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Friday, July 19, 2013

Haiti 2013 - Day 5

By now, my legion of followers knows that I have put aside my normal falling-down-the-rabbit-hole blogging in favor of writing a blog a day about our just-concluded mission trip to Haiti. We were in-country from July 6th until July 13th working with Mission of Hope. I am doing my level best to compress a week's worth of blessings, struggles, grace, mercy, thought, and anecdote into blog-form. One thing I've noticed is that each post is longer than the last - maybe I have something in common with J.K. Rowling after all! If you read the Harry Potter series, you'll remember that each book was longer than its predecessor...

I began Wednesday morning following the comfortable pattern of slipping out of our room before dawn and heading to the guest house roof for exercise, Bible study and prayer. On this particular morning, I was still buzzing from the two hours we had spent in praise and worship the night before. The scene in front of the dais at the end may have resembled a Mosh Pit to others, but as I gazed up at the last morning stars, 2 Samuel 6:14 came to mind:

And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might...

When I come to Haiti, I am initially reserved in my worship - a product of our more conservative church environments in North America. But by day four, I couldn't help being a little more demonstrative in my praise to and of God. There is a point at which worship becomes truly freeing, and I definitely had reached that point last night as I surrendered completely to the Holy Spirit, feeling it move powerfully throughout the night. At that moment, I could totally get David's joy as he returned to Jerusalem bearing the Ark of the Covenant.

There was a brisk breeze blowing across the land on Wednesday morning and we were bracing for the expected arrival of Tropical Storm Chantal later that evening.

Job 38 says it all...

We finished breakfast, cleaned up, donned the ever-present sunscreen and bug spray, mounted our truck, and headed back to Bercy in order to finish what we could before the storm broke.

Threatening skies

We worked like mad men, women and children to double-check our footer trenches and make sure they were ready to receive concrete. There were two Haitian cement crews running mixers and they were quickly catching up to us. Various team members scurried around, seeking last-minute guidance, tying re-bar, leveling trenches, setting the mesh - you name it, we were a well-oiled machine.

I know storm clouds when I see them...

I've lived a large portion of my life along the Gulf Coast - Florida, Alabama, Mississippi - and I've lived through my fair share of tropical storms and hurricanes. During a break, I walked over to the sea wall and took the shot above, aiming the camera off to the southeast; the direction that Chantal was approaching from. There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to get a soaking. Weather reports that had filtered through to us indicated up to ten inches of rain was expected, and in Haiti, that means major flooding. We weren't worried so much about ourselves, but more so for the good people of Guitton, Leveque, Titanyen, Bercy, Cabaret, and other communities nearby where there was little shelter from a significant tropical weather event.

Le chien

Of course, there were four-legged creatures to think about as well. The handsome fellow above was our canine companion at the Bercy work site and, I suspect, being well cared for by the interns and staff who lived there. I was missing our German Shepherd Abby by this time and, succumbing to temptation (and a soft heart), rustled up a suitable container and gave le chien a nice big bowl of cool, fresh water. He lapped it up and decided right then was as good a time as any for a rest.

We finished up what we could at the work site and then broke camp for the ride back to MoH. The rest of the evening was spent in anticipation of Chantal but with the exception of a strong breeze and the occasional shower, we had no weather of consequence up until bed time. Our roommates - from a church in Arkansas - had cleverly figured out a way to leave our door open and secure a mosquito net across the entire doorway. This allowed greater air flow through the room and with Chantal's cooling breath upon us, we drifted off to sleep amid silent prayers that God would spare this island nation from yet another trial.


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