Today is our last full day in Haiti. Because of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Tomas, our team’s trip is unfortunately and sadly cut short.
We got up at the break of dawn and made our way to the Grace International hospital and campus and broke up into groups in order to do as much work as possible in the short amount of time we had left.
While Kate and Jenny worked in the kitchen to help prepare the meals for the children, the other girls went to work by moving rocks and rubble away from the main paths and walkways that the children and workers used on a daily basis. And while the girls did some of the simpler lifting, the boys went to town lifting hundreds and hundreds of pounds worth of stone floor tiles up several flights of the hospital. Great job, guys!
During our rock/rubble moving, 3 young boys that lived on the Grace International Village campus came up to us, and without a word, began to help us pick up the heavy loads with their bare hands. I was so moved by their warm hearts and willingness to serve.
I turned and looked at Steph and asked her in amazement, “Back at home, do you know any kids that would volunteer their time to do not-so-fun physical labor in this kind of heat?”
After we finished our tasks, we hung out with the kids for a few minutes and when the older women in the kitchen were ready for us, we got ourselves mentally and emotionally ready for the same influx of kids we fed the day before…
…but to our surprise, lines of orderly school children of Grace International, all in clean, bright blue-green uniforms, came strolling in. I practically threw my Sharpie Marker into my pants pocket and went to help some of the little kids get to the tables.
Together, our team was a well-oiled machine. We were able to interact and entertain the children, seat them down, serve them the rice and sauce meal, and feed the smaller ones that needed a little help.
The difference between yesterday’s feeding and today’s was like night and day, and what this contrast truly indicates is how much of a difference Grace International makes in the lives of children.
I found out that for about $200 a year, a child can be educated, fed, and taken care of at Grace International. That’s nothing for us, but everything for a child. If you want to see a child going from the chaotic mess of yesterday’s feeding to today’s civilized and joyous partaking of food, please let me know and I can connect you to Grace International, where you can change the life of a child in Haiti.
After saying our goodbyes to the kitchen ladies (who are AMAZING, by the way), we piled into our dear little white van and went over to see Port Au Prince, the epicenter of where the earthquake hit.
If shocked was what we were on the first day, today we were floored. You can see glimpses of what Haiti used to be (and it was heartbreakingly beautiful) amidst the destruction. The state of the Haitian White House looked like the aftermath of the movie Independance Day…you know, after the aliens blew it up. Seriously. It was ridiculous.
Before we left, Grace International for the very last time, we met with Bishop Jeune and his wife and prayed together one more time. We all agreed that our relationship is only at the beginning. Our hearts will never leave Haiti, and we will be back.
During our debriefing meeting, we worshipped our hearts out…God is so good, even amidst what the world may throw at us. There is no one like our God.
I think we all came to realize what true heartbreak is. All my life, I have purposefully avoided missions, relationships, and anything that would cause me to feel heartbreak. But after going to Haiti…how can you not fall in love with the people here? The heartbreak wasn’t caused by merely seeing the destruction that was all around us…but it was caused by seeing people that we loved having to suffer.
We all cried that night. Our tears were for our brothers and sisters in Haiti who showed us what true love was, and the way our lives should look like as followers of Christ…and though there is pain involved in heartache, I am so grateful to have fallen in love with Haiti.
I know that I will be back.