This past week in Haiti has been one filled with long days, amazing short-term teams, heartbreak, joy and investment in the eternal kingdom of God. So, let me try to wrap all of that into a coherent post.
Our first summer team arrived on Monday of this past week. They were here to work with various ministries and to do some projects around campus. They painted the orphanage, loved on our Haitian friends, traveled to another campus and took the boys to the beach and overall shared the love of Christ.
On Tuesday we had another 60 people arrive. Because of the nature of my position and the partnership that Lakeside Church from Kentucky has with a neighboring community, I traveled to the far west of Haiti to serve with them. We camped on church property purchased through the joint efforts of Lakeside Church and First Church of Lakeside Park. This team has been here the last three years and their love for this community is amazing.
We were on campus with no running water, no bathrooms and very few places to even sit out of the dirt. On the first morning we woke up in our tents, I rolled over to see a donkey standing outside my door. My only hope was that he was not about to do his morning business!! Thankfully he moved on without incident. But the team was amazing. As kids would come to hang out and visit, every member of the group was active and pouring out God’s love. They had a nail painting time, coloring pages, VBS stories and skits, games and countless soccer matches.
On Thursday we hiked about twelve miles into the countryside. This area of Haiti is very sparse, very dry and very poor. We visited with a lady in her 90’s who is blind and has another family living with her. There are eleven children living int he house. They have to walk for several miles to try to find water and most of the time there is none. As we were preparing to leave, one young lady in our group, Sam, stayed behind. Another group leader and myself watched form a distance as she motioned to the family to get a cup and proceeded to pour her water from her water bottle into the cup for them. The demonstration of obedience to scripture was so powerful. But that is not the really powerful part of Sam’s story. I’ll share that in a minute.
Orphans are everywhere in Haiti, but it is not everyday you literally see someone become an orphan before your eyes. On Thursday, two little girls showed up at the church from school. They were children that our team had met in previous years. As they arrived the pastor pulled them from the group and gathered our team around. he explained their father had died three years ago and that while these girls were at school their mother had died. A few of us pulled aside with the girls and the pastor. We prayed for them. As we prayed, Pastor Mark, who loves this community so passionately, began to weep deeply. He had someone take the girls home to their aunt who would tell them what happened. They returned about an hour later and were held, loved on and given a Creole children’s bible from the team. This is Haiti real life.
We were forced because of travel logistics to return to the main mission on Friday instead of Saturday. It was a divine appointment in no uncertain terms. Sam, the young lady I referred to earlier has an amazing story. She was in an abusive relationship, had a child at 16, was addicted to drugs, used sex to sooth her soul and had her daughter taken by children’s services. She finally went to rehab where a ministry from Lakeside Church showed up to minister to the people in this facility. Sam gave her life to Jesus from reading a bible she found in the facility. When it was time for her to be released, she had nowhere to go. A family from the church, who had only met Sam once, opened their home to her and her daughter who she was able to get custody of again. Sam is a story of pure redemption.
On Friday, one of the teams here this week was holding a special party for the ladies in our Brothel Ministry. they were painting nails, eating pizza, dancing with the children of the brothel ladies, and simply loving on them. When Sam arrived at the mission, I was able to talk with our leader of that ministry and she had Sam tell her story of hope and deliverance from an abusive relationship. God’s timing is perfect because last week the owner of the brothel had beaten many of the ladies working there. Our prayer is that Sam’s story inspires hope of a future of freedom and a relationship with Jesus.
There is no way to adequately put into words all that has happened this week. My prayer is that you would pray that seeds planted in the soil of souls would take deep root in the lives of those touched this week.