Today is day five in Haiti. We are all pretty tired, but still glad we are here. Mrs. Billie isn't feeling well so please pray for her. She is a trooper though. Yesterday while we were visiting families in Bigarade she met a young man who was very proud of his bike. He asked her if she wanted to ride it. So she did! She is really showing Jesus' love to these people.
When we arrived in Bigarade this morning for game time with the children, they were waiting for us again. There is a little boy that waits for me everyday. His name is Jalel Ne. He won't go sit down in the church until I get out of the tap tap and we go in hand in hand. I am growing fond of him, and I pray that his parents will send him to the school so he has a chance to get an education.
The children love us so much. After we play outside for a couple of hours, we are all hot and ready for some water. When anything like food, drink or treats are handed out, it is pretty much mass chaos. Our team stands back while our Haitian interpreters fight the mob to distribute whatever we have. We often run out of water before every child is served. There are always several kids that are so hungry for our affection that they stand in the back with us just to hold our hand while everyone is getting in line to receive their treat. We try to encourage them to get in line because we know there is a chance they will run out, but they don't. They hold our hands until they are shooed out of the church. They don't care if they get water or food. They want our love more.
Nanna shared with me today about how touched she is when a young Haitian child walks up to one of us and wipes the sweat off our brows. We sweat a lot here! They don't seem to sweat as much as we do. I guess they are used to the heat. But everyday many children take the palms of their hands and they tenderly wipe the sweat off our faces. We are so dirty, but they don't seem to mind. It reminds us of how Jesus loves us even though we are dirty and sinful. In fact he died a dirty, painful death on the cross to wipe away our sin.
They were able to get five big boxes of supplies, filled with folders, crayons, spirals, paper and other supplies for the children.
Victoria also picked out a couple of curriculum books. She was very excited about her science curriculum book, and she was reading it before we ever left the store.
We told her Nanna was a teacher too. She showed Nanna some folders she had made for her classroom that she is very proud of. Even though we have only know Victoria for a few days, we feel very connected to her.
After we shopped the tap tap dropped us off at the Children's Home before bringing Victoria, Thomas and Phillip back to Bigarade. Before they left, they gave me the receipts for everything they bought. I told Bob to tell them that they could keep them, but he said Thomas wanted me to have them so we would know he was thankful. Their smiles and hugs were more than enough thanks. I thanked him for the special memorabilia and told him we would use them as part of your display when you speak.
Bob shared with me that they were able to get more supplies than the school has ever had before. The only need left is school books for each student. There are 48 students in the school, and it costs $50 for a child's books for one year. It is normally the parent's responsibility to pay for the child's books, but families in Bigarade are poor, and coming up with that money is hard. We are praying God will provide for their needs, just as He has been so faithful to do.
Even tonight you are speaking about Haiti. I wish I was there to see you. I miss you, but at the same time I feel close to you. Even though we are on opposite sides of the world, tonight God is using both of us to show His love to this beautiful country.
Praying you feel God's love and mine,