Happy New Year! Bonn Ane! I had desired to sit down and write some crazy stories of life out here for the past three weeks, but the crazy surely has not stopped! So I am going to take you into a few things that just truly only happen here in Haiti and to be quite frank...these things are challenging me and changing me in incredible ways.
One of the things that has been super hard out here is going to church. We are still without a vehicle and Sunday's are very hard for our family of 6 to wake up, get dressed up, eat and then find taxi's(motorcylces that seat 4-5 people each..no helmets) and get to church by 7 or 8am! It is also hard for the kids...and me...to sit still for 3 hours straight not knowing what's being said and sweating constantly. Yet the Lord is so good to really open doors and we are able to borrow the truck from the property on Sundays since no one is driving it.
We went to visit a new church and we were told we should arrive at 7am...it starts at 7:30 and they said we wouldn't find a seat inside if we didn't get their that early. We would have to sit in the overflow.....
We parked our truck and walked in through crowds of Haitians....almost all of them had walked to church. WALKED! There were probably 3 vehicles parked, maybe 20 motorcycles parked and the church was full in the four rooms that were crazily attached so that each of the rooms could at least hear the loud speaker, but see nothing. 700-800 people were there! It was absolutely something I have never seen. People who probably had to walk for 45 minutes to an hour to arrive that early to sit for 3 hours and worship the Lord Jesus in a hot room, and probably not be able to even see the pastor. It blessed my heart to know that there is a desire. Mind you that something here that runs deep is "religion" and rules and not relationship, but I was grateful to know the sermon was solid that day on the Holy Spirit and many people came up at the end for prayer.
Some things we won't ever get used to is just being the major minority here and you are absolutely treated different...good or bad! So when we arrived our family was seated in the front row. HA! At least it kept my kids from being antsy and trying to scoot out! After the 3 hours me and the kids stepped out into one of the overflow rooms while Aaron met with the pastor and Rachel got bombarded by a few older Haitian girls who she just fell in love with. The kids will never be lacking in meeting new kids here. They even taught her a dance....
And a fun picture of the two littles trying to patiently wait for dad's meeting with the pastor to end...They don't look thrilled but they did amazing and we finally left after being in the heat for 4 hours.
I would love to say that the eye opening moments just come in sweet moments like this...but the next day bore a different growing experience for me. Sunday night I went to finish some laundry and realized we had no water...again. We knew that the line in the street was probably cut....ok so let me explain how plumbing seems to work in Jeremie. Our water from the city is pumped through 2 inch PVC pipe that is barely buried in spots on the roads and randomly connected to others. It then pumps up to our big blue water tank which is our supply for our home.(Not drinking water!!!) So often, because lines are exposed, people come and cut the line and take water. So we knew we needed to limit flushing the toilets again, washing hands with sanitizers and really make what water I have last.
The next morning we both woke up super early once we heard water flowing. We knew that the only thing we could do was grab our 10 buckets and go in the street and haul water up to our roof because we didn't know where the line was cut and with the water gushing we couldn't fix it. Praise Jesus we had water that day, but we hauled and hauled and hauled as much as I could...Aaron could've kept going and going! I was exhausted. We didn't even get 1/4 of our tank filled but I knew I could make that water last. I even ran some laundry in our french, plastic washing machine...and when it was just rinse water I caught it in the shower as it drained in my buckets to then reuse on the next wash load. It was a crazy day of making every bit of that water last.
In these two experiences I realize so much. I had a very very small taste of what 90% of the locals here go through daily as they haul one large paint bucket of water on their heads to their homes at the crack of dawn to wash themselves or make a meal. In those moments of me thinking of ways to make it last I realize, again, what an abundance we have! And I also saw that there could be an amazing deep desire to worship the Lord no matter how uncomfortable our bodies are. I know there are people who go to that church who truly love Jesus and the walk, the heat, the crowd and bugs are never going to take away their devotion to Him. I desire that devotion.
And I felt the Lord wanted to show me how in every country there is a different kind of suffering. It may not seem as if America has much suffering. At least most Americans are super terrified to even live the way our family lives here and I admit I had many many fears that I needed to surrender to get my tail out here! And there are still many comforts and selfish ways being refined in me. Yet I know there is suffering. I have watched many many of our close friends have miscarriages, childhood cancer, suicides, murders, divorce, adult cancer, death and other tough struggles and pains that our Father in heaven does NOT desire. I know that when I first came to Haiti my first thoughts were about ways to help. And now knowing more, and being inside this country the only true way to help is the true relationship of Jesus Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit! The physical things we do is because Jesus wants to truly change us...not always is the person who receives the help changed, but the person who helps. So we must follow the perfect example and die to ourselves as we truly give it all away. But the biggest and only way countries will ever truly get the "help" they need for eternity is to finally understand the relationship that is beckoning them to sit on the lap of their Father who gave His Son, Jesus for their sin and believe in the awesome moving power of the Holy Spirit.
That is my prayer for the two countries that have been my homes.