You won’t see many pictures on this post if any at all. If you are friends with me, personally on Facebook then you might see a few that others have tagged me in but other than that, neh. God did something in me soul Sunday when we went to Po Plume, Haiti for church. It wasn’t the living conditions we saw, it wasn’t the babies without clothes on. It had nothing to do with the simplicity of life that I saw. It was the feeling that I was intruding on their lives by being there. Not because of anything said, body language or anything like that. They were VERY welcoming. I just couldn’t bring myself to take pictures of them and their homes/village. I am just not sure how I would feel if someone came into my church, into my town, went to my kid’s school (provided they went to public education) and just took pictures of my and my things. It has been very hard for me to get my camera out since that day. Maybe it’s my own hang ups but I’d rather keep my memories in my head and try my best to explain what I saw and experienced, and fail miserably, than to make someone feel like they are just a clown in the circus that a white person wants to take a picture of. I never want to walk away from someone leaving them feeling like I am better than they or that they are a specimen for my viewing pleasure. Maybe that doesn’t make sense to you but that’s where I am right now.
So, let’s talk about Sunday, June 15. Father’s Day! We got up at 6am and had to have breakfast eaten, church clothes on and ready to head over to Haiti by 8am.
This is the vehicle we piled in the back of to make the dirt road voyage on. We have 17 people with us, the other team from Florida who’s here has 12 I think. That’s 29 people. I realize you can’t accurately determine the size of this vehicle but I questioned how all of us would fit on here. All but 4 did. That’s 25 people, sitting on two benches, rumbling down the road to Haiti.
It was an experience. Right before and after we cross the Haitian boarder, we came across low lying trees and really tall brush. That is the very reason for the cage-like appearance of the back of this truck. I can’t tell you how many times I was whipped in the rear from branches going past between the seat back and the seat. I swear they must have had RADAR for that specific space. As those branches would cross the cage where our backs and heads were, it sounded like a xylophone. We weren’t always going super slow either so naturally branches, leaves and bugs, specifically spiders and little grasshopper type bugs, would fall down from those branches and twigs down onto us. Most of that ride was spent smacking each other to get bugs and whatever else off of each other. Laughter, excitement for what’s to come, anticipation.
We pulled up to the one room church and John, the full time missionary told us that they were just finishing up Sunday school. It is much different than we do Sunday School in the States. They meet as a church and study God’s word together. Infants, women, children, men. Everyone is there in the church building studying together. Some of the kids are outside playing with rocks and dirt, but for the most part all are in attendance. Remember I said 4 didn’t fit into the cage truck as I affectionately call it? In the back of their pick up truck, they had white patio style chairs in there for us to sit in during the service. Once Sunday school was dismissed we helped set them up in the back of the church and had a seat to listen to the music and sermon. As I sat there and listened to the flood of music made by a drum, accordion and something else, voices of all aged people…I just prayed and asked God to keep me in that moment forever. This church was a concrete structure, one of two of them in the bate (village) the other being a school which Chadasha (the organization we are serving with) helped to fund, was no bigger than a standard one car garage. There was no sound system. They didn’t need one. I’m sure the volume of their praises were carried by the wind for MILES, no exaggeration. No piano. Chairs roughly arranged in rows. And do you know that was the most fervent worship I have ever experienced in my life. Maybe it was the language barrier which required me to worship in spirit instead of because that’s just what you do at the beginning of the service. There was absolutely no looking around at other people to see what they were doing, or what they weren’t doing. There was absolutely no mouth closed. They were unhindered. Unbridled worship. Pure. Sincere.
When we got back to Chadasha, we met in the chapel to go over orientation. Then we moved over to the children’s home where around 20 children live full time, and another 15 come Monday through Friday just to hang out, learn, get a few meals. Between our team and the Florida team, we provided 30 pieces of luggage chalked full of art supplies, medicine, personal care items, sporting supplies, and so much more. Games… I don’t even remember everything. Anyway we sorted all of that on tables and then found places on the compound to put the gifts away. Melissa, the full time missionary, said the night before the kids were in their apartment with wide eyes. “Is all of this stuff for US?” They were really excited to check things out with us.
Lunch, dinner, bed by 8:30. I am going pick up with day three later. Have a blessed day.
Edited to add: Day three blog is here!