This past week my mom and I spent the week on school visits in an area called Grand Anse. It was a true Haitian experience! As you see in the title, what we took away from this trip is that “God provides.” And He did so from the very start!
Ordered fish – if only we knew how much of it we’d get the rest of the week!
On Monday afternoon after two hours of bumpy and curvy roads, we arrived in Jeremie, where we planned to stay the night. Upon arriving, we found out where we planned to stay wasn’t going to work out. As we talked about plan B, three white ladies pulled up next to us. We were ever so glad to hear they spoke English and were from the States! And better yet, they were in Haiti to serve the Lord! We told them about our overnight situation. Right away they invited us to their guesthouse for the night! After pointing us to a good restaurant, we headed their way. You see? God provides.
The three ladies who let us stay at their place!
It was a real blessing to hear about their ministry, encourage one another and make connections with them. We even got French press coffee in the morning!
Here is where the ladies run an American school and teach students God’s Word!
They sent us off Tuesday morning with a prayer and off we went to do our school check-ups. We soon found out that a lot of the schools we wanted to visit on this trip were closed due to an extra week of Easter break. That was a bummer and it changed our plans quite a bit. But being flexible is something Haiti has taught us!
Most of the schools we visited were along the coast.
The view from the first school. They said in this area you can spot Cuba at night!
The youngest class didn’t know what to think at first…
But like any kids, it didn’t take them long to warm up when shown love!
The middle preschool class!
The oldest class of the three!
The pastor and kids saying goodbye!
Next we headed back to the same restaurant for a late lunch. It was full of men watching TV while waiting for their food! Susie wanted to share the gospel with them but the TV was too loud. She asked Marie Lucie and Junior if she could turn it off. They both looked at her funny and shook their heads. My mom barely got out the words, “With God nothing is impossible!” when all the power went off! All of our mouths dropped open! Junior and Marie Lucie looked at her again but this time said “Well, Go!” As Susie talked with them, the three of us sat shocked in the back, prayed and praised God for the door He just opened! You see? When we couldn’t, God provided.
Later we stopped at a gas station and had some good spiritual conversations with others. When we went on our way again, we got a flat tire. Thankfully it happened at just the right time, before it got too dark! Again, God provides.
Poor Junior got stuck with three girls!
We drove on and arrived at the next guesthouse where we would be staying the second night. Early in the morning, we set off again to our next school, a good hour away.
Although the roads were bumpy, at least the views were nice!
Can you guess what this is? Chocolate! This part of Haiti has chocolate trees everywhere and is known for exporting it!
It has smaller seeds inside and they lay them all out to dry in the sun.
When we arrived one girl took one look at us weird whites and couldn’t stop crying!
The orange plate is a frisbee. We left one with the kids but we most likely just donated another plate to the school!
This class absorbed the gospel tracts like a sponge!
After this school we planned on going to another one. We drove another hour to find that the road went no farther. We thought about hiking but we asked a Haitian along the road how far it was and he said, “You still have awhile!” Now, if a Haitian says that, yikes! It must be far. There was no time to make it before school ended. We decided to turn around and head to the pastor’s house where we’d be staying that night.
The pastor’s wife had food prepared for us and they gave my mom and I a room to ourselves. Unfortunately, the room had some pipes connected to the bathroom next door, so we got some interesting whiffs throughout the evening. I was glad for my cold!
Menu: rice, fish, yams and dried plantains. The area’s speciality!
Thursday morning we got up extra early because the schools were a good drive into the mountains! I’m not a morning person, so I was barely with it at 5:00 but I decided to open my Bible anyway. The verse I read was Acts 20:24. “But none of things move me, neither do I count my life dear to myself, that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” It was a great verse for the day!
Here we are at the start, all smiles…good thing we took a picture before and not after!
Not long into the drive, we realized we had no idea what we were in for. The road got so horrible that the back of the truck hit the ground many times. We were bumped up and down and side to side like hotcakes. About two hours in, we (thankfully) came to a place where the truck could not go any farther! So we parked it at a house and used our feet the rest of the way!
They make it look so easy…
These boys were so excited that they came down from the school to meet us halfway and hike back up!
Finally we arrived!
The priceless love between the young pastor and his daughter!
Marie Lucie does a great job getting the kids pumped up! Before we left, they served us yams and fish. The next school was said to be an hour down the path. A lot of the kids wanted to go with us and as we passed by their neighbors, we got surprised looks as to where we were heading. We figured we were in for a ride!
A lot of the houses were made with mud and sticks.
What they do with beans…
I overheard Charlene, the older girl next to me in the photo below, tell the other older girls: “I only went on this hike because I like to hear that girl speak Creole!” I’m not sure if that was a compliment or not, but either way, I’m glad she came along. She didn’t realize till later that I was an American, and I was glad. I told her that just like she didn’t choose where she was born, neither did I. We really are more alike than we are different!
They were sweating too, you just can’t tell as much!
About a good hour into the hike, Marie Lucie started to get a little nervous. We wanted to get back before dark and it also looked like it was going to rain. We thought about turning around, but one Haitian said, “It’s only 10-15 more minutes!” We figured if we came all this way, we might as well keep going.
We eventually reached a place where you could look down into a valley. One girl pointed to what resembled a little speck and said, “Look, there’s the school!” We reached the school 50 minutes later!
The girls come to this market every Monday!
It was a two hour hike from the first school to the second. When we got there, all the kids and teachers were waiting for us in the yard. We mentioned we’d like to talk to them, and they told everyone to go up to the school, toddlers and all! We are more used to talking to teens/adults about the gospel but God provided the right words to say!
Can you imagine this as your school?
After our talk, they told us they had food for us. You guessed it – rice, fish, yams and dried plantains. Oh and hot coffee…that didn’t quite hit the spot after a hot hike, but we drank it. It’s probably all they had!
They gave us a gift of two roosters. Then they told us they had animals prepared for us to ride back on! We were excited!
We soon realized it wasn’t exactly what we imagined…
Let’s be real. Our bottoms began to hurt. We tried to look up and enjoy the views! We also tried to distract ourselves by singing!
But when we got back to the first school, Susie could take it no longer. She jumped off and started walking! I thought maybe things would get better if I had the mule to myself, so I stayed on it. And bore the consequences later!
Susie was ever so glad to walk again!
We were thankful to reach the truck, only to be bumped around all over again. But hey, at least the seats were comfortable. After two hours we stopped at a different pastor’s house who had the same menu, but thankfully, there was chicken too!
Sometime during the drive, I heard some strange noises and felt something against my foot. I had quite a scare when I realized they put the roosters under my feet! My bag had been covering them very well.
I made Marie Lucie put the roosters up front with her!
We kept going, it was dark, and we were exhausted. How much longer could it be to the guesthouse? Well, apparently we forgot how long it took us the day before… Marie Lucie said, “Oh we have another hour!” Either you laugh or you cry so we decided to laugh! We enjoyed listening to Marie Lucie and Junior sing all the way back! We think they sang every song they knew! It was 10:30 when we arrived.
We learned a new phrase that day: “Fyel pete.” It’s when your intestines are at the point of explosion. It’s more of a funny thing they say after a long, hard day. Which was right on!
They were all ears at the Salvation seminar!
On Friday, we led a seminar on salvation with the pastors and teachers we visited that week. They came from all over, including the ones from the long hike. One of the teachers who helped with the mules said that not long after we got in the truck, it started pouring rain. They had a dangerous time walking back to their houses with the mules! Looking back, it truly was amazing that during the hours we were walking, it never rained once. You see? God provides!
The two balls hanging were made with plastic cups attached together! How creative and resourceful.
We headed back with full hearts. On our trip back our left mirror broke and there were some interesting sounds from the truck, but we were surprised nothing worse happened with everything it went through!
Thanks to all who prayed! The way the Lord provided through giving us a place to stay, opening doors for us to share the gospel, to stopping the rain is something we won’t soon forget. Sometimes I read through the Bible and don’t understand why I don’t see God at work like that today. I’ve concluded that the fault is not with God but with us. As long as we are “in the boat,” we won’t see much happen. It’s not until we take a step out of the boat – out of our comfort zone, relying totally on Him – that we’ll see His power displayed in amazing ways.
“Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.” Ephesians 3:20-21