Today was a roller coaster.
We began the day with a tour around the campus, and praise God, we were witness to seeing that all +20,000 tents that were once covering the entire campus were now gone and cleared from Grace Village! This was a miracle in itself, and we were so happy to see that God’s protection over Grace International had moved so powerfully.
During the tour, we were fortunate enough to visit Grace International’s schools, and were given the opportunity to speak in classrooms ranging from Pre-School all the way up to High School. Having Stradine and Stephania there as native Haitian Creole speakers was a huge blessing, and we enjoyed getting to meet the bright future of Haiti’s next generation first-hand.
After the tour, we jumped straight into the Lord’s Kitchen to help prepare the meals that would be distributed the local children, and today’s focus was on the students. We were so excited to serve!!!
As we helped prepare the meal, we were informed that the students had a daily dilemma that they suffered from: while they were fortunate enough to have their education provided for (either through sponsors or parents), that was all they had. Their providers could either afford them a meal or education, and not both. So for most of the students, the meal that we were giving them today was the only hot meal they would get that day.
And they were all very hungry.
Simply put, the reason why this day was such a roller coaster was because the amount of money we were able to donate was not a lot…and it was not enough.
Compared to our earlier trips (where ~$10,000-$14,000 was raised), this year’s overall donation from the church was under $2,500, half of which was shared with our other Haiti partners at Beyond All Boundaries.
Fortunately, each team member had also fundraised individually, and by the grace of God, were able to raise ~$5,000 from wonderful friends, family members, mentors, co-workers, and even random strangers who felt inclined to donate to feed the children in Haiti!!! And had it not been for the generosity of those incredible donors, today’s and tomorrow’s Lord’s Kitchens would not have even been possible.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO GAVE.
Every child who was able to eat today was because of your loving donations, and they will sleep full tonight because of you.
In the past, we did not have to turn anyone away. But with our donations being half of the norm, sadly a large crowd of hungry and waiting students were sent home without a meal when the food eventually ran out.
Our team left incredibly discouraged. Despite this year’s theme being “Bless the World,” we knew that so much more could have been done and so much more support could of been provided…we cried together as a team and prayed that future trips would not happen this way ever again.
In the early evening, the ladies in our group had the pleasure of going to the Girls’ Home, where we played with and enjoyed lovely one-on-one time with the wonderful girls that Bishop and Madame Jeune took in as their own.
We saw that many new girls had joined the group, and we were informed that when the owner of a partnered orphanage in Haiti had tragically passed away, the Jeune’s personally invited all of the children into their Homes.
It was a party! And even more-so, it was a great encouragement for us as we bonded with the sweet young ladies of Grace International~
We even got to meet a very special little girl named CiCi, who had been dropped off at Grace International at 1 year of age, near death. According to volunteers, she was emaciated, with worms literally coming out of her mouth. Even after they had nursed her back to health, she had an immense distrust of people and would not open up to anyone…
…but just one year later, she is now a living, (fast) talking, healthy 2-year-old with the biggest smile and the warmest hugs you will ever feel. Grace International is truly doing incredible things in the lives of these children!
While we were at the Girl’s Home, the men had dutifully unpacked the ~1,000 lbs of donations and sorted them for Grace International. When they had finished, the entire team stood back in shock and awe: the men were able to line the entire perimeter of the donation room in piles of donations. Again, we want to thank all of those who gave and gave in abundance to bless the people here in Haiti!!!
After dinner, we were invited to sit in on a Pastoral Conference that was hosted by Grace International. We were able to hear a message provided by guest speakers, were honored to be invited by Bishop Jeune to speak and sing in front of the 1,000+ people that had traveled long and far to partake in the event. The worship service went long into the night, and as we piled into the van, the skies opened up and a torrent of rain came down, flooding the streets. We made it back to the campus safe and sound, and despite a few rolling black-outs, were able to close the night in prayer and a time of bonding with one another.
Tomorrow is a new day, full of new opportunities, and we pray that God will use the seeds that have been sown to bless the Grace Village in Lambi via the Lord’s Kitchen, as well as the Boys’ Home, which the entire group will be able to visit!
Please continue to keep our group in your prayers. If we have power tomorrow, I’ll be sure to update again!