I arrived here in Deschapelles yesterday evening. It was a long day of travel. I left Newfoundland around 7 PM Monday, spent the night at my cousins' house outside of Halifax, then met up with Sandra, Dickie, and Pastor Dave at the airport 4:30 AM. We had a short layover in Newark, and arrived in Port-au-Prince at 2 PM, with no complications!
|Landing in PAP|
I fell in love with Haiti the minute I stepped off the plane. The scenery alone was enough to take my breath away. Karen and Luckner were at the airport waiting for us when we arrived. Everyone was very welcoming. We waiting around at the airport for awhile for Jim's flight to get in, then drove for around 3 hours or so to get here. The drive was stunning! I enjoyed every minute of it. The pictures I had seen of this place didn't do it justice.
|Waiting for Jim to arrive|
When we arrived at the compound we got to meet the kids briefly before they did their evening devotional and went to bed. I'm already trying to figure out how to smuggle one of them home in my suitcase (haha). They're so sweet! They had a welcome sign up on the wall and an amazing hot meal waiting for us. I felt like I was home right away.
Sleeping last night was an interesting experience to say the least. There are so many different sounds coming from every which way. Roosters, dogs barking, trucks honking, Jim snoring... just to name a few. But I woke up feeling plenty rested for the day!
|Jess and Sandra|
We started out the day with a devotional at 7:30. Singing, dancing and prayer. They do this every day and I think I should probably start doing the same back home! We then got put to work right away portioning rice, beans, and cornmeal to hand out to some of the families.
|Working hard when Karen was working at school|
|Visit to preschool one clas|
|Visiting grade 8|
We also got to go for a quick ride into town to pick up a few supplies. Sandra, Jim and I sat in the pan of the truck. It was a hoot! I am in love with this place.
|relaxing in the back|
It is only 2 PM right now and it feels like we've done so much today already. I suppose that's what happens when you're up and on the go at 5 in the morning! Anyways, I want to get the most out of every second I'm here, so that's all for now. I know one week won't be enough! God bless!
First Impressions! by Pastor Dave
As I flew into Port-Au- Prince I was apprehensive and excited, because this was all new to me and I was excited to see what God is going to do in my heart and through my life while here in Haiti. As I stepped off the plane and saw the city, the people, Karen, Luckner and the others I felt the excitement and reality overcome my apprehension. Even as I drove from the City to Deschapelles my heart began to break as I saw faces of people with stories, pasts, dreams and hopes. I saw pain, and poverty, laughter and hopelessness. We drove into the compound at dark and saw children dancing with excitement as we the quest were arriving. We all got hugs as the new guest were greeted and seasoned veterans got reacquainted. They even made a sign to welcome us.
After some good food, and Karen’s rules (not slamming the door, which I am learning well) we had a good night’s rest - (even with a rooster crowing all night, - they don’t just crow in the morning). In the morning we had a great breakfast prayed with the children at the orphanage and then joined the staff having devotions. I love how they start their day.
|Jim with god-daughter Anne|
We were able to see the school and the precious children who have been allowed to attend because of the generosity of people back home. They are great children and we had fun just being with them and getting to share in some of the classrooms.
Food is a big need here due to the lost crops because of hurricane Sandy. H.A.T.S not only feeds the children in the school and orphanage but also gives bags of rice, beans and corn to hungry families in the community. We spend most of the morning measuring (Karen gave us a crash course in how to do that, it is not a level measure it is a heaping measure) and bagging the rice, beans and corn.
What hits me in this first day – is Karen and Luckner's passion to make Christ the center of all that happens here. They start the day and end the day worshiping God. What a powerful witness to the kids, staff, us and the community. I am also overwhelmed by the impact this school and orphanage is having on the kids and their family – this gives hope to people and families who did not have hope. This works and anyone who gives to this cause can rest assured this a cause worth investing in. I am reminded of the verse in Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. THIS IS STORING UP TREASURE IN HEAVEN.I am blessed to be here and see what God has done and is doing.