Thursday, March 20, 2008

Haiti Trip: Team passes the halfway mark

This morning we were awakened by the now familiar sound of the 4 a.m. prayer meeting at the church next door and the roosters outside our window. We have fondly come to recognize the music of the black angels singing and ushering us into each new day.

We are beginning to feel the rhythm of Haiti.

Our team has made it past the halfway point of our trip and we are all lamenting how quickly the time is passing. We have experienced so many blessings these last seven days it’s hard to know what to focus on.

Stacie and Dorina just completed a three-day study for the young women of the church. This was a blessed time of sharing our testimonies and encouraging the women. We sang, prayed, studied the Bible and shared. We had an average of 25 women between the ages of 16 and 24. Today, we hosted a “bridal shower,” helping underscore that we are the “bride of Christ.” The women delighted in an activity dressing five of them as brides with wedding clothes made of toilet paper. (Sometimes the simplest things can be so creative and fun.) We also served peanut butter brownies, which we baked in a homemade oven at a nearby bread bakery. A few of the women shared what they learned in the last few days.

Forest, Ericlee and Clint are in the midst of hosting a Young Men’s Leadership Conference. They have had a powerful time of teaching about leadership, identity and purity. The men are very interested and asking insightful questions on these topics. They had an average of 23 men between the ages of 15 and 35. Their final session will be Friday morning.

On Wednesday, Stephanie Ridgeway, our church’s Coordinator of External Focus (Missions), arrived. She will be with us for this second half of our stay in Haiti. Last night Peter Costantin, the field director of Christian Friendship Ministries, took us for a bumpy truck ride out to a parcel of farm/garden property owned by his father. He unfolded for us his vision for this “field of dreams” to harvest the sugar cane and other valuable fruits and vegetables growing there, and eventually to build a Christian camp for young people. There is very little right now in Haiti designed for reaching out to the children. Peter’s vision is to invest in and build up the next generation of Christian leaders.

Meilani continues to drink in the Haitian culture. As we walk the streets, many locals joke that she must be Haitian or should stay here for good. Her skin has turned a beautiful bronze and she’s made good friends with a little girl named Witza (who was one of our youngest camp members when we came in 2001 – an amazing athlete). In church, she gathers up the children like a mother hen and passes out stickers and candy. Her eyes are filled with wonder as she explores this new land and people. (She’s also had lots of great bonding time with “Nama” or Grandma Chris.)

Our biggest joy has been reuniting with old friends and sharing our beloved Haiti with close friends and our church family. Please continue to pray for us as we travel and minister. A few on our team are struggling with the familiar “stomach issues.” (Yes, we’ll spare you the details on that.) Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

We wish you a blessed Good Friday and Easter Sunday! Think of us worshipping in this corner of the world with our extended Haitian family.

-continued blessings
-protection from spiritual warfare
-health (especially stomach issues)
-team unity
-vision (for how we can partner with the Haitians & Christian Friendship Ministries in the future)


Anonymous said...

I loved seeing the pics from Haiti and reading all that you and the team are doing there. Meilani looks like she is embracing the whole experience as always! We pray for each of you and all the requests for the remainder of your mission.
Don't know if you received our e-mail update about Cynthia from last night. She is off the respirator and today they took the feeding tube out so they can begin giving her Michelle's breast milk 1 t. at a time. The big news is Michelle was allowed to hold her for 40 minutes.
Love, Nana and Papa

The Growing VM Family said...

Thanks for taking us to Haiti with you. Praying God's blessing on your ministry and safe travels (especially today).

Love, Jen

Schultz Family said...

I love how you describe the 'rhythm of Haiti' life. It sounds beautiful, I we can't wait to reunite with you guys and hear about your wonderful adventures! We love you and have been praying for you :) See you soon!

zoobaloogle said...

What a great idea --the bridal shower for the bride of Christ.