Haiti is ...
Haiti is marvelous. Haiti is awful. Haiti is hot. Haiti is beautiful. Haiti is devastatingly poor. Haiti is amazing. Haiti is where I am as you read this.
The people are great (is there a people in the world about whom that can’t be said? I doubt it.). My church has a wonderful relationship with a lovely church in Arcahaie, which is about an hour north of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Since we have been working with the people of that church since 2013, we have developed a friendship with many of them that transcends time, distance, language and culture. It’s pretty amazing. When my husband was sick in 2015, I believe these faithful Haitians’ prayers were part of the reason he’s still alive. When I finally returned to Haiti after a year away after that time, they greeted me by name and asked about my husband, also by name! Such a lovely group of believers who must hold such an amazing place in the heart of God.
The land is hot, but really beautiful. It’s amazing how it can be so squalid in the cities, and so gorgeous at the coast. One of the things we frequently marvel at is that Haiti is as scenic and compelling as most other Caribbean countries, but yet it has not been able to capitalize on that fact. I suspect it’s the lack of infrastructure that makes Haiti come up short – few people get excited about coming into a city as trash-laden as Port-au-Prince, despite its many virtues. And the lack of good roads, reliable electricity (although Haiti is not alone among Caribbean countries in struggling here), and basic municipal amenities are also difficulties. However, against these negatives have to be placed the sheer beauty of the country – the towering mountains, shaded daily by the light, the sandy beaches, the outstanding snorkeling, swimming and diving, the people who smile constantly despite the extreme poverty.
Our team has assisted our Haitian brothers and sisters in building a church and a school, in constructing benches for students, and bookcases for classrooms. Most recently we’ve been working teaching the teachers, and helping our Haitian friends learn English.
This time we’ll be training teachers, school administrators and church staff, as well as building more benches and bookcases, and teaching some Bible classes in addition to running a blood pressure clinic. My special responsibility will be to facilitate, with the help of the rest of the team, two day-long parenting workshops, one in Port-au-Prince, and one in Arcahaie. It’s a daunting task! My greatest desire is to be helpful, but also to be culturally sensitive and not to offend. In the U.S. we take all the knowledge that is available at our fingertips for granted, but in Haiti, the people are eager and willing to listen and learn.
If you are reading this, and are so inclined, please pray for our team of ten from King Street Church in Chambersburg, PA – pray for God to be glorified, and His will to be done in all areas. Please pray for safety and cultural sensitivity, for kindness and compassion to win the day, and for love and information to change hands in a way that honors both the donor and the recipient. Thank you!