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Let your light shine

Posted by Kathi on Thursday, November 20, 2014 |

 

Children in L’Artibonit Program Children in Bel Anse Program

This past week in Haiti was one of my personal highlights. I spent 4 days visiting our feeding programs in 3 different  remote villages. It is amazing to see how God is aligning our work – these villages now have Pastors that are being trained under Highlands Church’s Bible College and new  churches that were built thanks to the support of New Harvest Church. In addition, we have started feeding programs under the local Pastors  of these churches. In L’Artibonit through Highland’s support we feed 200 children 3 times a week, in Bel Anse  150 children receive meals and this week we launched a new feeding program in a mountain village near Mirebalais. We had anticipated starting this program with 200 children, but God has a way of quickly changing our man-made plans to help us see HE is the one in control.  And that is where my story begins……

 

Our mode of transportation Our amazing team

A group of us had been traveling the country for 3 days,  spending over 10 hours in the truck on dirt roads getting to these villages. So as we approached our last site, we were all pretty tired, running on little sleep and not much food. We knew the last village would require a 3 hour hike straight up a mountain   Sharon (our Medical Director in Haiti) and I made a pact with each other to not complain and gave each other a little mantra to remind us of our purpose – Let your light shine. And that was our goal, to let our light shine and not complain about the hike, the conditions, the sun beating down on us,or our fatigue.

 

Unloading the truck/Loading the Donkeys The steep climb                          

We arrived at our starting point at 9:00 in the morning and unloaded the 500 pounds of food, the 50 gallons of water, the cooking stove, and the 300 pound s of plates, utensils, pots. Etc. As we unloaded we wondered how all of this would make it up the mountain – as there is no road and the path is only passable by donkey or on foot. About ½ of the supplies were loaded on donkeys and we started up the hill. But we had to leave over 600 pounds at the starting point, since we only had a handfull  of donkeys.  We started the hike, a bit worried about getting the rest of the food and supplies up. As we got about ¼ of the way up the mountain we were greeted by families coming down to help us. They had run from their village to meet us and help bring up the rest of the food.

 

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of these families with their children in bare feet and the parents, thin as rails.  I doubted that they would be able to carry much, but prayed that God would provide a way to get the rest of the food up.

 

It took our team (Pastor Maxime, Nathan, Sharon and I) about 90 minutes  to get to the midpoint. As we were resting in the shade, our mouths dropped as we saw the families we had seen 30 minutes earlier all climbing the mountain - each child and parent carrying 25 pound boxes of food, or 5 gallon jugs of water. They had made it down the mountain and back up in ½ the time it took us..

It was a sight that completely humbled me. They were laughing and running and helping each other with the loads. They were enjoying their service for God, their church and their families.  I will never forget their gratitude as we shared our water and our snacks with them. I laughed  at myself, as I thought about my preparations for the hike – “did I have my hat, my sunscreen, my bug spray, enough water, a rag to wipe the sweat off my brow”….. And these  children were walking in barefeet, not a care in the world and certainly not worried about bug spray, water or anything else.  AND they did it while running up a mountain with a 25 pound box of food on their head - talking the entire time My priviledged life - hit me smack in the face.

 

We continued the hike together, families, children, and us “foreigners” -  it felt like an adventure and fun all of a sudden, as we listened to the children sing and giggle. We arrived at our destination in record time – the children’s energy and enthusiasm bolstering us as we climbed.
 
The sight when we arrived at the village will be forever etched in my mind.
 
 
 
Approximately 1,300 people crammed inside and outside the church waiting for our arrival. Greeting us with blessings and salutations as we entered the church.
 
There are 1,500 families that live in this remote village area, and I would have sworn that they all were there. It was overwhelming to look at the sea of people, all coming to the church to see if their children could be part of the feeding program – again, humbling. As our group entered the church, the 4 of of us, just stared in amazement. We kept looking around and taking in the emotion of it all. A few of us teared up as we watched how proudly the families had dressed their children in hopes that they would be able to participate.
 
 
We watched as fathers waited for hours with their children in hopes they could participate, mothers soothed their babies and toddlers as they waited patiently for their names to be called. We had over 600 children in the church that afternoon – we had planned to enroll 200 in the program. God changed all those plans.
 
 
We took names, photos and ended up registering 400 children, basically starting 2 feeding programs in this village. Thanks to donors who supported this effort we had the funds to do so. We hope after a few months of serving 400 we will be able to add the other 200 children on the waiting list.  The process of registering children took over4 hours, and there was never a  problem or outburst. Parents and children waited patiently for their names to be called At the end, when they realized that some children were not going to make the list, then things got a little bit more tense – but that was certainly understandable. In the end, we accepted 400 children into the program which will begin December 1st and we served about 400 children food that afternoon.
 
 
 
 
 
As we finished serving the meals we looked at the time and realized we had NO daylight left. We packed up our few things and started the long trek down the rocky path – in the dark. Within minutes we were joined by the Church Deacons, who guided us the rest of the way down the mountain (using flashlights).. I couldn’t help but be grateful for their servant hearts, after all, this was their second trip down and up for the day. But we really didn’t need the flashlights, because the glow from the light that God placed inside each of us that day was shining ever so brightly!!!!!  

Blessings,
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