see pictures of them in commercials and assign words to their heads such as “poor” and “resident of a 3rd world country” but often times we forget how little those words matter until you’re face to face. The first time I looked into the eyes of a Haitian child, I saw a soul that is very loved by God, and a soul that needed love just like every other child I know. The universal sign of “pick me up” became familiar to me today, and it was as if every inhibition that would’ve kept me from loving on those children was gone. I look forward to the rest of the week, and I can only hope that when children look at me they can see Jesus, because I see him in the eyes of every single one of them.

Stephanie: My trip here so far has been very rewarding already… and I did so well emotionally up until today when we got to interact with the kids for the first time. I’m very thankful for the Creole classes I was able to take before this trip, for they have truly helped me to communicate with the Haitians, and the children especially. I know the Lord has called me to work with children and it’s a rewarding experience, but also very hard sometimes not to wear my heart on my sleeve. But no matter what, in all I do, I keep being reminded of the first and second commandments to love God and to love others as myself. No matter what the circumstances, I will continue to just love these children as they are creations of God… and no matter where we go in life, we are just reminded to do all things with love as God has intended! Much love to my family and I can’t wait to share more experiences with you when we get back!! Mwen renmen ou!!

Erin spent the afternoon getting her hair done...

Shaker eggs = happy child = happy Lily!

Checking to see if Logan needs to shave...

A birthday boy! Or, just a boy who found a birthday hat...

Jeanette leading the triumphant march around the walls of Jericho!

How we all felt after our first full day of VBS!

July 24, 2018

I was a craft teacher today at VBS. I have run many stations at my home church with kids of all ages, but Haiti is VERY different, as you would assume. The first thing I noticed was the sheer number of kids. I think in one group alone I counted 45! One kid stood out to me, though. As I was spraying coffee filter after coffee filter, this little boy began to follow me and beg to help. He was so excited to help pick up the dry filters and tell me when they are still wet. The rest of the day every time he saw me he would call to me and run over wanting pictures and any attention I would give. He brought his friends in a cheerful run, and then I found myself under a hot sweaty pile of 7 year olds touching my hair, taking pictures, and just trying to speak to me. Although I didn’t understand anything they would tell me, they just showed so much love. I will never forget that little boy in his pajama shirt who followed me around that day.

-- Kendra

July 25, 2018

 The day started with a somewhat long and bumpy ride on a dirt road on our way to Chardene. The kids were already swarming us with excitement for the day when we stopped the truck to begin our small walk to Dupin. The beautiful view from the mountaintop, and never-ending amount of kids waiting to be hugged and held, made the heat bearable. After a quick meeting, the kids were let into the room to start their day of vacation bible school. Group leaders led their age groups to their stations of 25-minute fun where they would learn about God’s love and dependability. The kids were overjoyed to have our group as spare monkey bars, as they were hanging on our hands and feet. The bond made between kids and leaders was fast, but sincere (most of us asked their names to find out if they had sponsors). The love that these kids had for us without even understanding our language was indescribable, and yet we had almost immediately given the same amount of love in return as soon as we arrived. It hurts some of us when we leave at the end of the afternoon because we had so much fun and did not realize how truly fast time could fly when you are having fun. Most of the kids walked us to our truck and ran behind waving goodbye as we drove back to the Mission Center.
-- Kallie

From Loryn: This photo sums it all up. :)

After having to go 2 days without coffee, we've learned to never take it for granted again! The following pictures are faces of caffeinated, happy people!

Tonight we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and worship on the beach! 

July 26, 2018

Hi friends! First I want to say thank you to everyone for praying over our team and this trip. This trip has been covered in God’s goodness and grace. Our team has grown so much together as a family in our great Abba.  Today our day was drenched in God’s grace. I started out the day feeling very ill, and my heart was so discouraged and broken thinking I wouldn’t be able to join our team today to Degeance. My sponsor girl is in Degeance, and I have been waiting all week to see her and all the other beautiful kiddos, so the thought of missing it was heartbreaking. However, God is good all the time, whether I would have gone or not. Some of the team then sat and prayed over me, and after some water and resting, I was ready to go. I jumped in the truck, and immediately the enemy attacked my heart with fear of being sick and holding the team back. I knew those were lies, so once I surrendered my fear to God, He overwhelmed me with a peaceful and joyful spirit. The day was nothing short of beautiful. I was able to do my job, and see my sweet girl once again. And that brings me to my second point. Our Abba is so overwhelmingly amazing. Everything He does and brings in our life is beautiful and for His glory. Even when our plans seem scary and unsettling, our Father is working for our good, because He adores His children. I love you all. 
– Claudia

July 27, 2018

It was sad to go to a school for the last time this week in Haiti. I helped lead music today. The children at this school only had half of a day with us, and it was one of this school’s first times having Vacation Bible School with Mission Possible. The children here seemed a little shy but extra sweet. During music, I witnessed children sing to God with such joy, volume, and meaning that I do not often see. It was sad to say goodbye to the translators that we had this week. They feel like family. We are blessed to have seen so many children this week who are very genuine. I think a lot of us would say that we came to pour into children’s lives but they poured into our lives so much. Yesterday, my book bag fell down a hill into a stream of water and a little boy rushed to get it for me. Would you be willing to care for strangers this way in your everyday life? Something that had stood out to me this week is that I am amazed at how much love can be shown and felt on both ends, with barely a word spoken. Today we also had the blessing of getting to attend a Haitian wedding. We got pretty wet in the rain, but it was still beautiful. On the truck ride back, our group sang our hearts out to worship songs. See you all soon, and please pray for safe travels tomorrow!

-- Krystal

Elisabeth had the privilege of taking pictures at the wedding for the couple. As you can see in the next picture, many other people also took on the role of "photographer" ;) The bride and groom are somewhere under that tent!

We got completely soaked, but it made such a great memory!! What a great way to end our week together!

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