After coming to Haiti last year, Josh and I (Elise) decided to raise money through our wedding to build a cistern for a fisherman’s village. Instead of giving us a wedding gift, we asked for our friends and family to support the ones in Haiti that we met the previous year. I was heart-broken when the people of the fisherman’s village told me the lack of water that each family received each week. Each family shared a half-gallon of water for every 3 days. I know that I waste water brushing my teeth, warming up my shower, and cooking on a daily basis in the U.S. The fact that the entire population of the fisherman’s village barely had enough water to survive on created in me a desire to raise support and build a cistern.
My group left at 5am for KaPaFu, a small fisherman’s village, from the Mole. We loaded into a motor boat and arrived in the village an hour later. All of the school-age children had already left by the time we arrived at KaPaFu. (It takes them 2 hours to walk to school each morning.) We started our visit by gathering large rocks and buckets of sand from around the village. I learned how to carry a bucket of sand balanced on my head for 50 yards and carve a fish with poisonous bones. After the foreman of the village started using string to measure the size of the cistern, we started digging dirt out of, what was soon to be, the outer border of the cistern. Each border had to be 2 feet deep, and each corner had to be 3 feet deep for iron support rods. All the borders and corners were 1 foot wide.
After an hour of digging, we dug an entire border only 1 foot deep. We took a break and allowed the village people to invest labor into the cistern that will soon be an important part of their village. During this time, 2 different groups went into 2 different homes. The home that I visited did not contain any mattresses, pillows, bathrooms, or kitchens. All of these rooms are combined into two rooms. The huts were made out of a palm leave roof, bamboo interior, woven leafed exterior, and dirt floors. We were told that 5 to 12 people can live together in one hut as a family. The woman who showed us her home was proud to live in a house where she had a beach-front view, shelter to protect her family, and a front door to complete her home. We prayed for the baby in her womb, the 2-year-old that clung to my skirt all day, and that the cistern would be a daily reminder that Jesus is the Living Water. After sweating all morning digging holes, carrying sand and rocks, and spending time with the people of Ka Pa Fu, I know that we boarded that motor boat departing our Haitian family – not the strangers we met at 6:30 in the morning.
As I sat on the bus that brought us to the Mole on Saturday, I spent the majority of the time looking out the window thinking. I got to see a small glimpse of the Haitian culture. I could feel the Lord softening my heart toward this country and giving me a learning attitude. I knew He was teaching me something. When we stopped in a town to get the orphans we were taking back, Emmanuel was handed to me. He clung to me and I held him tight. I was so blessed to get to show Emmanuel how Jesus holds us close to his heart. It brings tears of joy to my eyes to think of that little boys smile. Emmanuel and the others are now at the orphanage here in Mole and we can all go visit them throughout the day.
During the teen conference today we broke into small groups and Josh Portillio and I were blessed to lead a group together. It was so sweet to see how God blessed our conversation with these guys. After small groups, we told the guys we were all going to go play soccer. As I walked onto the field, I saw joy, heard laughter, and felt the bonds being made between us and our Haitian family here in Mole. A young boy walked up to me and I stuck out my hand to give him a low five. He placed his hand in mine and kept it there. I can’t fully explain how much this simple act blessed me. To see this boy and the look in his eyes was heart breaking and amazing at the same time. I could see the lack of love in his life and the desire to be loved in one way or another. After the soccer game, he held my hand as we walked back. Once we were halfway back, I told him I would see him tomorrow and he ran back to the fields. What a huge blessing. Praise God for allowing us to be here and providing everything needed to come to Haiti.
To my beautiful family: I love you more than I can put into words. I miss you beyond missing you. And I can’t wait to see you soon enough. Thank you so much for always pointing me toward Jesus and never-ceasing to exemplify his love to me. I couldn’t ask for a sweeter, more precious family. I hope the time in Colorado is great. Give this message to everyone and send my love with it.
To Emma MacKenzie Teakell: I like you sweet girl and I sure do miss you more than you know. I hope you are having an awesome break and I pray that you are safe in His arms. I also hope you are enjoying every moment with your family and having fun playing with little Wes and Ally. Tell everyone I say hi and that I miss them too. I can’t wait to see you when I get back.
Shout-outs to: Branson, Taylor, and Peyton. You guys are on my heart and I miss y’all a ton. Love you guys to death.
To everyone: Please keep praying. It is working. The Lord hears and HE IS SO GOOD!
Hey Y’ALL! (Meredith here)
Today was an incredible day! My group had the opportunity to do a VBS at a small fishing village. We went to their school and the headmaster graciously agreed to allow us to hang out with the kids. Since we were at the school, there were quite a few younger kids who weren’t able to participate. A couple of the girls and I went outside the gates and hung out with the little ones. It started out pretty awkward and the kids were super shy. As I was playing catch with a little boy and praying for him, his future and his family, a few women came over with their little babies. Side note: The Lord has definitely called me to girls/women’s ministry so this was a DIVINE appointment the Lord provided for me. Anyway, the women showed up and I immediately started praying for them and asking God what He wanted me to do or say. After a few minutes I felt Him prompting me to simply tell these women that they are BEAUTIFUL. That their children are BEAUTIFUL and the Lord sees them as such. They weren’t super responsive but I was okay with that. I continued praying for them and felt like the Lord wanted me to read some verses out of Proverbs 31. I got my Bible out and began to read. They listened and I just expressed to them how much Jesus loves them. They were appreciative but didn’t want to engage in conversation. Again, I’m okay with that.
I don’t know what that did, why the Lord had me do that, or what that made them feel. I know that’s what God asked me to do so I did it. I’m so thankful for that opportunity. It was out of my comfort zone, and a little scary but so rewarding. This trip so far is awesome! The Lord is moving big in our lives and in the lives of the precious Haitian people. Please keep praying for us! We are so appreciative of the outpour of love and prayer from our friends and family. Thank you thank you thank you!
Shout-out to mah numba one lady ARIEL JOHNSON! Love and miss you tons sweet girl 🙂 To tha fam, love y’all so much, miss you tons! Thank you for your prayers!
Peace & Blessings
So my first full day of activities was amazing! Started out with my group doing hut to hut evangelism. The highlight of those few hours was talking to this older man about Christ and having to start from the very first verse in Genesis. He had never heard the name of Jesus before and soon after he accepted Jesus into his life. David, Audrey and I each were able to play off each other and explain the whole story for him!
I played my first game of Haitian Dominoes and my partner and I won!! They all thought it was funny that an American won and one of the men playing wasn’t too happy after. I am looking forward to VBS tomorrow and sharing love with these kids!
Please feel free to comment! Comments are read each day at dinner! The team really appreciated your love and support!