Our trip to Haiti began the morning of January 28, 2020, as we gathered at Missionary Flight International in Ft. Pierce, Florida. We first weighed our luggage on a large scale. Then groups of us stood on the scale, so as to accurately weigh the load to be flown to Haiti. After signing in we boarded the 1947 DC-3 taildragger, which had been very nicely retrofitted to today’s standards, including twin turbo prop engines. After a very smooth flight we landed in Cap Haitia, Haiti to go through customs. Once everything was approved, we reboarded the plane and continued on to Pignon, where we were picked up by the team from Haitian American Friendship Foundation. After a 20 minute ride we arrived at the HAFF complex where we settled in for the week.
Our mornings began with a hearty breakfast. We then attended classes at the christian school of about 270 children, where we shared information about ourselves, favorite scripture passages, and prayer for the day. Pastor Eric Hausler interpreted for each of us as the kids listened intently. Following that, we would do various projects around the campus. Projects consisted of electrical work, screen repair, woodwork, painting, etc. We also had medical experts with us who were able to help in the eye clinic. At noon, the dinner bell rang and it was time again for another hearty meal, followed by remaining work for the day. At 4 oclock each day we stopped and dressed up for home visits, where we would bring scripture, prayer, and song to encourage those in the community. Once again Eric’s translation was valuable. The folks we visited not only received spiritual encouragement but also a bag of rice, a bag of beans, and a bottle of oil. The Haitians were very appreciative! Most of the homesteads were very small, consisting of a very small home, often times made with mud walls and a tin roof. Bathroom facilities were an outhouse. Though the Haitians have very little, they seem to be very content.
What a lesson for us! The American culture for the most part has much material wealth, yet always craving more. The Haitians work each day to provide food and shelter for the day. In contrast, we are so blessed and take food and shelter for granted.
On Saturday we all loaded into our vehicle and drove to Pignon market where we were able to experience the weekly “fresh” market. The locals try to sell what they specialize in, again to provide for the immediate need to survive. The animal part of the market was especially interesting as the flies swarm over the freshly slaughtered meat.
The smell was not especially appetizing (to us anyway). There you can buy your meat alive or dead. One man had bought two pigs and strapped them on the seat of his motorcycle, as they squealed loudly. Others led a goat or cow away on a rope as they made their way back home. Again, we realized what we take for granted… being able to drive to a clean superstore to get about anything we want.
Sunday we were able to worship with our brothers and sisters in a Haitian church. It was an exciting thing to witness, the worship of the triune God in another country, enthusiastically I might add. What a lesson for us! Do we worship enthusiastically or do we oftentimes just go through the motions? Our hearts should be full of joy realizing what God has done for us! There was no question that the Haitians were excited about their God. What do people see in us?
Monday was a day to wrap up our projects and make our final visits. The following day we bid farewell to the DeRuischer family and the team there. We were thankful to be able to serve with them for a week. We realized that they have given up much to dwell among the Haitians, serving the Lord whole-heartedly.
As we reflect upon the experience, we realize this trip was just as important for us as it was for those we served. We are so blessed with food and shelter, oftentimes taking it for granted. How quickly our focus takes us in the wrong direction, and we forget the very purpose that we were created- to glorify our God. By taking a few days off from our “normal” routine, we were edified and able to be refocused, knowing that our purpose is to serve the Lord in gladness! All praise be to our God!