Saturday, August 17, 2013

Perseverance and Hope

Today was so refreshing after such an emotional week!  We were able to spend the morning with the children at Grace Village and then spent the afternoon at Isaiah’s orphanage in Titanyen!  Grace Village is an amazing sight up on the mountainside and it can be seen from quite a distance!  I am constantly in awe of Jeff Gacek and Alyn Shannon’s vision for Grace Village and all that they have done by creating Healing Haiti!  The clinic is almost finished and the Haitian construction crew continues to work day in and day out to get it ready!  The aquaponics system is quite remarkable and is up and running at full capacity.  They are ready to harvest the second batch of Tilapia from their tanks and the plants are growing and producing vegetables!  I am excited to see how the whole operation works and how they can include the community by providing food and work for them as well. 

This morning we were able to share our faith lesson with the children at Grace Village.  They listened intently as we acted out a play about Daniel and the lion’s den.  Grant and Chris played the king and three of the children played the part of Daniel, the lion, and the angel. After the lesson, each of the kids made a shield of protection from a paper plate and colored them with pictures and scripture.  We then played a sort of tag game where the children acted as lions and our team became “Daniels”.  They hid in the playground and they chased us as we tried to sneak through.  It was so wonderful to hear the laughter and joy as we chased the kids…such a great reminder that they are children much like our own and they still have this sweet innocence like children should even though they have been abandoned, enslaved, abused, and heartbroken.  It was such a joyful experience!

The contrast from Grace Village and then to Isaiah’s was immense!  Their living conditions were much more difficult to comprehend, but it was heartwarming to know that they were loved and cared for.  It was wonderful to hear Isaiah’s story and I’m sure I will not do it justice, but it was moving nonetheless.  Him and his brother were orphaned as children by their parents’ deaths and were raised by their Grandmother until she passed when they were teenagers.  The day after the earthquake in 2010, they went to Cite Soleil to check on their friends and bring people some rice, oil, and other necessities. They became overwhelmed and absolutely heartbroken by the number of children wandering in the streets without family as so many never returned from work the night of the earthquake.  They had been completely orphaned as the earthquake took over 300,000 lives that day.  Isaiah and his brother were so moved by this, that they went home and prayed together.  The next day, they went back and picked up as many children as they could (16) and brought them home with them.  They gave their lives over to care for these children as if they were their own.  They recently moved to the countryside in Titanyen because Jeff Gacek had a property that was available for them to use for their orphanage.  What amazing men to sacrifice all that they had to provide for these orphaned children!  I was so moved by their ability to persevere in the absolute hardest time in Haiti’s history!  The children at Isaiah’s were so polite and well behaved and we truly enjoyed the time that we spent with them doing crafts, playing soccer, and painting fingernails!  Again, the innocence of children was still present and it was so heartwarming to hear their laughter and joy in the simple games we played!

I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to return to Haiti and I know that Haiti is forever on my heart!  I cannot imagine my life without these people or this place and I feel so very blessed for what God has given me through Haiti!  The faith of these people never ceases to amaze me!  I am constantly reminded of what is truly important in life, and at times I am so frustrated when I try to understand why it takes this much pain and heartbreak to receive and live out that message.  I want Haiti to always be a reminder for me to live my life for Him and to focus my energy on loving others and living in constant thanksgiving for all that I have been given.  I am SO BLESSED and so THANKFUL! 

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