Today was different in that it wasn’t a work day, but we did have a great day that was full of excitement. We began our day with a devotional led by Josh after breakfast discussing verses from Hebrews chapter 4. This was an excellent discussion for where we are at in our current mission, and it was a great way to begin our Sunday.
Following our devotional time, we left for Sunday morning service in Boujuint. Once the children were done with Sunday school, we were introduced to the congregation. Many of the people there already knew us from the four days we had already spent there working as well as the two evening services we had attended. After introducing us, the Haitians were invited to come grab one of us by hand and lead us back to their seats to sit with them while we enjoyed the service. What fun it was to see them all try to get to each of us before somebody else did. The service continued with awesome worship music and some great messages by Pastor Eldrick. Then the entire congregation walked down the street to the construction site where the future church was dedicated with prayers and songs. After walking back to the current church structure, Pastor Ray gave his sermon. Yet another amazing church service with our new friends in the village of Boujuint in the north of Haiti!
Our next stop for the day would be the Children of the Promise orphanage. We didn’t have a visit scheduled with the orphanage, but we were fortunate enough to have someone on hand willing to give us a tour and discuss the organization. This place is AMAZING! The oldest child currently residing there is 5 years old, and we had the privilege of meeting this adorable child! Unfortunately, we got there at nap time, so we were not able to meet any more of the children. We did, however, get a great tour filled with a lot of information. The organization was created by a couple from Minnesota about 15 years ago. The adoption process is quite lengthy averaging 1.5-2 years. After the earthquake in 2010 that devastated a great deal of Haiti’s capital, Port au Prince, many people were removing children from Haiti illegally. Because of this, the Haitian government halted adoptions all together. They have since reopened the process, but they have amended the laws to make them more strict. When asked how many of the children at the orphanage are special needs, our guide told us that it was 50%. The majority of the special needs children have received a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. But the truth of it is that the medical community in Haiti is not as advanced as the United States, and it is likely that many of the children have been generically diagnosed or not fully diagnosed with their true diseases. The special needs children receive therapy based on their diagnosis, but it is probable that they are not receiving the correct therapy if their diagnosis is not accurate. The hope of the organization would be to see all of the special needs children adopted out. Because the likelihood of finding a match for a special needs child is not as good, the processing time and cost are both reduced from that of the other children. An ideal match for the special needs children would be a family already skilled in the care and therapy of a special needs child. I am asking on behalf of Children of the Promise that everyone reading this share the information with anyone who may have a heart for these beautiful children. Every child is a creation of God. God didn’t create these children special so that they would be overlooked in the adoption process. He created them special so that they could bless the families loving enough, patient enough, & willing enough to seek them and make them part of their families. For more information on Children of the Promise visit: www.childrenofthepromise.org
From the orphanage, we travelled back to the mission house to change out of our church clothes. Our next stop was going to be the New Life Mission Children’s Home. While at the mission house, we not only changed, but also loaded up some of our supplies to take to the children’s home, including the dog formerly known as Rover Comer. This is a dog costume that the People Church has had for quite some time and took the journey here to Haiti with us. We did decide to make the dog’s name a bit more Haitian, so he is now known as Chen-Tespri. Playing to role of Chen-Tespri was Kaitlyn, and she did an awesome job. This role actually began at the mission house as we wanted the children to see the dog as soon as we got there. So…if you can imagine a dog dressed in overalls, work gloves, and standing approximately 5’6″ tall riding in the back of a truck, you can imagine the fun we had on that ride! Also making this ride interesting: we encountered Mardi Gras celebrations both to and from the children’s home, we drove through a swarm (yes, you read that correctly) of bees, and Josh lost his hat…temporarily…even though he thought it was for good. Swarm of bees? We really aren’t sure were they came from, but they were quite the surprise. It felt as if small clumps of dirt were being thrown at us, but when we looked down we saw that it was actually bees we had encountered! Crazy! We did have a few people receive stings from this attack, but nothing too bad. Shortly after the bee invasion, Josh lost his hat. This actually occurred on the same road that Pastor Ray lost his hat last year. A few more miles down the road, we had just turned into the entrance for the children’s home when a moto (used often as taxis) with three people began honking and waving Josh’s hat. That was so incredibly kind of them to chase us down to return it to it’s owner. Their generosity was greeted with a dollar bill, and they drove away extremely happy!
Our time spent at the children’s home was filled with: Chen-Tespri silently entertaining the children; the children singing for us, us singing for them, and all of us singing together; craft time with necklaces; soccer with a new ball; and singing and dancing games that were recorded for all to see and have already been posted! What a fun time we all had!
Back at the mission house our only other agenda item for the day was dinner. Fabulous, Haitian dinner! Our down time after dinner was spent in different ways: some went to bed early, some discussed the Bible, some watched videos of the day, and some had Creole lessons. For a non-work day, it was still very busy, very full, and very, very much fun!