Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Mission Team sent to Haiti Children's Home

Haiti and the Dominican share the same island and share a lot history. The history between these two countries has not always been good. We have lived on this island for almost 13 years and have experienced and witnessed a lot of prejudice between these two people groups. In our opinion, Haiti is the Dominicans’ Samaria. Dominicans have come across with a sense that they feel that they are superior to Haitians. We have experienced first hand some of this prejudice as we have two beautiful children who are Haitian and we are raising them in the Dominican Republic. We have had Dominicans say such things to us as “how could you bring that thing into my country” and call them “ugly black thing” right to our faces. Just over a year ago, we heard our son praying to God, asking Him to change his skin colour so the kids at school would stop teasing and hitting him because he is black. HOWEVER, since the earthquake on January 12th, we have witnessed such a change in attitude from Dominicans towards Haitians. Today, I was talking with a Dominican lady in the village and she was telling me how different it is now with how Dominicans are treating Haitians. She said herself that she sees people stopping the Haitians who live here and asking how they and their families are and if they can help them with anything. Never before, would you ever see this.

On Friday, we sent a mission team over to Haiti Children’s Home in Mirabalis, Haiti to build a temporary building out of plywood and tin for the orphans and staff at this orphanage. On the team that went over was Paul, two men from Victoria BC and six Dominican men from our local church here, La Vid. This was the church’s first ever mission team sent out anywhere and they went to Haiti! Three months ago, we would have never believed it!

While in Haiti these past four days, Paul got to know the staff at the orphanage. One of the Haitian men was telling Paul that up until they showed up with this Dominican team, he had never met a Dominican in his life. All that this man knew about Dominicans is what Haitians talked about Dominicans which, Paul learned, was a lot like what we have heard Dominican talk about Haitians. This Haitian man proceeded to tell Paul that he now knows that everything that he has heard about Dominicans in the past are all lies. Never did this man every think that he would be friends with a Dominican yet now he has five new, good friends and they are all Dominicans! .

The team left Jarabacoa (our town) at 6 am on Friday morning (12/03/2010) for Mirabalis, Haiti which is a good ten hour drive. The team of 9 men, all builders, loaded all their stuff, sleeping bags, tents, and another load of food for the orphanage into two vehicles and headed out. About two hours into the drive, Paul smelt something burning and pulled over. The belt for the air conditioner broke. For the rest of the trip, they did not have any air conditioning. The roads in Haiti are dirt and it was hot so it was a very hot, dusty drive for those in Paul’s vehicle. About 30 minutes before reaching the orphanage, Paul felt the back end of the vehicle fall down. He looked out his side mirror and there was his wheel rolling along beside the vehicle. Every single lug nut and the wheel had fallen off the jeep! The two vehicles stopped and all 9 of the guys got out. Some of the guys started to work on the jeep while the other men started to pray and look for the lug nuts. The guys found five out of six of the lug nuts, had the wheel back on and were on their way in less than 15 minutes!!!

Haiti has had voodoo as one of its two official religions for so many years that the devil has had free reign in Haiti. Since the earthquake, Haitians are turnign to God, proclaiming His name in the streets, dedicating their lives and hearts to Jesus, witch doctors are burning their ritual items and publicly declaring that voodoo is a lie and the only truth is God! The devil is mad and he wants to stop those who are serving our Father. The wheel falling off the vehicle was such a bizarre thing that could only have been an attack from the enemy but God won! God is more powerful. 15 minutes later and lug nuts were found on a dirt road and they guys were on their way. Only God can do this!!!!

When the guys arrived at the orphanage, they found the orphanage workers trying to set up the large white tent that you see in some of our earlier photos. They had taken it down in order to move it as the new building was going up where the tent was. However, when the tent was loaned to them by the UN, it took 20 UN guys to set it up. Our team jumped out of their vehicles and without even changing their clothing, started pitching this tent. It took some time but they got it up. The orphanage has the tent until the 20th when the UN will take back this loaned tent.

Saturday morning, the team got up at 5 am and started working to build a 16' x 50' plywood building with a tin roof. Canadians, Dominicans and Haitians working side by side, together as one body, to build this building so that these 32 orphans will have better housing and get out of the dirt and tents that they have been living in since the earthquake. The team worked so hard and did not stop for the day until 9:00 pm at night. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were the hottest days that we have ever felt on this island and this is when our team was building at the orphanage. The weather reports said it was around 37C with the “feel like” temperature (factoring in this high humidity) at around 47/48C and this is what it felt like! None of us, (Paul or I, the Dominicans or Haitians on the team) can remember ever feeling heat like we did on the weekend!

Sunday, the guys repeated to same long day schedule, building from 5 am to 9 pm. By Sunday night, they had the building built with the exception of 10 more pieces of tin for the roof. The guys then woke early Monday, put up the last 10 pieces of tin then hit the road to return home to Jarabacoa. Praise God, they did not have any more mechanical problems with either vehicle! They arrived home in Jarabacoa at about 9:30 pm Monday night. Nine very exhausted men but nine men who listened to God, went to do His will, helped the orphans and have had their hearts touched in more ways than they any of them can express.

There is one orphan who was born with some growth problems in that he grows very slowly and under developed. The parents took this child to the witch doctor and the witch doctor’s “cure” was to pass the baby through flames to cure him. This did not cure him but did leave the child with physical scars for the rest of his life. Praise God that he is now in the care of the orphanage.

Another little girl was left at the orphanage gates shortly after being born in October with her umbilical cord still on and not tied off. She was so close to death yet the orphanage was able to nurse her and with God as her Great Physician, this baby is doing great!

The children were told by the orphanage staff that they were not allowed to go to the back of the property where the team had set up their tents as the staff wanted to give the team their “area” of privacy. On Monday morning when the guys got up, there were a group of toddlers who “snuck” into the back area to see the guys. It was so adorable!!!

It was with hearts full of gladness and satisfaction as well as sadness that these nine men left Haiti Children’s Home to head back to the Dominican Republic. Each man on the team wants to return to help some more in Haiti!

We have been asked if we can help another orphanage that is about 20 minutes away from Haiti Children’s Home. I do not know the name of this orphanage yet but they were building a new orphanage building when the earthquake hit and the building collapsed. Praise God, no one was in the building and no one was hurt but this orphanage is now also living outside in tents and in the dirt. When we return from Canada at the end of April, we will be planning a trip to return to this part of Haiti to help this other orphanage with some housing for their orphans!

Since the earthquake, we have believed that God is moving mightily and not only is Haiti changing spiritually but this entire island is changing spiritually. Through this team of Dominicans that we took over to Haiti, we have experienced first hand how God is moving and what He is doing on this island with the Dominicans and Haitians. This island is becoming a stronger member of the body of Christ. The world’s eyes have been focused on Haiti and the DR, they are watching and praying and those prayers are being heard and answered. People are accepting Jesus into their hearts and those who were already walking with our Lord are turning to God and asking “How can I help your Haitian children?”. God’s servant’s heart is being expressed and witnessed every single day in so many ways and in so many areas of this island since the earthquake! Haiti is no longer going to be the Dominicans’ Samaria but the Dominicans’ brother in Christ, serving one God for His glory! Only God could do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

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