Sorry it has been so long, but we have had weather conditions that have turned off our internet!
So here is an update on our past couple of days....
Day 4, Sunday:
- We were able to sleep in past 4 am!! Praise God!! We all jumped in the bus after breakfast and visited JeanJean and Kristie's church. It was so amazing to see the church packed and everyone praising and worshiping God! We had the opportunity to sing "Blessed Be Your Name" to the congregation and listen to JeanJean preach on John 3:14-21.
- The Haitians hold the Sabbath as a day of rest therefore we had a wonderful and hilarious time cooking our meals for the day. Jim and Stan did a great job cutting fruit while Dana and Jen cooked pasta for lunch.
- In the afternoon, we went to the second church service where Ryan had the opportunity to preach. He spoke on Isaiah 6 and what it meant to meet God in his way instead of our own where we look upwards, inwards, and outwards.
- That night, our group had an amazing night with worship and testimonies. It started with words of affirmation towards our fellow group members. This led into a time of testimonies by Jim, Lauren, and Stan. This night served as a break through moment for our group. For the first time, we all cried and held each other and shouted out praise and cries to God. This night was all about God and it was refreshing to see what singing to God really looks like.
Day 5, Monday,
- Right after breakfast we had a chance to hand out clothing to the mens and women's choir. From there, we walked to the market place. Since this is the only time where the Haitian community can come and buy food and supplies for the week, it was a awesome experience to see how they lived and interacted with each other. There was everything there, from beans and rice to hair products and shoes, to an animal market. Yes, there were men selling cows, donkeys, goats, horses, etc!! Also, we met at the bread bakery where we were able to try fresh baked bread! SOOOOO GOOD!!!!!
- On the way back we stopped by the ram pump, which is the water project made by UCI... United Christians International. This pump is gravity fed which means they do not need any electricity to supply water.
- After lunch, we had a VBS for the kids. We put together a skit that talked about how God fed the Israelites after they came through the red sea! Then we had a time of arts and crafts! Everyone on the team loved this time of playing with the kids and being able to serve them! They were so excited and happy to make things and receive shoes and clothes.
- After VBS, we hand delivered rice and beans to the poorest part of the community. Some amazing stories came out of this! One being, Dana had slipped in the mudd and the family she was on her way to bring food to brought out a tub of water and washed her feet for her. This was such an amazing act of humility and showed our group the love and thankfulness the Haitians have.
- After dinner, we worked as a team to pull wire through the trenches we have been digging! This turned into a really cool team bonding experience where we could all have a chance to help in this awesome project of supplying 8 times the amount of electricity through the campus than they currently have. Side Note, the girls decided to randomly start an arm wrestling tourney out by the trenches. Ryan and Dave's arms served as the table and Jen, being the personal trainer that she is, dominated all the girls!
- Later that evening, we were again blessed with an ex-witch doctors' testimony. His name is Zourel, and he is such an amazing man of God now. His story startes when JeanJean had overheard a Vodoo ceremony and decided to go out there and talk to them. When JeanJean arrived, he saw about 50 men all drunk and worshiping Voodoo. They looked to him and asked why he was there. JeanJean shared about God and bluntly told them the good news of following Christ along with the bad. After this, the drums stopped and everyone left the ceremony. Zourel was one of the men there and the next day came to JeanJean and wanted to know more about God. About 5 weeks later, Zourel accepted Jesus into his life and completely left Voodoo! PRAISE GOD!!!! Also that night, we listened to our brother and sister in Christ, Karen and Carl, share their testimonies with the group! Again we were blessed by God's presence and grew closer as a group!
Day 6, Tuesday:
- Started the morning as a work day immediately following breakfast, where part of our group went to pour cement and assist in the housing project UCI is currently working on, part of us worked on trenching, and Ryan speaking at UCI's pastors' conference.
- The group pouring cement got to work on a house with five rooms, and got to pray with the woman who was going to be living there. The men (and Karen) back at the compound continued to trench, and Ryan says of the pastors' conference, "It was super humbling. These pastors... some of them walked 11 hours to get there."
- After lunch, though we heard the thunder rolling closer, we hopped on the bus with the youth group and made our way to the marketplace to pick up and burn trash. Unfortunately, the rain pulled in a lot more quickly than we expected, so our time was cut short and we jumped on the bus to get back before the roads were too muddy to drive in. Another unfortunate circumstance (I guess it depends on how you look at it) was that the bus was too heavy to make it all the way up a steep incline with all the rain. Therefore, the majority of us got off the bus and ran the rest of the way in the most crazy downpour of rain EVER!! We couldn't see, like, more than 5 feet in front of us, were slippin' in the mud everywhere... but it was fun. Cold, but fun. Despite the thunder and lightning, the boys decided to play a pick-up basketball game with the youth group boys. This was SO funny to watch, because the way that they did teams was shirts and skins. Obviously, our boys being the skins. We got pictures. They'll be up later.
- In the evening, we had another powerful and amazing night with God through the testimonies of Tim and Emma. Emma is our youngest girl here at the age of 15, and has a heart of gold. Keep her in prayer, that she will draw closer and closer to God in these next couple of days. We were reminded of how personal and how much protection God puts over his children, and once again were blown away by the power of God's divine appointment and timing.
And that was last night. This morning we got to slow down and spend an hour on our own just in prayer, spending time with our personal Savior, and now we're gonna go back to work. Hopefully we'll be able to blog again before we leave to Puerto Rico, but if not... We all love you. Keep our group in prayer in these next couple of days. We look forward to seeing you at the airport on Sunday!
Love to you.
Lauren & Karen