Mission to Haiti
from Robin Queen, Rebecca Senn and Marie Peters
A team of students and faculty from Belmont University School of Nursing is ministering in Haiti during Belmont’s Spring Break. This is the second year a team has traveled there.
Today we woke up to a little more overcast and cloudy day, although it was still warm and beautiful. In fact , it was a relief to have it be a bit cooler. We started this morning with a more traditional American breakfast of cereal–no exciting Haitian spaghetti today! Then we gathered our stuff for the day and walked from the bungalows, parading through the town of Grand Goave to the Siloe campus for the dedication of the Grand Goave Baptist Church.
We stood to the side as the church congregation lined up outside and the choir sung just before the ribbon cutting. Although everything was spoken in Creole we recognized some of the readings and some of the songs. This community of people have so much joy and expression when they sing. It is contagious. Then, we processed into the church and were invited to sit in the very front pew! The church was incredibly gracious and grateful. The service was conducted with a translator throughout so we were able to participate. They even provided us with hymnals so that we could sing the Creole songs. We were able to hear two groups of young Haitians from different churches perform for us.
Several CBF groups were acknowledged in their involvement with the project of the new church. One of the CBF leaders from Texas gave the sermon in English, with our friend Johnson translating to Creole. Although there were two languages, the two languages were both conveyed in the same spirit. While this service was nearly 3.5 hours (mostly in Creole), we did not feel disconnected in the least. Despite our different cultures, we felt like we were very much the same, as if we had always been a part of this community. It became apparent that we were all one in the spirit of Christ.
After the conclusion of the service we had a Haitian box lunch (plaintain chips, some sort of meat??, rice and beans) served in the class room of the Siloe campus. It was neat to sit in the seats in which Haitian children learn everyday. Following lunch we walked through another section of the of town to the Christian Institute of English where we broke into pairs to teach English to Haitians. It was interesting how varied the classrooms….we had young teenagers all the way to 70 year olds. Each classroom had different experience, but we all had so much fun and laughter. Haitians love American music and wanted to know all about Usher and Beyonce. We aren’t sure if they were laughing with us or AT us, but their joy is amazing. Although, we were there to teach the Haitians, we all agreed that maybe they taught us more! It amazes us how a country that has faced so many challenges is full of people with so much hope and love.
To end the day we came back to the compound to enjoy hamburgers, grilled by our friend Johnson. We are excited for our first clinic day in the mountains tomorrow! We already made our sandwiches and much settle in to get a good night sleep. We will ride in to the mountains in a traditional tap-tap (taxi).
The major theme of the sermon was that this new church in this community could be a “taste of heaven” for all of Grand Goave, Haiti, and the world. We are so thankful to have been a part of this day and this taste of what heaven will be.
Everyone here is happy and healthy. Keep us in your prayers.
Robin, Becca, and Marie