Today was the last day for the teams and we went pretty much all day. I’m a kind of exhausted so I’ll keep this post short! I started out the day doing some hut-to-hut evangelism up in the mountains. I felt like today as we talked and prayed with people God was stirring in my heart a desire to return and learn more about these people and their lives. Being here long-term allows me to really get to know people, to build relationships, to return to talk with them. The hospitality here is amazing, literally every person we talked to said they had time for us to come inside and talk and pray with them. They opened their gates and their homes to us, offered us chairs to sit (even if they had to offer the one chair that they were sitting on), and truly welcomed us. It is an honor for them to have us as guests just to talk and pray and this summer I want to work on building relationships and earning trust instead of trying to save everyone in one conversation.
Here many people have accepted Christ but it’s easy for fears or doubt to come along and choke out their faith as many don’t have constant encouragement or follow-up after choosing to follow Jesus. I want to help encourage these people we talked with to continue running the race, to turn back to Jesus even though the situations in their life may cause them to doubt His goodness or love. One woman we talked with said she accepted Christ and went to church but she stopped going because she had to provide for her family and bad things kept happening to them.
Another woman came to Christ and was encouraged in her faith by her brother, who was a strong Christian, but when he was tragically shot and killed in Port au Prince she stopped believing. She couldn’t understand why God would allow these bad things to happen. We prayed with both these women as they said they wanted Jesus back in their lives and my only prayer is that they will continue to grow in their faith. Because helping people come to Christ doesn’t mean much if they only turn away and don’t grow. I pray that they will overcome struggles that prevent them from coming to church – like fear, doubt, and even simple things like not having a nice church outfit to wear. I pray that God will watch over their families and draw them into a closer relationship with Him.
After a full morning of going hut-to-hut, we headed out to the soccer field and park. The guys played soccer with some boys there and we painted girls’ nails again. And I got another lovely manicure! I’ll have to show you photos of the great job these girls do in painting nails. Today it was light pink with a blue diagonal stripe and hot pink French tips. It was fun and relaxing to just hang out in the park with kids and I made some new friends! I actually am starting to recognize kids from seeing them each day and I’m starting to learn names (it’s a very slow process!). My prayer is that I will be able to build relationships with these kids and just love on them while I’m here. One thing that I’m surprised about is the character of this town and the people and how it’s changing and growing. A few years ago it would always become chaotic to take fingernail polish and soccer balls to the park and not have kids try to walk off with stuff or try to mob you.
The last few days we’ve visited the park the kids there have been so great! They’ve loved talking with us, playing with us, painting our nails (instead of just wanting their nails painted!), and they gave everything back nicely. Also, many of the kids sort of protected us from any kids that would possibly cross a line or try to grab for something as the other kids would tell them to stop and wait. I’ve even heard less and less “Blanc!” being yelled at us white people and I know that’s something the mission has really been working on, to build relationships and be seen as friends instead. I’m just amazed at the work God has been doing in this town! So much transformation is going on and I love being able to be just a small part of it!
After the park we headed to the orphanage to play with the adorable kids there and I held Rovenson for the majority of the time. He used to be such a trouble maker but now he’s just cuddly and wants to be held. After orphanage time (all the groups were there together), we headed to the beach for a bonfire cookout and devo/worship time. It was a great way to end the week – eating roasted hotdogs with homemade hotdog buns and cake (with frosting!) and then sitting on the beach singing worship songs and listening to Jody’s last night devo to wrap everything up. This week has already stretched and grown me and I’m excited to see what the upcoming weeks will bring. These teams have kicked off summer and keep praying for everything God has in store for rest of the summer!