Photo credit: ashleykelly.net
Saying goodbye in Haiti is always the hardest part in coming here. I know it’s coming on every trip. When I start to think about it, I start to cry. Fortunately, as you’ve read, we’re usually so busy, I rarely have time to think about it. At each passing day though, it looms and I’m made more aware of it. Day 6 on this trip was that day. It would be the last time we visit Myan and the last time we play with the children in Gonaives. I have to force myself to get in the truck so they can drive me away.
We started the day off in Myan. We wanted to go back and help those who didn’t get into the clinic the day before. Word spread quickly that we had returned. People would dress their absolute best to be seen by the nurse. They would come and patiently wait to get in. We had told them we were leaving at 12:30. When that time came, we had two pregnant ladies and two elderly people in line, plus all the kids who wanted to be around us. I couldn’t leave them sitting there. No one could. We stayed an extra hour in order to help them.
The kids were all running around playing, throwing balls and being kids. I got a couple of the older ones and pulled out my phone. I played a video of a few of them who had sung on my last trip. When that started playing, they yelled out names. Before I knew it, there were twenty kids piled around me wanting to see it. I then asked for an encore. The boys sang again and others joined in stomping feet, banging Toro bottles and lending their voices. I don’t know what they were singing, but it was beautiful. Afterthought song was over, they sang “The is the Day that The Lord Has Made” in their native Creole. I couldn’t help but to be overcome by the situation.
As we loaded up and drove off, I took one last look at the orphanage. The next time I come back, there will be orphans there, the buildings will be completed and generations of families will be changed because people give their time, money and talents. I tried hard not to look at anyone on our team because I knew I’d break down. Instead, I prayed over the future of Myan. I prayed for those who have yet to be born and abandoned that will call this place home. I prayed for those who have a hand in helping to make this dream possible.
We made our way to the orphanage in Gonaives. When the gates were opened, the kid who chose each one of us on our other visit came running through the gate to find us. The team grabbed their child or children and began playing. Soon, we headed off to the soccer field. Choosing teams was hilarious with kids running back and forth. I had no idea who was on my team, I only knew our direction. A kid pointed at me and then at the goal. I was nominated to play goalie. I picked up a Nelson, a small child who is HIV positive and is deaf, and kept him on my hip while we played. With every blocked shot, he gave me a fist bump. Every time we scored he made a sign of celebration.
As the sun set, it was clear that it was time to leave. The kids had to go to bed and we had to get back to the guest house. Fortunately, we were able to delay the goodbye until we leave for the States. When we got the guest house, dinner was ready. During dinner, the missionary asked if we’d like to have service at Myan. The team agreed. We quickly finished dinner and headed out there. Even though it was dark and late for this community, several locals showed up for our service. They came and dispersed among us as we stood in a circle on a cloudless night lit only by the moon.
God came down and met us there. As we stood in a circle, we prayed for the locals and then each other. We shared what changes we plan to make when we go back. It was a very intimate setting with a very real God. The locals left one by one as we continued to pray. At the end of the service, there was this quiet presence of God. We rested in that moment and then loaded the truck. The ride back to the guest house was like being in a bubble of peace knowing that God was happy with what we accomplished and who we accomplished it for.
Today, we make the long journey back. We have a four hour ride in the back of the truck sitting on suitcase. We’ll load a plane and fly home. It will be after midnight when we’re finally with our families. For some, their journey will continue until sun up. We can’t wait to get back to our churches and friends so we can share how God met us in Haiti. Our challenge is to continue having Him meet us when we’re back. It’s also to find what He wants us to do for Him over there. God’s desire is that we live daily in His presence and show others who He is by how we live our lives wherever we are.