July 30, 2013
It was a blessedly normal day for our Haiti Team. "Business as usual", which is never to be taken for granted there!
Back to Cavallion to see the kids there once more, they were in the groove as far as teamwork and enjoying themselves. Not too hot by Haiti standards. The kids were eager to see them, to play, to have some hug time. It was great fun. Enjoy the pictures attached (first four from Cavallion.)
They were glad to see that most of the kids who transferred from Cherette were in good shape - less scabies, overall pretty healthy. But small - always small, it seems. Still, they were encouraged. They saw about 100 people today, mostly kids but some staff as well.
It was hard to say goodbye, though. The sponsorship arrangement several families in our Chicago, Las Vegas, and Florida churches participate in means that these kids are so much more than just "needy kids". At least three team members have waited two years to finally have the chance to meet their sponsored child on this trip, and it is bittersweet that it is over so soon. Several pieces of several hearts were left in Cavallion today.
Back at the Guest House, water problems persist, but our resilient team is coping. After dinner comes a team meeting - a time to debrief, prep for the next day, and to just sit still for a few minutes together. Then the repacking of bags in a strategic way for the next day, depending on whether they are seeing kids, adults, or both. Tomorrow will be both.
Finally, showers and bed. Electricity is on. Hooray!
The day starts tomorrow at 7:00 with breakfast and a devotional. They hope to be in Savanne by 9:00. Ministry for the day will include sharing the gospel in creative ways in one small group of children at a time, and medical care. Two on intake, three on triage, two doctors (one a Haitian doctor working with them for the day), and two in the pharmacy. Probably for eight hours straight.
Savanne is a needy place, and our small team cannot possibly make a dent in those needs. And yet they will change livestomorrow. More than once in past visits, lives have been saved because our team was there on the day that someone's life hung in the balance, usually a small child or newborn. There is no medical care there. None. And as residents are poor and Haiti has a "pay as you go" system, they can't get it even if they go elsewhere.
It has also been a spiritually bankrupt place, but that is changing. Voodoo held sway completely until a small church began there. The pastor was in a difficult place. But he prayed. And he asked if a visiting medical team could somehow spare a day (and be fearless enough) to come to Savanne. It happened to be one of our largest teams with our most experienced Haiti travelers, and so it was deemed possible. It was dicey at first - crowd control was an issue as desperate people pushed or sometimes handed their babies to the front of the line in the hopes that they could be seen before time ran out. The task of controlling the crowd was given to gang leaders who held sway in the community by fear and threats of voodoo spells, as it was recognized that theirs would be the only voices listened to. It was a surreal scene, and not just a little bit scary.
But each person that came in for medical care was prayed for. Eventually, people noticed the demeanor of the team, and asked through interpreters what they were praying. The gospel was shared over and over. One person who was struck by the truth of the words was one of the leaders, Jude. He believed that day that salvation was being offered to him, and he prayed to receive it. No one knew at the time, but it was one of the turning points in the community. They watched as a gang leader, steeped in voodoo, changed. He met with the pastor of the church, and started attending worship. Others came as a result of his testimony.
Subsequent visits to the community still show aching need. Yet changes are obvious. The streets are neater. The pervasive fear is at bay. The church is strong and growing. And Jude is a solid member of the church. God is at work in Savanne.
And tomorrow our team has the privilege of having a ring side seat!
Praise God with our team for
- Continued health. Everyone is doing great!
- Continued electricity. Cool air to sleep in is a blessing
- Great teamwork. They are meshing well, bringing everything they have to the tasks at hand. It's great to be a part of something like that.
- Safety in travel as they move from place to place.
- The relatively healthy condition in which they found the kids today.
- The sweet play time and interaction with them.
Please pray for
- Calm and focus in a crowded and seemingly chaotic ministry environment tomorrow. Crowd control is not much of an issue any longer, but the needs are so great that it's hard not to be affected by the desperation in the air and the physical condition of some of the people the team will see tomorrow.
- Clarity in sharing the gospel through stories with the children tomorrow, and in conversation with those seeking medical care. The spiritual needs continue to be great in Savanne.
- Cooling breezes as they work outside (under shelters) or in the church building itself.
- Daniel, in Cambry. A picture is attached here (last one.) It is clear he is not doing well.
Thank you for praying for the team!