Sep 26, 2014

Adventure in Haiti (A True Story)

     This past week, my family and I visited Haiti. It was the first time I had been out of the country (unless you count the Canadian side of Niagara Falls).

All the cousins before the wedding.
We went because my cousin, the lovely Nicole, was marrying a Haitian man named Onny. Nicole and her family have been involved with the Haitian church for years. Now she and her new husband will continue the work together from inside the country.

     After hearing about Haiti from Nicole for the past few years, it was exciting to finally experience it. My sisters and I rode with Nicole and Onny from the airport to the house where we were staying for the week. Onny commented that we didn't talk much, but that was because we were absorbing everything with our mouths hanging open. Talk about culture shock.

Homes built into the mountains. Picture by Michaela.

     Haiti is one of the 20 poorest countries in the world. The towns we drove through felt like half inner-city slums and half Indiana-Jones-style Middle Eastern. The house where we stayed had no indoor plumbing. Electricity ran for only a few hours in the evening via a generator. It was fun to adapt and learn an everyday life different from my own.

     Though the earthquake in 2010 devastated Haiti, we saw people getting back on their feet. There were many gardens growing tomatoes and cabbage (say "shoo" in Creole), very few piles of rubble, and even roads being re-paved.

     My cousin and her family have been working closely with a particular Haitian pastor. This pastor has many projects to help people. One thing he does often is take orphans into his home.

My sister and I with the village kids on the wall of their original church.
     We went to a village that had a church made of tin and tarp. Their original church of stone was
destroyed by the earthquake, and now the people are exposed to the elements during the services. The pastor and several members of the church are working to rebuild the church, plus build an orphanage and a hospital. Nicole and Onny have a vision to be part of this huge work.

     We also visited a woman's house that had a collapsed roof and cracks in the walls caused by the earthquake. With help from my uncle, the pastor is working to build her another house. They have the land bought. Now they are waiting for funds to build the building.

     The pastor also works closely with a school. The school currently has about 50 students, but it is capable of holding 200 more, if people could afford to pay the government-imposed fines.

Kyle "Foo" (cousin), Michaela (sister), Nicole (cousin).
Spiritually, the people of Haiti are much like Americans. We all fear and do not see how powerful God is; for unsaved Haitians, they fear voodoo. We all misplace priorities and put emphasis on things we can see and touch, rather than eternal things. We all need the counsel of others to spur us toward Godliness. Though these things are our faults, we all do some things well. We worship from the heart. We care for the hopeless. We hold to the true Gospel; that Christ died for us, rose again, and will return, and we will be with Him forever if we trust Him.

     Our cultures are very different, but if we only have the Gospel in common, it is enough to share the love of Christ. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to see Christ's crazy ("foo" in Creole) love spreading over Haiti. Please pray with me for both countries, Haiti and America.

Post Tenebras Lux!

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