We had a wonderful time in Haiti! Our team was amazing: 16 small-church-Presbyterians, 7 big-church-Baptists, 4 Haitian Christian leaders. Ages ranged from 12 to 70+. With all our differences we had amazing unity. God put each person on the team for specific purposes that became evident throughout the week. We also had a lot of fun together! Our team back home was even more extensive with friends praying, funding, sewing (curtains for the orphanage!), getting supplies, and helping prepare crafts. It was truly a team effort from the beginning.
We served 400+ children in 2 schools and an orphanage. We worshiped in a village church. The guys in our team built a big chicken coop for 1000 chickens. The profits from the chickens will provide sustainable financial income for the ministry of OM Haiti.
The women on the team planned and prepared some of the crafts for the school and orphanage. When we arrived in Haiti, we found out that an additional school had been added to the itinerary. We panicked a bit, realizing our carefully planned crafts were going to have to stretch to an additional 150 children! With some creativity, rationing, and a lot of flexibility–everything worked out and we even had plenty of supplies left over to donate to the various locations.
One of our lessons was based on Ephesians 4:16. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. We made bracelets to illustrate the verse (we are like the beads, Jesus is like the string!) We also had the children each decorate a popsicle stick and we glued them together into big art pieces to illustrate how important each child is in God’s big picture.
We also shared Matthew 6:25-26 from The Jesus Story Bible. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
We had popsicle stick frames for them to draw how God cares for the birds, flowers, and for them. It was amazing to see how excited they were to have markers to draw with and a piece of their own art to take home or hang up in their classroom. They simply do not have these basic supplies in their own schools or homes. They were so intent on their projects and so proud of the finished product.
The “unplanned” school was part of God’s plan. While the Merceron school and the orphanage had decent buildings, this school was quite primitive. Half of the “classrooms” are simply tin roofs with chalkboards and tarp walls with rocky dirt floors. We found out that this school serves the poorest children in the neighborhood. But the property is rented, and the landlords want to sell it. The school will have to close this June if they cannot purchase the property, which they cannot afford. The children and teachers have been praying each day for God to open doors for them for their future. Join us in praying with them!
Below are photos of the second “unplanned” school we visited. The top is their playground! Lots of rocks and there is even a chained (barking) dog by the shed?! But the kids still had a blast playing ball and running all over the place. The backpacks are hanging up in the “hallway.” Next to it is the classroom with a tin roof and only chalkboards and tarps for walls. The floor was rough gravel and dirt. But the kids are so eager to learn, and the teachers are obviously dedicated. Everyone seemed grateful to be there.