Sorry this is really long, but there’s a lot to share and I felt like I should share all of it.
At the end of last week, Sean (DTS school leader) felt like the Lord was saying we should go to the four corners of Haiti like Jesus sent out the disciples. He approached me and some other long term staff with the idea. I thought He was crazy at first. He had people read the different accounts of when Jesus sent out His disciples, some said don’t take any money or extra clothes or even shoes.
We had a time of prayer and intercession about it and God confirmed many times over that we were to go. Our message was to be from Jeremiah 31, which talks about the destruction of Israel but also about the promise of restoration. We felt that every time it said “Israel” we were supposed to insert “Haiti.” We felt that each team should have a Haitian, so we had 6 teams led by Anacias toPort de Paix, Robert to Cap Haitien, Philipson, Marie Mathe to Hinch, Jude to Jeremie and Steeve to Les Cayes. I prayed and felt like I was supposed to go with Steeve. My team was Steeve, Jenessa, Nathan U. and I. Sean said we should all pray in our teams to see if we should take money or not or extra clothes and things like that. We ended up taking money.
So we left around 8am on Sunday, we rode 2 taptaps to get to the bus station. Steeve had never been to Les Cayes, so we didn’t know exactly how much it cost to get there and we wouldn’t know anyone in the city once we got there. We found one bus, a pretty nice bus, but it was 500 Gourdes (about $12.50) each. We didn’t bring a ton of money, so we decided to wait a little while to see if we could find a smaller cheaper bus. Nothing came along , so we went back to the first bus.
Jenessa and I sat together and got to know each other a lot better. We
slept tried to sleep part of the time. The trip wasn’t nearly as long as I thought it was going to be. Steeve met a couple on the bus, told them what we were doing and got their numbers. They told him if we ran into any trouble to call them.
When we arrived, we asked where the city part was and set out. I was immediately struck by how different it was from Port au Prince. There was less trash, and it seemed much calmer. Obviously, there are a lot more people in Port au Prince. Even when there was trash on the streets, it was mostly in piles, not scattered everywhere. It was actually kind of quaint. I really liked the buildings on our way to the park. I hope we got some pictures, but I’m not sure if we did. We were quite a sight, I’m sure – 3 blan (pronounced: blah -white people/foreigners) following a Haitian through this town looking a little lost. We got to the park and just sat down to rest for a bit. Nathan got his guitar and sang, mostly songs he was making up as he was going. Jenessa said she was getting a sense that God was just happy that we obeyed and that we got there. That it was fine that we were just sitting in the park, even though we might feel like we weren’t doing anything, it was just good that we were there. We prayed for the other teams for a bit and Steeve encouraged us to just be blessing people, even if it was just in our hearts. We got a bit of a crowd after a while, a lot of children. We talked to the kids some. There was 4 kids that were together that caught my interest. A girl with three younger boys. Her name is Answan. She told us they go to the Catholic church across from the park. Nathan felt like we were to share the message from Jeremiah, so Steeve had her read it to the other kids. She is a very intelligent girl. He asked her if she understood it and to sum it up when she finished. She got it.
Steeve decided we should go look for some food, so we started walking. We went a little ways and saw a sign that said “Nami International Restaurant.” I think Steeve and I were both drawn to it. All of us felt fine with paying for the food. It was indeed international food. Jenessa got Chinese Pepper Chicken, I got Japanese Teriyaki Chicken, Steeve got Haitian Beans, rice, chicken and chicken sauce, and Nathan got Haitian Spaghetti. They had a bathroom we could use, so that was a blessing.
We had no idea where we were going to sleep that night. We heard from a few of the other teams. Marie Mathe called and asked if we had somewhere to stay yet, we didn’t, so she said someone in Hinch knew someone in Les Cayes and wanted to give us her number. Steeve called her and she answered the phone by saying “God bless you!” Steeve immediately thought, ‘Oh good, she’s a Christian.’ She gave directions for us to take motos and get dropped of in front of a hotel. Steeve just started walking and then admitted he didn’t know if we were going the right way. I prayed that we were and a few minutes a lady walking toward us started smiling and said hello. This was Rose-Michelle, a God-send. She took us back to her beautiful house. She told us on the way that she’d had a c-section a month ago and it was her first time to walk that far since then. She had a beautiful, tiny little boy named Chris Mackenly. Her husband, Mackendy got there right after us. There were some other people cleaning some rooms. Mackendy and Rose-Michelle were super hospitable. He told us that we were home. We went back out to the city and found a church that was having a Mother’s Day service. There were kids/teenagers that sang specials about mothers, the (young) choir sang, there was a skit (that was really funny apparently, but Nathan, Jenessa and I didn’t know what was happening in it), and there was a drawing for prizes for some moms. It was a really sweet service. When we got home we sang some and prayed for the other teams. They gave Jenessa and I a room with a bed to share, while the boys slept in the living room on the floor.
Monday morning we walked back to the park, on the way we got some patays for breakfast. Steeve had felt like we were supposed to pick up trash at our first team meeting, so I had brought trash bags. So we picked up trash in the park in a bit of rain. Lots of people stopped and watched us. Some people asked Steeve what we were doing. A Haitian guy got a bag and started helping us. He spoke pretty good English, so we talked a little bit. His name is Kelly, he’s a singer. He asked about our organization, so I told him about YWAM and what we were doing. He thought it was great what we were doing. I told him thank you for helping, and he said, “Don’t thank me, I’m saying thanks to you! This is my city, I have to help you guys, I can’t just watch!” It was really encouraging! Oh and also, he didn’t ask for anything in return, which is very unusual. We’ve done trash cleanup before and some kids have helped us, but they always ask for something in return.
We stopped after a while and we were about to start praying for the city when Answan came and said hi. She had two other kids with her, and Steeve asked if they wanted to pray with us for Les Cayes. They agreed. We declared blessings and other things, like life, joy, peace over Les Cayes. I remembered that Answan had told us the day before that Monday was her birthday. I suddenly remembered and told her “Bon fet!” Then I told Steeve I felt like we should pray for her. I just spoke blessings and revelations over her, prayed that she would have a personal relationship with the Lord and be a light in the city. They took us to a supermarket so we could buy something for breakfast the next morning and a small gift for our hosts. Then we went to a place that had sandwiches for lunch. We were allowed to use their bathroom there and were able to fill our water bottles. We set out to go back to Rose-Michelle’s house. It was a long walk back and I think someone put some bricks in my backpack to weigh it down. =] We eventually made it back and Jenessa and I went to lay down for a bit. When we got up, we just spent the rest of the evening with the people in the house. Rose-Michelle’s mother lives with them as well as two orphaned sisters, Justina and Djalintha. There was also another girl there much of the time and a couple of teenage boys, but I’m not sure if they live there too or not. They also gave us some rice and beans with sauce to share for dinner, it was really good!
Tuesday morning, we ate our breakfast of bread and peanut butter (of course! a YWAM missionary specialty) and were going to clean the house, but they stopped us because they had a lady coming to clean later. So we prayed blessings over them and set out. We prayed for a free ride back to Port au Prince and went to the bus station. A truck immediately called us over and we all thought they were going to give us a ride, but they told us to go down a little further where the buses weren’t so crowded and noisy. We felt like we were supposed to wait and try to get a ride, so we waited for 2 hours. It started raining. We tried to wave down a lot of people. One UN truck stopped, but they were only going down the road to get gas.
We ended up walking back toward the buses. We had 1750 gourdes left, but we had been trying to not spend it all. Steeve went and talked to the guy selling the tickets and told him we had 4 people but only had so much money. He gave us the tickets for what we had. My back was hurting really bad at this point and I was kind of over this trip. I will admit I was not in the best of moods. When we got closer to Port, the traffic got really bad. I didn’t think we were ever going to get there. We finally got to the bus station and then it took a little bit to find a taptap. (Steeve had kept enough money from the 1750 to pay for a taptap as well. We headed to the Mais Gate house to get a ride to Belville. I was so happy to get to my house!! Unfortunately, I had left my keys to my room in my purse at Belville, or I would have showered there.
We eventually got back to Belville and I got out to open the gate, but Emery already was. As he was opening the gate, all the other teams started cheering and there was hugging all around. It was like we had just returned from outreach, not like we had been gone from each other for like 72 hours. It really goes to show what a bond we’ve acquired in such a short time. It was like coming home to family.
It’s been awesome to hear everyone’s stories of God’s provision. We haven’t heard from all the teams yet, but we’re going to finish that today.
This trip definitely tested me. I may have fallen short in some places, but I feel like God is just pleased that we were obedient, like Jenessa felt when we first got to the park on Sunday.