Day 1 – Hello Haiti
This is the first in a week of posts submitted by students from Mariners Church. This team of high school and college-aged students will be in Haiti, working alongside our church partner Samuel Metelus, from June 25 through July 3, 20215.
Dear friends and family,
As I pulled up in my car to Mariners every fear and anxiety began to arise once again. Before coming on this trip I had no clue how I would be able to survive eight days let alone one day in a hot and humid place. I imagined a place that was full of trash, dirt, tents, and disease. What I have seen in the short few days have been trash, dirt, and tents but also beauty, rolling hills, beaming smiles, hope, love and God. This place may look broken down and some people have little to nothing, yet they are all so thankful and content for the little things in life. They are all so unbelievably caring and all they really want is for us to love on them.
Anyways back to the beginning I was so worried to come Haiti due to so many irrational fears. As soon as I hopped on the bus every fear went away and I was filled with peace, knowing God will protect us. The first day was beyond crazy we had a two hour bus ride, a few hours getting through the multiple airports and customs, the eight hours of plane rides (California to Miami to Haiti), and to top off a six hour bus ride. Add that all up and you get twenty-three hours of traveling, we left at 5 p.m. and arrived at our hotel at precisely 4:15 p.m.
A few quick highlights from traveling; the flight from Miami to Haiti was amazing, just before we landed I became speechless just looking at the rolling green hill, gorgeous water below, and the little cities above, and between the valleys. Also the bus ride… Oh the bus ride…the roads here are pothole filled, rough, rocky, bumpy and rather tiny. There were also no visible street signs; it was just amazing watching our bus driver find his way perfectly. The motorcycles here are daredevils – they take every gap and know how to thread the needle between cars. I was in shock and wasn’t able to fully comprehend everything I was seeing from the streets to the half finished homes. It was so humbling to see the community living in such rough situations yet smiling through it all.
Now lets talk about how amazing the first day of seeing the kids was! These kids have the biggest smiles and give the best hugs. They have continually melted my heart time and time again, especially when they hold our hands. The first day with the kids we ran VBS. We had one group lead sports, another with theatre and the last with crafts. Surprisingly language isn’t that big of a barrier, because love is a universal language. The kids are so sweet. I feel so bad though when they try to talk to me and all I can do is smile and laugh with them. I wish we could hold a conversation because I’m sure they have so many things they want to tell us.
We also got a chance to do a little street evangelism or as it should be called “jungle evangelism.” We walked into the wilderness, found peoples’ homes, our translators asked them our questions, and we prayed for them. The best moment for me was being able to talk with an older women who was beaming with Jesus. She was so happy and joyful – it made my day. We got to pray that God would provide a new home for her, and of course got a big hug. (Well, I got two hugs from her…)
Personally my favorite moment came right after our street evangelism when I met a young man named Marco. This man is now twenty-one and speaks great English. He told a few of us how he learned English by reading English books and writing down the words. Once he got some literature, he would construct his sentences and try to say them. He would then find people who spoke English and ask if he was doing it correctly. How awesome is that?! He wants to be a doctor and/or a preacher. Basically he wants to save lives. This young man knew the Bible front to back, and told the few of us his favorite stories and why. I came here thinking I would be teaching the gospel to the Haitians, yet more so they have been teaching me. Thank you all so much for continually praying for the Haitians and us.
I have learned time and time again that life without God is like a broken pencil…Pointless. And that has never been truer to me than while being here in Haiti.
Much love and blessings,