Today was an amazing day! We woke up a little before 6:30 and had breakfast, then dressed in "our Sunday best" and drove to the orphanage to meet the kids for the first time. There were lots of kids there, all behind a big gate. It was a bit nerve wracking seeing them there and wondering how in the world we'd connect with the. They let out the girls first to meet us.
A beautiful little Haitian girl (maybe 8 or 9) came over and claimed me - holding on tight. Next the boys were released and two came over and jockeyed for position with the little girl. With all of them clinging tightly and my arms around them we started walking towards the church.
|Me, Verline, Mardoche, and Jimmy.|
|Dave and Keith with their boys (I think Dave had 5!), walking to church.|
The girl eventually disappeared (ceding the battle to the boys) and I began to feel the frustration of not being able to communicate with them. I wish I knew Creole! One of the boys kept tapping me on my neck and I though "Uh oh, maybe I nicked myself shaving?" But when they kept doing it one of them did the same thing to himself and said "Tony." Aha, he wants to know my name! After introductions were made I started using French which is close to Creole. Suddenly we could communicate!
This began a game of us pointing to things and saying their name in their language (and I did the same). Old words of French long forgotten came back to me and were were able to share some words and laugh. Very cool. I whistled and they whistled too. The 15 minute walk to the church was great. This was our first actual walk around Haiti and the road we walked down had trees, fields, houses, and goats. Fruit trees and palms trees were everywhere. I felt thankful for being able to be close to nature with such fine companions. Exploring down the road was great and got me excited.
The Haitian church we arrived at was wonderful - a church of about 200 people with windows and doors wide open letting in the breezes (which were much appreciated - it was hot in there!). We were welcomed and given a seat in the front. It was about a 2 hour service and very loud! The orphans got to sit to us close to the front and we listened to some amazing singing. One interesting thing that was different was one man who seemed to be something like a cantor. He swayed, danced, exclaimed loudly and basically modeled exuberant worship. Never saw anything like that before but in the context it seemed to work! After the service we were invited to stay and given bottles of coke to drink.
|Paul amongst the kids at the church|
|Eating Lunch at Jack's Beach|
|Keith, first time swimming in the ocean|
|Kelly and Scott, well, no idea what they are doing here actually but definitely an amusing picture.|
|A beautiful beach in one of the most poverty struck nations in the world. Even here God's beauty can still be seen sometimes.|
We then went for supper to an outdoor local Haitian restaurant and the food was delicious - chicken, avacado, rice, and the spiciest coleslaw I have ever eaten! It was great to be eating my chicken and seeing the restaurant's live chickens running around outside as well. Eating in the open air suits me.
|Simple but absolutely delicious Haitian fare.|
|Our team waiting for our food. We invited one of our security guys (McKenzie) to come with us.|
After we finally returned to our house, Judd lead us in our nightly round of "highs and lows." I really admire this man - Gad has really used him in some amazing ways. After our sharing time Judd shares inspirational stories his life in a humble way that really makes you think. Tonight I was thinking about this week and wondering "What can I do here? How can God use me when there are such big needs and I have such limited skills?" I wish I had more construction abilities (OK, any) or even Keith's computer skills. Now that I'm finally here I feel a bit of anxiety about what it will be like to begin our actual work. I'm praying God will be able to use me for his glory somehow - and that I'll be open to whatever comes my way.