Greetings to everyone from the beautiful, hot, glorious country of Haiti!
Day 4 started with our nearly 7:00 pancake breakfast (meals here are wonderful!). We then divided into 2 groups to participate in a couple of special ministries that Lifeline provides for Grand Goave. One group visited the tent cities and distributed peanut butter to the very needy & hungry people who are found there. The other group set out with hands full of “layettes,” which are bags full of supplies for new-born babies, such as clothes and diapers, which were distributed to mothers who had babies in the past 6 months. A few people then helped distribute food to and pray with the pregnant ladies in the area. After lunch, we participated in the infant nutrition program, where we provided food for growing hungry babies and prayed with the families.
We also did a lot of work on the Lifeline compound. Many students pulled weeds and did various types of yard work. Paul Wallace provided his plumbing skills to fix the washer & dryer, Scott Crawford did some electrical work on one of the light poles, and Nick, Scott & Jake Boodt did an awesome job of fixing a copier!
Next came the basketball game. Wow, what to say about that? The girls here at Lifeline just formed a team and started learning about basketball two weeks ago. And our girls, well, they are gifted in many areas… not sure if basketball is one of those gifts. 🙂 But it was definitely a fun, scrappy game to watch! The guys were involved in the most intense street basketball game I’ve seen in a long time. One of the Haitians is nicknamed Kobe–just to give you a visual. Our guys did a great job keeping up with them, and Fred can rest assured that his coaching skills stuck with Danny after all these years! They had a great time, and definitely “let” the Haitians win. You know, it’s their country and all…
Devotions tonight involved a wonderful discussion about learning to allow our hearts to break for the things that break the Lord’s heart. What burdens us for His Kingdom? The students are definitely being stretched, and the Lord is working in mighty ways on their hearts to show them a larger picture of His Kingdom, other than the one they see in suburban Indianapolis. As their hearts are breaking, we can see the Lord stepping in to repair those hearts for His glory. I’m excited to see where He takes each of them in their lives!
That’s a summary of the day. But I would also like to give some reflection (stay with me). We all saw the news after the earthquake & have heard about the tent cities set up all over Haiti, but today was a day to actually live, breathe, and experience that hardship. As we walked through one tent city (I say one because there are hundreds of them around), a few of us stopped to stick our heads inside a tent. As I sit here on this computer, feeling the sweat on my back even after the sun has gone down, I know that I will sleep tonight in an uncomfortable 80 degrees, and I feel a grumble coming on. But I can’t even begin to describe the intense heat that emanated from that tent. The only comparison is the feeling I get when I open the door to my oven and feel the rush of heat so strong & intense that it makes me eyes water. As I grumble about the heat, I also know that I have a fan by my bed, ice-cold clean water at my disposal, and a cool shower. These people have nowhere to go for relief. That is their life. Every day. Talk about having your heart-break for God’s people! When Christ spoke about caring for the poor, the widows, the orphans, the hungry, He wasn’t speaking metaphorically. This has to be what He meant. These people are all of those things, and we were faced with the reality of our place in life as wealthy Christians in relation to the poorest of the poor. There is no way to have that experience and come away unmoved. It is one thing to see the news of a huge devastating event, and feel sadness for the victims. It is an entirely different feeling to look the victim in the eye and know that he or she is a child of God that is in desperate need of help. But where do we begin? I pray that God will work in each of the 26 lives here and show us ways to live out His commandments to love our neighbors, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked.
I am so appreciative of the way that Lifeline has organized our trip for us so that the students have an opportunity to participate in so many of the different ministries provided here in Haiti. They are getting the chance to see what it’s like to plant a mission in a community, then reach out in so many ways that transform the community in the name of Jesus. The apostle Paul spread the Gospel in the early church by planting churches within cities, then allowing those cities to minister to their own people. It’s been awesome to see Lifeline use the Haitian people and the Haitian culture to win Haitians to Christ. And our students have the privilege of being a small part of that.
I can’t say enough about how incredible this group of students is. They have showing leadership skills, hard work, teamwork, and love in so many wonderful ways! I haven’t heard any whining, complaining, and have not seen any disputes between students. I have marveled at their willingness to jump in there and do whatever is asked of them! They are all using the spiritual gifts God has given them to work as a team for His glory. To all the parents reading this… thank you for trusting us with your precious child and allowing us to be blessed by having them here this week. I have truly enjoyed the time spent with all of them.
Sorry for such a long post! As most of you probably know by now, I tend to be slightly verbose! 😉 We thank you for your continued prayers as we head into the last half of our time here! Please continue to pray for continued strength as we tire, continued good health as we push our bodies harder than we are used to, and continued joy in our hearts.
Love to you all,