Reflecting back to Friday, we started the morning with the kindergarten classes during their morning opening. This is always a highlight for the servant teams. They were dressed in their gym uniforms and ready to play! Following the school opening, we literally trekked out into the country for our first VBS of this trip. Those riding in the van had to walk a quarter mile to the village church and leave the van behind because there was a stream that could be passed in the truck, not the van. It would have bottomed out the van. Those of us in the truck (Pat, Sarah, Sarah, and Dave) went for a rollercoaster ride as we forded the stream that had been filled in with branches to make a path for us. Once again, VBS was a huge success. We shared the Word of God through the story of the Good Samaritan, acting it out for the children and then having them act it out. We shared crafts, as well as sports ministry with a parachute, soccer, and wiffle ball. The highlight of the VBS was to see the kids act out the same story that we acted out. The good news is that the kids were familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan. We were joined by Pierre, Benson, Wesley, Cherie, and Jennifer who acted as our translators. They are amazing! We then returned to Hope House for a significant amount of work, continuing to assemble the cabinets and painting the dining room and kitchen.
Saturday we headed to Little Children of Jesus which is always an emotional visit with highs and lows. It's never easy but always a blessing. During this visit, we were able to not only experience time with the kids but we also helped with feeding the kids, cutting their nails, cleaning, mopping, changing sheets, and picking up trash on the grounds. The culmination of our visit was a vigorous balloon volleyball game in the dining area. Some of our team members tried their hand at making balloon animals. The quality of our animals was not a key to having fun (sorry, Paul, we didn't live up to your standards). Following our visit to LCJ, we headed back to Hope House for lunch and then went to the metal works village. It's an adventurous visit with haggling with the artisans for artwork. We always manage to leave with many treasures. And yes, we returned back to Hope House to do more work on our cabinets and a second coat on the kitchen/dining room. The night ended with a rousing game of Spoons played by Sarah F., Sarah M., Chris, Greer, Pat, and Dave. Dave quickly got out of the game and after a few more rounds, Chris and Sarah F. tied as the winners. Then we moved on to Uno. We played 3 games - Dave won the first two and we didn't want to end on that note so we decided to play one more round. Two hours later, Sarah F. was the victor. We knew that we hadn't been playing with a full deck (so true on many levels) but didn't realize we were 28 cards short! We have since remedied the situation!
Sunday we were able to experience the church that Rob and Trish go to in Port-au-Prince. It's a Haitian church but the service is in English. Many of us have enjoyed the services of Haitian churches in the past but this year we were able to participate more since it was in English. As always, the singing was outstanding. It's our Joy Service on steroids. :) Following church we the privilege to ride up the mountain and have lunch at the Observatorie restaurant which provides a panoramic view of Port-au-Prince. Besides being at least 10 degrees cooler, the views at 3500 feet were magnificent. The meals were pretty good but we were definitely on Haitian time. No hurry... We were there at least three hours. We were thankful for the fellowship during lunch but we are very aware that 99% of Haitians will never enjoy what we experienced. We continue to pray for opportunity and prosperity for Haiti. On our way back to Hope House we stopped at Giant Foods - not "our" Giant like in Northern Virginia. We stocked up on coffee, vanilla, rum, and other goodies. And yes, we returned to Hope House where some worked until 10 p.m. and others worked til midnight. The goal was to have at least two cabinets completed so we could deliver them to the school on Monday.
TODAY! We went for our second VBS this morning and it happened to be one that we went to last year. The good news is that the fields we used last year for sports ministry are now fields of beans. The bad news is that sports ministry did not take place. We did manage to do the parachute game, play London Bridges, and Duck Duck Goose which for some of the team hadn't been played in 40 years. We won't name names! But again, we had the same wonderful experience this time as we did on Friday with a lot of enthusiasm, participation, and a lot of sharing. Some of us even got to hold some babies! Following VBS we returned to Village of Hope School where we enjoyed a lunch of beans and rice or rice and beans. All the men in this group were extremely happy to have six strapping young men to carry the cabinets from the truck up to the school classrooms. A huge disappointment is that no one except Sarah F. was able to meet with the students that are sponsored by members of our group. She passed him on the walk up to the school and recognized him. Thanks to Pierre, they were able to chat for a few minutes. We returned to Hope House with Richard, Dave, Greer, and Scott in the back of the truck, singing and playing instruments with our translators. The rest of us were jealous we had stayed in the van! When we got back to the compound, the rest of the doors were put on the cabinets.
As always, our team has been amazing this week. We have gelled really well and had fun together along with doing excellent work. We are all thankful for these experiences and can't wait to share our experiences with others. We are especially grateful to Rob and Trish for their leadership and guidance. They are truly amazing, humble servants.
For anyone following the blog, we encourage you to consider joining us on our servant trip in the future or joining another opportunity to serve. You will get back more than you give! "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35
VBS this morning - Pat surrounded by friends
Kindergarten Opening on Friday