Happy New Year from the Mole! It has been amazing to ring in 2019 with our Haitian friends. On New Year’s Eve, we hosted an evening full of games, raffles, and the 2nd Annual New Years Eve Dance Competition. Thousands of people joined us in town for nearly six hours. We all had our own roles to fulfill in order to pull off such a highly anticipated event. Although Jody has been stateside, her hard work and planning allowed for such an event to happen and we were all so thankful to be a part of it.
Emma has also put in endless hours to plan, practice, and execute all of the dances with her various dance groups. During the New Years Eve event, she not only participated in over 20 dances, but she also judged the groups participating in the competition. Her dedication and passion for dance is inspiring and making an impact on countless lives here in the Mole. Lisa was also able to help judge the competition with many years of “Dance Mom” experience under her belt. It was fun to watch them sit side by side and watch the dances together.
Marla was in charge of all things games. Since Jody was not able to be there, Marla took on this role solo and did an amazing job. It was awesome to watch her engage members of the community in some good clean fun and better yet, watch them truly enjoy themselves. It is amazing to me how much people in Haiti love simple games like Hot Potato. It warms my heart to see such joy in such simplicity. Marla also worked alongside Jose, Pierre, and Americk to call out raffle winners who were able to spin the prize wheel and walk away with some awesome prizes. The prizes included cell phones, money, headphones, and countless other fun items.
Abbey and Ryan were our photographers and videographers for the night. They captured the joy and excitement in the audience beautifully, as well as the energy of the dancers participating in the competition. People in the community love to see pictures of themselves and the dancers enjoy watching back their performances. Selfishly, we will also enjoy looking back at photos and videos to remember such an incredible night.
The majority of the night, Katie and I hung out with the orphanage kiddos. What we were blown away by was their excitement and interest in staying, even though we weren’t able to see any of the dances or the events on the stage. Despite the language barrier, the darkness, and the inability to see the event, we still loved sitting with the kids and being present with them. Loving on them to ring in the New Year is something I am so grateful to have been able to do. I thought about how restless and how eager I would have been to leave as a kid, but they were so excited to be there and really wanted to stay. We take for granted the entertainment we have here in the States. What a humbling thing to realize.
At the end of the night, winners were announced, fireworks were set off and people went home full of excitement and joy in anticipation for the blessings to come this New Year. Then, after cleaning up, we headed to bed for a few short hours in order to wake up early on New Years Day to deliver Pumpkin Soup to the towns of Preskul and Karenage. Mama Gigi led the communities in worship and in prayer before serving the people in both towns. It was beautiful watching her serve and it gave the people a reminder of hope and love to begin the New Year.
This week I have realized that while short-term mission trips have the ability to leave a lasting impact, to support long-term staff, and to help put on large events in the community, it is the people that live here that are truly making a difference. I have had conversations with staff, witnessed their work ethic, and felt their love and wisdom this past week that has been truly inspiring. The work that the staff does here is meaningful, it is selfless, and it is powerful because they walk with a deep trust and understanding of God’s faithfulness. I have been amazed by the countless ministries that happen weekly with or without our help. I pray a blessing over the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission staff here at the Mole during 2019, that their lives may be full of good health, safety, and that their ministries would continue to thrive. On behalf of our whole team, we are so grateful to have started our year with the people here at the Mole! Happy New Year!