When I was a child I remember countless moments of being obsessed with rocks; finding random rocks on the ground became a pleasure of mine, and something I often loss track of time doing. They were incredibly interesting, I still posses a few of them. There were also many times as a child I’d randomly throw them over a fence that lied next to my mothers house, and sure enough she’d yell “ one day one of those rocks are going be too heavy for you to throw that far “. There are two parallels about these facts you’ve just sat read about my boring life; Haiti confirmed my interest in rocks still exist to this day as my team moved many of them during construction today. The other, there we SOOOO MANY HEAVY ROCKS!
So here is your overview of the day with my team, which consist of (Hayden, Rachel, Ashley, Maddie, Tatum, Kelly M, Maddux, Rebekah, & and myself). While the other two teams headed to “ KaPaFu “ – a fishing village they would need to take a 30-minute boat ride to at sunrise. It was day 6 for all of us, with many running low on energy including minor illness being present amidst a team of champs who’ve loved me so well & that I’ve grown in compassionate love toward so much now after spending so much time with them.
There is a saying that has brought an increased amount of Kingdom reality to my life that being “ The Deader you are, the Better you are “ by a woman named of Jenny who means so much to me. What this has communicated to me is no present flesh stands before God and speaks, all your selfishness, all of your desires, assumptions, comforts, and expectations must be laid down to be crucified. All your hope and joy must be found in the righteous love of the father.
Today we loaded up as a team of nine onto the back of an industrial truck called the “ Tap Tap “ to go into town and load about 300 rocks. From there we would stop into a local spot where sand and rocks are kept to form a line of the nine men & women on my team along with five other Haitian men to be the assembly line to load the rocks. This experience for me was humbling. It involves a near extreme exertion of energy for each lift to pick up the rocks but also to pass them down the line to be loaded into the truck finally. After our venture into town we came back to the campus site to unload the rocks from the truck with the same format of an assembly line and lastly placing them onto the foundation of a 6ft tall foundation that would later become a refuge home for abused mothers & wives’ to come & live with their children temporarily in the near future.
We’d unload & sort the rocks into a pattern that would be broken down into smaller rocks to be the center foundation of a building so that concrete could be poured over it to support the rocks to form what I deem to be a foundation for a floor of the refuge. Next our team would shovel sand into barrels to be rolled over to the Haitian construction for them, which is to be used for a use that I could not coherently explain but it was for good cause and required many trips. All that to say, there is an incredible amount you begin to see about a persons character & Identity when they are in the hot temperatures of Haiti sun, and loading rocks and sand onto the back of an industrial truck. I loved how everyone worked so hard today to get the job done & that would could converse about life and truly get to know more about each other.
Many of us would watch the faces of the Haitian construction men just begin get after it, rock after rock unrelenting to until the final rock was picked up or unloaded. Even stopping to encourage us, waiting patiently for us to get into the Rhythm, even more making sure the women on our team where not picking up heavy rocks but handing them to myself or Maddux. After the construction assignments where complete I remember looking at the faces of our team members and saying “ The job is done “ and seeing a resounding “ amen “ come from their mouths. At the very same time I watched the other five Haitian men head back over to the construction site to work another 6 hours in the hot sun to continue in the process of building the refuge home.
It was as if their 2 hours helping us was more of a break away to simply be with us, there was no more moment in my life have I ever witnessed rare radical service to a group of people & at the same time a peace like that of God on their faces as they headed back to work. We all enjoyed working with them, & each other; learning creole & attaining a little more knowledge regarding building a home. We have too much to learn about peace in this life & how it is has nothing to do with things that a transient or temporal in this world.
Later that day we continued with our regular schedule after the other teams returned to town, which included VBS, & a teen conference. There are many things that this time includes, such as silly games that make us laugh so hard that our bellies hurt, or me learning how much I really don’t know how to dance during the dance offs. The lord has been so good to us, the reality that we get to partner with a God who is already present here and bring to us groups of Haitian people, their kids, teenagers, and young adults would be willing to listen to a group of people who come from half way around the world to share God in the teaching, games, dancing, construction blows my mind. It is more of a God given privilege than many of us would ever recognize, that he is good & far too good to us. I pray that my eyes would be open to him, too see his movement, to be doing as he does and to stand bold in a world that breathes rebellion against him, and there being a need for people to live as if heaven should come more and more to us each day. I love that even in construction today was completely about the loving union of God with us.
In closing here is one primary thing God has been speaking to me, Today I met a man by the name of Boss-Kelly; he is Haitian & he smiles so fully & wholesomely with a rare joy. He called me to him while we where doing construction and to teach me about how leveling rocks works. Afterwards sitting me down and saying “ You need a break “, and explaining to me that I needed a drink of water by how much I was panting, haha. He asked me a very odd question during and said “ Do you know what a friend is? “, I replied “ Yes, but you explain “. He then replies with absolute confidence “ A friend comes to you in your time of need. “ Immediately I thought of a time when I convinced myself that the money raised to come to Haiti could be used more wisely, why come when we could just send a check in a raised amount.
Immediate I saw a picture of how God has come to me; In that very moment he said to me “ Look at my awesome deeds, I have to come to you time and time again “. There is no better reality that of God! His supreme joy to come for his foe, and be slain to a bloody death on a rugged cross by his own hands in expression of his coming for us. Bearing the knowingly deserved wrath of his enemies and thereby to inviting the repentant into his reality, there is no reality better than that of GOD our true rock. There is no more interesting foundation built on such truth, Christ of whom is all that we have. There is no greater need for that in Haiti than it is for the lives of all people. That is he has come and is still coming the solid rock who offers a foundation of love like none of this world. There is no greater reality than that of God in Christ, my strength & portion … He is always calling into union & to simply come.
– Song of Solomon 4:4
“ Come with me from Lebanon, my bride “
Erika, I love you more & more each passing day, praying that you are experiencing God’s mercy in new rich ways each morning, his strength for today, and hope for tomorrow my love, See you soon.
Its great how Brady is so able to start a random trend, I have said “ that’s wild “ so many times on this trip they’ve all began to count them. To continue another trend please end your comments with “ To Randy as Well “ ….
Blog post #2
Dusty and mosquito bitten feet hit the floor this “already Wednesday” morning. At 6:45am, with PB&J’s in hand for breakfast, 2 teams headed out on 2 motor boats to the people in the village of Kap pa phu to give VBS while one team stayed back on campus for a morning of construction.
Being a member of one of the teams that traveled to Kapafu, we all headed out on the boats for about a 30 minute ride. The secenery surrounding every inch of our circumference was a morning devotional in all its entirety and beauty. The cloudy morning sky complimenting the massive & jaw dropping mountains of Haiti. The sunrise was the size and the same amount of beautiful as it is in west Texas, but just add palm trees and clear, glossy blue ocean water and then you’ll get the picture (hopefully).
As we pull up to about a couple hundred yards to the village, that’s when my eyes really, truly opened. Roughly 30 grass and palm tree leaved huts were all clustered together. Perfectly placed on the sand of the shore. Once we all climbed out of the boats, we all immediately disppursed to discover who all we would be interacting with for the next hour and a half. Between dancing our hearts out, playing Jenga, blowing bubbles, and watching full grown adults run around playing tag placed nothing but pure, Jesus filled joy in my heart and smile.
We all gathered in a big circle to share our stories we had prepared for VBS. And right at that moment, the Lord broken another piece of my heart. The fact that we got to leave (to take showers, eat a full lunch, and set up for another VBS). It really didn’t (and still fully doesn’t) make sense to me. I wanted to stay SO BAD. I wanted to get to know their hearts. How they were doing. What they do in their every day life. I wanted to love them even more, because I knew that they really, really needed it and deserved it. I saw it as something (literally anything) that I could do for them in that moment, but knowing that that very moment was not and could not be eternal.
We hoped back on to our boats and started to head back home (reminder that we took TWO boats). While I forgot to mention that on our way to the village, we had to take the ride a little bit slower because there were more people on the boat than usual. So to complete my point, we were headed back… very, very slowly. I remember that I rested my head in my hands for about 10 minutes and looked up and noticed that we were in the same exact spot. We were literally not moving. I looked up ahead of us and noticed that the other boat was no where in sight.
I really started to think how or when we would eventually get back to land! I was not really worried, knowing that there were solutions to the predicament. We all started emptying out our water bottles and scooped out all the water we could that was coming into the bottom of our boat. There was a point in time that we all looked at each other and started laughing and started wondering if this could or would turn into real life bible story LOL. You know, REALLY living in the moment and trusting Jesus. All in all, the story end that the boat that made it back to shore first, came back for us to have some of us move over to that boat and then have them tow us back to shore. One of my friends, Alyssa Bernier, while still scooping out water from the bottom of the boat starts singing, from McDonalds “Bah da bap bap, I’m lovin’ it”!!! Still crying from that to this minute!
Once we all made it back to shore COMPLETLEY SAFE (you’re welcome Mom(s)), we ate lunch and started to meet the kids at the gate for VBS here at the Mole. Today, we ended up having 55 kids come in! It was an absolute blast, with limbo and of course a never ending game of duck-duck-goose.
After VBS, I got the chance to work with a small group of the special needs orphans that live here. Every single one of them steel and melt my heart, with no apology. Getting to hear about their stories and how they live day to day was completely humbling to my heart.
Once we got done with our time in the class room with them, I walked one of the girls that I got to work with (her name if Fedna), back to the shaded area where she likes to sit, and got to just take in what was all around us and hold her hand, hoping and praying that she knows that I love her with my whole entire heart. Other girls came to come sit in my lap and started drawing their names in my journal. I looked up once again and just felt right at home. So much peace came over me to a point that I NEVER wanted to leave that chair. I seemed to have to have the whole world right in the reach of my arms with these girls. To this moment, in describing to y’all how I felt that very second, it brings me (and I know it always will) to tears.
But eventually I got up to have dinner with the team and had the amazing blessing to hear the encouraging and remindful wisdom from Jody in our night devotional.
I am truly blessed to have this opportunity to share what God has done in just this one day, in just one person that is on this trip! Know and be encourage that the Lord is very present and stirring up hearts in expected and radical way. Lord, you are so, so good to us. Day 3: How sweet you have been<3
Much blessings and love always,