Another fun day in the Haitian sun. Today was the most physically demanding day that we have had…..guess we saved the best for last. After breakfast at the guest house we traveled to the church to finish the projects for this trip. Today was unusual in that this was the only day since we have been here that we didn’t have a breeze to help keep us cool. The morning was full of painting and touch up work on the school. The final coat of the chocolate paint and the finishing touches of the pink took most of the morning. I also was asked to sit in with Pastor Harry on a job interview for a 5th grade teacher for the school this morning. It was fun to be part of that process.
Have you ever had people just stop to watch you??? We had a multitude of children stop by and watch us work this morning. It was quite funny. They would walk beside us and simply watch us paint. I guess they found it interesting and exciting to watch some foreigners doing manual labor. They never offered to help, never said a word to us or anyone else, never offered to do anything…..they simply stood there and watched….hahaha
For lunch, Pastor Harry’s wife made us a Haitian stew. It was awesome!!! I truly believe that one of the quickest ways to start to understand another culture is to experience it’s food. Food is more than nourishment for the body…..food binds us together, it creates discussion, it breaks down walls, it shares history, experience and life. Did I say the stew was awesome?!?!
For the afternoon we cleaned the grounds and moved all the clean benches back in the school. It’s was really hot and required us to take several breaks throughout the day, but what a great day. Pastor Harry was extremely grateful for all the hard work from the team. This was a fun and extremely hard working team. Tomorrow we head to the airport in hopes of sleeping in our own beds tomorrow night. We will see:)
Pastor Brent here. Well, another great day in paradise! We got an early start this morning leaving the guest house at 7:45. We arrived at the church and got right to work. Kenny had to leave around 10:30 to catch his flight back to the states, but before he left we had more good conversation and planning for the new school year with Pastor Harry. The new school year is shaping up to be very exciting. As of now, all but one of the teachers is returning, which is great news! By the time we leave Saturday the school will be just about ready for students.
During the morning, Ashley and I painted the inside and outside wall bases a chocolate color while Daniel, Mr Charles and Kenny (while he was here) ripped lumber and repaired several school benches for the children. All the hard work was followed by some great chicken with rice, plantains and some vegetables. After lunch we took all the school benches, cleaned and dried them and finished a little cleanup around the church.
It was a good day, it was a tiring day, it’s was a great day to see God at work in this community. We had more help from some of the school and church leadership, which is very encouraging to see and be a part of. Although we speak a different language, we work beside each other, praising God together, honoring God together and building the Kingdom together. Our prayer over the school and each bench that was repaired and cleaned is that God would work in a mighty way to raise Godly, spiritual leaders out of these children that will change the world for Him. What an awesome opportunity to be a small part of what our huge God is doing!
It’s funny how a little break from the action can really rest the soul, mind and body. I should try that more often down here. We rented a van to go up to the mountains with the team and Harry. The destination was the Haiti Baptist Mission founded around 1947. An incredible drive and a beautiful area. It is due south of Port au Prince way up at the top of a mountain range in an area called Fermathe. The temps are at least 20 degrees lower up there so it was a nice change from the hot, hot heat down in Tabarre. Starting tomorrow the team will be lead by Pastor Brent and they will do some final touches around the school and help Pastor Harry with some things that need to be done at the church. I will return eraly to attend to some personal stuff. I am so fortunate to have Brent as part of GMSM. He is a seasoned vet in the mission field and very comfortable with team work. Plus Brent and Daniel both know the game down here. Harry will also guide them every step of the way. I’ve never been in a position to have some one take the helm and I am excited for them. Over the years we have gotten the situation so dialed in down here that we have many people looking after us. The whole team is comfortable with the change and it allows me a certain freedom that I have not had in the past. I would not leave this in any other hands but Brent Allen. Please continue to pray for the team as they approach the last two days. They are a wonderful team. God always gives us good teams to work with and it makes a big differance on how the trip goes. Brent will be the guest blogger and picture taker for the next two days. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Strange day in Haiti today. Once again the team worked great and the Haitian help came out strong. They completed the third and final coat by lunch. I say they because I spent the entire day putting out fires with Harry and the school director Myrva. I’m not sure I accomplished much on my end but at least the school is pink. There will be some other touch up painting to do on Friday and I’m hoping the Lord will fill in the next two days for us. I had no idea that we would have the extra help come to paint. A blessing I’m sure but it knocked us out of work. I’m sure God has His plan. I will say I think Ashley gets the MVP award for the best all around hard worker. Haiti always seems to be a place where what you see is not always what you get. It can be tough to navigate physically and spiritually through all the unknowns. There can also be many disappointments. I should be used to it but apparently I’m not. We have to continue to pray that God has us right where he wants us and that we have to continually gave this ministry to Him. I think I will take the team up to the Baptist Mission tomorrow for some R&R, it will be fun. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
We got brushes and rollers wet today. God gave us an incredible day to paint. Nice cool wind, clear skies and great fellowship. One thing I can tell you for sure is Daniels 13 year old daughter Ashley worked like crazy today. She must really like painting because she picked up all the slack for us slackers. Something else so cool was we had about 10 people show up to help us paint the school. It was such a blessing to see folks come out and be a part of what we were doing. They too worked so hard today. We had four of our school staff, two of Harrys cousins, several church members and one of our students help out. I really thought we would be tight on time to finish the three coat process in our week here but we got two coats inside and outside of the school today. We will paint the third coat tomorrow. We will finish with no problem which means we will have to find some other stuff to do to keep the team going. We will be able to have some free time soHarry and I can show them some local stuff. I never anticipated the help we got today. That’s a great testimony to the kind of leader Harry is to his church and community. People really to respect him and that to is a cool testimony to his Christian walk. We bought lunch for all the workers and ourselves and after we all chowed down we got back to it. Totally amazing how much work got done today. I don’t know why it surprises me when Gods hand is in it. We got back to the guest house showered and had another fabulous meal at Mon Chez Moi guest house. Sem the owner is so kind to me and our teams. He really takes good care of us. We are so blessed to have Harry and Sem here in Haiti. They make life easy for us in a very hard country. I say this all the time, without Harry we would be totally lost here in Haiti. What a blessing and dear friend he is. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
As I sit here to write this I realize I’ve made a terrible mistake. I left my adaptor for my camera memory stick that fits the iPad at home. I am freaking out at the possibility of not being able to send pics with the blogs. The pics yesterday came from saved pictures I already had. I have plenty of pics from church today but have no way to send them. BUMMER !!!! I will post the church pics later when I get home. The rest of the trip I will use the iPad to take pictures and we should be ok. Anyway it was a good day at the church and all though the services are long and hot, I think the team enjoyed it. We saw Harrys wife and daughter and visited with the congregation. We all shared a word of encouragement with the church at Harrys request. Once church was over we went to my favorite hole in the wall restaurant. Cheap but great food. We took Harrys family with us and really did enjoy the fellowship. From there it was back to the guest house for chill time. Tomorrow we paint. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. It feels like way to long since I’ve been back in Haiti. The last trip down and was a short trip so I am very excited to be in my second home with my second family. Like all trips down here, this will be special. The team will be painting our school. For many years the walls were just concrete and cinder block. GMSM finally was able to come up with the funds to plaster the walls inside and outside of the school. The Haitian workers along with Pastor Harry have worked very hard the last three weeks to make sure the walls were ready for the team. The team is represented by two local churches in the panhandle. From First Baptist Church of Fort Walton Beach, FL is Charles Wimberly and myself. Charles and I have been serving together for many years in the mission fields both stateside and international. I went to Madagascar with him on my very first mission trip. The trip that totally changed my life.The second church is First Baptist Church of Gulf Breeze, FL. They are represented by Brent Allen, Daniel Johnston and Ashley Johnston. This is the second trip to Haiti with GMSM for both Brent and Daniel. Brent also serves on the board for GMSM. As always Harry was on time to meet us at the airport and Sem drove us to our watering hole for the week. Sem has such a nice guest house and he treats us very good. We had our first killer meal here and all went to bed early. Tomorrow we will go to worship at Harrys church. I am looking forward to the fellowship.