As the One Life team was preparing to leave and we were saying our goodbyes, the 32-member team from Meridian was preparing to come to the Mole! And we were glad to see them and to see so many familiar faces again! This team brought suitcases upon suitcases of supplies and were ready to get started on their jam-packed schedule as soon as they reached our campus. So we started their first day with organizing all their supplies, orientation, and then a tour through town as there were many new additions to this familiar team. This team was such an encouragement to us long-term staff and interns on campus. This first day I was asked many questions about how I found myself here and what visions I have for my life and ministry as I got to know the new team members and I enjoyed great conversation with our friends from previous trips! The evening of the first day, we prepared ourselves along with all the necessary supplies for the exciting, ministry-filled week to come!
Each morning the team had VBS and hut to huts planned in a different village. We started off Saturday with VBS in the Mole, then Monday would take us to Marouge, Tuesday to Provo, and Wednesday to Savane mole! It was a lot of travel but also a lot of fun adventuring to these various villages for ministry and just be able to love on the kids and adults of these communities! Together with these communities we heard the story of Joseph through puppets, made our own sock puppets, sang silly songs, and played games!
One of my favorite activities this week, though, was the campus-wide party the team held for all the mission staff and orphanage kids. It was so fun to see all the kids playing with balloons, making bracelets or beaded lizards, blowing bubbles, coloring! A lot of the team also watched the World Cup final with some of the staff. Then the team made and served an amazing Mexican fiesta dinner! We had homemade tortilla chips, salsa, soft shell tacos with shredded pork, and cinnamon chips! It was so delicious and just great to have all the staff and kids together sharing a meal as family!
Dance Camp and Sports Camp were also on the schedule. Dance Camp round 2 was just as adorable as last year, especially since a lot of the community girls were younger this year and also almost all of the orphanage girls came to participate! This year the girls danced to the song, “Holy is the Lord” and instead of tulle tutus, all the girls got pink dance camp t-shirts! Though I wasn’t able to be a part of many of the dance camp sessions I was able to watch their final performance in their t-shirts and again, it was a beautiful thing to see! And I loved that some of the orphanage mamas and staff got involved in learning the dance too! While some of the team taught at dance camp, others went down town to play sports with the kids in the community! Whether they were playing basketball or soccer, this team got to pour into even more of the young men in this community.
This week we also had 3 afternoons of women’s ministry with over 25 women from the community and dames group here. The 3 days covered saying yes to God and what He has in store for our lives. The ladies also made beaded safety pin bracelets and fabric necklaces. I love working alongside this team and their heart for women’s ministry and what a wonderful job they do at coming alongside and encouraging these women!
Another extremely important ministry this week was a personal safety/sex education class. We invited about 60 girls/boys ages 7-18 from the community to come for this class that would be split into 3 age groups. The first day the girls group had girls in the 11-13 year old age group and then one girl came for the oldest girls group which actually allowed for great one on one conversation and questions! The boys also had a number of guys show up for their groups. The second day all 3 age groups were represented for the girls and they were able to learn more about good touch/bad touch along with some personal safety and self defense teaching. This area of ministry is so very important and necessary for this community as abuse and misinformation seem rampant. Be praying all the more for the young people that they will be able to stand strong and that God would watch over and protect them.
Again, before we knew it the time had come to say our goodbyes (till next year)! This team really was like family and the encouraged us and engaged us in such deep conversations, it really was hard to see them go! But I know that just as God used them here, He will continue to use them back in the states to push back the darkness and I’m thankful for their partnership and their service during their time here in Haiti.
Oh, I almost forgot (though how could I?) we had FOUR baptisms this week!!! Yes, four of the members on this team decided to follow God in personal obedience and get baptized during their time here! Some of them had been planning this for a long time while others spontaneously decided to follow this call God had been placing on their heart for a while. I cannot tell you the joy and celebration that comes from seeing brothers and sisters coming further and growing in the family of God and listening to His calling, no matter how difficult it may be.
Because really, brothers and sisters in Christ, this is what it’s all about…