Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 2012 Mission Trip - Part 1

Our July 2012 mission team arrived in PAP on Friday, July 7th.  We traveled through the streets of PAP and then on the outskirts for about two hours and then an hour over the mountains to Jacmel.  It is easy to be paralyzed by the poverty and injustice that exists in Haiti.  I could no doubt drive myself crazy thinking about the problems that plague Haiti and the many mistakes that have been made not only by the Haitian government but others as well including the US.  However, as we drove through the slums of PAP, I kept thinking about the determination of the Haitian people.  How in the world have they survived all that they have been through and all that they face!?!?  Yet, they continue on each day plugging away and surviving.  They have my admiration and respect and this makes me want to work harder for God to use Children's Hope to change lives in Jacmel.

After arriving at the Alabama House Saturday afternoon, we headed to Children's Hope.  The team couldn't wait to meet the children.  Of course, it was love at first site!  By the way our team consisted of all the Birchfields (minus Hope); Troy, Ann, Jack, Thomas, and Mary Evelyn Amster; Deanne, Will and Mary Baker Jones; Shan Stallings, Steadman Bethea, and Mike, Rebecca, Haden and Emma Ellis.
It was also great seeing Joy, Tommy, Charley, and Patrick!

The next day we split up and half went to Pastor Davidson's church and the other half to Pastor Paul's church.  At Pastor Paul's church, they were celebrating their 12 th anniversary as a church.   Davidson not only filled the role of pastor very well but Sunday School teacher also.  It was really amazing to watch the Holy Spirit use Davidson to make the truth of God's Word very evident to a man who was asking questions.  After a quick trip to the local store where we priced Nutella at $15 a jar, we headed back to the AL House for a short rest.  Then we were on our way back to CH and then a "pot luck" at Church on the Beach.

We also welcomed the newest member of Children's Hope, Denise, who had been there for about 10 days.  Denise is 14.  She was living in the Dominican Republic with her father until he brought her to live with a couple in Jacmel about two years ago.  From all appearances, it seems as if she was a Restavik (child slave) for this couple.  While child slavery has been an issue in Haiti (and in a lot of other places) for decades, the Haitian government is now just admitting that the issue exists.  This couple was abusive to Denise, so she decided to leave this last time when she was beaten with a wire.
A friend told her about CH and social services and the police have investigated even implying that this man may be arrested!

Please check back for Part 2 of our trip in a day or two!
Thomas, Jack, Dow, Mary Baker, Steadman, Will, Mary Evelyn, Beth, Emma and Haden

Rebecca with Nana

All the gang at Church on the Beach

The children getting instructions on making their own photo album

Myson loved the pictures of himself

Shan with Danaika completing educational assessment

Deanne with Danaika and Nathalie on porch at the AL House

Rebecca with Denise (we all fell in love with her - such a sweet spirit)

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