Ericlee's highlight of week 3 in Haiti was teaching a leadership conference for the men in the Pignon Church. Approximately, 12 men attended this three-day conference. Ericlee used notes from two books, How to be a Person of Influence and The Servant. He has used this material in the past but it was for the younger generation. This was the first time that he met with the older men in the church and they absolutely loved it. "I could see light bulbs coming on for every man there so I knew it was making a difference," says Ericlee. The top question of the three-day conference was, "How do we change Haiti?" The hard answer to that question is one person at a time. Leadership is influence and thus leaders must inspire others to follow rather than make others follow by using force.
Our last full workday in Haiti was Friday and our team worked on adding the final touches to the orphanage. A group of us finished off the girls' bedroom by painting the walls with a whimsical garden full of flowers and butterflies. Brandy and I also painted prayers translated in Kreyol to bless each bedroom.
Meilani was delighted to be included in the painting of the girls' room. Daddy took her up to the orphanage and helped her paint this giant "papyon" or butterfly. She was very careful to make it nice.
The boys' room had Jeremy Pusey's mural as the centerpiece and the prayers I had added. Stacie Gudgel had the idea to create these prayers and have them translated.
Meanwhile, Nathan Freeland and Ernie Partida and crew finished off the shelving in the storage rooms. All the door frames were put in, fixtures and switches added, rooms painted and most of the cement work finished on the second floor where the children will live. The ladies also finished organizing the storage closet in the house and the kitchen and pantry.
In the afternoon, we hosted our final Story Time for the kids. We started out with singing. One of the Haitian girls, Witza, helped us lead a few songs in Kreyol. When about 50 kids had gathered, I read a Haitian picture book called Painted Dreams by Karen Lynn Williams. Partway through the story, the rain began to beat down on the little church building so loudly the children could barely hear. We persevered and continued with the plans to read the story and then put together "salvation bracelets." At the end, Stacie shared her testimony using a canvas and paints. She prayed with the children and one little boy in particular, Jon, came to the front to accept Christ. We could all visibly see the change on his face knowing he had a Savior.
After the testimony time, we passed out animal crackers and lemonade. Soon the rain passed and the kids joined us in the church yard for games. They love jumping rope, playing ball and our team brought out Legos and nail polish for painting the little girls nails.
After Story Time, our team took one last walk through town. The air was considerably cooler after the rain. We had quite the entourage with our team, a group of the kids, some of our translators and others marching down the street with us. Brandy and I took this picture at the "broken well," one of the key landmarks used when giving out directions in Haiti. (We almost got attacked by a guy who thought we were there to take his picture. Good times!)
We spent a lot of time Friday night and Saturday morning giving things away to people - our clothes, extra flashlights, food and water bottles. Meilani joined in the giving spirit and decided to give away her favorite Dora doll. This little girl was so pleased.
Saying goodbye is always the hardest part about leaving Haiti. Meilani had to say goodbye to her good friends Taisha and Melissa, Peter's daughters. They had become good playmates after three weeks of hanging out every day. Giada will miss their loving arms too.
We will also miss Luinoise who helped care for Giada in addition to doing our team's laundry and helping with the meals. She gave Giada a little pair of Haitian shoes for our journey home. So generous.