Hey guys, it’s Brooke! Today was a super exciting day. After breakfast, Shannon’s, Al’s, and my team went to Daniel for VBS and hut-to-hut evangelism. Daniel was about an hour by tap-tap, and it is such a small village. My team and I walked from house to house and asked what each needed needed prayer for, as well as spreading the word about VBS. A lot of the houses said they needed rain because they couldn’t maintain their crops.
At this one house, I got to hold a 8-day old baby girl. I almost died because she was so precious. At the same house, there was a little 1.5 year old boy who was so weirded out by my team and I. One of us would smile at him and he would cry and run behind his mom. Not as sweet as the feeling of holding a baby, but it was pretty cute anyway.
The next house we went to had this makeshift door made out of tin roofing. We knocked on the door to see if there was anybody there. Nobody answered and we couldn’t see anybody so we were about to give up and go to the next house. All of a sudden, this old man walks up casually holding his machete and a bag of fruit. Morgan, the NWHCM intern, assured us that carrying around a machete was about as normal as carrying around anything else.
At another house, there were kids EVERYWHERE. No kidding, there were probably 15 kids just at this one house. One of the kids was named Ashley. She had a pretty bad eye infection and she was clearly out-casted for it. It’s crazy how big of a difference a small act of love like holding a child’s hand can make. We took all the kids we could carry and hold onto to VBS with us. I had Ashley on my hip, and three kids dragging me by my arms. Two of them were so intrigued by my watch beeping and pressed all the buttons to keep it beeping. I want to take this moment to say sorry in advance to the other girls on my team because they set an alarm for 4 am and I don’t know how to turn it off. When we got there the rest of our big group was in the middle of acting out the story of Samuel. Originally the skit was for the kids that came to VBS, but the whole village came out and watched this skit. (Brady was a very convincing dead lion… he almost fell asleep center stage). Then we said goodbye to all of our new Haitian friends and got back on the tap-tap to go to Marouge.
Since we finished the teen conference for Mole St. Nicholas yesterday, we started the teen conference talks in Marouge today. I guess they already spread the word about us coming before we even got there, because when we finally arrived there was this huge group of kids of all ages by the church ready to play. Some of the team went off to play with the kids and talk with the teens and some of us went to go check out the church. It’s one room a little bigger than a Texas Tech dorm room, and the walls were made out of woven palm fronds. The whole church was covered with a huge tarp to keep the sun and rain out.
There was one girl in the church all by herself. She looked really young but said she was 19. She took my hand and told me that her head has been hurting for weeks but her parents don’t have enough money to take her to the clinic. After a while, we finally convinced her to go outside with us to play with the other kids. Even though Haiti is so different from America, we all knew the same childhood games… or at least a version of them. Some of the girls even taught us how to do this one hand game that involved 4 people. When it started to be getting close to time to start the teen conference, we rounded up most of the younger kids and did a mini VBS with them and sang some silly songs with them. Then, we rounded all the kids 12 and up into the church to start the conference.
The conference in total went pretty well! Cody, Shelby, and Kristen talked about God’s plan and how sometimes it makes you wait. When the talk was over, we split up by gender and by age. Shannon, Kristen, Shelby, and I had the younger girls. It was the first small group we had with them, so it was pretty awkward at first and they were all very shy. They started talked when we told them about times when God made us wait. My particular story was about how God’s plans made me wait to find the true friendships.
All of a sudden, one of the girls had question after question about when to pursue a friendship and when to walk away from one. It’s so cool and also heartbreaking to see the differences from my childhood to what they’re going through. These young girls had to grow up so much more quickly than I did. The main questions went something along the lines of, “Is it ok to be friends with someone if they can’t afford to go to school” or “Should I be friends with the girl that goes to school with me that has a learning disability.” Those were pretty textbook to answer, but the one that really got me was this: “What should I do if I want to sell my clothes to pay for my friend’s schooling but my parents don’t want me to?” Wow. What a selfless act from a 12 year old. When I was 12, I was busy trying to outshine my sister and soak in all the attention I could. That’s the reality of this culture. Some kids can’t afford to go to school and they get out-casted for it.
This week so far has been incredible. I have felt every emotion both bad and good while I’ve been here. I’ve felt rejection, confusion, fear, pain, and sadness. But I’ve also experienced unexplainable joy, fulfillment, acceptance, and most importantly, love. The good outweighs the bad by far. I’m a firm believer that God can more easily do His work when his servants are completely uncomfortable. And that sounds weird, but it’s totally true. Who willingly and passively lies in God’s hands while in your comfort zone? We’re not of this world… we were made to be uncomfortable. I’ve been out of my comfort zone from the moment I got off the plane, and I haven’t looked back since. God has done so much in the short time that we have been here, and He has done so much in me as well. When I leave, my heart will be left in Haiti. I am already so excited to tell everyone about this week when I get back.
Love and miss y’all!
P.S. Mom, Dad, Jordan, and Andrew: I love y’all, miss y’all and can’t wait to see y’all soon!
Today was really amazing! Last night I feel like some of the nursing students (Lindsay and myself) left the youth conference feeling a little discouraged. I wondered if the little information we were able to convey was even getting through to them or making a difference. There is a gigantic culture barrier so it is hard to explain healthcare when it is so different here. For example, one woman explained that she believes that her daughter has cancer. She then asked if there was anything she could do to get rid of it. As we know in the United States there is chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, etc. However, here in Haiti these options are extremely unrealistic. How do you look someone in the eye and say. “There is nothing we can do for that, you will most likely die.” So yeah, just tough situations to deal with. This morning I was extremely tired and a little sad that I wasn’t able to go hut to hut with the rest of the group. I just had to pray and ask God to change my attitude because it was not the best at the start of the day.
When we arrived at the clinic I recognized a few of the women waiting outside to be treated from the presentation we have given earlier this week. One of the women is about 8 months pregnant. (of course this is just a guess because most of them do not understand how or when you conceive). When she got to the exam room she told me that the reason she came in today was because she learned about her body at the presentations and had recognized some signs and symptoms that she had because of our presentation.
Once again I had to choke back tears (literally a common occurrence every day) because the purpose of these presentations was finally made known. However, my God is not just good but awesome and revealed something else. The young woman went on to explain that she had also taught her friend about the things she had learned and had encouraged her friend to come to the clinic as well. Praise Him!! God has a way of showing us our purpose in some pretty incredible ways and I am so in awe of everything he has done here.
The rest of our day was spent taking the children to the beach. Sometimes the language barrier can be so frustrating but at the beach there were no words that could have explained their excitement anyways. Their smiles and laughter was absolutely precious and I seriously might come home with 34 Haitian children.
I am immensely excited about tomorrow as we travel to a new village and carry a traveling clinic along with us. Keep the prayers coming yall!
Bailey- I hope Khaki isn’t missing me too much. Give him a big squeeze and a scratch for me!
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