Unless otherwise specified, all reports are from Brother Chuck
Report by Kristen Ulmer
Haiti has been an experience and a half! Being here is so peaceful and slowed down that it makes me want to never leave. Missions has always been a passion of mine, and I could see myself doing this for the rest of my life. Before the trip, I was so super stressed out about everything around me. For one, I didn’t even want to leave my best friend, and I had to leave a mound of school work behind. Ever since we’ve been here though, I’ve forgotten about all my worries, and my stress is gone. I can finally relax and worry about what is most important, which is caring for these kids and growing in faith.
My “awe” moment was on Saturday when we were exiting the airport and getting on “Gabriel” to drive 2 hours to our current spot, in the valley. I looked up from my feet to have a literal “whoa” moment. You could see the mountains in the distance, but closer and more important were the people who were waiting outside begging. I was speechless in my amazement by the people and the culture. Since then, I have still had speechless moments when I have just sat and thought about how incredible all of this is. I am in love with these kids, and at this point I don’t know how I’m going to leave.
Report by Caroline Hooker
This is my first mission trip, and it will most definitely NOT be my last – it has been an amazing experience! God has blessed us all in so many ways. We take the little things we have for granted at home. The people of Haiti take nothing for granted because they have nothing. All the people we have met have been nice and loving. The Haitian children are super sweet. They just want to sit in your lap and have you love on them. These children just love to have us sit with them, hold their hand, play with them, or give them any attention.
On Sunday, we took a hike around the villages. It was something to see. The landscape is beautiful. The families are so nice and welcome us with open arms. Some animals are walking around, like pigs, goats, chickens, cows, and horses, other animals are tied up. There are dogs, a pig and chickens around the mission house, and we wake up to the roosters every morning.
Yesterday morning we did VBS at the mission house. We had about 50 children, and we started off singing and playing games, then we divided into groups. It was incredible to see how much these children want to learn about God. We did VBS for about 2 hours and they wore me out! After lunch, we hiked to a village about 20 minutes from the mission house. This is not a normal hike, it is rock roads (more like paths) up into the mountains. The view is amazing, like nothing I could ever describe.
When we got to the church at Palto, I was speechless for 2 reasons–the view is gorgeous, and the church is tarps with a tin roof and a dirt floor. When we started out, about 4 children were gathered. We sang songs and played with them. One little girl melted my heart with the look in her eyes when we sang “Jesus Loves Me.” She is beautiful, and she knows that Jesus loves her. After a few minutes, about 20 more children showed up. We played games with a soccer ball, and they loved it. We told 2 Bible stories, “The Creation” and “Noah’s Ark.” No one will ever be able to act out “Noah’s Ark” like we did with those children! Our interpreters, Pariton and DoDo, were awesome, acting out with us and the children. Pariton can make the best animal noises I have ever heard.
On the hike back to the mission house, we saw many locals walking home from the market. They were carrying food, water and many things on their heads, and their arms were loaded down. We came back to the mission house and played with the children and had supper before going to church. This trip has been an experience of a lifetime. Stephanie and I are truly sharing an experience that we will never forget!