Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hubs and Haiti

So this is my first official post!  Kristin has been asking me since I got back from Haiti almost two weeks ago to write a post sharing about the work we did.  It has been hectic getting back into the swing of things at home and work so it has taken a little longer than expected.

Getting involved in the trip was in large a last minute decision.  I had intended to go to the informational meetings that were held at the Church, but always had something else planned or just plain forgot.  One night at youth group I was talking with Andrew and he told me the deadline for the deposit was on Friday, in 3 days.  Needless to say this is a little last minute to tell your wife that you want to go on a missions trip to Haiti, leaving her (6 months pregnant) and your 22 month old twin boys home alone for a full week without any way to be in touch except for emergency contact.  As you can deduce by the title of this post, we talked and prayed about the trip and felt that God was opening the doors for this to happen.

Our awesome group

So now to the trip.  There was not a lot of information provided for the work that we were going to be doing when we got to Haiti.  What we did know was that we were going through the organization GAiN and we were going to be working out of the Nehemiah Vision Ministries (NVM) compound just outside of the small village of Chambrun.  There was talk of food distribution, small construction projects, working with the village orphanage, and whatever else there was a need for.  Now it was a little difficult for me not knowing exactly what our plans were and in addition we arrived on a Saturday afternoon and didn't really have any "projects" until Monday.

We did end up doing a lot of different projects throughout the week.  One of our main focuses was to go into the largest displacement camp (which is home to around 230,000 of the over 500,000 people displaced from the earthquake), which is Onaville, and provide over 120 people/families with a personal water filtration system that would allow them to purify up to 55 gallons of water per day.  It was amazing being a part of this and seeing the hope and joy that they had in knowing that this small little filter was going to keep their family healthier and potentially save their lives.

Registration and time of witnessing to those receiving the filters
Dirty water buckets with water filters
Clean buckets for storing the filtered water

We spent our mornings in the village and would go back to the NVM compound in the afternoons where we did various projects around the compound, our main focus being to install fencing around a 10 acre field.  This was needed to keep goats and other grazing animals out.


A long way to go...

We did have several opportunities throughout the week to spend time playing with the children from the area around Chambrun, and on our last work day the children from Onaville.  This was one of the greatest parts of the trip because you could just see the immediate joy that these kids had when a complete stranger gave them attention and affection.  It appeared as though culturally there was little affection or interaction given between the men and the children.  The boys especially singled out the men of our group to play soccer and games with.  I have always had a desire to work with children and enjoyed being a human jungle gym, but this was the first time that I have been away from MY boys for this long and in a situation like this.  This was the one area where I struggled the most with "home sickness".  Although I did miss Kristin and the boys and wish that I could be with them, or at the least be sharing this experience with them, it did give me a greater appreciation for being a part of their lives and getting to love on them as much (more than they care for at times) as I do.

When all was said and done, it was such a joy and blessing to be a part of this trip and to see how God is working in Haiti.  To see the believers in Haiti worship with all of themselves.  To see how they worshiped without shame.  To see the hope that they have for something more even though they live in such a poor country and have seen so much hurt, corruption, and devastation. When arriving at the compound I was ready to be thrown into the thick of it and get my hands dirty.  I wanted to make sure that "I" did the most that I could while there.  That "my" time wasn't wasted.  Looking back, I think that the lesson that God had for me is that there is great joy and healing in the small and seemingly trivial tasks.

I come away from this opportunity grateful for the many blessings that I have been given.  It is hard to come back to so much busyness and greed after serving a people who have nothing and yet are so grateful and thankful for what they do have.  They have nothing yet are content in knowing that they live to serve an eternal God and that they have hope in eternal life through Jesus Christ.

I ask that you would keep the people of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers!

Below are some more pictures taken throughout the trip.

The compound

Driving through Onaville to distribute water filters
Market stands along the road
Concrete housing that is slowly being built on one side of the road

The "other side" of the road with aid tents and ruble used to create homes

Onaville is home to 230,000+ people displaced from the earthquake and spans over 8 miles of the mountain.

Showing off their new bracelets
Our new buddy Anes

Anes taking a photo

Waiting patiently for mom to receive her water filter

If you look really close you can see a kite just above the mountains

Giving out the bracelets that Kristin and I made

Overlooking Haiti

This video scans from one end of Haiti to the border of the Dominican Republic

Our awesome group
The lights from Port-au-Prince
Gift shop with beads and crafts made by the women of Chambrun

Our transportation which is called a Tap-Tap, headed back to the airport
The beautiful sunset on our flight home

1 comment:

  1. Jon,

    Thanks for sharing! I had no idea that you were on a GAiN mission until I read this!!! That's who we've gone on our Russia trips with (all but one)! It's their distribution center we work at when we visit PA. Our friend on staff with them has been to Haiti twice as a photographer/writer. We recognized some of the buildings in your pictures! Small world...

    ~Maren for family