Friday, June 29, 2012
Day 5 written by Marci
Our fifth day in Haiti began for many of us with a morning worship service. Our morning walk took us to a large open space with a huge tent on the grounds of a private school. We could hear the service even before we got there. What a beautiful, touching, moving experience! A number of beautiful Haitian people were gathering and singing praises to God. Some sat on or knelt beside benches, others walked, singing and raising their hands to the glory of God. A pastor was leading the songs, along with several other singers. Although I could not understand all the words of their songs, I was able to tell that they were thanking and praising Jesu (Jesus). The worship space looked over the mountainside, covered with crumbled buildings and tents, but men and women were down on their knees thanking God for what He has given them. It was very humbling, and I too thanked God for the many gifts he has given me and for strength and health for the Haitian people.
After breakfast, we headed back to Grace Village to spend more time with the children we were lucky enough to meet yesterday. It was wonderful to see their smiling faces again and interact with them. We got there during their "free time" and were able to play with them. We colored, jumped rope, threw the football, played on the swings and talked with our new friends. As a physical education teacher, I loved when we took out a parachute that I brought and played games with it.
When it was time to get back to "school", Laura and Beth, along with a few Grace Village young girls gave visual aides to the lesson on India. They were dressed in everyday Indian garb (sari's) and special Indian clothes, often worn to weddings. Laura led the lesson on Indian culture, geography and religion.
Christine taught the children about the 7 continents of the world, and enlisted our teens to help teach a song, accompanied on the guitar by Junior.
After leaving the young (we didn't want to go), we went to visit the elderly in Titanyen, the village surrounding Grace Village. This was interesting because we actually went into some of the "homes" in the village to meet and talk to the elderly. Shelley brought us to four of the elderly that Healing Haiti helps and at each stop we were first greeted by little children. They wanted to hold our hands, and be held by us. They loved having their pictures taken and then looking at themselves. The elderly we visited ranged in age from around 70 to over 103! Edmund, our first visitor is blind and very hard of hearing, but he was so happy to see us. With Brunet interpreting, Shelley was able to ask him what he needed, show him the food that we brought and find out what he needed us to pray for. He was so gracious, sharing his small space with us and was touched when we all laid hands on him to pray over him.
We all enjoyed visiting with Marie who is over 103 years old. She was lively, talkative and loved to have her picture taken! She is sponsored by some of the youth in the group, so they were all able to gather around her for a picture. When asked what she needed, she responded that she wants things (candy, etc.) to sell to earn money :-)
Marie was so moved by the prayers that all of the teens offered for her, she wiped away the tears as our hearts and hands surrounded her.
God's grace and goodness was very evident not only in the people who reach out to help the elders, but also in the elders themselves. My words can not even begin to describe the conditions they live in and yet the joy they had and that they shared with us. They were very inspiring. I know we will keep each and every one of them in our daily prayers from now on!
Our last stop before heading "home" for the day was at the mass burial site outside of Cite Soleil. After the earthquake, many of the dead were buried in a huge area on the side of a mountain. It now has a memorial there and the hillside is still covered with several large and many small black crosses. It is a holy site and we couldn't help but offer prayers for the souls of the departed, and for their family and friends who miss them terribly.
We are tired, emotionally and physically drained, yet eager to await God's plans for our day tomorrow.
Gratefully written by Marci Wills