Mike left last Friday morning with a group of 6 other people from our church to go minister at an orphanage in Haiti. The orphanage is about 20 miles from Port-au-Prince, where the majority of the damage from the 2010 earthquake occurred. He got home last night and had a great trip. He had so many stories. Some funny, some sad, some uplifting. Let me give you a little background on how he ended up on this mission trip.
Back in October of 2010, a group from our church went to Haiti on a Mission Trip. The trip was going to include working in an orphanage and just ministering to the people in the area. They went not knowing that the trip would become something huge for our church. When this group went to the orphanage and saw 94 children living in some of the worst conditions you can imagine, (or maybe can't imagine because we, in America, have no clue was it is to "need" anything), they knew something had to be done. We couldn't go there, see the things we saw and walk away from it. They came home with an almost overwhelming report. Something needed to be done, but how? Where do you begin? It was determined that these kids were starving to death and to walk away and not do something was not an option. Our church decided that we would take a large portion of our Harvest Day Offering and feed these children for a year. But, knowing that you can't just mail money down there and expect it to get in the right hands, monthly trips had to be organized. Each month, a team of people (usually around 6-10) will go to Haiti, purchase food for a month, do work that needs to be done, and love on these kids.
Mike knew immediately that he wanted to be involved. He signed up to go on the 2nd trip down there. The first group went in January and consisted of mostly builders from our church that set up and built a kitchen area so that they could cook the food we would supply for them. Mike's group bought food to last them for a month and also did some construction work that the group prior didn't have time to finish.
He came home last night full of stories. I wish I had time to sit and write each one down.
He said that it is unlike anything he's ever seen or experienced. Imagine a city with nearly 4 million people in it and the unemployment rate being 95%! That's what it is in Port-au-Prince. People literally walk the streets and sleep wherever they can find a place. That might be a tent set up in the middle of town - or just on the street somewhere. 4 million people and NO traffic laws, or if there are any, no one follows them. Mike said that if they decide that a 2 lane road should be 6 lanes, they do it. If they decide that they want around you, they go around, even if it means driving in on-coming traffic. You want to run into another car and keep on driving, go right ahead. You want to take a box truck and fill it with as many people as can fit in the back, do it. You want to stop in the middle of traffic to buy toilet paper from someone in the street, yep, that's ok, too. He saw not one single stop sign in the 21 miles from PAP to the area they stayed and only 1 stop light. Which you could stop at if wanted or you could blow right through it if you decided that was the better option.
In America, all we know is structure and laws. Structure is a good thing. But, imagine not knowing any different. This is their life. It is unimaginable to me. We are no different than them, we were just blessed to be born in America. Looking at Mike's pictures makes me so thankful that God chose me to be born in this country. And yet I get upset when Walmart is too busy for my liking. Or when they are out of something I want to buy. How annoying to have to drive to ANOTHER nicely organized, well lit, clean grocery store. They drive or walk to a "produce" market in which the lettuce is mounded on the ground! And it's not trash, they eat that. We are so spoiled here. We have everything we could ever need or want at our fingertips, and we still gripe and complain that we don't have enough. Our houses are never big enough, our cars are never new enough, our bank accounts are never full enough. Maybe it would do us some good to actually need something every once in a while to really appreciate everything we have and how blessed we are.
I'll share more on his trip tomorrow. Lots of neat stories about the orphanage and the kids. This blog post could be miles long if I tried to share it all now. Here are a few pictures of life in Port-au-Prince. Now, go thank the Lord that you can run to Walmart to buy your sanitary food and that you don't have to sleep in a tent and bathe in whatever water source you can find that particular day.
Near the Grocery Store
Swing Swing Dress
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