My Haiti experience with Children’s Garden of Love and Faith, September 2013 Mission.
I thought my life experiences would be an adequate preparation for our trip to Haiti. After all I was born in rural Wisconsin in 1958 and knew what it was to not have hot running water and what using an outhouse was all about and getting fire wood for cooking and keeping warm, having spent 30 + years in Florida with a few of those being without air conditioning, having traveled to some parts of the world less fortunate than we and love rustic camping. Surely I was ready for Haiti. Wrong! Almost immediately I was overwhelmed by oppressive heat, ever present poverty and evidence of a people living under severe hardship. It seemed that as a visitor everything we needed to do whether it is acquiring suitable travel, adequate shelter, food, water, toilet, all would be difficult. Without Dadline’s knowledge, experience and steady guidance, Haiti could be a very difficult and dangerous place to navigate.
Those visitor difficulties really are just a shadow of the difficult realities the average Haitian experiences 24/7 365 days a year. Everything is hard in their lives from carrying their water significant distances in the early mornings, as we seen many doing, somehow making a living to provide for the needs of a family, for food shelter and clothing, finding healthcare for medical needs, schooling for children. Nothing appeared to be easy and little stood between existence and non existence. There is no safety net in Haiti.
And yet Haiti is inspiring in many ways because light always shines brightest in dark places. I was impressed that on roads which seem to have no rules there are very few accidents. I was told that different from the US there is no such thing as the ‘right of way’ so every traffic situation is somehow negotiated on the spot. I witnessed numerous situations which would have produced severe accidents and quite possibly evoked road rage on our streets. These were all graciously worked out quickly with little fan fare. People are used to things being hard and seem to take obstacles in stride.
I was humbled by the many Haitian people of little and greater means that are helping others. Neighbor helping neighbor is a beautiful sight in ours and God’s eyes. It tells us that abundance does not a generous heart make when those with little help others with little or none.
I was encouraged for Haiti that on Sunday in every town our bus passed through we witnessed a small but steady stream of devoted Christians about the business of gathering themselves together to worship our common Creator, the One who is the hope of every nation. There is no greater hope of deliverance from the corruption and poverty, but the intervention of God and His people in Haiti’s public affairs and in the individual lives of the Haitian people by the influence of word of God the good news of Jesus Christ.
The beauty of Haiti from the lush mountains in the north, the arid mountains of the south, fertile valley rice fields and blue seas all around remind us that God has blessed Haiti with a beautiful land. It is certainly a land worth caring for and it is noteworthy that the first sanitary sewer system is now operating in part of Port O Prince. There is likely no greater physical need beyond the immediate of adequate food than answers to the vast problem of sanitary sewage systems and clean water all around the country including rural areas.
There are many microcosms of community all around Haiti in the form of missions which attempt to bring help and hope to as many as possible. The Children’s Garden of Faith and Love is one such place. It was evident from the smiles on these six little girls’ faces and their laughter that they are experiencing a life in which they are loved and they have hope for the future. They are having their physical needs met and are being nurtured in many ways. By staying at the orphanage, we were able to experience firsthand a little of what life is like for them. It was great to watch them play and dance for us and for us to interact with them. I enjoyed doing a lesson on the creation of the earth and using an inflatable globe to show them what God has made and where Haiti is and where we were from. Hopefully every mission can make sharing the word of God with these young ladies a priority. A VBS would really be a blessing to the orphanage and perhaps the larger mountain community. It is important to note that the orphanage serves the larger community by helping the families of those who work there and extended families of the girls who live there and more.
My main objective of this trip was to assess a home located down the mountain closer to school and to develop a plan to make it livable. We also met local suppliers and met with Blaud, Operations Director of Missions of Love to discuss the renovations and the management of the work. Jude (faithful and skillful driver and idea man) also offered his assessment of the property and gave us a tour of his home which has incorporated various technologies to provide running water and basic electricity. The information these men provided was as valuable as seeing the property when it came to developing a renovation plan in the days which followed.
The need for this home was emphasized by a rain shower one afternoon which made returning to the mountainside home very difficult and messy. I can only imagine what a really heavy storm would do. This is a very significant problem for the girl’s steady access to school. Please pray for this project along with the other needs of the orphanage.
The future has many obstacles to meeting the continuing and growing needs of the orphanage, but God is greater and He has provided willing help such as Jude and Blaud , Dr Bob and Betty Johnson of Missions of Love whom we met after returning home to Palm Bay at Center Point Church. With the continued leadership from the board of The Children’s Garden of Faith and faithful supporters of the work and God’s blessing nothing is impossible.
In Christ’s Love
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