This post by Melissa & Kate
We woke up this morning to roosters crowing and the constant drone of motorcycles bringing children to school. Over 1300 children attend the school here at UCI (grades K3-9th), so you can imagine the steady stream pouring onto campus. It’s amazing to see how many people can fit on a motorcycle…the record today was seven!
After a hearty breakfast, we headed off to the market while Bill started his conference for about 70 pastors. They have traveled from near and far to learn about the distinctives of the LDS religion so that they will know how to answer questions that come up in their congregations. The timing is great since a temple is being constructed in Port-au-Prince in the near future. Bill said that they asked many good questions, and they seem to be tracking with him. Please pray for all of them as they spend Tuesday morning together again.
After a bumpy ride on a school bus, we arrived at the market. Our first stop was at UCI’s satellite school which is right next to the market. After we delivered the school supplies we had brought to the principal, she encouraged us to share some candy with the youngest class of 3-year olds. Most of them popped the whole Starburst (paper and all) into their mouths, but we figured that out and got them all unwrapped and nobody choked. Whew! The market was a full-sensory experience with new sights, sounds, and smells, tastes, and textures. Tarps were laid out on the dirt by merchants hoping to sell beans, salt, vegetables, flip flops, and souvenirs. Across the street, pigs were squealing and we didn’t ask much about that! Eric and Andy bought some fresh bread for everyone to try. The team picked up a few souvenirs, and really enjoyed the whole experience. We also found bags (in the form of pillowcases) for the food that we had pulled out of the food distribution building to send home with the pastors.
In the afternoon, we spent time at the elementary school helping the students practice English. It’s a good thing we know our numbers and colors! Hopefully, we didn’t mess them up too much! One of Kate’s little girls just kept smiling and smiling, but wouldn’t say anything. When Carrie (Kristie’s daughter) came by and saw her smiling, she said, “You know this, don’t you?” She just kept smiling. Kristie did an amazing job teaching the kids before we took them out to practice. The impact of that school just can’t be emphasized enough. God is really doing a work here!
We ended up with 30 extra food packages, so those are going to the community. This afternoon, some of our team took a prayer walk and delivered some to families a couple miles up the road. We carried as many as we could fit in our backpacks and started trekking. At each home, we gave food and asked for prayer requests through the interpreter. We are still processing through what we saw and the poverty that these people live in every day. While we were in the village a downpour started, but we just kept going. At the very last house Tom’s group visited, the gentleman asked them to pray that God would pour down his blessings like the rain was pouring down on us. That just filled my heart with joy. Isn’t that just like God? When you think you are blessing someone else, he uses them to bless you instead. We walked back to UCI through the mud and the muck with hearts full of emotions that I think we are all still processing. We hope to do this again soon.
Some of the team stayed at the University and worked on a painting project. Natalie painted walls and Kate painted Natalie, but it’s all good. Natalie is giving her grace because Kate has never painted a wall before!
Before dinner, we had a chance to meet the Haitian board of directors for UCI. They each shared a part of the remarkable story of what God has done over the past 13 years here. Twenty-nine witchdoctors have come to Christ, thousands of children are being educated, sixteen strong churches have been started, families are being taught agriculture and self-sufficiency, university students are receiving training, and lives are being transformed on a daily basis. We are so thankful to be a small part of the movement of God here on this mountain in Haiti. To God be all the glory for the great things he has done!