– After lunch in Gonaieve, we drove several hours to Camp Coq which is where the orphanage is. The drive was long and steep. Camp Coq is a tiny village in the mountains so the drive is steep and winding. It was still a time for me to surrender to God my desire to go home…I was still wrestling, but determined to persevere in the name of Jesus for the purpose of making His name known. And so I was rather quiet for the drive as I prayed and committed myself to the Lord.
(our drive towards Camp Coq)
(driving through the clouds)
– Arriving at the Mission in Camp Coq felt weird since I was just there a month ago, but this time I was without Maria.
(the Mission in Camp Coq)
– As soon as we arrived at the Mission, I told Nicole that I wanted to visit the orphanage, even though it was about 7PM and they would all be inside for the night. I really wanted to see them and see the surprised look on their faces when they saw me. They did not know that I was coming. Sure enough, when they opened the door and saw me, they had these huge surprised and smiling faces when they saw me. I was so overjoyed to see them. They all gave me hugs and kisses. Again, Islan, one of the orphan girls, gave me the sweetest and most gentle kiss on the cheek, and then gave me a big hug. I was hugging several of them at once and it was beautiful. I was so happy to see these children again.
– Then we went inside the orphanage and I asked them what they were all doing. They said that they were learning a new song about Jesus. I asked them to sing it for me, and they did. It was so beautiful to see these children singing by candlelight songs about Jesus. I had them sing a few more before it was time to go. I then gave them each a pack of candy and said goodnight.
(singing worship songs by candlelight)
– Before leaving, I asked them all their names again so that I could learn all 10 of their names. Their names are : Mirland, Whistli, Delin, Islan, Gaelle, Jeff, Rodlin, Robenson, Herod, and Moles.
– Yes, I miss my wife and kids, but seeing the faces of those children when they saw Nicole and I at the door has just made me realize how it is all worth every sacrifice, knowing that the Lord is using me to make an impact on other people’s lives. I am very excited to be here. My heart is filled with so much love for those children. They are the sweetest group of kids. To sit by candlelight and listen to them sing praise songs to Jesus is something that I will always remember.
– My sleep was sweet that night. Fritznel and I shared a room and we both prayed and sang songs to God before going to sleep.
– Probably one of the best days that I have ever had. I spent the entire day with the orphaned children and other kids in the community.
– After breakfast, I went outside to read my bible and pray. As I was reading, I saw a few kids on the hill looking down at me over the wall of the mission. I waved to them and continued to read. That spot on the hill was where Maria and I would see Shela waiting for us when we first met her last month. Then I stopped to pray. I prayed that the Lord would allow me to see Shela so that I could give her the bag of clothes that Maria bought for her for me to bring to her. Maria also gave me some pictures and a card to give to her. So, I had no idea where Shela lived and had no way of finding her. No lie, as soon as I finished praying, I looked up at the hill again and there was Shela with her big beautiful smile. I ran to say hello to her and I called her to come inside the gate of the mission. I then ran inside to get the bag that Maria sent me with. I gave her the bag and had somebody translate as I told her, “This is from my wife. She was thinking about you and she loves you very much.” Then I showed her each outfit that Maria bought for her and the pictures and card as well. She was so happy and could not stop smiling and saying “merci” which of course means “thank you”. Then she went back up her hill with a huge smile on her face…and I went back to reading my bible with a huge smile as well.
(is this a beautiful girl or what? She has stolen our hearts)
– Within a few minutes, the gates of the mission opened up and all the orphaned children walked in. We invited them over so that we could give them some clothes and new shoes. I was so happy to see them again and once again was greeted with hugs and kisses. (fyi … a kiss on the cheek is a standard greeting) the hug is not standard. Anyway, we spent the next hour or so giving them clothes and new shoes. This was a real bonding time for me and the children as we hung out together, took pictures of them, taught them how to arm wrestle and thumb wrestle. We were laughing together like crazy. I saw these children really begin to open up to me and bond with me. They were touching me, putting their arms on me, trying to talk with me, etc…
– Here are some pics of the kids
(Robenson on the left, Rodlin on the right)
(Herod – He is 18 yrs old. He is such a great kid. He really is applying himself to try to learn english. Nicole thinks that he will become a pastor one day)
(Whistli on the left is 19 yrs old. Islan is on the right. She is so sweet.)
(Jeff is the newest orphan. He has been there for about a few months. I did not stop tickling this little boy…and he was loving it.)
(Jeff is happy with his 1st new pair of shoes)
(Gaelle on the left and Moles on the right)
(me and Islan)
(just me and the boys…so cool)
(Gaelle, Delin, Whistli, and Islan…all such beautiful girls)
(Mirland in the middle. She is 18 yrs old. She was the 1st orphan at the orphanage 2 yrs ago.)
( the boys have fun testing their manly strength in an arm wrestling match)
(Rodlin loses, but doesn’t look sad about it)
– After the arm wrestling tournament, I told the boys that I would like to play futbol (soccer) with them. They all got so excited that they started to imitate all these dramatic soccer moves as if they were superstars. But then when we went outside to play, nobody had the ball. I learned that it somehow went flat, so instead we all hung out and seemed to attract some more people in the village.
– A man came over with his wife and children. The children were so dirty. The little girl was just walking around in a filthy dirty pair of underpants. They all communicated to me that they were hungry. I then ran back to the mission and got them all a bunch of clothes. I couldn’t find anything for the husband, so I decided to give him some of my own clothes. I went back with those things and they were so happy. Here are some pics.
– Here is a pic of the inside of this man’s home
– After this, I went with Fritznel around the village and we walked Herod to school.
– After hanging out in the village for a while, I returned to the Mission and saw the boys playing soccer using an unripened orange as a soccer ball. They asked me to play with them, and I gladly joined in. Between blocking shots on goal, I would run after little Jeff and tickle him until he fell to the ground in uncontrollable laughter.
– Being the fact that it was like 100 degrees and I was running around chasing an unripened orange with a bunch of kids, I was in desperate need of a shower. Right after I got out of the shower and walked outside, there was Shela and her Mom. We hung out for a while talking and sharing. She said that she loved Maria and I so much that she wants to come live with us. She was attached to me the entire time. She didn’t want to let go.
– Then I was blessed to be able to call Maria who I hadn’t talked to since I left. It was so good to hear her voice. She asked me if I had the chance to see Shela and so I told her that there was somebody who wanted to talk to her, and I gave the phone to Shela. Maria and Shela were so happy to be talking to each other. Shela had such a huge smile on her face. Maria was crying because she was so happy. When I told Shela that, she also got emotional. It was so beautiful. I also had my 4 yr old daughter say hello to her and say “God Bless You” in Creole. It was so good to hear my 4 yr old girl speak Creole.
– I then told Shela that we are planning a special dinner tomorrow night at the mission for all the children of the orphanage and that I wanted her to be there as well. She was so happy. Then she had to go.
– We spent the rest of the night preparing bags of food to give away to the people in the community. It was good to see the orphaned children so eager to help.
I woke up to see Shela outside my window, standing on the porch with her new outfit on. I went out to take a few pictures of her so that I could show Maria.
(such a beautiful young girl…Shela)
– After breakfast, I asked Shela to show me where she lived. So, Herod, myself and her went to her home…and I was in shock to see where this beautiful young girl lives. First, we had to walk up a mountain to get to her home. Then, when we reached the top of the steep path, my heart sank as I saw her home. Her house is made of mud and bamboo with a tin roof. It measures about 6 feet wide and 12 feet long. She lives there with her Mom, Dad, Brother, and Sister. I cannot believe how poor she lives.
(the path to Shela’s home)
(climbing higher still…)
– After returning from her home, the team and I gave out bags of food to the people in the community. We gave out about 85 bags. again, there were so many who didn’t get anything because we ran out of food.
– After giving out food, I was hanging out on the porch and trying to learn Creole with Shela and a few other children. Then I started teaching them some math. I realized that Shela does not know how to read or write and she does not know any math. She is almost completely uneducated. My heart just breaks for this girl. And how many other Shela’s are out there? Too many to count.
– After that, we had the big dinner for all the orphaned children and some of the kids in the community, including Shela. The kids all had a terrific time and it was a real treat for all of them. We all ate so much. We had goat, rice, beans, plantains, and some other stuff. Each kid had their own bottle of soda, which was a real special treat. I don’t mean to keep on talking about Shela, but I have to say that I have NEVER seen a girl eat so much food. She had 3 huge plates full of food. She did not look up from her plate the entire time. This girl ate as if she hadn’t eaten in days…and she probably hasn’t. All the kids had a great time talking and laughing, but Shela was all business. Her joy came from having a full belly.
– After dinner, everybody left rather quickly because it was late. I told Shela good-bye since I knew that I was leaving the next morning. She told me that she will come down in the morning to say good-bye.
– I was sad today because I was woken up at 6AM saying that we were leaving. I did not know that we were leaving that early, so I knew that I would not get to say good-bye to Shela. I was very sad about that because I knew that in a few hours she would be coming down the mountain and we will not be there.
– I did go over to the orphanage to say good-bye to all of the children. I hugged each one and told them that I loved them very much and that I will see them next year…but even saying that did not feel right. Next year seemed too long.
– As we were driving away, I looked up to the mountains and I had to hide my tears with my sunglasses as I thought of this beautiful 14 yr old girl who would be coming down the mountain to an empty mission house. I wish I could have said a better good-bye to her, to tell her that Maria and I love her and will really miss her.
My tears also came as I thought about where she lives now as I am en route to going back to my comfortable America where my 4 yr old’s room is bigger than her whole house…and we don’t have, by far, what would be considered a big house. I thought about all my comforts available to me whenever I want, when I throw half my food away simply because I’m not hungry anymore. This just didn’t seem right -to have so much when the Shela’s of Haiti have so little. So, I wept for the many Shela’s that were out there. And I wept for the orphaned children. And I committed my life to God and asked Him to use me however He chooses.