Greetings from Kirby and Whitney,
Brothers, sisters, and potential family members, I send greetings to you with joy and hope as much as can be displayed on a screen. I send praises and exaltation to our God in heaven for He is worthy. The journey Whitney and I are on can only be directed by His unfailing love. I wish for each and every one of you to know how our Father loves you.
On December 17th, 2016 a group of 10 people from 4 churches in the area, flew to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We arrived around 2 p.m. in the afternoon and then drove for 6 hours to Petit-Goave. Normally the trip is less than 6 hours, but there was a lot of traffic! We had our own church service the next day, and Whitney lead us in a message from Acts 3 using Simply the Story Bible storytelling methods. Afterward, we loaded up and went to see the houses we planned to work on and meet the families who lived there. We also went to see the school where our vacation Bible school and medical clinic would be held. Then we went and ordered supplies for the first house that needed a roof. We had lunch there in the city; chicken and rice and peas (think a version of field peas, not green peas)! That evening we met with the organization based there, O.N.E.T. (a French acronym for the National Organization for the Education of Children), which is headed up by Kendson’n Danjou. We got to hear more about the history of their organization and their vision for the future. They have a lot of good ideas and have great development principles in mind. Their desire to help the children of their country is evident. Also,We were the very first team they had ever hosted! And, we learned their organization is completely volunteer. They have very few sponsors from the U.S. as well, so most of the money that is put into their efforts is from their own pockets. We left the meeting feeling encouraged about coming and the work that was going to be done. I think we were an encouragement to the members of O.N.E.T. as well.
The next day, Monday, we began our work. Kaleb, Johnny and Kirby went to the first house to work on the roof. Pie and Julie worked in the clinic, while Nathan, Taylor, Whitney, Andrea and Patty put on a Vacation Bible School at a school nearby. The first day seemed like a whirlwind. We had planned as much as we could, but we still didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. That required a lot of flexibility, but all members of the team performed did a fantastic job. The medical clinic got a little crazy at first when some parents didn’t want to wait in line, and the kids got a little violent when the soccer balls came out, and the roof workers didn’t have a translator, but God was good. We did our best and we loved the people as best we could. The roof team got 95% of the first roof done that day – and had shade from a huge mango tree. The medical clinic saw over 60 people the first day! The vbs workers had around 85 kids learning stories and songs about God creating everything in the world! Needless to say, the first day was very busy.
Tuesday, the day went more according to plan. We had a better idea of what worked with the kids and with the patients. The roofing team also knew more of what to expect. The second house was smaller than the first and made the work easier. Overall the day went very well. There were around 150 kids the second day at vbs! The medical clinic saw over 70 people! And, the roof was finished with daylight to spare! In the afternoon, Kendson’n, Whitney and Pie held a workshop for the parents, addressing some issues they face, such as modeling appropriate use of technology for their children. We were able to use some of the CHE (Community Health Evangelism) resources that Whitney used in South Sudan.
That night we started to look at our funds to see what we had left. We realized we had not brought enough cash to be able to get supplies for the 3rd house we wanted to roof on wednesday. This, as you can imagine added some stress to the night. We had to call everyone back together and discuss if we wanted to try and find a way to get more cash for the supplies because the local building supply store didn’t take credit cards. Or, should we take what we had done as success and everyone spend the last day at the medical clinic and vbs. It took some praying, debating, and talking, but ultimately we decided to send everyone to the school for vbs and the clinic.
This decision turned out to be a gift from God, because on our last day of vbs we had nearly 250 children show up! The kids really enjoyed having all the people there it seemed! Some ONET volunteers were there to help, too! The kids performed songs and dances and we showed off the banners we had painted that week to go along with the Bible stories they learned. By the time we closed up the clinic, Pie and Julie, with the help of Moses the translator, had treated 197 patients, most of whom were children, including an infant that had been found in a garbage pile.
Thursday morning we left to drive back to the airport. It tooks around four and a half hours to get back, and we got to see more of the scenery on the way back since it wasn’t as dark out. Goodness, it was beautiful! There is a lot of poverty in Haiti, but there is also a lot of good in Haiti. The people have a lot of
joy, and they are so friendly and hospitable, reminding us there is more to this life than what is material and tangible.
It’s hard to put into words what it is like going on a trip like this. Even if we gave you all the details about what we did and experienced, we can’t explain to you how God spoke to each person there in a different way. We have given you a brief recap from our perspective of the trip and the things that happened. But, I would encourage you, if you know someone who went on the trip, to ask them how God spoke to them while they were there. In doing that we are fulfilling some of the roles Christ has for us in His church. We are to be a body and family of believers. How do we do that? Well, one way is fellowship. So I would not only encourage you to talk to someone about the trip, but I would also ask if you would consider going in the future. Not just to Haiti, but anywhere that God calls you. Seek how you can better equip yourself for your own journey. Not only does that glorify God in your actions, but if glorifies Him in the church!
I give God all the glory for all the experiences we go through. Without Jesus Christ, none of this would be possible. Thank you all for your support not only in prayer but in finances. God is doing good things. He will continue to do good things as well. Keep in prayer about your own journey and also for Whitney and myself. We want God to be glorified in all our choices and actions.
“The faithful love of the lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23