After months of canceled plans and stay at home orders, I’m still processing the fact that my husband and I spent a week in Haiti! I had been trying to plan a trip for over a year and the timing just wasn’t working out. When Pastor Gilbert unexpectedly visited our church on a Sunday in October, the plans just came together as we talked after church. We bought tickets on faith, but in the back of my mind, I knew that the trip was likely to be canceled. We were sitting on the plane between Miami and Port-au-Prince when it finally hit me that the trip wasn’t going to be canceled! We were really doing this!!
This was my fourth time in Haiti and the first time without at least one of my children. My husband had been to Haiti 5 times previously, but it was our first time to get to go together! That was just one of many blessings about this trip. Although it was in many ways a difficult trip and there were several moments of discouragement, God was abundantly gracious to us… He was our strength in exhaustion and weakness, our peace in confusing and unfamiliar circumstances, and our joy in discouragement and overwhelm.
It was wonderful to see the school again and realize how much it has changed since the first time I visited 8 years ago! Over the years, the Bridge program has enabled them to add 7th, 8th, and 9th grade classes. More recently, they’ve been able to add plaster and paint to the entrance and courtyard, as well as adding a sewing class, computer class, music class, and the art clubs which make paper bead jewelry and macramé!
As always, the main goal was to meet with each of the sponsored students to get updates and current photos and to give them notes from their sponsor, if one was sent. We also got to observe the extracurricular educational classes and I got to participate in several of the classrooms. It was our privilege to get to bring bonuses to the school staff, thanks to some generous extra donations. Plus, my husband got to lead morning devotions on three of the days.
One thing I was really looking forward to was working in the classrooms to do a craft with the younger children and a writing activity with the upper grades. My reason for wanting to do this was to obtain something from each sponsored child that we could use as a gift for their sponsor. And why not do it with all the kids so everyone could join in the fun? While it didn’t work out quite like I had pictured, it was mostly successful and a lot of fun! I’m excited to give our sponsors their students craft or letter, although unfortunately I don’t have one for everyone since some of our sponsored students were absent when we were in their class.
Overall I feel incredibly full and blessed at the memories of the week we spent in Haiti! Both my husband and I felt God’s presence with us carrying us through every moment of our trip. We got to see and experience the fruit of the last 9 years of ministry and prayer, and enjoy the smiles and laughter of so many children whose education we are honored to help support. We planted seeds of the gospel and witnessed several people accept Christ as their Savior. We were blessed to get to work with and be encouraged by some amazing people whose purpose in life is to glorify God and do what they can to help their country. We even got to spend a wonderful day of rest at the beach!
We look forward to sharing more details about a few specific aspects of the trip over the next few weeks. Until then, “Orevwa!”