This past week has been a crazy one around here! We just said good bye to a 30 person team from Lancaster County, PA.
We had a whirlwind of an adventure!
Sunday was a very important day! A village that YWAM has been working with for a very long time was going to be putting on the finishing touches to their very own church and dedicating the building to raising up the people of Balalay for God's service. The village had been one of the most steeped in voodoo in the 5th section. Extreme poverty was the reality and the village was shrinking year after year. Now, some half the population has professed Christ and even the village witch doctor has stopped practicing voodoo. (Please keep him in your prayers. He has stopped practicing voodoo, but he has said that he will not accept Christ until God reveals himself to him.) The village is steadily growing now and some of their mud huts have been replaced with concrete homes. The dedication was fantastic with the whole village in attendance and pastors from the surrounding villages coming to pray that God would bless the church and show their support.
Monday was spent with a majority of the team packing some 300 containers of food to take to 3 villages in St. Marc's 5th Section. The poorest section within the city.
Tuesday involved the team distributing clothes and household goods to the village of Balagay. (There wasn't a typo, Balalay and Balagay are two different villages. The names sound so close that we have had some confusion in the past about it) There were some construction workers within the group so we put their skills to good use! We started their morning off by chopping down a 50ish foot palm tree that had died in the middle of town and finished up by installing the doors and windows in a building we own in the 5th section.
The team went to Poirre to distribute the remaining containers of food to massive success on Thursday. Poirre is also a village within the 5th Section that is normally known for gangs. Without fail, whenever a problem occurs for us in the 5th Section it's always in Poirre. The team did great and the people were more receptive than we could have imagined. In all, 40 people gave their lives to Christ in Poirre that day and there was even an offer of land to build a church in the village!
I was sad to have missed the Thursday distribution in Poirre, but there was other work to be done that day! We had an outreach team from California in a mountain town called Saut D'eau. Saut D'eau is about 2 hours east of St. Marc where we are living. The team had been up there for almost a week and it was time to take them to another little village for almost a week before they return to St. Marc on Wednesday. I said Saut D'eau was 2 hours east, but that day it turned into a lot longer of a trip. A town along the road to Saut D'eau was unhappy about the government not paving the road through town so they barricaded the road in a couple of areas that prevented anyone from driving through. (Try getting away with that in the States!) After a few minutes of figuring, the pastor that was traveling with me and myself decided to cross the barricades by foot and continue our journey via tap tap to collect the team. (Tap taps are a mode of public transportation that involves packing as many people as possible in the back of a small pickup and when you are approaching your destination you "tap tap" the side of the truck and they stop to let you out.) We managed to pick up the team in the tap tap and drive the 9-man team all the way back to the barricades. This is where things got a little interesting. There was about 2 miles of no man's land between the barricades that we needed to cross before we could get to the truck. The team were all such troopers! They carried all their luggage, their tents, and themselves across the 2 mile dirt road to get to the truck! At the end of the day, what was supposed to be a 4 hour round trip pick up ended up being a 9 hour adventure across Haiti! (It reminded me of the time that it took us hours and hours to get back from Winterfest that taught me to pray a few years back!)
Whew! A lot of things happened this past week and we are very blessed to have been a part of them. We plan to take full advantage of the couple days off that we have before two more teams arrive on our campus on Wednesday. Hopefully I didn't talk your ear off just now!