Philip: This morning at 6:30 some members of the team – Jeff, Cat, Lance, Samantha, Vonda and I, and our interpreter Paritan – hiked up the mountain to visit Jerusalem II church. This was a trip I have been looking forward to since we arrived due to my experiences on the mountaintop on previous visits to Z’orange. The trip wasn’t easy, however. The road up the mountain is very rocky and steep at places. It is certainly not for the faint at heart, but the group was up to the challenge. With only a few stops, we made to the top and we quickly were rewarded for our effort with a gorgeous view of the valley and mountains beyond. While Haiti may be one the poorest and dirtiest countries in the world, it also has its places of beauty where God is glorified in His creation – this is one of those places.
After a few minutes taking in the beauty, we proceeded to our destination, which was still a few miles away. Along the way we passed several men who were picking the soil in their fields, which are literally on the side of the mountain and are comprised of more rocks than soil. I have discovered the Haitians are resourceful people who make use of what is given to survive. In those rocky fields they are growing corn, beans, and sweet potatoes. There are also mango, coconut and avocado trees. We were greeted by many children as we walked, some of them very young and half clothed, but appearing happy and well fed. We heard women singing in a church and others tending to morning chores. The sense of community on the mountain was evident.
Finally after an hour and a half, we reached our destination – the church called Jerusalem II. We entered the open door and walked through the church made of concrete, blocks and tin roof. There was a pulpit and pews, and even a drum and other homemade instruments used for worship. We all gathered on the front porch of the church high on the mountain for a moment of devotion of scripture and prayer. Soon after, Madam Fani, the wife of the former pastor who died a few years ago, greeted us and invited us into her home, which is next door to the church. She graciously gave us a tour of her 2-room house that was built for her from private donations after the death of her husband, Pastor Fani. I recalled a visit I had with them both on a trip in 2008, when they fed our group a lunch of rice and beans after a trip up the mountain; we experienced true Christian fellowship. We soon ended our visit and began to head back down the mountain. Madam Fani walked with us part of the way back, not wanting to end our time together. Part of me wanted to stay up there, but unfortunately, other obligations were calling me to the valley.
Betty: Today was a God-sized experience. Hearing “Jesus Loves the Little Children” has never had the impact on me that it did today. Seeing those 60 children and parents singing those words touched my soul. Their faces reflected the joy and love they know in Jesus’ love for them. We could not get up the steep mountain to their church, so they brought their church to us. The children brought benches down on their shoulders, and we had VBS in the shade at the bottom of the mountain. I was so moved by their anxious participation in the Bible stories and songs. Their love and appreciation for us coming to visit them was very obvious. They even sang a song to us as their way of saying thank you. We are thankful to God for the opportunity he has granted us.