We have been home from Haiti for a few months now, but the effects of this trip linger. When asked about the trip, one word comes to mind – “Tremendous!” People will ask, what does that mean? It is so difficult to capture this trip in words and especially keep it to one page. Our week in Haiti was full of the Lord’s provision both personally and toward the Haitians. Our family feels a draw to return in the future; we are not sure of all of the details, but we are praying to return.
The trip began with a delayed flight, which causes many complications when transporting 61 bags of luggage (full of items for the Haitians). Our church body was overwhelmingly generous with supplies to be taken such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, flip flops, pillowcase dresses, granola bars, sandwich crackers, and Gatorade drink mix. We took an abundance of supplies wondering how we would distribute all these items in such a short time. How would we find the needs? The Lord knew. The prayers began for the delayed flight. Would the team make the connection? We did by only a few minutes, literally. Then what about the luggage? We have been on trips where the luggage doesn’t arrive for several days. How would this work in Haiti? (Don’t think they would courier it to us…) This flight was also delayed so that all of our bags arrived with us! The Lord knew and provided.
Our first night, we were able to visit the tent city which was right by where we stayed. Our hearts were beating with anticipation of what was in store for us. This initial visit confirmed what a blessing it was to be here and see Him move.
Our first full day was Sunday which had us going to a local English speaking church then on to a hospital to pray over patients. We were told the hospital is the last resort for many on the brink of death. It was an eye-opening experience to see the conditions of this hospital: many people in large rooms with little sanitation, no provided food, and little hope. We traveled in small groups to pray as He led. During this time, Melanie prayed over one woman who she discovered was a sister in Christ. They were able to embrace as sisters from 2 different nations. Joel (9) was overwhelmed with emotion during this visit. Through sobbing, he just said “It’s so sad. It’s just so sad.” It was extremely difficult for us to see him hurting like this, but we were reminded that this compassion was what Jesus had for people. Ultimately, we want all of our children to understand this. The Lord provided the opportunity to grow Joel, and us, through this.
On to Vacation Bible School (VBS): We were prepared for 100 children. As time grew closer, we discovered that only about 40 had come previously. So we thought we would have extra to share in other ways or leave behind. On our first day, about 160 showed up. After sharing about Jesus through our 13 year-old translator and doing a simple craft, we gave out some of our goodies. We were running out of Gatorade in the coolers we had brought, so we began to pray. As we prayed, the Lord literally began refilling the Gatorade! We were able to send everyone away with food, drink, and goodies. The Lord provided for those He loves in Haiti. Each day, we continued to watch Him provide by multiplying our supplies. We know we didn’t have enough, but we continued to pray, and He continued to meet the needs of those children in Haiti. It was astounding to be used in this way, and quite humbling. As a team, we were reminded of how He multiplied the fishes and the loaves to feed the 5000. Also, how He provided oil for the widow as long as she brought containers. As long as we came expectantly, He provided. Melanie confesses as the week went on, at night sometimes, she would doubt how He could do it again. Yes, He had done it for several days, but maybe it wouldn’t happen tomorrow. Then she confessed her unbelief and asked Him to help her. This experience was similar to the disciples and their doubting Jesus could feed the masses only a little time after He had first done so. Human nature doubts even after seeing the miracles. On our largest day, there were over 250 children that came. Unbelievable! Each day, no one left empty handed. Only the Creator of the Universe could do something like that! Again, a humbling experience.
One evening, we invited the people from the tent city to ‘come over for dinner’. About 200 showed up. We took the items that were size specific and put them on tables, such as clothing, underwear, and flip flops. After worship, a gospel message, and dinner, we allowed the people to come in 3 at a time to take two items each of which we knew we wouldn’t have enough, but trusted. After the last person came through, we were astonished to see we had leftovers. It was like the 12 baskets full that the disciples collected after their mass feeding. We were able to take these leftovers out on another outreach in the tent city on our last day in Haiti. The Lord provided.
During three days of VBS, John was able to teach 9 students at the Bible Training Center through 2 books of the New Testament. After hours of class time, they still came to him to ask moving questions, and spent more hours conversing and praying over topics. Their hearts are for their people, and they are excited about one day soon starting churches in their own country and reaching the unreached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. What a blessing it was for him to spend time with these young men, praying, singing praises together, and even sharing new songs on the guitar. The reality of Christian brotherhood was immediately experienced.
Our time at the orphanages was very different than the times at VBS. As we had been told, those in the orphanages are ‘better off’ than those in the tent city. They are. So our times in the orphanages were spent playing with children, holding children, and doing crafts with them. After the energy draining of the morning VBS, we needed the Lord’s provision to do this. John received the answer to what many people ask when faced with the possibility of adoption: could you ever love an adopted child as your own biological child? One day at the local orphanage, John was pushing a child in a swing. The child, named Rey Marvens, reached prematurely for John and fell out of the swing. John grabbed the swing to keep it from hitting the boy, and whisked the boy into his arms. As he comforted the crying child, in that moment he said that he could “not distinguish between this little boy and one of his own.” Thank you, God, for answering this question so completely!
There are countless more perspective-altering, miraculous God moments than we could ever recall in a letter.
Honored to Belong to Jehovah Jirah (The Lord our Provider),
John & Melanie, jt, joel, jaden, and Josiah
Calvary Chapel Fredricksburg