I left the guest house with FanFan, our interpreter who has a heart for the Lord, at 5:50 am for a 6 am church service under a big revival tent! We walked through a few tent cities, around a few pigs, and over a few sweet smelling piles of "caca" to arrive at our destination. There were several Haitians heading the same way, even small school children! We spent 90 minutes kneeling before God, lifting our hands up praising God, clapping in unison to exalt Him and receiving instruction from God found in Luke 2:10-11. The pastor reminded us that Jesus is the only Savior. Outside of Jesus there is no God. Only Jesus can save. So when Jesus puts His feet in our lives we have to change...we CAN change!
We returned to an amazing full on breakfast to get us charged up for our major physical day...the water truck. Two at a time get to ride on the outside cab of the water truck and get a full on view of City Soleil. We were all pointed out things that we could never have imagined...or ready to take in as it brought tears to our eyes and pain to our hearts, but more importantly awareness to our minds.
We stopped at three different shanti neighborhoods in City Soleil. Upon arrival, people begin lining up behind the water truck to receive free water. There is some "policing" going on to keep some from jumping ahead in the line. Just a few buckets had to be tossed to send a message and for justice to be served! What really hits you is all the joy that is flowing out of the children. Their smiles are so contagious and they are reaching for your hand or begging for you to pick them up. We all did so gladly! That was the easy part.
We all had jobs that we alternated during the stop. One or two holding onto the hose delivering the water, two maneuvering the buckets aligning them under the hose and pulling them out once they are full, and assisting in carrying the buckets back to the shanties. That's when it became more difficult...not only physically, but to see what they call a home is extremely shocking. Nothing can prepare you for what you are going to see on the way, as well as getting a look into their shanty. Most were made of tin, wood, but some were even made out of the sides of outhouses. Now that's recycling at its best!
I was more aware of the UN presence this trip. At two of the water stops, there were men with guns policing the tent cities. It should make us feel more at ease, but it also was a sign of where the country is at...a country that has been torn apart by the political corruptness.
We drove home in a bit of a daze from all we had taken in in one day. We all felt more alive after our cold shower back at the guest house. (It's not quite like back home!) Many commented that they never thought they had ever been that dirty:)
We ate like Kings and Queens when we returned. (Again, it's not quite like back home!) We then settled in the living room to talk about our day. What did we see? What did we smell? What did we feel? WHAT IS GOD TRYING TO TEACH ME? One more question...Did anything surprise us? A big surprise was our 72 year old team member, Jan Johnson, who had the same energy or more then us younger members. That we never were worried for our safety...how could that be in such a poverty stricken place? That we saw such kindness and warmth from the Haitian people like offering you the plastic part of the handle when you carried it together...how could that be in such a poverty stricken place? Or how about that the children had so much hope in their eyes and hearts...how could that be in such a poverty stricken place?
I can only come up with one answer...they are running WITH God. They don't have anything else to turn to like a shopping spree or a pint of Ben and Jerrys. They turn to Jesus who IS hope. Even in their extreme poverty they are able to find hope. " Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For out light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. SO WE fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 16-18. Who do you think you should turn to? We are being transformed. Now that's a EXCLAMATION DAY!!!!!
written by Shannon Maixner
Healing Haiti Team Member