Beyond the mountains are more mountains. This is an old saying in Haiti which simply means there’s more to Haiti than meets the eye, and WOW! did we ever learn that on our last day! Pastor Joseph took our team up into the beautiful Haitian mountains to visit two small churches he supports. One is nothing more than a tent on a hillside, but the people there are faithful believers. The land where the church sits was purchased by Pastor Joseph then given back to the church. About 50 children in the area attend school there, but without money to pay teachers the school is in jeopardy. One of the teachers/principal spoke with Pastor Joseph and our team about the urgent crisis facing their school. Sponsorship would be a great blessing to this hillside church/school and perhaps might be coming in the future.
After our visit here we ventured another three hours winding up, down and around the mountains. The Haitian mountain people seem primitive at times walking, or riding mules or horses to get around, but at other times we’d stumble upon a fully modernized town with electricity, cars, motorcycles, even air-conditioning! We were blessed to travel past a gorgeous lake which sat nestled in a valley of amazing mountains. It was nothing like the Haiti the team had been seeing for a week.
Finally we’d arrived at another mountain top church supported by Pastor Joseph. In order for him to support these churches, he insists that the pastor in charge agree to and sign a legal document which releases the land on which the church sits back to the church itself instead of being privately owned. He says he does this to ensure that the people will always have a place to worship for generations.
As we arrived at this One Family Church, we were struck by sheer number of children inside! They welcomed us with enthusiastic applause and joyful songs! The energy, love and faithfulness in our Lord was overwhelming and physically palpable in this small, one-room church. After our visit we were treated to some Haitian hospitality in the form of delicious fried plantains and chicken!! The children in this remote area were so polite, beautiful and perhaps even a little awe-struck at seeing this group of “blans” (whites) that many of us didn’t want to leave! However, we knew it was time and after many “orevwa’s” we departed, taking with us a different picture of Haiti.
We left behind a Haiti much simpler, yet complex, than what is seen in Port-au-Prince and Grand Savann. A Haiti with needs as varying as those of any state in the US; a Haiti struggling to educate and provide for its future generations, yet determined to do so; a Haiti with faith so strong it replaces all the material things which our culture deems necessary. God is in Haiti because he is in the hearts of everyone we met this week.
While I don’t want to speak for the entire team, it safe to say that every team member grew as a result of our time in Haiti. For some of us relationships with the Haitian people grew, for others a new sense of purpose began to grow, from this trip new friendships have grown, and most importantly our love of the Lord, His kingdom and the people in it has definitely grown! Never have we been more convinced of the purpose of our God and RCC “Love, Go, Serve, Grow.” It is true that when we love others as Christ did, and go forth to show and share that love by serving others we grow closer to God.
Thank you for reading, and Bonye beni ou!