Pride. Joy. Happiness. Community.
Those are not words that you would associate with a place like Savanne, yet they were there today. And health. Growing spiritual health, growing physical health. Because God chose to start moving in this place, and called his people to go when there was no pride, no reason for joy, very little happiness, and a community that was unhealthy in almost every way. He started by calling the leaders of ESMI to make Savanne a preaching point, and they called Pastor Monchera to join them. God paved the way for our team to be the first medical team ever to serve there just as the church was starting. He brought former voodoo witch doctors and gang leaders to Himself and made them church leaders who are now bringing life and health to this community on several levels, instead of fear. It is worthy of rejoicing...and rejoice they did today! The water purification system in Savanne was dedicated and is now operational!
The dedication service was in the church and included singing, speeches, prayers, and the awarding of training certificates and official water board member T-shirts to those trained to operate it (including Jude, Emmanuel, Jonas, and Jules, the voodoo practitioners and gang leaders who intimidated and controlled people in the community through fear before God changed them). There were 150 cups filled from the water tanks and the assembled group toasted the achievement together. Smiles and beaming faces mingled with tears of pride and joy. It might have been one of the best days ever in Savanne.
But that was only half of our team's day!
From there, 8 guys went back to Cavaillon to keep moving on the shelf project, and the medical team went on to Mayan - up the mountain! In pick up trucks :)
Their welcome there was quite the spectacle. A good portion of the village streamed down the hill to greet them as they got out of the trucks and met them with hugs, and then singing and dancing complete with drums. Before the team had done anything - except show up - they were thanked and welcomed and treated like visiting royalty. But the team didn't let it go to their heads - they got right to work and in five short hours they were able to see 124 people. Every one was prayed for and prayed with if they were willing on their way to see the docs.
It wouldn't be a trip to Haiti without some kind of vehicle trouble, and today was the day. Coming out of the mountains, one of the trucks developed break problems...as in there were none. Fortunately, it was not a problem to gently steer the truck to a place of safety but they were looking at a bit of a wait to get alternative transportation. In a bit of "small world coincidence" Louis noticed a bus getting washed in the nearby river, and he recognized it as the one he had rented for the kids to ride in for tomorrow's trip back up to Cavaillon. He asked if the driver wanted a job today, too, and the entire team loaded into the bus and left the pick up drivers to sort out the break problem. How's that for roadside assistance? God certainly was watching out for our team!
Tonight, the team is sleeping in comfort again - the generator has been fixed or somehow coaxed into producing power to run the AC. Last night was hot and steamy without it. A good night's sleep tonight is a blessing that will help them power through their last day of ministry tomorrow. At this point in the week, even in the smoothest and most celebration filled weeks, the teams are running mostly on adrenaline and willpower.
Everyone goes to Cavaillon in the morning for the dedication of the new facilities there, although more work needs to be completed before the children move back. Much has been accomplished and all are hoping it won't be long now. The "shelf team" will stay and finish up that very helpful job, while the medical team goes to yet another fairly remote village, LaHotte. Our teams have been there before but probably no medical teams since their last visit perhaps a year ago.
Technology refused to let pictures arrive from Haiti today for some reason, except for a few of the teaching team with their students in Jeremie from earlier this week. We hope to catch up tomorrow!
Some prayer requests...and praises!
- Much praise for the dedication of the water purification system. Lots hard work by our team went into this project well before arriving in Haiti and certainly great teamwork on the ground was on display. Praise God, too, for the Haitians who have taken their tasks and training seriously and given the team confidence that all will be in good hands.
- Praise for safety in travel today, and prayers for more tomorrow and Saturday.
- Praise for the resurrection of the generator and the cool air it provides.
- Pray for good rest and continued health as the team gets into the final day of ministry in Haiti.
- Pray for the folks the medical team was able to help today and every day this week. Ask that God work in their hearts to provide spiritual healing as the team worked to provide physical healing.
- Pray for the tireless leaders at ESMI who shoulder so much responsibility every day, including Louis, Dony, and those they train as pastors, work with as translators for teams, hire to be housemoms, and those who are working on the construction at Cavaillon.