Our team had a lesson in flexibility today (indeed, the main requirement for ministry in Haiti), as their plan of last night to go to Savannes was changed at the last minute this morning. Pastor Louis went ahead of the team into Savannes and deemed the area too crowded and too raucous for the team to operate with any sense of organization or control. Mardi Gras is in full swing there for the next few days.
So, it was decided that some would stay in Cambry, as planned, but the larger part of the group would go to Cavillon. Cavillon is a smaller orphanage about 40 minutes away from Cambry. Although not very distant physically, the site hadn’t been visited by a medical team in two years. Some of the 37 kids there had never seen a doctor. Today, that team was confronted with a difficult look at what it can be like to grow up in Haiti – even in a place where there are caring adults looking out for your welfare to their best of their ability.
Pastor Samuel in Cavillon is a caring and servant hearted man who works hard for the children in his care. There is no room for him to live at the orphanage, so he rents a scooter to ferry food and supplies in on a regular basis. He carries the weight of every difficulty from sodden mattresses from flooding to malnourished kids on his shoulders. He himself needed medical care today for injuries from a recent scooter accident, pneumonia, and a sinus infection.
And the kids needed a lot of help, too. There are teenagers who look to be ten years old because of long term lack of sufficient nutrition. Scabies (a skin parasite that is extremely contagious) is pronounced among the kids. The itch is maddening, and of course itching leads to skin infections, impetigo, and abscesses. Many also had intestinal parasites. These things are common in Haiti, and our team was well prepared with medicines and know-how in dealing with them. To complicate things, the water supply in Cavillon is not good, which leads to further intestinal issues for the kids. In all, it was a sobering day for our team. Although they met real needs and saw the good heart of Pastor Samuel, it is easy to despair at the situation. Yet, they could see the hand of God in re-routing them to Cavillon today. They were reminded of the wisdom of the Proverbs – “man plans, but the Lord directs.”
A team of six stayed in Cambry, where they saw children from the orphanage there as well as community people. The kids at Cambry are in much better shape, although still smaller than you would expect, because of their proximity to the guest house for visiting teams. If a medical team comes it almost always checks in on Cambry.
One bright spot today in Cavillon was a conversation our interpreter, a Haitian and former church planter in Chicago who is laying the groundwork to move back to Haiti to plant a church in Jacmel, had with someone. A young man was pointed out to him as being despondent wondering aloud to the doctors “if Jesus loves me, where is he? Why has he abandoned me here?” Our translator was able to pull him aside and speak to him in his own language of the hope of the gospel and God’s unfailing love even in painful circumstances. The conversation ended with a much uplifted young man with a new and full hope in Christ for salvation and for his circumstances. It is likely that when the church plant gets started in Jacmel, this young man will relocate there to be a part of the church planting family.
Tomorrow, most of the team will go to Casa Major, which is much larger – 190 kids, plus staff. A small group will remain in Cambry once again to follow up on some things that were done their today. It will be a long day with that many kids to see.
Please pray for:
- Stamina – ministry days are long in Haiti. The heat and dehydration is always something to be wary of. Today a few people had to rest in the shade for a while due to lightheadedness.
- The grief the team feels as they see needs they cannot possibly meet and situations that will not turn around in a week. Ask that God give them a sense of a job well done, even if not “finished”.
- Continued physical health and safety, especially as the team begins to spread itself thin physically and emotionally. Pray that they support each other and continue to knit together as they work in trying circumstances.