Report by Olivia Burttram
Some of the team members woke up this morning around 5 a.m. to the sound of donkeys hee-hawing and avocados hitting the tin roof. They were waking up to go on the hike of a lifetime. Eight of the team members, along with 3 of the translators, climbed one of the largest mountains around this area. They climbed for about 45 minutes straight up, and then another 1-1/2 hours over small mountains and valleys to get to Jerusalem II, which is a village with a very nice church (photos will be on tomorrow’s report). Once they finally made it up to the top they sang songs, did some crafts, and just spent time with the people who lived there. When they got back to the mission house they went straight for the showers; we could see how tired they were. We were so proud of them. For some it was one of the hardest challenges they have ever faced. They were so exhausted from the hike, yet there was a glow of accomplishment on their faces. God was definitely with them, holding their hands all the way up and all the way back down. I know the experience is something they will cherish forever.
For the rest of us that stayed back, we went on our own little adventure this morning. A few of the ladies and I went with Bro. Chuck to Daniel’s voodoo village. I had no idea what to expect. We walked for about 10-15 minutes to the village, with many of the children from around the area walking with us and holding our hands. It was very comforting having those familiar faces with us in a new village. Once we made it to the village, Bro. Chuck explained to us a little bit about voodoo just so we could get somewhat of an understanding of it. We made our way to the first hut, where we met Daniel. He is the father of all the people in the village (crazy, I know!). There were at least 35 people there, and they are all his, ranging from newborns to adults. We greeted them and then played the parachute game with the children. They love this game – the translator would count to 3 and the children would run under the parachute, then run to a new spot. It was so rewarding seeing their bright smiling faces. After the parachute game, we made wands – sticks with streamers taped to the ends of them – with the kids and some of the older women. Then the kids all got in a circle and we sang songs and waved the wands. I got chills knowing that we made these kids’ day just by giving them sticks and streamers. It almost looked like it was Christmas for them, thats how excited they were!
I have learned so much already about this culture, and I continue to learn more and more about myself. God is teaching me to have more patience and to listen more instead of speaking so much. Only a few of the children can speak English, so we have to work with them to communicate. The cool part about it all is that we don’t have to talk a lot to these children, they just trust us and love us like they’ve known us forever. I think that’s what makes this place so special – the people and the way they love. I am having a blast – the team is great, the food is great, this place is great, and God is great! I can’t wait to see what God has is store for the next couple of days.
Oh, p.s. – Hi Mom!