|Me, Jon, Ricky, Randy, Pastor Steve, Dr. Phil|
The reason for this trip to Haiti is to rebuild Pastor François’ home, which was damaged in the earthquake, this past January. During our first trip down, I didn’t know it until a few days after we had been there, but the pastor’s house was actually what we were using to shower in. (I use the term “shower” very loosely by the way). There were a few walls left standing and a tarp was draped across the top to add some privacy. The pastor had been given one of the prefabricated homes that were being built and it was built right next door to where his previous home laid in pieces.
So why, if he has already been given a home are we rebuilding his original home? Well for many reasons actually. For starters, Pastor François is a man in his seventies and he really is the shepherd of that village. Everyday he walks all over the side of the mountain to check on his people. He knows everyone and he knows the needs of his community and he takes care of his “flock”. Pastor François more than deserves the rebuilding of his home and this will also be a home to future pastors of the church who will live their with their families.
Something I learned during my first visit to Haiti is that although the prefabricated homes we were building were made of wood, the most desirable Haitian home is made of cement blocks. Haitians will purchase one block at a time (sometimes two, whatever they can afford) and stack the blocks until they have enough to build a house. It took Pastor François 30 years to build the house (that we used to shower in) and one day for it to come crumbling down. He will never be able to afford to rebuild his home on his own, and that is where we come in.
Thankfully our church family is so generous and giving and we were able to come up with the funds to rebuild his home. Dr. Phil (part of the original group who went) is from Morehead, KY and his church went in on this project with us. Each church set a goal to raise $2,500 because the estimated cost for the rebuilding of the house was $5,000. It’s really exciting and such an amazing and special gift to give to Pastor François right after Christmas!
On top of rebuilding Pastor François’ home, we are going to be stuccoing the houses that were built previously! This is so exciting and something I’ve been quite worried about because the houses we built – as is – will only last about 5 years. With the stuccoing, they will last for about 20 years! It’s just so great because it’s one less thing the people of Prosper have to worry about!
As the departure date sneaks closer, I am getting so excited, but also a little scared! Not about anything that is happening down there – Cholera, election riots, etc. – well, I take that back. I worry about those things, but not about how they affect my safety while I’m down there. I am more worried about how these things have affected the people in Prosper. I just hope that no one has been sick… or worse. I’ve said before that 50% of Haitian children die before the age of 5. I honestly do not know what I will do if one of the children I met has passed away. I just don’t think I could ever forgive myself for leaving them. Now I know in the big scheme of things there is very little I can do for them (since for some reason the government won’t let me bring them all home with me) but I just won’t be able to help feeling a little responsible. I think it will be hard going back because although I got to come home to a nice, cozy house – they are right where I left them. In huts on the side of a mountain. Again, it will be an eye opener and I just hope I’m prepared for it.
That being said, I am so very thankful to have this opportunity again! It means so much to me and I’m so excited to check another item off my 101 in 1001 list by spending New Years in another country! Of course I will journal daily about what goes on and I’ll share all of that with pictures when I’m back!
Lots of prayers please, not only for myself and the group I’m traveling with but for the people of Haiti and all they have to deal with on a daily basis! It still amazes me how willing they are to give thanks to God and be joyful in their circumstances. Ah, a daily lesson. Thanks again for those who have been praying and for those who have supported me! You'll never know how much it means to me!
And, if you made it all the way down here - thanks for reading! :)