Tonight as I rest in my room and ponder words to share with you about today I’ve found myself in a strange place of being at a loss for words. It’s not because I have nothing to write about, but rather because today far surpassed expectations that now I simply do not know what, when, and how to start to share. So I will tell you one thing.
I found joy.
A real joy, a deep joy, and a joy that I’ve never experienced before.
It was high in the mountains outside Port Salut. The church that we are serving is literally tucked on the side of the mountain. You park on the road and hike down a narrow and steep path to the church and then to get to the next part you hike down even a steeper cliff. It’s like stairs almost. And then it just tumbles down a hillside of the mountain.
It is breathtaking.
And in that church, in the morning, the Haitian people were overjoyed to see us. They had made signs in English hanging from the walls and intricately cut chains of paper. But, beyond that, it was their genuine delight and appreciation for our team arriving that amazed me.
They loved us without even knowing us.
And so we sat in that church together and we sang praises in two different languages and we worshiped and out of my window were mountains and a view that is one that words will never describe. And as I sat there emotion began to well in me.
Tear fell from my face.
They were tears of joy. Tears of hope. Tears of gratitude. Tears of amazement.
And I let them fall.
So often I’ve found myself tucking in those tears with those I’m fine words of life. I’ll shove them down and push myself to be stronger or to look like I’ve got it all together or to ignore the fact that I’m feeling real emotion. But, today, today in a church perched on a hill in Haiti with a group of people who absolutely loved me and didn’t even know me – today I let the tears fall.
And in the falling of the tears I found joy.
When the service, which was over two hours but I could have sat there even longer, was over, we were rushed by everyone in that church who wanted to tell us thank you and God bless. Everyone. No one left without kissing my cheek or holding my hand or giving me a hug.
The irony is that here I was to serve – to help them, to partner with the local church and their needs, and to build a new church and school – and yet there I was being blessed beyond my imagination.
They loved me as a sister.
And that made me weep with joy.
The powerful part of Praying Pelican Missions is their desire to simply partner with the local church. Therefore as a member of a trip you get to get into the community, get to help with what they need, and are able to come alongside and encourage It is a beautiful partnership and the relationship forged are incredibly strong.
And, I’m learning a bit of Creole. I could listen to it for hours – it is a soothing and lovely language. When the Haitians sang in Creole today they sang loud, proud, and with such joy that it astounded me. Emotions aren’t hidden here – they are celebrated.
Tomorrow we go back up the mountain and we start working on the foundation for their new church. We’re also doing some kids ministry in the afternoon as well as bussing them down the mountain (as it’s so steep) to a flat place where they can play soccer.
Oh yes, and one more highlight from the day? Getting some fresh coconut from a tree, that was opened with a machete, and drinking it right there in the afternoon sun. Simply glorious.