It has been a really good week here for us. Haiti is a great place, but also a tough place. The House of Hope Orphanage and all that goes on here is like a giant light in the midst of a dark place. As I sit on the roof tonight and look out across the city, I see rows of houses behind fortressed walls that line dusty pot-hole filled gravel roads. Last night while sitting up here we heard shots in the distance a few blocks over. Walls are lined with razor wire, and most homes are very small, some just one room. There are a few huge houses scattered in the neighborhood, homes owned by people who generally have become rich by exploiting the poverty and brokenness of the culture. There are also Voodoo shrines all around, and as I am sitting on the roof tonight I can hear the Voodoo drums beating in the distance about two or three blocks away. But in the middle of this area is HOH. They have planted a church on this site, and we are looking forward to worshiping with them in the morning. They are also planting two other churches in the city. The medical clinic is being built as we are here, a three story complex that will provide emergency and ongoing care for people in the community. And the joy that comes from these girls, it really is tangible.
This morning we got to spend a lot of time with them, about 3 hours today, and it was therapudic for our group. We played musical chairs, danced (and Jason Adams can absolutely bring it when the pop music is flowing) and most of the girls got their hair braided. Girls sat on our laps, played with us, and laughed a lot. This afternoon we worked our tails off. The big job was clearing the lot behind the orphanage. In the past year HOH bought this plot, and it was filled with vines and all kinds of stuff that had grown up. We went in with machetes and pulled stuff down, hoping to avoid the tarantulas and big lizards. Then we picked up trash. But this was a joy, because the plan is that they have a construction crew coming in the next two weeks to add dirt, level it off and make the lot a small soccer field and playground. This will be huge for these girls, giving them a big place to go play and have fun. Jason built them a single swing, and they have gotten the biggest kick out of that, so we can imagine what it will be like to have this whole area.
We got some more time with the girls tonight. My son (yes, my son) came up with the design for a duct tape purse, wrapping tape around a quart zip-loc bag. We brought several rolls of crazy duct tape, and the girls made some amazing purses. We are getting ready to do our devotion, but we also get to hear the girls sing for their nightly devotion. This is probably the highlight of the trip, and something that is etched in the memory of every person who has come to Haiti, the sound of these girls singing songs of worship at the top of their voices in Creole to Jesus.
Tomorrow is a big day. We are going to church in the morning, and Mike is preaching. And then he is leading a seminar for church leaders later in the morning. We will do a kids club tomorrow afternoon, so lots of sharing tomorrow. Pray that we would be filled with the Holy Spirit and that God would use our proclamation of the Gospel to plant seeds and reach people.
Well, time for devotion, so gotta go. Keep praying about the storm. Last report I had was that it was weakening, so hopefully it won’t keep us from getting back home on Tuesday. Thanks church and friends for praying for us.