I woke up around 5AM freezing and searching for a blanket. I have no idea how or why, but it happened. Katie came and woke us up for breakfast around 7:30. We slowly got out of bed realizing we were in Haiti. We ate bread with peanut butter, eggs, and bananas. I really love that they respect us with everything they have to offer. They set up the “cafeteria” for us with red tablecloths in a shaded room right beside where they’d labored over the food for hours.
After breakfast we got dressed in our skirts and slacks and headed to church. The church was located right behind the orphanage. Everyone was dressed in his or her Sunday best. They looked so happy; happy to be there and happy to see us there. Niki & Layla gave their testimony then our whole group sang Mighty To Save in front of the congregation. I smiled from the inside out as we sang the bridge; “Shine your light and let the whole world see.” It painted a picture of why we were there! Because He is mighty to save. He gave us this peace, hope, and joy in abundance and we want to share what we have with everyone. Even the people of Haiti.
After church, of course the kids flocked to us. After sharing a few laughs and smiles, we headed back to the compound to shower and get ready for lunch. The shower! I was worried about taking a cold shower (first world problems), but holy cow did that feel great. It was about as much water coming out as if you had accidently tapped the kitchen sink faucet. We were so thankful for those cold showers. It was so hot outside that we were supposed to be drinking 10 bottles of water a day.
We used Sunday as a day to prepare for the workweek ahead of us. That afternoon, we did a skit with the kids; David & Goliath. We had one of the kids from the orphanage be David, John played “the big, ugly” Goliath, and Chris was the narrator. Lots of laughs shared with a great message from the Word; that we have God’s awesome power living inside of us.
Until supper, we played outside with the kids. We played basketball and handclap games. I made a friend, Rena. He was as goofy as they come. Reminded me so much of Mr. Bean. John rolled his ankle playing basketball and limped off the court to the compound. I loved watching my peers fall in love with the Haitian people. I think there’s just something about mission trips where you fall in love with the people and the culture that you’re thrown into and unintentionally leave a piece of your heart there. I could see it happening from day 1 in Haiti.
We learned how the American native missionary and the Haitian missionary fell in love…they were on a mission trip the first time they met. They worked side by side for months doing the Lord’s work. Ashley & I talked about how we wanted that. We had lasagna, rice & beans, fried plantains, and fried chicken for supper. We quickly headed back to the church for youth service, which was very different from ours. It was kind of like a Christian talent show. There were dancers, singers, and skits. Although we couldn’t understand without a translator, love knows no boundaries, as Chris said. A laugh, a smile, a hug; love is known in every language.
There was a skit that I loved. Six youth members held hands representing the church. One would walk away saying “you don’t need me!” Then the whole group couldn’t talk. That person would come back and suddenly the entire group had their voice again. The next would walk away, and the group couldn’t see. That person came back and the group had sight. The next teen walked away and they all fell to their knees—they couldn’t walk! That person came back and they could stand again. It was a neat way to show that they all needed each other to function as a church body.
One thing that I am slowly learning is to have confidence in Christ. He’s so big and no matter what, he’s still going to love me. He could do powerful things for His kingdom through me. He could make my gifts/talents become eternally significant. I see it through everyone here. They’ll stand up and sing beautifully. Maybe not to the ears, but their song comes from the heart.
After we found our way back to the compound by flashlight, we all gathered around outside on the porch. God had painted the sky black with big flashes of lighting even though it wasn’t raining. We talked about the differences in churches in America and churches in Haiti, but apart from the differences we all came together to worship the one true God; creator of all things. It was a reminder of how big our God really is.
We took showers after the meeting. It was nice to get the sticky mix of bug spray and sunscreen off, but not so nice to learn that I’d forgotten my towel. After yelling for Ashley, she finally came to my rescue with a towel. In my scurry to find a towel, I’d messed with the water faucet. So when Ashley got ready to take a shower, it didn’t work. This time, Layla and I came to the rescue. It kind of went along with the skit that the kids did. We all mess up…all the time. We need each other for encouragement and to kick each other in the butt when we need it.
We were all settling down getting ready for bed when I saw a huge something run across the room. I screamed which made everyone else do the same. I explained to them that I didn’t know what it was, but I did know that it was bigger than a lizard. We all searched the room to find nothing. They all put it off deeming me to be crazy. Then we heard Katie scream as she jumped in the air. She’d seen the thing that was bigger than a lizard.
By this time, we’re all standing on top of our beds screaming and giggling at the situation. Niki ran out of the shower soap still all over her, but she was ready to kill this mysterious thing. About that time, a rat ran across the room, gliding it’s way through our line of sight, and right out our door. This rat was surely bigger than a lizard.
We hurriedly shut the door with a sigh of relief accompanied with lots of laughter. As we settled in our beds, I realized that there’s yet another reason why we need each other to function as a church body. Sometimes things can be stressful. But there’s always time to share a laugh in the unforgettable moments with God smiling down.