Thursday, March 17, 2016

Haiti 2016 - Day 5

Sunday in Haiti.

Church Day!! 

I cannot put into words how blessed I was to worship the Lord among our brothers and sisters in Haiti! Truly. It was AWESOME! 

One song they sing that I can actually pick up on is "How Great Thou Art", I loved being able to sing along in English while they were singing in Creole. I can't begin to imagine what heaven is going to be like but I can't help but wonder if every tribe and nation will ever sing in their own tongue worship to our God. What a glorious sound that would be. 

Tim had the privilege of preaching. It went better than I expected. I don't think I've ever really heard an entire sermon translated line by line, but this was not Lavaud's first time, and it seemed to go well. 
Tim spoke on the Faithfulness of God. 

Dienaylo've found me after the service, which was an extra special moment for me. I loved spending any time I could with her. 

After the children from the orphanage left, we went upstairs and had lunch. 

Following lunch, Lavaud took us sight seeing to a waterfall. No work is allowed on Sundays so sightseeing was a much better option than just sitting around all day. 

Once we got to the waterfall area, a large crowd of people gathered offering to be our "guides" on the trails to the cave. Lavaud selected two guides. The people there are so desperate to get money they will often times attempt to provide you "services" that you don't need or didn't ask for and then expect some form of payment. 

While I would love to just pay everyone, you simply can't. Honestly, there are just too many of them, and by even trying to do that, you'd put yourself at risk.

Regardless of the fact that Lavaud had been very clear that he would only be paying two guides we had a crowd of "guides" attempting to help us (especially) the ladies as we hiked the short way to the cave. 

At one point one of the men had grabbed my arm and was "walking me" along the trail. I told him "No, De (two)" and I pointed to our guides, trying to tell him we already had two guides (he knew), he didn't let go. I pulled my arm away and rushed up ahead a few feet where Shaun was walking ahead of me. I grabbed Shaun's arm. I think I startled him because he jumped and said "What?!?" (Apparently it's not typical of me to walk up behind one of my best friend's husband and grab his arm). I said "I need your arm! Just go with it." 

(Side note: Tim was no where to be found, he clearly would have been my first choice --- but this was typical in Haiti for me. I cannot tell you how many times I asked "Where's Tim?" and no one seemed to know. He was usually with Lavaud or Jerry off "learning something" somewhere but rarely was he where I thought he was.) 

The caves were beautiful.

(This is Juninho, he was the son of one of the women who worked in the kitchen at the compound so he was around most of the week. Him and Monica became very close, and he was able to join us on our outing out to the falls.)  

We stopped at a smaller "cave" where we took pictures.

Tim, who had apparently been off "learning" somewhere, told me later that it was actually a voodoo cave where they perform ceremonies, there was a bunch of wax from the candles they use inside of the opening.... I had no idea. 

The large cave had ancient carvings on the wall, which was really neat to see.

There were also bats, which thankfully were high enough up that I could barely see them unless Isaiah would point them out to me as they flew across. 

After walking back down, the boys (I mean men) started a "little" rock throwing contest.

It was in these moments I realized how competitive Lavaud was. 

Lavaud is an amazing man. He works tirelessly to serve the people of Haiti and to bring glory to God. He is giving and kind. He is a leader. 

He can be serious when he needs to be. He is wise. And he's one of the most joyful people I think I've ever met.

His smile is contagious and his laughter is infectious. And he is most certainly competitive :) 

In the end, I believe it was Isaiah who won the rock skipping contest with Lavaud in second place. 

Danielle and I were the judges.... I'm not going to lie, judging wasn't easy, but we did our best to be consistent (it's hard counting the little skips at the end).

Driving out to the waterfall we were able to see a lot more countryside and the more rural living conditions. 

It was beautiful scenery, the hills were breathtaking. There obviously weren't as many people and the conditions in some ways seemed better and in other ways seemed worse. 

We stopped on our way back when Lavaud saw a pile of wood that he wanted to buy. As he was off talking to the man who owned the wood two young boys walked up to where we were sitting. Unlike the kids in the city, they said nothing, they just looked at us. Monica had a couple pieces of candy so she reached down and handed them each a piece. 

The older boy opened his tootsie roll and put it in his mouth. The younger boy, I'm not sure, had ever had candy before. He had a hard time figuring out the wrapper and it was only after looking at the older boy did he put it in his mouth. After they both chewed on their (different flavor) tootsie rolls for a few seconds, they took the candy out of their mouths and switched with each other. 

Neither boy ever said a word. 
Neither boy ever smiled.

They just stood there. 
Looking at us. 

It broke my heart. 
I don't exactly know why, but those two boys, especially the younger one, have stuck with me in a big way. 
I cried as we drove off, looking at their sweet little eyes and solemn faces, I don't think I will ever forget them. 

Once we got back to Hinche the guys decided they wanted to head to the playground area. We were hoping and praying to get the play set sometime Monday and they wanted to make sure they were completely ready. The ladies decided to pack up a few family bags and do some home visits with Pastor Lavaud around the Rhode school. We had 12 family bags left. 

Once we got to the area the we were all amazed at what we found.... most of the holes were already dug. The older gentlemen who is the custodian for the orphanage had done the work! 

There was a little bit of work that still needed to be done so the guys stuck around to do that while Lavaud and the women started visiting homes. 

It was nice walking through Rhode with Lavaud because he was able to explain and talk us through a lot more of the area. We learned a lot in the little bit of time we had. 

(This is a traditional toilet, Lavaud had just had a 6 family latrine built for this area - it is the blue building you see in the picture above this one. It hadn't been dedicated yet so it wasn't in use yet but it was a nice private area and I am sure it will bless those families who are able to use it.) 

(The Simon family, both mom and dad sing in the choir at church. We visited this family twice because their son Gavenson is also sponsored through the student sponsorship program. They were truly a sweet and sincere family that loves the Lord. 

Our goal was to visit 12 homes with the bags that we had, but the sun was going down and the darker it got, the more of a crowd we seemed to attract. It was getting difficult to move about and in some ways a little more frightening. 

At one point the guys pulled up with the truck and that was our cue to leave. I think we had made it to 4 homes. 

The home visits were always humbling and eye opening. I loved getting to know the families that lived in the Rhode area as well as the families that send their kids to the Rhode school. To go to some place like Haiti is great, but to actually make personal contact and to look into the faces of the people we've been praying for for so long was something that touched my heart in a really big way. 

It's amazing to see on a larger scale what it really means that God is able to see, and know all things, of all people, in all places. Being so far away from home and realizing how different life is in Haiti (and in other parts around the world) and yet knowing that God is as fully present there as He is here is incredibly humbling and brings me to a place of awe. 

I've always known that God is sovereign and omniscient and omnipresent and all of those things, but being in Haiti and meeting these people opened my eyes to a glimpse of what that actually means and it is.... humbling and also revealing of the greatness of our God. 

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