We are beginning our fourth day here. Most of our team is currently working on painting the frames of the school desks that will be used in both the temporary and permanent school buildings in Onaville. We are working alongside a Haitian brother who has been doing all the welding for us. He has a lovely spirit! He expressed concern over the fumes that are produced from the anti-rust/paint solution that our team is applying. He also wanted to ensure that we were being good stewards with the paint we purchased. Love it! My favorite story about our welder friend though is from last night. Reverend Hawkins went with Pastor Pierre to his home to discuss the progress on the school desks and benches. When they arrived, he was working with one of the interpreters from Nehemiah Vision Ministries, Mikenzli, to learn to speak and write in English. He was writing things like, “This is my name.” and “This is my home.” He was working into the night to learn a language that isn’t even his own. This man is probably in his 50’s or 60’s and embodies the determined spirit we have witnessed over and over again. It is a beautiful thing.
Our welder friend hard at work!
We have had many powerful experiences while here. We were able to be part of two different worship services on Sunday. We first joined the Onaville congregation for church early, and then shuttled over to the Nehemiah campus for worship with the people of Chambrun. We heard the same message twice and let me tell you, neither repetition nor a language barrier can stop the spirit of God! Pastor Pierre is a powerful, spirit-filled preacher and it was awesome to engage in his message. The congregations are very responsive, participatory, and lively too. There is no concern with time or heat, but a pure desire to worship our Lord with genuine adoration. We might do well to follow the Haitian example on this one.
The Church in Onaville, Haiti
Before I tell you about my favorite experience from yesterday, let me share with you the setting I am surrounded by right now. I’m sitting in a folding chair outside the church (because it’s the only place I can get Wi-Fi. Apparently, God is in the Wi-Fi!) The blazing sun is making it difficult to see my screen. I’m hot. In the school building to my back left, another missionary team is conducting an English camp for the local children. To my back right, locals are being served at the clinic. Food distribution ended just a bit ago to my right. Interns are battling weeds to restore the prayer garden to its previous glory to my immediate left. I hear Creole being spoken inside the church and from some locals to my right. I’ve sung along with English praise and worship songs while writing and now hear Haitian music and joyful shouts from children. The rooster just crowed. Wait….now the campers are singing “Every Move I Make” alternating English and Creole. I’m smiling. Where is God, you ask? He is everywhere. He is in every sound, every sight, every embrace, every act of service, every determined heart, Haitian and American. He is everywhere. The great I Am of the Bible is my Lord at home in the US, and is the mighty Savior of Haiti.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:16-17)
I guess you’ll have to wait until next time to hear about my favorite memory from yesterday. I’ve got some sights and sounds to soak in.
Written by Carrie Hawkins, Co-Director, Social Media