North Way Christian Community Church in Pittsburgh, PA

March 1, 2018 | Only in Haiti

Haiti holds staggering contrasts of joy and heartbreak. Pain and beauty. Poverty and welcome. The homes of the Haitian people have open doors, just like many of their hearts, but the cactus fences hemming in countless homes show the guarded wariness born from the country’s history. In Haiti, there are children who have seen more heartbreak, have so little, and yet try and share whatever they have with you. Who throw their arms around your neck and blow raspberry kisses against your cheek even though they know and you know that you won’t see them again (or at least for a year). And even the shyest ones let a tiny smile tip up their serious faces. This mission trip was but a week long. There was no great effort made to help the people we were privileged to meet -- but just to be with them where they’re at. In friendship that comes from a mutual love of Father God. Communicate even through language barriers to find out the needs, and how we can help enable them to continue reaching their people for Jesus long past our little week’s visit. God is on the move in Haiti. We got to hear how graduates of EBAC orphanage are now starting ministries and businesses of their own, see their hearts so overwhelmingly full of light and love -- and not one of us was left unchanged. Below are some randomly assorted sights and sounds we witnessed that will paint a better picture than the photos of just how incredibly resilient, loving, and beautiful the country and people of Haiti are. * There were people walking around with machetes. Adults and children! Like it was the most natural thing in the world. * All the children walk miles to school by themselves -- yes, even the tiniest preschoolers. But the olders look after the youngers so well, whether they’re blood related or not. * Doors include everything from wrought iron, to metal, to even a large Justin Bieber beach towel! * The sharp, dull green cactus fences often had soft, vibrant hibiscus flowers woven through out them. * Oh the driving. There are no traffic laws, everyone drives offensively here, as opposed to defensively like in the states. And as many as 8 people can fit on a motorcycle. We even saw one lone rider driving well over 25mph with a mattress on his back. * The rugged route to the mountain church was taxing on all of us, to say the least. But the locals? They climb it multiple times a day barefoot, carrying pounds of food or supplies and gallons of water often on their heads like its nothing at all! * Haitian alarm clocks include roosters, dogs, birds, and one morning, Haitian clubbing music from down in the one valley. * The breeze and (fast) driving lost two of our team members’ hats on our drive from the airport to Joshua House, and alas only one was rescued by the driver. Not by Rachel, though many of us *thought* she’d bravely jumped out of the one car to rescue Bob’s hat. * Rice and beans are meal staples, and some of us could’ve eaten it every single day even after returning home, while others were eager for a burger. Our celebration dinner has a Mexican food theme, and two of us really want to bring rice and beans. Only problem is we can’t make them as delicious as the Haitians do. * ALL the food was so incredibly flavorful and delicious. Even the oatmeal is better here. Fried plantains, special sauces, and even Haitian mac & cheese were some of our favorites. * The coffee was to die for and that is all. * Our game nights after devotions back at Joshua House. OH the side-splitting laughter that rang against the walls. * Our team is now family, incredibly loud and incredibly close. * Another thing that caused laughter from most of our team: silly songs on the porch about cats and Susan. Some of us will miss this, some of us will decidedly NOT. * Wheelbarrows in Haiti are used for sleeping, and for children’s strollers. * The music of Haiti is so full of joy and rhythm unlike anything else. Part rhumba part reggae part salsa with a little bit of rock and roll. * The sky scapes of Haiti are unparalelled. God blessed us with majestic sunrises every morning, equally stunning sunsets every eve, and handpainted mounds of clouds every day. * The landscape and terrain of Haiti is rugged and lush, jungle and farm, broken and beautiful. The mountains tower like rollercoasters high in the sky, only to drop and curve into valleys, hemming in the bluest of skies.