Friday, July 17, 2009

Haiti Update #3: Sports Camp continues, Team explores Pignon

Wednesday, July 15

Tonight we were invited to Savanette to one of the small churches that is part of the ministry here. They do not usually meet on Wednesday nights but they pulled together a service to meet us and invited us to share our testimonies with the church people.

Of course, we, “the missionaries,” received the double blessing in this situation as we heard their incredible *acapella* singing and their spiritual faithfulness through scripture reciting. These Haitian Christians are like angels singing their wholehearted worship to the heavens. The language barrier did not matter to any of us when the music poured from their mouths to honor God.

Jenny, Cooper and Doug shared their testimonies. Ericlee encouraged the people with the story of Elijah. Phil shared his own personal connections to the ministry and the way he was privileged to give money to the ministry even when he was a little boy through Uncle Pete, the brother of Oran & Arshaloos Bell.

My personal highlight was the chance to share a few tuna sandwiches with some naked Haitian kids who were hanging out in the dark street. My heart swells at the chance to give just a little bit of food to these little orphans. I will always remember the one little boy who ran to take his sandwich and then strutted his bare bum down the street with pride that he had food to eat that night. Tears wet my eyes just thinking about these precious little ones. If only I could feed and clothe every hungry child in Haiti! God humbled me again as I was reminded of just how much my family has been given in the United States.

Thursday, July 16

How quickly our week has flown by! It’s been such a joy to watch as our team has fallen in love with the children and country of Haiti. Again I am blessed by the way God perfectly orchestrated this team. We represent many families and in five short days we have become a family to each other. Each team member is also very gifted and the synergy created by this group working together is exciting to see.

Ericlee brings his leadership, experience and love for the Haitians. Phil adds his humor and gift for making quick friends. Stacey brings her sarcasm and somehow encourages everyone she meets. Cooper has befriended many of the young teens and has the little kids mesmerized. Jeremy’s quiet spirit but hard work has helped him win the hearts of many of the campers and even a random baby girl who chased him all the way down the street to hug his tall “blanc” legs.

Jenny has taken over the job of photographing and filming the work we are doing. Debbi has persevered through some sickness and remains a constant encourager. Her heart of mercy has been so important as we serve the kids snacks and drinks each day. Maria has proved herself a dynamic storyteller each afternoon as the Haitian children continue to come day after day to listen to the stories. She has really played an important role watching the Gilmore girls while the rest of us are working at the camp in the mornings. Doug’s organization skills have been put to work as he coaches soccer, helps organize the final championship and even does the dishes each night.

We have now completed four days of the sports camp for the Haitian children. Admittedly, each day is tiring. Two hours in the hot Haitian sun wears on us Americans but we are so excited to go out and see the kids. Our coaching groups have each seen all four of the groups of campers twice and we all have our personal favorites.

Each day we open with a devotion and close with a devotion time. We are teaching the kids athletic values and spiritual values. Some of the devotion themes have been Perseverance, Passion, Humility, Discipline, Courage and Growth.

Our team experienced many highlights in the last few days. A few mentioned around the table this evening during our team time included:

Debbi was blessed by a walk around the town of Pignon, visiting the homes of our friends like Gerby, Walquis and their wives, as well as meeting Walquis’s parents and praying for a woman from the church who is sick. We also took time to pray with

Betsy, the little girl from our Sports Camp who broke her arm the other day. She’s wearing a cast and a smile so we hope she’s on the way to recovery.

Stacey has been blessed by watching her son, Cooper, on his first real mission trip and the way he quickly crosses the language barrier and wins over the young people. He has a gift for helping people understand him and making them feel loved.

Maria enjoyed witnessing how responsive the children have been during the afternoon story times. She had the opportunity to pray the salvation prayer with the 75-some children who attended.

Doug was thrilled to coach the teams in soccer and especially noted how this was the first time many of the girls had a chance to shine as athletes. He was so impressed watching the teams play and the girls sometimes beating the guys.
Phil mentioned his highlight was meeting with the laypreachers, a group of older men who gather every Thursday to study the Bible together. These leaders then travel to the outstations or smaller villages across the hills, sharing the gospel and encouraging Christians they know. They invited us to their meeting and encouraged us as we were able to encourage them.

Jenny was touched by the generosity of the Haitians. She mentioned to Peter that she would like to buy a coke somewhere. He promptly sent one of the Haitian boys down the road and he brought back a whole case of ice-cold bottles of soda to share with us.

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