Day 1 – Challenge accepted
Of all the challenges that one could have thought to have on a mission trip to Haiti, getting our packages checked in should have been the least of our concerns. God works in strange ways, but doesn’t let anything happen without a reason. Because of our issue with the box like configuration of our packages, we were prevented from checking them in. With no success with the check-in clerk and his supervisor “Rashel” ( Rachel), our patience was tested by having to wait for the manager to return. Being able to reason with the manager, she allowed our packages to be checked in. But then God really worked for us and without even thinking to ask, she offered to call Miami airport and make sure we wouldn’t have any issues getting the packages from Miami to Haiti! Praise the Lord!
Day 2 – Deny our flesh.
Arrival to Port Au Prince was an experience in it of itself. The airport was decently maintained to my surprise, I was expecting much worse. When leaving the airport, you get hit by the terrible pollution of Port Au Prince. I’ve seen movies that show scenes of third world countries, but experiencing the full sensation is bewildering! Its another world and another civilization! Driving through the city, I thought to myself, how blessed am I to have been born in the world I was born into! The sights of buildings collapsed on themselves and driving through chaos, thinking any moment in these circumstances can be your last. Thank you Jesus for the safe trip to Jacmel.
After the wash in the ocean, I felt clean and ready to call it a night, but the night didn’t even begin. We had lots of unpacking to do and that left me soaked in my own sweat. Worst of all the toilet was clogged and I had to figure out a way to unclog it. At this point I questioned why I was here and I could feel my flesh screaming to go home and give up this work.
Preparing for my devotional the next morning, the Lord revealed to me that we must deny our flesh, tell it to shut up and endure so that we can bring the good news of salvation to the people here! In 2 Timothy Paul talks about how he was enduring being in chains for the gospel. 2 Tim 2:10
Day 3 – Mountain 1 Outreach
One memory that will stick with me is the one of driving up the mountain and seeing one of the kids walking down the mountain wearing a blue shirt with Rautheon written in white. I was in the bed of the pickup and I yelled to him “Raytheon!” and he turned and looked, having no idea of what Raytheon is! These kids get our old clothes, but it doesn’t matter to them, name brands or knockoffs, they are grateful to have something to wear. It really makes me think, we have a plethora of options to choose from just in our closets and we complain about not having anything to wear! God, give us a heart of thanksgiving and forgive us of our petty whining.
Day 4 – Village project and VBS
By far my favorite mission project. Although the mountain projects are important because we feed the children and give them our attention, I feel we really fulfill scripture in the village project because we transmitted not only food and supplies, but the gospel to the lost. It was amazing to see 3 individuals give there life’s to Christ because we preached the gospel to them.
For our kids at the pastors house, it was my turn to present the first vbs lesson on the source of light. I explained to the kids that God is the source of light. What touched me most was how interactive the kids were. Whenever I asked them a question or to repeat something, all of them shouted! I presented my vbs lesson in a dark room that felt like a sauna, but no matter, the kids loved the activity of building a flashlight out of the basic electronic components and having them see how it is associated to the spiritual side.
At night we went to the first church service of our trip. An amazing experience to see how full of worship everyone at the church was with the little they have.
Day 5 – Refuge camp
This was the toughest of the activities. The best part was the fellowship with our group preparing the bags of supplies. We were organized and the kids participated. It was a blessing to work with the kids, it made them feel part of the team, and you can really see in them a heart of servant hood.
I didn’t know what to expect at the refuge camp, but I was afraid. I was afraid that something would happen to Dina more than anything else. Praise God that we were protected by his mighty hand. While they were gathered listening to the pastor talk, there were kids that would come up to me screaming “you, give me 5 dollars!” I would ignore them, because of the rudeness of their request.
While walking through the camp being followed and pulled at by the people to give them a bag, I felt a slight but sharp pain on my leg, and when I looked down there was a long line of little insects feasting on my leg. That startled me and I dropped the bag from my hand to swat them away, and quickly had to reach back for the bag so the people wouldn’t take it.
It was total chaos at the camp, it was only the hand of God that I can say protected us and made the mission successful. I was very thankful to be back at the house!
Day 6 – Washing dishes and spending time with the kids
I don’t think i washed as many dishes this day, in my life. But it was a pleasure to serve the family even with this! Gabi and the pastor were away most of the day. They took my dad to the airport. It gave our group a chance to really get to know the kids and the people at the house. I built a close attachment to Savalor, the young adult taken in by the pastor to work at the house. I saw in him the heart of a servant, gentleness, kindness, and love. He was so eager to learn English. He took our english creole booklet and copied it by hand. I remembered that I had a creole app on my phone with many more vocab words, so I let him copy them. I’m sure it’s going to keep him very busy.
I let the kids play with my phone, particularly, Abel. I have an app with a drum set. Abel loves the drums, and I was showing him how to play. I wish I could have left the app without the phone with him. Next time I go, I want to get him a drum machine, so he can play at home.
Day 7. Church, sick, sick, and more sick.
The previous night while sleeping, I was battling a very high fever. I was sweating profusely, followed by extreme chills, and some wild dreams that I can’t remember. I woke up feeling terrible to find out Dina had the same thing. We must have picked up a virus somewhere. We went to church but I couldn’t focus. I felt delusional and without energy. When we got back to the house, Dina and I slept for a couple hours, ate some soup, took vitamins and slept the rest of the night. We didn’t attend the night service with everyone else.
Day 8 – Another day, mountain outreach, bassin blue.
I was so glad both Dina and I woke up feeling much better. All the rest from the previous day helped tremendously. We packed and went to the second mountain where we played with the kids there and fed them. Our system of passing out food worked very well, everyone was fed! Praise the Lord.
Bassin Blue was beautiful. It’s a shame that Haiti is such a beautiful paradise, but destroyed and polluted because of the sin of the people. Jesus break the bondage and stronghold that the devil has on this country! It was so refreshing at bassin blue, sadly every good thing has a negative. On the walk to and from pool of water, i was terrorized by mosquitos and other insects! I counted up to 70 bite marks and probably missed a few!
Day 9 – Final day with the kids.
The schedule leaders decided to go easy on me early on in the trip with cooking and cleaning, but they made up for it this day, assigning me to cooking for breakfast and lunch and cleaning for dinner. No matter, I gladly did it, I opened and drained those tuna cans like there was no tomorrow! The beach was amazing, minus the seaweed! The kids came to play with me in the water, and I was tossing them in the waves.
Our final night consisted of partitioning off our clothes and other goods we brought with us. I gave Savalor my shoes, our translator my NIV study bible and some of the other boys my board shorts and shirts. It was tough saying bye to the kids, most were very sad, some even cried. Poor Olandine didn’t even want to say goodbye.
The night wasn’t going to end too smoothly, Tabitha had an allergic reaction to her insect bites and took benedryl which closed her airways and made it difficult for her to breathe. We gathered with her and the pastor and his wife prayed and recited psalms for her. By bedtime Tabitha was feeling better, thank you Jesus.
Day 10 – Going home
For some reason I thought we would have a bus to drive to the airport with. Nope, the back of the truck, here we come. By the time we arrived to the airport, I needed multiple baby wipes to clean my face of the pollution from the drive. My hair felt like wire, and I can say I was cold in Haiti after that drive.
When I got home that night, I took a hot shower. The stench that came out of my hair was unimaginable. I brought the smell of port Au prince home with me! Diesel exhaust mixed with burning trash and burning plastic, mixed with the open sewage flowing in the streets!
You don’t know what you have until you are without it, and how blessed you are until you experience a trip like this. I pray that God will give us all a heart of worship and thanksgiving because it could have very easily been us that were born in circumstances like those in Haiti. But even so, the Christians in Haiti are true Christians, they don’t need what we have to be fully committed to Christ. God Bless them and keep them strong!
Author: Paul Prunean
Trip: June 2011