What an AWESOME week it has been to have the team from Biltmore Baptist with us in Haiti to reach out to the people with the love of Jesus. The team consisted of 14 people, all of which have showed such love and care to the people of Haiti. The group was divided into 3 different teams: The construction team which has been helping repair the home of the pastor that we are working with in the community, the outreach/orphan team which has been doing various outreaches in the morning and then ministering to the group of orphans that we are currently supporting, and the soccer team which has been joining the outreach and construction team in the morning and then have conducted soccer clinics/games in the afternoon with a large group of kids from a school in Marigot that we are partnering with.
The team arrived on Monday afternoon. After having to file claims for 8 lost bags, we left the airport and began our 3 hour drive down to Jacmel. I absolutely love having new teams that have never been to Haiti before. Their comments and observations remind me of what my very first visit was like. I too would marvel over seeing pigs in the streets of Port au Prince eating the garbage, or the sight of a person bathing in dirty brown water. But, now after having lived in Haiti, its like I don’t even notice those things anymore because they are just so common.
Anyway, after getting to the mission house in the evening, the team was greeted by our awesome house staff with a meal that knocked their socks off. I had told the team that they would not suffer with regards to lack of good food. I think they finally believed me after eating dinner. They all ranted and raved over the food!
It was so late by that point and the team was so exhausted that I decided to postpone our orientation/devotion time for the morning. After dinner, everybody crashed hard. Well…not exactly. First, the girls got all wigged out because there was a huge cockroach in their room. So, after disposing of that, they found another one. So, after taking care of that one, I heard one of the girls say, “um…Cody…there’s a crab in our room…”. I didn’t believe them at first, but they insisted that they were telling the truth, so I went downstairs to investigate, and sure enough there was a crab about 5 inches long crawling in the corner. So…being a man as well as a missionary as well as a great host, I um….well I uh…kinda…got wigged out and asked one of the ladies to capture it so that we could get it out of the house. hahaha. Francie stepped up to the task and captured the little bugger and then I threw him over the fence. After sweating off a few pounds in the intense heat, the team finally fell asleep with the sound of fans blasting throughout the house.
The day began very early for both Fenel and I, as well as our house staff, which consisted of a woman from the states named Sharon, who is kind of like Fenel’s adopted Mom as he spent 3 years living with her family in Ohio many years ago. Anyway, Sharon came down to help specifically with the team and she did an incredible job. So, Fenel was at the house early trying to fix our water pump which just happened to break just before the team was arriving. As he was working on that, I was on the phone with American Airlines trying to track down the lost luggage from yesterday. They told us that the bags had arrived and that we could pick them up at the airport in Port au Prince. So, my schedule for the day was instantly changed as I now had to spend the day driving to Port au Prince…again. Sadly, I had to take a team member with me so that the bags could be claimed. I felt bad having to take a team member since the whole group was so excited to start their week of outreach and ministry.
So, as I headed out to Port au Prince, the team broke up into their groups and headed out. The construction team headed down the street to work on Pastor Jean Franko’s house which sustained lots of damage from the earthquake. He was so happy to have a team come down and spend the week repairing his home. The outreach team headed over to the Sister’s of Charity orphanage to minister to the children. They had an awesome time holding babies and playing with children. They also saw baby Mackenson and prayed over him. They said that he looked very good. Praise the Lord. The report from the soccer team was great as well. Levi gathered the entire group together before starting and shared the gospel of Jesus with them, letting them know that this was most important. Many of the kids said they wanted to pray to receive Christ. Then they did the clinic and it went great. I think he said there were about 75 kids that showed up.
After making the long drive to Port, picking up the bags, and driving straight back, I felt like I wanted to take Robin (the team member that had to go with me and miss all the other outreach) to the places that the team went to earlier and even to some other places so that she could still get to reach out to children that day. So, we first went to the hospital infant room and prayed over a newborn baby who was very sick. Then, we went over to Sister’s of Charity orphanage and she got to see all the babies and little children. We also saw baby Mackenson. He looks great!!! He looks so healthy. I was so happy to see how well he is doing. I held him, kissed him, and prayed over him. I also got him to smile and giggle which made me so happy. It was hard to imagine that this was the same baby that was nothing but skin and bones when we first brought him in. Many thanks also to Hands and Feet orphanage who have helped care for him and visit him often. This is definitely a team effort and we are so blessed to be part of it.
After leaving the orphanage, I brought Robin to see Peterson and his wife. Peterson is the guy we helped get married by providing the funds, rings, clothes, etc. Unfortunately, Peterson was not home, but we did sit with his wife and other family members for a bit and spent some time with them. It was really good.
Lastly, we headed over to Hands and Feet orphanage to say hello to the staff and children there. It was great to see them. They are such cute kids. They call me Ti Kabrit, which means little goat. They are a lot of fun.
We then went back to the mission house for dinner with the team and then followed that with a recap of the day and a time of prayer and devotions. It turned out to be a fantastic day for everybody.
This day was definitely the highlight of my time spent in Haiti. First, after the construction team departed, we headed up into the mountains to Kap Wouj, which is my favorite place to go in the mountains. The team was in shock with the steepness of the drive to get there and the level of poverty that they saw along the way. We did an outreach at the school where we are partnering with. There were about 100 or so kids, and they were very happy to see our group. The BBC team taught them a song in english, then told them a bible story. After that, we all went outside and just played like crazy! We played soccer, jump rope, did the limbo, threw a football, etc. Then, we gathered all the kids together and I shared a short message about sharing God’s love with others. We then gave them each a little stuffed animal on our way out.
When we got back to the Mission House, the team started preparing their craft activity for the orphaned children that would be arriving shortly while I took some time to work on my message since I would be preaching later that night.
Having the orphaned children come to our mission house was really a milestone for our ministry. Remember that our original vision for coming to Haiti was to develop a ministry for orphaned children. And now, the Lord has brought us a group of 23 orphaned children that we are starting a ministry to help care for them. This brings great joy to our heart as we are able to bring great joy to their hearts.
The kids all arrived and the team was so excited to see them. It was the first time for us to have children from the community into our home, and it was such a beautiful sight to see these 23 kids come in with anticipation of having a good time. We sang songs about Jesus. We shared the word of God with them. We did a craft activity. We did face painting. We measured their feet so that we can give them shoes the next day. We took a profile of each child so that we can begin getting these kids sponsored. It was an amazing time we had. The kids were so happy and thankful. They all gave us kisses and hugs before they left. It was definitely the highlight for me because I believe that it was the first fruits of many great things that the Lord is going to do now that we have a mission house to bring kids from the community into for discipleship, love, and encouragement. Many thanks go out to the awesome Calvary Chapel Castlerock Colorado team that came down a few months ago to paint the inside of the mission house in anticipation of what we are now experiencing. Again, a great partnership effort in order to grow the Kingdom of God.
After the kids left, we had just a few minutes to shovel down some good food and get ready for church and the fun night that we had planned for the church after service.
So, church was awesome. I love preaching the Word of God, especially in Haiti. I shared from Psalm 62. I talked about the victory that we have in Jesus, that the victorious life is not at all one that is pain and problem free, but rather one that can rejoice in the deepest pains and struggles of life because of our hope in Jesus and the power and love that He has. Just like David said in Psalm 62, “He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress. I will never be shaken”, we too can say the same thing because of our hope in Jesus. It was a good message that the people could relate to, and of course, I can relate to also. It is in the ability of us to be able to rejoice in the midst of such pain that will be a testimony to the world around us that Christ is indeed real and powerful and loving, and this testimony will bring glory and honor to God.
After service, we set up shop to make peanut butter sandwiches to give to everybody as well as juice. Then, we set up the projector and showed some Tom and Jerry cartoons. Everybody had such an amazing time. I am so thankful that the Lord is using us to be able to minister to this church. I really love Jean Franko and the people. They are very special to me.
Well, this was my last day in Haiti and I had to get up at 4:00 AM to get to the airport by 7. I flew back to Ft Lauderdale at noon, jumped in my car, and headed north as far as possible to try to get as close to Asheville as I could before having to crash at a hotel. I made it to Savannah, GA.
The rest of the team is staying until Sunday. So, their plan for this day was to go to the school in Marigot where we are partnering with and deliver them food for our feeding program that we have started. Then, the team would have the orphaned children come to the mission house again for some fun and outreach. The team would also give clothes and shoes to each child. It would be a great day again for the team. The following day, they would go around our neighborhood in the morning to spend time with the kids in the area and just get to know them. Then in the afternoon they would go to an after school program in Jacmel and do an outreach with the kids.
Today (Saturday), the team is having a fun day. They will have a short tour of Jacmel in the morning, then in the afternoon they will go to Basin Bleau and swim at the waterfall, and then they will go out to eat at Cap Lanmandou Restaurant for dinner. Then, they will fly home early Sunday morning.
It has been a great blessing to have the Biltmore Baptist team come and serve with our ministry in Haiti. I know they had an awesome time, and it was so great to have them share in the work that we are doing in Haiti. I only hope that they will come back again.
I was very pleased with my trip back to Haiti. While there, Fenel and I spent some time planning and strategizing for the future of the ministry. I will say that I am VERY excited to see how the Lord is blessing the ministry and I am VERY excited for the things that we have planned for the future. I will be sharing more about this soon.
I also will post many pics on the next post, once I figure out how to upload them from my new Mac.