Sitting in the gazebo in our backyard, a clap of thunder boomed overhead, winds are picking up and clouds are covering. We’ve never been so grateful to hear thunder. To explain, we’ll go to the beginning of the day. For many members of the team our day started sometime before 6am and we met together outside to pray a rosary to our beautiful Mother Mary with the intention of rain in Monarch. Yesterday members of the community told us about their corn crop being in dire need of water. The people of Monarch depend on the corn for food and for their economy. Let it rain, Lord, let it rain. Our rosary was also offered for all of you at home. Know that you are on our hearts and we love you and are praying for you.
Starting our day in prayer, our souls were infused with a peace that can only come from God. After the rosary we transitioned into a breakfast of eggs (sorry Jacque), bananas, bread, jam, and mango juice. Bellies and hearts full, we bug-sprayed, applied sunscreen, and prepared to head out for the day. After some card games, we prayed and piled into the cars and were off down the beautiful, bumpy road to praise and give thanks to our God with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Our group of seventeen turned into nineteen when we got to Port-au-Prince with Fabnise, our fabulous translator and coordinator, and Dee, our amazing 410 Bridge leader. We didn’t know it until two days ago, but God had a 19-piece puzzle for each of us to fill. We are so awed at the awesomeness of how God loves us and how he knows our hearts far deeper and better than we do. God’s grace is abundant here and we are sinking so deep in gratitude that God has already been here preparing our hearts and preparing our way. We have a team whose hearts are open and whose members have deep capacities to love - we are learning so much from one another. So much about trusting deeper and loving fuller and we will wake up tomorrow, aware that God has prepared our way and will bless us every step.
"And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder...” Those words are from “This is Amazing Grace” by Phill Wickham. They represent how we feel as we embark on this journey and sink deep in gratitude for our God who takes our breath away time and time again. Our travel team sang this song during a baptist church service this morning. During the service, our team felt connected through the praise and worship of God. The joy, happiness, and love of the parishioners was so contagious. The people here embody Christ’s vision of an open-door church. We were immediately welcomed and asked to individually introduce ourselves to the congregation. God showed us how our prayers have been answered - we are an answered prayer for them as they were for us. There is so much beauty in reciprocal answered prayers. We engaged in hand holding and lots of loving in the dirt lot overlooking mountains and rivers as far as our eyes can see. Kelsey in particular played a hand game she played last year with the Haitian children and wanted help with explaining the rules to the children. Five seconds later a translator came over to her and a young boy to show him how to play. In that moment, Kelsey truly felt God’s presence as she understood how she can’t do everything alone in life.
After a hearty lunch consisting of beef macaroni and cheese, fried fish, and plantains, we prepared for afternoon bible study activities. Kevin and Bruce starred in their breakout roles as Nehemiah and King Artaxerxes, and the Haitian children learned about the importance of keeping joy alive, trusting God, and allowing Him to give us strength. Being able to make the children laugh at the cost of being silly took us out of our comfort zones, but somehow put us in our element. Being an important bible character, or acting like a silly monkey brought the children joy, but also brought joy to us.
Before the bible story, we sang “This little light of Mine” in English and then Fabnise led the children singing “This little light of Mine” in Creole. After the bible story, the team leaders handed out coloring pages based on the story of Nehemiah. When the children started coloring, many of the adults wanted to join in on this rare opportunity. While some of the travelers were helping the younger kids color, Sarah had an opportunity to sit with a mother and a baby. The baby’s name was Jebson and was 5 months old. It was a blessing to have this mother hand over her newborn. Sarah felt an overwhelming amount of love and trust and joy. It was very difficult to take back the crayons at the end of the day. We all gathered together to take a picture with the people of the community before saying goodbye for the day. The team is now resting and reflecting before they turn in for the night. We ask for prayers of good health for the travel team and rain for the crops in Monarch.
Sarah, Kelsey, Kalie, and Kevin
A huge THANK YOU to our travelers for continuing to include us in their special journey. We are praying for them every day! Leave your prayers in the comments.