First of all we would all like to say sorry for the delay, things have been a little crazy around here! Chris, Rachel and I learned many lessons on our little side-track route, emphasizing the fact that the mission doesn't start at the destination. The mission begins from the moment you make the decision to follow where God has called you, hopefully touching and inspiring others in your path. The detour in Miami wasn't in the plan, but who are we to think we would be able to comprehend and have any control over God's ultimate plan? As frustrating as it may be, we just have to have faith and closure in the unknowing, which is kind of exciting! We definitely made the best of it!
Turning the control of your life over to God can be hard. We can feel tempted to control our own situation, the way we think it should be or what we're used to, even though we know we have no real say anyway. It's something I try to turn over to God on a daily basis, but when you actually feel no sense of control for yourself or your situation, it's called blind-faith. That's what we chose to name our experience in the Port-Au-Prince Airport yesterday. Through hundreds of people we were pushed and grabbed at, being told at times to follow and at others to stay. Keep in mind the language barrier, and how very different Creole is from English. We had no idea where we were going, who we were supposed to be looking for, or what anybody was saying. I can't fully describe the feeling, but how we managed to meet someone from Healing Haiti, after an hour of being mislead and uncertain, was all due to blind-faith. After getting in the pick-up truck, we were given what seemed like a hundred mile-per-hour tour of the city, as cars, trucks and motorcycles weaved in and out of each other as I can only describe as organized chaos. We laughed hysterically as we snapped as many pictures as we could (soon to come). There seem to be absolutely no laws pertaining to driving, as people are stuffed in the back of pick-up trucks, hanging off the back, and stacked on top of motorcycles. We passed dozens of men and women carrying a variety of objects casually on their head, from blocks of ice to baskets of fruit. The "roads" are completely destroyed and better described as large boulders, holes and gravel thrown together in an unfathomable transportation arrangement. We saw people of all ages along every street, next to stands where they sold whatever they had to offer. After what seemed like days, we were reunited with our beautiful group who had spent the day offering their services through "water therapy" for children with special needs, and basic care for children at the Home for Sick and Dying. We re-grouped with an extended dinner, devotional, and preparation for the next few days of Sports Camp at Grace Village.
Today was the first day of camp, and we all shared feelings of excitement and apprehension. Driving through the country, seeing people living their daily life in suffering was heart-breaking, and overwhelming. It's difficult to see so many people in such great need, but know that there's only so much a single individual can do at one time. That feeling of helplessness quickly adjusted to inspiration as we pulled up to Grace Village Orphanage. You could hardly get out of the "tap-tap" (our super cool transportation device) without having a child cling to your arm or hold your hand. They weren't looking at our differences, they already loved us without even knowing us. The sports camp begun immediately with dancing and worship. The village Pastor Wesley lead in praise as both American and Haitian voices followed together, in both languages - it was beautiful. After that we distributed shirts to represent age groups, and the activities began! Skateboarding was a major hit, since these children had never seen anything like it. They were in utter amazement, and it was so great to see their desire to learn. Dancing was a success with girls of all ages, who dressed up in tutu's and sparkles, learning some of our dance moves, and teaching some of their own. We had stations for pre-schoolers and kindergardeners, who were fascinated by chalk and bubbles. As well as other sport demos like baseball and kite-flying! Children of all ages (ranging from a couple months to 19 years) were so happy to meet us, learn our name, and hug us - even though we never got to carry out a full conversation. The pure joy and love these children have completely engulfs you, and I only wish I could bring as much positive perspective into their life as they're bringing into mine.
It was time to go, and we all said our hard good-byes to the kids, promising we'd see them tomorrow, when we looked down to see our Tap-Tap had a flat tire (not very shocking considering the road situation). The point we chose to focus on was that this flat tire could have happened anywhere, but it happened here at the Grave Village Orphanage and of course we didn't hesitate to take the opportunity to spend more time with the kids! So we went back to hair-braiding, soccer playing, and ukulele worship singing. A little while later, a group of us was asked to assist Healing Haiti in repairing a local hut and help distribute food to sick and dying elders in the area. Driving up through the huts made of tarp and sticks was a hard sight, but we knew as a team that we'd have to hold it together, show respect, and help with whatever needed to be done. The home was roughly 4'x6', dirt floor, a wooden crate for a single bed, and literally falling apart at the seams. The "family" included an extremely elderly woman, and two young boys. The boys were probably 4 and 6 years old, wearing dirty, holy clothes, and swarmed by flies. Although, that didn't effect their naturally gorgeous skin and eyes. You could see that this elderly woman, who should be taken care of due to her age and physical condition, was solely responsible for these two young boys. It was incredibly painful to see, but she looked so peaceful and grateful as she wept. We held her hands and prayed over her, wishing we didn't have to leave her in these seemingly unfair conditions.
It was a quite ride back from the village in the Tap-tap as we took time to reflect, we were all exhausted mentally and physically. I can't say how grateful I am to be here, and for this amazing team I'm lucky enough to be a part of. Devotionals at the end of the day have been one of my favorite parts, as we all get a chance to vulnerably speak about what meant the most to us individually throughout the day. I'm inspired and encouraged for the days to come! Thank you all again for your support!