Alexander McMeen and Lacey Printz continue to share their insight on the track and field mission trip to Haiti over the holiday break.
The last few days have been crazy to say the least! Sunday morning we woke up with plans to head to a church about 5 minutes from the orphanage. But in Haiti, nothing ever seems to go according to plan, and Satan certainly tried his best to keep us from going. The “tap-tap,” a large truck that fits all the kids here at the orphanage, wasn’t here, so the preacher of the church came to pick up the kids.
After the kids piled in, the tap-tap wouldn’t start. It took about 10 minutes to get the battery started, and they headed out the gate. All 20 of us crammed into Hunter’s truck behind them, when all of a sudden we realized we had a flat tire. After filling up the tires to accommodate for the extra weight, we too were headed to church. When we pulled up to church we had the option of going to the big church or to the children’s church. We split up our groups and each experienced what it was like to come together with fellow believers in Haiti.
Since being at CHCH and even when preparing for this trip we were continuously told that Haiti was a dark place due to the voodoo and Satan’s firm grasp of the people. However, being here we could feel Gods presence through this community of believers. We can see that God has a firm grasp on this country as well, and it is only through Him that Haiti can change for the better. A verse from the song “God of this City” describes the work being done in Haiti very well: “Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city.” Later that night we were given the chance to partake in a tradition that Hunter and Jillian started when they first came here, hanging Christmas lights and decorations! Every kid in the orphanage came together to help, and we could tell by the smiles on their faces and laughter that filled the air that this was a tradition that would continue for years to come.
When the Christmas music came on, an impromptu dance party started. Honestly, it was exactly how we picture heaven. No language or poverty barriers, just brothers and sisters joined together in God’s presence. It was a moment that was almost indescribable.
Monday morning a group of girls went to get their nails done by a former CHCH orphan at her salon in town. After exchanging laughs and conversation with locals who stopped in to say hello, we joked about how we brought great publicity to the shop by the number of strange looks given at eight white girls in the Radiance Salon. Back at the CHCH the rest of the team played with the kids and prepared for the 3-on-3-basketball tournament that was going on later that night. At 4pm sharp, 7 teams walked onto the newly finished basketball court with a group of kids sitting and ready to cheer.
The tournament gave a chance for the older kids to showcase their skills, and even the staff members came out to either play or support the kids. We played until the single spotlight on the court no longer provided enough light to catch or shoot the ball. The games would resume the following evening, causing the nerves amongst the teams to build up even more.
Tuesday morning came sooner than expected, but the workload was just the same. After our daily 6:30 am run, we ate breakfast and quickly got to work shoveling and moving rocks to cover flood damage and the trash pile behind the orphanage. Our new favorite phrase, “Nou kafesa (spelling?),” which means, “We can do it,” drove us as we dug the shovels into the rocks time after time. We were determined to finish before our noon lunchtime, with coach Taylor calling out the time every 15 minutes like we were on a tempo run. As the clock hit 11:59, we smoothed out the remaining rocks and high fived the kids that were generously helping us.
After lunch, a few people started making bookshelves to rebuild the children’s library that was damaged in the flood. Making the shelves that were going to hold the books we raised for the kids was an amazing feeling. Thank you for your generous donations and prayers for that effort! The kid’s faces lit up like a Christmas tree as they opened a few boxes of books.
After we finished our work we went enthusiastically back to the basketball court to finish the tournament. With only 4 teams left, the competition was increasing until the final game of the Haitians versus the Americans and the Haitians came out on top! In all fairness, the lights went out on the court at halftime when the score was 8-6, so we technically don’t know who won! The Haitian boys claimed the lights went out on purpose because they came back on as soon as we declared them the winners. With music playing we eventually broke out into another dance party and shared a night full of laughter and good conversation.
Wednesday came much sooner than we would have liked but we had a full day of fun ahead of us.
After our run, morning work and lunch we loaded up in 2 trucks and headed into town with all of the kids. We had prepared a field day with different games and prizes for the kids. We went to the CBT (a place where they train preachers), and it didn’t take long for the kids to start playing games, winning tickets and eating a ton of dum-dum suckers. The joy that we can see on these kids faces day in and day out is more than heart warming, it’s inspiring. They do not live in what we would call ideal conditions, yet they laugh more than most of us. They live simply but also live greatly because they are a family at CHCH. The older kids look out for the little kids and being with them all throughout this week has not only opened our hearts to seeing this love, but also inspires us to love others unconditionally the way that Jesus tells us to.
Isn’t it funny how God works? So many times we doubt who He is, while the whole time we have been here we’ve seen Him through the kids. Short-term mission trips have an incredible amount of value. Not only are these kids rejuvenating us, but we are also building relationships that we are going to sustain long after we leave.
Many of the kids found us on Facebook already and can’t wait to talk to us when we return home. Being here is almost like a vacation, with the real work coming when we return home. We prepared for this trip months ago, and we are already preparing our next trip. The only thing we have to do is give ourselves to these wonderful kids. When we get home, the real world is going to hit us like a ton of bricks, and that is when we must recall these times and use them to further God’s kingdom.
As we wrap up another moment to share this incredible journey with you, we leave you with a verse from James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
-Lacey and Alexander