I have yet to visit the South. I’ve heard such sayings as “Southern hospitality” and I have heard how everyone there can be so welcoming and sweet. And I’m here to tell you-it’s true. Every single word of it. We might be exhausted, and have taken two naps already today trying to recover, but our spirits are renewed. My heart is overflowing. The fruit of the Spirit flowed out from each and every person and they spoke truth and love into our lives. This particular team was like a big 7-11 slurpee in 100 degree weather. Brandon and I can’t stop talking about them, and we can’t stop thinking and reflecting on the amazing week we had together. The interesting part was they were supposed to go to Port au Prince, but got sent to us by ‘accident’! God clearly had a divine appointment in mind, and it was clear every single day-from the community we were able to work in, to the different people they met, the Haitians whose lives they touched, and the way they loved on us.
They all live in Mississippi (except one sweet girl who actually works for LWI in Texas, so fun to meet a co-worker!!) from a church called Crossgates. They arrived a week ago Saturday wide eyed and ready to go. We drove them home from the airport and sat them down for a bit to talk about Haiti, guidelines, rules, do’s and don’ts and all that. They were very respectful and listened to every word we had to say. At one point I said something like “our house is your house, but our kitchen is ours.” The goal being to keep everyone from getting sick, but little did I know, when you are from the south, all the fun happens in the kitchen! They love to gather there, chat as they cook, and work together, help do dishes, clean and everything. My resolve went out the window when I saw their hearts. They didn’t ask to help just to be nice, they really wanted to be helpful-and it showed all week long. If someone noticed me slip into the kitchen to do anything, they were right behind me to ask for help. Men and women! They would wash their hands, wipe ’em with bleach and stand there until I let them help! It only took one day for me to cave and let them in. I woke up to them cleaning dishes one morning, and putting things away. They would wipe tables down, and pick up after each other. I have never seen so many servants hearts together, loving on each other and me at the same time.
Truthfully, Brandon had some trepidations about the week. The old organization we partnered with brought in over 2,000 people into Haiti last year, and to say it was hard and rough would be an understatement. It only took one day with this group to see that they were different. First of all, there were only nine of them. And even though we were packed into one small house, they made it work. We had one room for guys and one for gals, and the poor girls had to share a bathroom with the guys! And yet, they never complained. Rather, at the end of a hot, sticky, dirty day they were argue over who could go first-while the rest of them sat there sweaty and sticky waiting their turn.
Saturday June 25th…
We went to a community pretty close to Fort Liberte-about an hour away from us. We found this community about a week ago, as we have been mapping pumps and figuring out where all the pumps are that LWI has fixed. This one said it had not been repaired for four years so we went to check it out. Turns out it was still working, but a few pieces were old and rusted out, and it was starting to deteriorate. But it was shocking to see that it had lasted four years-when we are finding some pumps can break as quickly as six months!! (It all depends on how many people are using it, and how well the community takes care of it) So needless to say, it was refreshing to see that this community had taken such good care of the their pump. They have no other source of water close by, and because of that, they very much understand, value , and appreciate clean water. And so we brought this group back to change the pump. Even though it was still pumping out a little bit of water, we wanted to reward the community for taking great care of the pump by fixing all the parts so it would work better. Needless to say, they were so excited we did!!
Don’t worry, there are plenty more photos and amazing stories to come!!