Today was our third full day in Haiti. It is so hard to believe; it’s almost as if time has stopped but it has flown by all at the same time. That probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to you all, but I’m sure that our whole team feels the same.

Today we were lucky and got to sleep in, because church wasn’t until 8:30. Our wonderful cooks have Sundays off, but we had these amazing sweet rolls for breakfast. After we put on our best clothes for church, we walked down to the big open pavilion. I think Alpine should do an outside service every once in a while. The weather was perfect, and it was so refreshing to sit out there with the crisp cool breeze.

We found our seats and eagerly waited for the service to begin. We were joined by a chicken too, he wondered about the benches, but always seemed to be perched right by our feet. He gave us some crazy eyes and some threatening pecks on the ground, but still he was the most well-behaved chicken I have ever gone to church with.

Being my first Haitian church service, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. But all my wildest ideas about how it would be couldn’t even begin to compare to what we experienced. Although I don’t understand Creole, apart from “bonswa!” (hello, and I still don’t think I pronounce it correctly), during worship I still felt the passion and joy coming from all the people. It was better than a concert. I just swayed to the music and listened, and I couldn’t have been happier.

Then Pastor Carl preached his sermon, alongside JeanJean, who translated his words into Creole. For a while I wondered if it would all get lost in translation. But after I heard the Haitians yell out “Amen!” I knew that it was all good. No matter what way, the word of God still speaks to everyone, which was amazing to see that in action. But I will never forget the music- men’s choir, individual signers, and the whole congregation’s voices still echo in my ears.

It’s crazy to think but this feeling of awe still didn’t fade throughout the day, if anything it got stronger. Because it was Sunday, we didn’t have any work projects so we went back to our house for fellowship and more naps. After I woke up from the best nap I’ve had in my life, I went with Janet and Kaylee to the youth group. Church was great, but youth group was powerful. I only wish I had my little brother, Caden, there with me so he could experience it too. We had a translator with us so this time we could understand everything. The worship was amazing, I am honestly struggling writing about it now, it was just indescribable. The connection I felt to these other young adults, who I knew nothing about and couldn’t even speak their language, was something I will hold in my heart for years to come.

After youth group I felt like I needed to process everything, so I did the best thing possible. I went with the team for a walk around the community. Just walking these tiny back trails, surrounded by nature, goats, and the best team I could’ve asked for was a perfect way to decompress and take in everything. I am immensely grateful, and I have never felt such growth in just three days. We come to help these people, try to better their lives, and while we do our best to make a difference, I feel as if their joy has rather changed me for the better.  All I can say is thank you Haiti.

Much love, Allie