After a very early wake-up call, we assembled for a quick 4:30 am breakfast, loaded up the trucks and headed to the Port-au-Prince airport. Though it was barely dawn, the roads were already lined with people preparing for market day.
The airport is always part of the adventure. As soon as you step out of the van, you are surrounded by vendors and others eager to help you with your bags. This is when you get a lot of practice saying, “No, merci.”
Inside, long lines snake through the room where you wait to check in. Some check-in kiosks are working. Most are not. Finally we all get checked in and our bags dropped and its off to immigration, security, customs and a second security check. But this was a good day. It only took an hour to complete the process and we could sit down to wait for our plane to board. There are some nice little restaurants in the airport with some very good coffee, sandwiches and pastries.
The flight was uneventful, and immigration and customs on the US side went quickly. But that’s when you have to say goodbye to everyone heading off to different parts of the country. Facebook means we won’t lose touch. In fact, we’ll get to know each other better as we keep in touch and plan our next getaway to Haiti.
We still had a long drive home from Fort Lauderdale to Palm Coast, giving us lots of time to reflect upon our trip and short-term missions in general. More on that soon.
Learning an important lesson from yesterday, we left much earlier and got to the church in Bien Amie by 9 am. As we set up I taught the story of Zacchaeus to the waiting crowd of moms and babies. Then we settled into seeing patients.
Some of the team taught a birthing class, a newborn class, along with the tooth brushing class. Nothing extraordinary today — except for a baptism!
Sometime in the morning we stopped everything and I got to baptize a beautiful 18 month old little girl, Essmina. With a tent full of witnesses and more watching from the outside we celebrated her new birth into the family of God. What a privilege and what a great moment. God’s mercy, life and salvation poured out onto that mountainside piece of holy ground! I guess I probably taken my shoes off. Oh well; next time…
As I prayed with all who came through the main registration, I did the wordless book with two more who trusted Jesus as Savior. I ask every one either, “Are you a Christian?” Or “Do you trust that Jesus is your Savior?” Most say yes, and I believe most are sincere. And then suddenly, some one says, “No,” and I get to tell them more about Christ. My translator, Jemmy, is great and keeps right up with me.
Tomorrow a new site, another remote location at the edge of somewhere.
After an interesting breakfast, we loaded up and went to worship at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Oh, you were wondering what I meant by interesting? A spicy bean soup, fresh mango and pineapple and croissants. I usually don’t have soup for breakfast, but I’m glad I tried it. Very tasty. Worship was spirited, a familiar liturgy (though in Haitian Creole) and very well attended. One of our translators sat next to me to tell me the scripture readings so I could follow along in my bible. It was fun to try.
After worship we headed out to an orphanage that housed 14 teen boys. It was in great disrepair, but our doc said the boys were fairly healthy. A sad place to be but one that could come alive with a few seeds to plant and some chickens in the yard. Mission:Haiti is exploring the best way to help.
From there we got to stop by Lophane’s new guest house, still under construction. It just needs some floors, electrical and plumbing. The roof and stairways were poured concrete. I’m not sure how they do that, but it looked great.
Back at Walls guest house, we are a quick lunch and started to prepare our supplies for the week. We counted out hundreds of bags of vitamins and medications, birthing kits, baby kits and hygiene kits. The kits would be used in the education we will present this week. I know you’re wondering: a birthing kit consists of a pad to sit on, gloves, gauze pads, a washcloth, some strings, a razor to cut the umbilical and some instructions. A little teaching goes a long way in helping the people care for themselves.
Our team brought so much along, including diapers, washcloths, baby clothes, and medication. We’ll be in some remote areas where there ‘s no where to go to buy anything. I wonder how they live off the land there. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow. The pastor of the church there is so excited that we’re coming. We will help him connect with many families for future ministry.