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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Haiti Mission 2014 - Day 5

Our fifth day in Haiti provide us a bit of down time; by that I mean that we were not active in ministry work in the same way we were the rest of the week. As always, I started the day with prayer and Bible reading so I could hear God in the quiet of the dawn, and see His light begin to illuminate Creation. There is something amazing about watching the sun come up over the mountains of Haiti. I was - mostly - up early enough all week to see the stars still bright in the sky. Then, ever so slowly, the starlight would begin to dim as the Earth turned our little patch toward the sun. At the same time, the waves were rolling gently to the shore, as inexorable as the sunrise.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
 - Psalm 19:1-2

You alone are the LORD. 
You have made the heavens, 
The heaven of heavens with all their host, 
The earth and all that is on it, 
The seas and all that is in them. 
You give life to all of them 
And the heavenly host bows down before You.
 - Nehemiah 9:6

Sunrise and the ever-present fishermen

After breakfast, we boarded Bluebird and rode to Minoterie for church. One thing about church in Haiti, when you're visiting, there is no sneaking in the back and sitting down unnoticed. As guests, we are invited up front, people are moving to make room for's all a little disconcerting. The term back-row Baptists wasn't coined for nothing.

Another thing about church in Haiti, they don't do it halfway. Because of our schedule of activities for the rest of the day, we could not stay for the entire service. Because of our travel time, we did not make the beginning of the service. In Haiti, church starts early and lets out late...when the body comes together to worship God on Sunday morning in Haiti, they WORSHIP God!

We were able to hear some excellent singing and one of our sponsor moms - Kimberly - addressed the congregation in Creole. This seemed to cause great delight amongst the Haitians. Especially when Kimberly would reference God, which in Creole, is Bondye. It is pronounced similarly to the French bon Dieu, which literally translated means good God. Think about that. In Creole, there is no need to put another adjective before the name of God because His name already means, good God!

In any case, Kimberly speaks Creole about a million times better than me, which is to say I can't speak it at all. And here she was addressing the church in their native language. But as she spoke, she would pause after the first syllable of God's name, "Bon...," and about half the congregation would finish in a loud falsetto, "Dye!"

Apparently, Kimberly's voice box goes up a couple of registers on the end of that word - she can't help it - and the Haitians find it...interesting. But come to think of it, if I wanted to be known for some weird thing I did, having people know me for saying God's name would be pretty cool. So, kudos to Kimberly!

The rest of the service - at least the parts we were able to stay for - included the wife of one of the church leaders preaching from Ezekiel chapter thirty-nine. I was able to catch this because, although I don't speak Creole, I do manage a little French, so I recognized the chapter and verse numbers and I peeked over at my neighbor's Creole Bible and saw that she was in the book of Ezekiel.

Note: The link for Ezekiel chapter thirty-nine above will take you to the English NASB translation. The link for Creole Bible will take you to the Creole translation of Ezekiel 39.

By late morning, we were making our way out of the church, bidding our adieus. The next part of the day was about to commence: a beach party for the recent graduates and their families at Kaliko Beach Club! We boarded the bus and made our rounds in the village, picking up our guests and hitting the road west. It took awhile to get everyone checked in but once that was completed, we had an awesome day with our Haitian friends and their families.

You might be asking yourself, what does a beach resort have to do with mission work? One of the things that touched my heart during our stay in Haiti this year was how deeply involved we were with the lives of Minoterie's people. We have team members who sponsor Haitian young men going to college in the States. We have team members who sponsor young men and women still attending school in Haiti. We have team members who provide whatever they can afford for special needs kids in the village - remember Berry Jean?

In short, the folks from Minoterie who we sponsored for a Sunday afternoon at the beach/pool weren't just being rewarded for completing their schooling - this ministry thrives on love and our team wanted to show them love through an awesome day of fun, food and fellowship. And since it's all about family in Haiti, we packed the bus!

While we waited for lunch to be prepared, most everyone hit the pool...

Tropical pool time!

In fact, if it weren't for lunch, I'm not sure some of the kids wold have gotten out of the pool all day.

Buffet lunch!

Kaliko put on a great buffet lunch for everyone. And we weren't the only people there so it took awhile to get everyone sat for their meal. Bildad, one of our Haitian college students and a leader in PoG, put his own hunger aside and started helping the Kaliko staff bus tables, seat guests, serve drinks...Bildad was everywhere and his help did not go unnoticed - or unappreciated - by the Kaliko team.

Kimberly has game!

Remember soccer? There was more than one soccer game played on the beach Sunday - heck, I even played. But, as you can see from the action shot above, Bildad's American mom, appears to know her way around a game of beach football!

You can't keep American moms down!

As the afternoon wore on, it was time to party American-style, with presents for the grads, snacks with poor nutritional know...the good stuff! Frankly, I still don't know how we came by chocolate brownies but I know that several of the ladies brought nuts, trail mix, M & M's, and other goodies with them on the plane. 

Let the snacking begin!

Once all the presents had been given out and the snack table decimated, I think we spent about an hour on hugs and goodbyes. It had been an awesome day of fun and relaxation for everyone and we were so happy to be able to provide our Haitian family and friends this mini-vacation.

 Exhausted but happy crew

The sun sets on a great day in Haiti...

God gave us an awesome day Sunday. We were able to spend time with Him and His Haitian children. Each one of us established or deepened one or more relationships with someone from Minoterie. And those relationships would do nothing but help us as we continued to minister in the village.

We closed out the day with a team devotional, sharing things from our day that shined a light on God moments we had all experienced. We needed to hang on to those because the next day (Monday), we were bound for the children's prison in Port au Prince.


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