What a day it has been! (see pictures in post below)
Our team started out this morning at 4am from the Dominican Republic. We had an adventuresome drive to Haiti this morning. Pit stops with pigs, roadside water purchases, and random speed bumps every few miles were just a few of the exciting things we experienced on our 5 plus hour drive to the border. Near the border we were surprised with a mile long line of trucks trying to get through to Haiti. We are praising God for our driver Frank and God's amazing provision as we miraculously were aided through the miles of traffic by the police who cleared the way to the border ... almost like Moses parting the Red Sea. There were dozens of buses loaded with folks that looked as American as us that were waiting to cross the border, but ours was the only bus let through.
We passed through into Haiti and made it to the GOP compound about 11am. Jen knew we had arrived when she heard the cheering of the children. What a greeting it was - happy smiling children and great big hugs from Jen! After a quick breakfast of yummy pancakes and eggs we got a quick tour of the compound and got to work loving on these beautiful kids.
We spent the early afternoon loving on the kids. Immediately we each had five or six children holding our hands, sitting in our laps, touching our faces and our skin. They yearn for personal attention and touch. Leigh Ann led the crowd in the Lawn Mower dance, the Hokey Pokey, Our God is a Great Big God and so much more! Gary and John got the soccer balls in movement and then introduced the hand slap game. All were hits!
Later in the afternoon Kim and Holly organized all our supplies and the rest of the team had the opportunity to return some children to their parents. These children are from Pastor Moises' church and their parents let the GOP care for their kids for a month while they got their homes in order. All of these children's homes were destroyed in the quake and they were so excited to be going home to their families.
The TapTap was our mode of transportation and we were packed in like sardines. We each had a child on our laps. The young one that I had the pleasure of holding was a young boy about 2 years old. He was not talking, only sucking his thumb and staring wide eyed at everything. After about 20 minutes of our ride, this precious child fell asleep in my arms. Absolutely completely limp, a very sweet sleep. It was amazing that he could sleep through the noise of the vehicle, the horns honking, the vendors and people yelling ... this little child just slept on trusting me to his care. Isn't that the way God wants us to trust Him? To just pray to Him with our needs and desires and to fall into His arms which will protect us no matter the danger? Oh how I pray each of these children can trust in Him and feel secure hope that only He can provide!
We saw some of the damage from the earthquake. It was immense and very hard to describe ... very similar to what we saw in Indonesia after the tsunami in 2005. It is like a war zone. Everything is demolished and there are displaced people in makeshift housing in any and every open space. They are going to need a lot of help for a long time here in Haiti. I only hope that the world does not forget these people.
This evening we had a lovely dinner of chicken legs, beans and rice, slaw and veggies. It tasted like prime rib after this long day! We took time for a little encouragement and a devotion. Now things are quieting down. The kids are watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang while Gary and John are helping set up a tent for Jen (who just spied a grasshopper on Kim's back and yelled "That's not a bug, it's a pterodactyl!") Truly, the bug situation here is not terrible and we are SO happy for that! The room situation here is like the Taj Mahal compared to my recent mission trips ... but shhhh! don't let my hubby know, he thinks I'm roughing it! :)
James 5:13-19 was the reading in tonight's devotional. We are so blessed and these children have suffered so much. We are praying tonight that we show God's love and compassion in all we say and do to all we come into contact with the days we are here. Please continue to pray for the team and our work here. It is going to be an awesome week ... God is doing great things in Haiti!