This is Stephanie from Freedom Reigns. Over the past couple of days we have had an amazing time in Haiti. We arrived safely last night. We all seemed to get settled in well. Today we took a tour of the Mole after breakfast. It was awesome hearing the children sing and watching how these amazing people spend their time. Pastor Jakob, Robby, Richie, Leah, Steve, Cheryl and I played in the streets with the kids. We played frisbie, marbles and soccer. The kids loved having their photo taken and seeing it. They really enjoyed singing on video and watching it play back. Some of the children are very young and caring for little babies in the family. A four year old may be looking after a one year old.
After playing we helped the other team fill their bags with the vitamins they will be giving out in the medical clinic. We also made labels for medications. Cheryl, Leah, Brenda and Belinda helped the other team with VBS materials. After lunch Cheryl, Leah, Brenda, Belinda and I went to the local church to do medical screenings on the children in the nutritional program. We took their family histories and current living status. We weighed and measured each one. It was so amazing to see how these little kids sat patiently without their parents. They were so good and some had to wait on their benches, without food or drinks or anything to do for up to 3 hours. We got through 86 kids today. We plan to continue the next two days for a total of 200.
The men went to dig a place to lay the foundation for the new school. They worked very hard digging through rock, sand, shells and tree roots. Unfortunately they dug fifteen feet in the wrong place and had to fill it in and start over. They were good sports about it though. After our screenings were done we went to check on the progress. They were doing very well. They had one whole side dug out. Now several of us are hanging out waiting to eat. Leah and Cheryl are singing worship songs while the doctor from the other team plays guitar. I think I may go join in. Overall, today we got to meet several people and experienced this new wonderful culture. Later we may go to the beach or play in the streets with the kids again. I can tell God has big plans for this week. I can’t wait!
Today is America’s day of independence, the 4th of July. 235 years ago today, America became free from from British rule, but we are not in America. We are in Haiti and in 1804 they became the first and, continue to be, the only nation whose slaves rose up against their French captors, forced them out, and rescued themselves. These days the Haitians are slaves to their own lives. Satan and voodoo, earthquakes and disaster, poverty and hopelessness dominate the island.
A year old offshoot of the large Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, Mole St. Nicholas sits nestled in the farthest northwest corner of this devastated island and that is where God has sent the six of us. Scott Smith, Heidi Smith, Lauren Epstein, Cynthia Jessup, Matt Epstein, and Joseph Small: a doctor, a nurse, a pharmacist, a city employee, and two stay at home dads; respectively. We are being used by God for Kingdom work today, our first non-travel day in Haiti.
Our Story Today. We started at 5 am getting personal effects in order, walking around the island and learning our environment and getting to know our home for the week. Almond flavored sticky buns awaited for breakfast. After organizing medications, personal items, and VBS materials(wonderfully prepared by our 7th team member, Jill Colburn), it was time for some goat, beans & rice. Then we all travelled to a remote fishing village, Ka Pa Fu. Our amazing hosts, Jose and Jody Castillo told us that when they visit anywhere in Haiti, the people always ask for so many things that they know the mission can provide, Ka Pa Fu only asked for 2 things: water and Jesus.
While there, we played soccer, volleyball, held children, and learned about this remote, untouched, innocent place. As we interacted with the people, we asked the children if they knew Jesus. ALL of them knew him. So we asked if the whole village knew Jesus. They said that they did, that they know and love him. We got to show that love today, to reaffirm and continue what this mission has started. Now, it’s time for dinner and devotion. All of us miss and love our friends and families and will return safely to you soon; but until then, we are here, in The Mole, Haiti, doing what we can for God and the people of Haiti.