I can't believe that our week is over. As I sit here in the Haiti airport getting ready to head back home, my mind keeps wondering back to this week and all that I have seen and learned. I am not sure how to relay to those that were not physically here what I have seen and learned. In order to give you a little glimpse of what I felt this week I will share my "word of the day" with you.
Day 1 - EXCITEMENT - There were a few different kinds of excitement I felt this day. There was the giddy excitement of finally being on my way. Nervous excitement when we landed in Haiti, not knowing what to expect, and if I was going to be able to handle what was to come. Then finally there was excitement that was joyous, knowing that I was not going to be doing this alone. I had Jesus with me, and I was getting to be His hands and feet!
Day 2 - SENSORY OVERLOAD - Today was our first day on the water truck. My sensories were bombarded from the moment the we drove into Cite Soleil. I think every sense was hit all at once! When you enter the city you see houses made out of tin and tarps, broken concrete buildings with sheets hanging in the windows. There was trash everywhere, and the smell was beyond words. The hardest part was seeing how overcrowded it was with little children running everywhere, many partially clothed or completely naked. When we pull up with the water truck, the children flocked to us to be held. I did not have enough arms to hold them all. Through all of this devastation, I saw laughter and praise for our God who has provided water for them, and arms to hold and hugs these little children.
Day 3 - EYES - On this day I went to The Home of The Sick and Dying Babies. Our job here was to care for these babies in whatever way they needed. There were rows and rows of cribs, and many of these babies didn't have anyone to hold, or play, with them. Since these babies were so little they couldn't speak, and if they did, they did not understand English. So I decided to be very intentional to look into their eyes, to let them know that they were loved. I was also the recipient of their love as they look back at me. God does not need words to communicate, he just needs our hearts, and in this case our eyes, to show His love to others.
Day 4 - CARING - We went back out on the water truck again this morning. During our first water stop I met a beautiful teenage girl. She was fascinated with my long, greying hair, and wanted to braid it so it looked nice. Then she brought me over to her water bucket where she scooped water out, so she could wash my face. She was caring for me, when I was there to care for her. I was so humbled by this girl, who had so little, and she was washing me with her most precious resource, water. I did not expect to learn so much about God's love from a girl I had known for such a short time.
Day 5 - PRAISE - Praising through song seemed to be everywhere today. We started out our day singing song and praising the Lord with the local Haitians at the neighborhood church. Then later that afternoon we went to visit a few of the elders. We brought a guitar and keyboard to sing praises with them. We also prayed with them. These people who have seen so much, but have so little, did not ask for any material things from The Lord. They only praised Him and simply asked us to pray for them so they would grow closer to God. I was amazing to witness such faith!
Day 6 - BEAUTY - Today was the day we took 20 of the neighborhood boys to the beach. There was the beauty of the country side as we left the hot, dry city and headed to the cool ocean breezes. The most spectacular beauty was the site of these boys running into the ocean. They laughed and played all day! God gave us the chance to help ease the burden that these boys carry with them everyday. It was a beautiful site to behold!
Day 7 - EXTREMES - This day started out with a church service up at Grace Village. From the moment I walked into the church Jesus was so present in the building it was palpable. I couldn't help but to shed tears for the love of Jesus I felt in that place. After this, we toured for the rest of the day. We drove through downtown Port-au-Prince. Here I could not stop crying because of the devastation that I was seeing. The other extreme that was present was in the weather that day. Down in the lower part of Haiti, it was very hot and the air was still. In contrast, the air up on the mountain was cool and the breezes were pleasant.
Today is Day 8, and my word is BITTERSWEET. We started our morning visiting and saying our goodbyes to the neighborhood boys we have grown to love. It is sad to leave them not knowing what will happen with them, but in the same breath I know that God will watch over them. Each one of the boys has Jesus in their hearts and carry amazing faith inside themselves. I have mixed emotions as our plane gets ready to take off. I am excited to get home to see my family, but I am sad to leave knowing there is still so much to be done here in Haiti. As I leave I know that God is watching over Haiti, and sending others who will continue to be His hands and feet. We will also continue our mission back in the states as we pray for all of those whose lives we have touched, and those who have touched ours!
I want to leave you with the words that were said, and treasured, so much this week, Jezi renmen ou (jez-ee reh-may oo)! Jesus Loves You! No matter where you live and what your circumstance, we are His children, and He loves us all!
"I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another." John 13:34