Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hope on day 4

Haiti- Day 4 (Thursday 21st)

Today was a very blessed day. We set off for our day with plans- our plans were soon derailed, or at least delayed. Here we are on "Haiti time" and also at the mercy of our wonderful interpreters:) We don't always know why some plans change suddenly but, refreshingly, it doesn't seem to bother any of us.

We ended up at Grace Village, which is described to us as the "heartbeat" of Healing Haiti. It is a remarkable place. It would have been wonderful even before experiencing the devastation we witnessed on days one and two but in the aftermath of our culture shock if was hope-giving to see what God is doing through Healing Haiti. That clever name- Healing Haiti was explained to all my senses as I walked though Grace Village today. The mission is not about "helping poor, hopeless people in a third-world country. It's about literally "healing." They are looking to the source of the problems. They are seeking God's guidance as they navigate the unfamiliar waters of Haitian education, farming in this climate, even everything from mass-produced bread making to sexual education and self-respect. What is going on at Grace Village is Healing Haiti.

We left our wonderful tour guide, Kiki, at Grace and headed down the mountain into a town who's name means "less than nothing." Titanyen is a place where, we were told, people were basically banished to after the earthquake in 2010. It struck me that we don't have places like that in the states; maybe we have revelries like Minnesotans knowing we're superior to those unfortunate souls trudging through life in Wisconsin, but to be know as a community called "less than nothing?" This is where God has placed Grace Village. We descended the bumpy roads in our cage-truck, ie. The tap-tap. (It really is the nicest vehicle on Haitian roads that could transport our whole team, we are blessed.) We were on ours to visit five elders of the community. 

Elders are rare in Haiti because the life expectancy is a mere 51 years old. These wonderful saints that we met were far older and mostly unable to care for themselves on their own. We would park nearby and walk up and down gravel paths to their homes. Shack after shack we would pass by and most had someone home. Some would speak to us, children would come running. Some would just stare as if to say, "I wonder what it's like to be in your shoes?" We thought the same. At each elders home we gave them a gift bag, sang and prayed with them. Some of our team had prepared to bless the elders with a simple sponge bath along with lotion and oil. These elders were treated like the princes and princesses that they truly are in Christ. It was an amazing experience to be a part of. One particular elder, whose name was Marie, was said to be 105 years old. She was easily the most agile and interactive of the elders we visited. I was struck so much by her genuine joy. I understand what joy means, but today I witnessed it. One moment worth mentioning was when we were singing the popular worship song "10,000 Reasons." Our team has learned to sing the chorus in Creole, Haiti's native tongue. We don't know the verses in anything but our English so we sing and sing these wonderful melodies without communicating verbally in the least to our audience. At Marie's home we got to the last chorus of "10,000 Reasons" and jumped into the Creole. She instantly started clapping along with the music, smiling, and loudly affirming the worship lyrics. Our team felt something in that moment. Something beyond us. Something beyond helping. We felt hope.


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