Bonjou Faithful Friends & Family,
I know many of you have been keeping up with us on a daily basis through Facebook (Dorina Lazo Gilmore) and our family blog (www.AlohaGilmores.blogspot.com). However, I know we all have busy lives and sometimes a quick summary is helpful . We have been in Haiti for a week now. I wish I had time and good internet connection to write more often but the truth is each day has been brimming with so much to do and see.
We arrived safely last Friday despite the horrible rains that have been inundating Haiti and causing flooding.
Our Haitian Director Peter was en route to pick us up from the airport but his truck broke down in a particularly muddy area. We appreciate your prayers because we know these helped us navigate the airport rather easily and quickly find our designated ride who took us to a nearby guest house to wait for Peter. Using a borrowed truck, Peter did finally arrive in the evening. We ended up spending Saturday and Sunday in Port Au Prince as we waited for the truck to be fixed. Over the years we have spent little time in Port Au Prince.
We usually head straight for the mountain town of Pignon. Although we were anxious to get to our new home, this time in the capital city was beneficial. We were able to make some connections with some other people working in Haiti (particularly in sports ministry and fair trade handicrafts). We also saw a whole new world full of contrasts: tent cities, rubble from buildings fallen during the earthquake next to huge, modern grocery and furniture stores.
On Sunday, we headed for Pignon in the fixed truck. The first part of our ride was fairly smooth sailing on the paved road, which reaches to Hinche. After that, it was Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride as we bump-bumped through the mud and rocks made even more difficult by the storm. We did finally arrive and we were happy to be greeted by many familiar faces just as church was letting out. Unfortunately, Ericlee and Peter had to turn around and leave Monday morning to return to PAP to pick up the new truck we bought.
I have to take a moment to praise God for His provision of this new truck, which we will use while we are here and will bless the ministry when we are gone. This was a major piece of our personal fundraising started back last September. We are so grateful for so many of you who have given along the way, even run a half marathon to raise dollars and have prayed us through this need. We are blessed to report that the final $4,500 we needed came in just days before we arrived in Haiti. Our God is never late!
The transition to now living in Pignon has been hard for us. We generally come to Haiti for a week or two at a time. We approach our time here like an exciting backpacking trip. The inconveniences are a novelty and the challenges have an endpoint because we know we will be going home soon. That’s not the case this time. Our week has been full of growing pains as we learn to lather our kids in bug spray every few hours, teach them to bathe and keep their mouths closed so as not to swallow unfiltered water, learn to negotiate the money exchange and set up phone/internet here in the house. The humidity is exhausting and we find our sleep at night is often restless. We share these hardships so you can know how to pray for us more specifically.
Each afternoon we have a Kreyol language lesson with two young leaders from the church. They are eager to teach and learn some English in the process. How grateful we are for this one-one-one time with them. Our brains are spinning as we try to absorb a new language as quickly as we can so we can communicate more effectively.
We continue to covet your prayers as we discover more of God’s purpose for us here in Haiti for these first three months. The needs abound in every corner and our desire is to stay focused on what God has for us. These few weeks we are visiting the schools and churches and offering a listening ear to many Haitians to hear their needs and dreams. We are encouraged by how much we have learned even in one short week about how things work here and ways we might support our Haitian partners in the future. We are looking forward to two teams coming from Fresno during early July. Our role will then be as host family for our American friends and family.
We think of you often. Thanks to all who have been encouraging us through text messages and e-mails.
Please let us know how we can be praying for you!
In His Grip,
Ericlee, Dorina, Meilani, Giada & baby Girl Gilmore