It's been over a week since our last blog post. Since each day tends to carry about a week's worth of excitement we'll have to work hard to catch everyone up to speed. There's so much good news to report!
On Friday, the last of our visitors left Haiti to return to the States. We had the privilege of hosting two groups...at the same time. These visitors were in Haiti on behalf of their respective organizations to evaluate potential areas of partnership with Second Mile Ministries. Emily, Robert, and Gary of One Globe Fund spent 5 days with us. Joe of Investing Your Talents stayed a whopping 10 days and Peter, a fabulous videographer was with him for the final four.
What a whirlwind of a trip. Initially, we drove to Port au Prince in our new Ford Ranger, grabbed our visitors from the airport, headed to a Partners Worldwide conference, stayed the night at the Wall's guesthouse, and then drove home to the North of the island. It's a gorgeous drive. Interesting, that a distance as short as 90 miles could take 6 1/2 hours by vehicle, but the bumpy terrain and mountain passes between Port au Prince and Cap Haitien prevent one from traveling any faster.
The country's two largest cities are quite different if you ask me. Jenn and I have spent enough time in Port au Prince to know that we're happy to call Cap Hatien home. Port au Prince is huge and busy. Cap Haitien, by comparison, is small and busy...which I find much more appealing. It's nice to be able to run into several familiar faces each day.
Speaking of familiar faces, we ran into two of the most amazing women we know when we took our visitors to church last Sunday.
The church we attend is called Tabernacle. The church structure itself is an unfinished, open-air stadium that is able to accommodate at least 10,000 people. Now I've never actually taken a head count but I'm pretty sure at 3,000 people attend every Sunday. It's an amazing experience to be together with that many passionate people raising their voices in praise and thanksgiving. Being American, we're typically stopped by the ushers as they try their best to coax us to the front of the stadium where seats of honor await us on stage. They don't want us pale skinned folk to burn up in the sun. However, this kind gesture is always met by our pleading to be freed from this obligation and us running for seats to the left of the stage, off the hot seat. We'd rather
receive the extra attention. I'm happy to report that this duck and dodge thing is getting easier each Sunday. Maybe within a few more Sunday's we'll be considered regulars...
"Tabernacle" celebrating their 20th anniversary as a church.
Having visitors in Haiti was a stretching experience, if we're honest. We are accustomed to Haiti...it's our home. We know how to fend for ourselves but having five other mouths to feed was a whole different ball game. We tried to show them the Haiti that makes us smile, the Haiti that's a got a hold on our hearts.
Jenn got quite the surprise on Joe's last day in Haiti. He had decided upon coming to Haiti that he would be leaving his iPhone behind, 32 GB of awesomeness! He wanted us to have the ability to take and post pictures with ease, stay connected, and have access to all sorts of beneficial applications.
Here Jenn is receiving her gift. The crazy thing is that Jenn had seriously considered buying an iPhone prior to coming to Haiti. She had an iPod, loved it, and lost it. A few people had given her some early Christmas money to replace it. She was even considering going all the way and getting the iPhone instead...and she'd even gotten as far as the Apple store. But after pacing around the store, going in and out a few times, and even phoning a friend for back up she just couldn't justify spending all that money.
It may seem silly to be digging for deep meaning in this story. But I just can't help but see it. I feel like there is always reward in patience.
Always something to be gained from letting God whisper His wisdom into decisions even as seemingly small as buying a phone.
Speaking of purchases.... we made a big one recently. Have you seen it!?
Thank you to everyone who has donated to Second Mile Ministries. Your donations made this possible. Having the truck will allow us to make frequent visits out to "our land." We're currently in negotiations to buy a piece of property about 20 minutes outside of town. Jenn and Johanne have their work cut out for them this next week because...we're at a place donation-wise where we can purchase!
There was a matching challenge and you delivered!!!!! Over $6,000 were donated in the last two weeks, with an additional $5,000 given in matched funds! Remember that little after thought of a sentence we threw in at the end of a blog post two weeks ago? Crazy to think where we were two, three months ago.
We trust that money will continue to pour in for other upcoming needs. Y'all are awesome.