Monday, November 9, 2015


At the end of a very busy week, 4:00 am comes really early. We quickly folded up the operations center at the missions house (i.e. bug tents, mattresses, sheets, pillows, towel, etc.) and loaded the bus by just after 5:00. The political climate is a little dicey here right now, they are in an election cycle, and while they claim to be a democracy, there seems to be a lot of dictatorial style leadership going on. It seems the people are really skittish, and anxious. They are desperate for change and change continues to elude them. The Haitian dollar is plunging in value, with the results posted Thursday, we were trading money on the street for an 11.2 exchange rate! Last year it was at 7.1. It's dropped in value this week while we were there. It's the signal that fraud in the elections is actually happening. I feel bad for them, everyone on the street wants the American dollar. As we rode along in the bus this morning we came up to some taxi drivers who said the road was blocked. I could tell the bus driver was really intimidated, but Robinson told him to keep going, he said they won't stop the vehicles going to the airport. There was no road block and we had a pretty incident free trip. When we arrived at the airport, we checked in through AA kiosks, which was the first, but by the time we made it to the departure gate we slid back years as they hand searched our bags because the X-ray machine was broken. I couldn't believe it, and yet I could. That's the way Haiti is. Dan made the comment 'you have to stop feeding the fish'. In part he's right, we build them buildings they don't or won't maintain, we send them massive amounts money with no real strings attached. That's why I feel so strongly it's important we not just support them, but that we go and build connections that let us teach and instruct. Early in the trip the Toyota quit one night and Rob called to ask what he should do, I said I thought it was the alternator, he said he thought it was the battery. I said we should have the alternator checked, and he held fast that he was sure the battery was dead contending the batteries in Haiti are just not very good. I told him I would do whatever he wanted. He went out early the next morning and arrived back with a running truck. He was very pleased all day long with how it ran. Two days later Jake called from the church property and you guessed it, the truck was dead. We had the alternator rebuilt and by non Friday we were back in business. As we drove away from the mechanic we had a humorous little exchange about a memory I had had about the possibility of the alternator being bad a couple nights earlier when the truck had quit. Rob said to me, 'brother, it seems we are still learning, we have not had the same opportunities to learn'. It was actually a great moment in our relationship. I am careful to respect his culture and allow circumstances to develop for instruction rather than jumping into a telling them what to do method. To learn well, a relationship really needs to be developed between instructor and student. We are developing a deep trust with these people we are working with and now some cool changes are happening. You can't see this without the investment of time in a culture. And we don't have all the answers to all that is broken in this country. Actually there is a part of their culture that is leap years ahead of ours when it comes to relationship and interaction. But that is something I have alluded to in other posts. This was in its own way our best trip ever. This team was the smoothest team I have had on the ground yet. It may have something to do with my own personal growth as a team leader, it may have some to do with the challenges that have lessened, but I think it has more to do with this teams chemistry. Having Deloris along was like having our own personal heart salve right with us at all times. Ray was dearly missed by all, both the Americans and the Haitians suffered. But her presence lent a 'Ray' of his presence, and broken hearts everywhere have begun to mend. We will never replace him, but his memory and drive help us carry on what he labored so hard to establish. He would be so grateful for the promise of what we were finally able to do to get to the heart on one of his dear boys, Peterson. 'Grán' as they called her was at her finest. She never missed a beat, and the harmony she brought to the team was delightful. She had special plans with each of the kids, and they devoured the attention. It was tough walking away last night, Bigodson had actually cried himself to sleep and when we woke him up, he was sleepy and crying at the same time. The kids made a new attachment to us this trip. The harm of their childhood they are starting to let go of, and take the chance at love again. I told them last night as we left, that it was sad, but to remember all the great times we had shared together over the week. To soak in that joy. To truly love is to run the risk of loss, but better to have loved and love well than to have never loved at all. We risk so much on the cheap vain stuff, what's wrong with us that we won't, we don't take the risk of love. It pays the greatest of all dividends. Too many find out too late that even in spite of the fact that love hurts at times, it's the best kind of pain there is, and one day, it is going to vanish altogether. And all that will be left is only love, loss will be no more. So we are on our final leg home. A long day of travel, And we will rest our weary bodies in our own homes, and in our own beds. It's going to be what we always now expect, bittersweet. And tomorrow when we rise, it will be time to start our journey back, plans and preparations will get underway, and as God grants us opportunity, we will return, but in our absence now, a great work goes on. We are so grateful to have even a small part in this great God adventure! Blessings to all!

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