The doors of the one-room church/ school are swung open and the kids start pouring in. The Haitian leaders go looking for more benches. They narrow the aisles, even bring some kids on stage so they can sing, learn Bible verses and hear the message. Within an hour some 500 kids line the walls of the church. Someone on our team jokes that the fire marshal wouldn't be happy.
The kids start to belt out some of the old Vacation Bible School tunes. There's a song about Daniel, Jonas, familiar Bible stories in American and Haitian circles. The kids light as they sing about the "joy, joy, joy down in my heart."
Pastor Mele unwraps the Bible story of Mary and Joseph for the kids. As we focus on the Fruit of the Spirit, the kids learn about joy and peace as exemplified through this brave couple. Pastor's voice rises and falls in a call and response song. Fifteen little heads bow and ask Jezi to come live in their hearts.
The mud from yesterday's tropical rain presents a problem especially for the Games group. Kids trudge through and their little shoes grow heavy with caked mud. The space for play is limited. A soccer tournament is out of the question so we quickly improvise with a version of Hot Potato passing a soccer ball. The kids slowly catch on. Smiles spread like wildfire.
The team learns to be flexible in chaos. Our goal is to work with the Haitian leaders and translators - not to run the show. Some 24 leaders have gathered from two Haitian churches to make it happen.