Thursday Feb 2 Update
Thursday was the last work day for our team in Haiti. On Friday they will spend the morning relaxing at the beach and spend the afternoon with the kids in their weekly chapel service. After work on Thursday, several of the team members texted me to share some of their impressions of the week so I'm passing those along to you.
Randy: I had a terrific time again. I got to spend time flying a kite with my boy, Moise. Well, we could have used a little more wind.
Kenna: This week has been fantastic! So many new personalities on this trip <3 and we have made many new friendships. My favorite part was getting to see how much our kids have changed and how much progress has been made in the Kids Alive Village.
Tasha: I was so happy to hear all the Haitian workers say that this is such a hard-working team! That means a lot because we do put a lot of sweat into it.
Doug: One of my highlights of the week was when were were taking the construction team photo on the second floor of the school. The Haitian guy next to me actually put his arm around me while we were standing there. It's a small thing but it meant a lot to me. (See the picture of our Haitian-LFMC construction crew above).
Amber: This was my first mission trip. I've heard so many good things about it and tried to best prepare myself but no amount of stories or words from other people can explain what this experience will mean to you. The kids are what gets you and keeps you wanting to stay and come back. When they love you from the second they meet you, those feelings are indescribable. The poverty level is something you can't prepare yourself for but it's so amazing to see their faith and how God is working in these people's lives every day. I will remember every second from this trip. I cried when we said goodbye to our Haitian construction crew. I can't imagine how I'll be when we say goodbye to the kids. I'm so glad God gave me this opportunity to open my heart to Haiti.
Kim: In our vision clinic, we tested 173 preschool and elementary kids (all but 3), 42 secondary school kids (all but 2), and 21 teachers and parents. We'll try to catch the ones we missed after Chapel on Friday. The testing started out slow but really picked up as we got to the older ones. We realized the testing was well worth it when several had vision problems. We hope Dr. Brinkman (the optometrist who trained our team on how to conduct the vision screening) can help with the ones we didn't have glasses for. We brought several pairs of glasses with us and were able to give those to some of the kids who needed them. (See the pictures of Benjina (left), one of the girls who received a new pair of glasses, and of our vision screeners (right).)
Carolyn's comment -- One of the things that stands out to me in these messages and others I hear from people who go to Haiti is the strong relational connection that is being built. Those who sponsor kids refer to the kids as "their" kids and the kids being sponsored refer to their sponsors as "my sponsor". This attests to the strong connection. The kids can't wait to see their sponsors -- it's the highlight of their year -- and the sponsors can't wait to see "their" kids -- a treasured experience.
Not only that, but those who go invest blood (some literally), sweat and tears in the buildings in the village and the people who live, work and attend school there. The team members care deeply for the Haitians. The Haitians aren't our "project" and we aren't their "project". We are friends, united by Christ to fulfill His purpose in each other through mutual love and support. We give and we are given to. They give and they are given to.
Some of you praying have been to Haiti, some may go in the future and others may never go. Regardless of whether you go or not, you are a part of this relational connection. You have invested in the lives of those who go and of Haitians through your prayers and have sustained this ministry in significant ways. It's a beautiful thing what God is doing between all of us. May He be glorified in our relationships.
Tomorrow I'll send an update on the progress on the school.
Thank you for your commitment to Haiti and God's work there.
Carolyn Heacock, on behalf of the team