This has been a most eventful and blessed week for the Groves family. We started with our first tap-tap ride after landing in Port au Paix on Friday, May 24th. A tap-tap is a small 4-wheel drive truck which, I believe by Haitian law cannot be any newer than 1992. It was quite an adventure as our driver did his best to get to the Mission in St. Louis du Nord before a rain shower started. It rained on us a little bit but our NASCAR qualified tap-tap driver made it to the Mission before we became totally soaked with rain. The speed would not have been so bad if it wasn’t for the “roads” here are more like an off-road adventure back in the States.
Over the 45-minute ride on planks of wood in the back of the tap-tap there were only one or two stretches that our driver could elude the 1-2 foot deep ravens in the road. It was a miraculous experience of God’s Grace that we have been to Haiti three times as a family without having to experience this everyday means of transportation for the Haitian people.
We arrived at St. Louis to an overjoyed Stephen Jernigan. I like to think his joy was because of seeing the Groves family but it may have had more to do with seeing his wife and son, Kelly and Grayson, which he had not seen in more than two weeks and traveled with us to Haiti. It was a beautiful family reunion.
Over the next four and half days we worshiped with the local Haitian church, toured the city of St. Louis, spent time with the Jernigan family, learned a lot about Stephen’s aquaponics project, serenaded by an elderly gentleman at the elderly home with his air banjo, Kim and Gabby visited the birthing center over and over with no avail of a new Haitian life, met some awesome special-needs kids who had hearts of gold, every night we had a ‘spend the night’ party with the Jernigan’s as we all slept in the main room of the Jernigan’s house, Danny taught pastors from the local churches for one half-day session at the St. Louis church and sailing to Tortuga (the real one without the pirates) on a handmade Haitian sailboat.
On Wednesday we traveled from St. Louis to the Mole du St. Nicolas. Originally we were set to ride in an air-conditioned SUV. As custom in Haiti, plans changed. We took the four-hour off-road adventure in a 4-door 1995 compact truck. Kim’s side of the backseat had great air-conditioning as her window rolled all the way down. My side was not quite as awesome as my window was only rolled down four inches and the handle was missing. It was another God filled adventure as Danny was continually worried about Kim, Gabby was squished in the middle for the entire ride and Kim prayed for God’s mercy and He provided. It was only by His Grace and mercy that she made the trip and was still able to walk. She showed no signs of wear or tear from the adventure. Danny was probably more affected because he was stiff as an old man.
While in the Mole we enjoyed the company of the Castillo’s, Danny spent one half-days teaching God’s Word through the BASIC Series DVD’s (which were not a big hit) and the second half-day teaching five fundamentals for a Christ Follower from God’s Word. Kim and Gabby also spent two days teaching the kids at the orphanage as their normal teacher, Kenson was busy translating for Danny during his teaching sessions with some of the men from the church. They had an amazing time doing art projects with the kids, singing and reading books to the children.
Tomorrow we leave out for the States. It has all gone so fast. Three years ago, before coming to Haiti, we would have never thought that 8 days in a third-world country would be such a gift from God. Tonight, all three of us are reluctant to say good-bye to Haiti once again. We feel so blessed to call the Jernigan’s and Castillo’s our friends. Their full-time dedication to the ministry of Jesus Christ in Haiti is inspirational and encouraging. One day, in God’s time we feel like we will be here full-time also. God willing.
Danny, Kim & Gabby