A Foundation of Friendship
Saturday morning, my future co-workers Jeremy and Kathy flew into Haiti after spending time in Guatemala, and they joined us at the guest house. The rest of my team was flying home in the afternoon so we all spent the morning doing a little shopping and just enjoying our time together. We shared stories, took pictures, and everyone made final packing adjustments before leaving for the airport. It was so sad saying goodbye to everyone! I wish our trip had been longer, because I really felt like I was just getting to know them well. But we said our goodbyes at the guest house as they drove off to the airport.
The rest of the day was spent just hanging out with Kathy and Jeremy. It was nice to debrief about my trip with them and share what God had shown me that week. We discussed my role at World Orphans and what it would probably entail. They told me about what they had done in Guatemala and how God is developing the partnerships there. It was mostly an informal question and answer time about World Orphans and about each other. It was so nice to meet them face to face instead of through a computer screen! I love how they truly wanted to know me and know how to pray for me. It’s so nice to have co-workers who are lifting me up in prayer and encouraging me through this transition process.
We talked a lot about how in most other cultures, specifically in Haiti, relationships are more important than anything else. It would be ridiculous to ask people to work together effectively if they did not first get to know one another and build a relationship of trust and friendship. So our plan for Sunday was to spend the whole day with Ron, the in-country director I will be working closely with, and Waldring, Ron’s assistant (who also served as our translator all week), so that we could begin to build that relationship and get to know each other better.
On Sunday, we went to Ron’s church. Y’all….church starts at 6 AM! And if that doesn’t blow your mind, get this…Ron said some people show up at church at 5:30, JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE SO FULL OF JOY! Can you imagine that happening in the States? Most of the time, a light rain will keep us from attending church. And when we do attend, we are so ready to leave after our 1 hour service that we get road rage in the parking lot. In Haiti, it’s a 3 hour service in a non-air conditioned building, and people actually show up 30 minutes early just because they are so joyful and can’t wait for church. I’m just gonna let that sink in with you just a minute…..
So church with Ron was really good. Not that I could understand a word because it was all in Creole, but Ron would occasionally translate and let us know what was going on. It was actually Mother’s Day in Haiti! They made a big deal about honoring mothers and thanking them for all they do. Then the sermon was about how the men in Haiti need to step up, accept their God-given leadership role in the family, and invest in their children so that they will grow up strong in the Lord. This was something our team discussed a lot as we saw many, many families with no father figure.
After church, Ron took us back to his house in the countryside. We had a great time just fellowshipping in the shade of the mango trees. I also got to meet Ron’s wife Vanessa and help a little bit with dinner. We ate a wonderful meal of pork, chicken, rice, and this unique Haitian salad. My favorite part though was the fresh pineapple juice and passion fruit juice!
After dinner, the discussion was more business-like as we talked about the future of the program in Haiti, including hiring a social worker to make sure kids are being well cared for. I cannot express how excited I am to be joining this team. Every decision, every project, every dollar, goes to caring for orphaned and vulnerable children, and every bit of it is all for the glory of God. I love the people I met in Haiti. I feel like Ron, Waldring, Johnson, and John are my friends, not just translators, guides, or even co-workers, but friends. It was so refreshing to see a spirit of equal partnership between the Americans and Haitians in that room. It is not at all like we were telling them what to do and how to do it, but it is a mutual respect and an understanding that Haitians really do know what’s better for Haiti than Americans do.
Please be in prayer for my team this week as we process all that we saw and experienced. Also, our team leader has come down with Chikungunya, or as the Haitians call it, “broken bones fever,” because it makes you ache like your bones are broken. He went to the doctor today to get medicine, but he passed out and ended up busting his head open, getting stitches, and having a concussion. Also, Ron has the same fever, and he is in great need this week as Kathy and Jeremy look for a social worker and complete their meetings in Haiti these next couple days. Pray for healing and that the Lord would still make the meetings in Haiti fruitful, even if Ron is unable to be there. Pray that each member of my team will be moved to do something, and do more than we were doing before. Thank you for your prayer throughout this week, as it has really made a difference. I appreciate your support!