Happy New Year to all of you! The years just seem to fly right on by, and if the first week and a half of this on is any indication of how fast this one will go by, we are in for a major roller-coaster ride!
Well I know some of you are itching for news on how our trip went, and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought I'd take you on a bit of a picture essay of our trip. We left of Friday morning at 4 AM, or I should say we were packed and ready to go, but the driver for the kid's vehicle didn't show up until 5. We arrived at Linda's families village at around 3 so it took about 10 hours to go the approximately 100 mile distance between the HOH and her village.
7 of us including Lala, Nani, Oliana, Linda and I rode in Linda's vehicle. We took the drive much slower than the other vehicle that had all the other kids. We also got stopped by the police for not having the correct paperwork, which was the correct paperwork for our section of Haiti, but when we went over into their section they wanted different paperwork. So we spent some time at the local jail getting it all sorted out! The kid's vehicle as it turned out didn't have any paperwork at all...and they went right through the police screening! Go figure!
The kids rode on the back of a truck. Needless to say their trip was much rougher than ours, with all the sun, rain, mud, dust, suitcases, food, hard benches, squished in like sardines...but they sure had a great time! A friend of ours found the truck for us, and convinced the driver to take us there and back for a very reasonable fee, half of what other people were asking us, so we thank God for working it out for us that way. It was very nice for them to all be able to travel in one vehicle.
We were welcomed into Bayeux, Linda's village with open arms. We (all 35 of us) stayed at her mom's home. Where she already had a number of grandchildren and relatives staying for the holidays, some days we were close to 50, but in true Haitian fashion, there was always room for everyone, especially if you didn't mind where you slept for the night! With so many people in each room, it was sometimes difficult to get everyone to quiet down and sleep at night, but it was great for bonding together, which was one of the biggest blessings that came out of our trip. Even though they all live here at the HOH in a similar setting, there was just something about being in a different place that just caused relationships to grow deeper, and everyone was able to get to know each other better. It was amazing to experience the hospitality of the entire village as family members and non relatives alike brought us sugar cane, grapefruit, coconuts, and sweet oranges by the wheelbarrow full. They also gave us home grown rice (yummy!) and several goats were also provided for special meals. We were all made to feel right at home.We had the chance to spend a day at the beach (which just happens to be a beautiful part of Linda's families property located a few miles outside of the main village!), and it was really a lot a fun...
Thanks to St. Germain, Lala learned not to be scared of the big waves.
She also helped some of the older kids bury Jn Daniel in the sand.
Nani decided she preferred shade to sun, and sand to big waves!
The boys took a trip one day into Cap Haitian, the closest city to where we were. They enjoyed seeing some different sites there, such as National monuments, and town squares.
Meanwhile the girls got to some really fun things too, like...
cooking the food
and, washing the sheets and clothes in the local river!
Of course there were a few inconvenient things that happened on the trip like... running out of gas (and yes we know for all you diesel mechanics out there that is a very bad thing to do),
and getting the car stuck in the river!
Of course it wasn't too much fun for the kids driving through very cold weather through the mountains on the way home either. I pulled out my thermometer to see just how cold it was, and it was all of 72°F (or around 22° C). I guess it's all relative to what you are used to, I was surprisingly very cold myself! Since we are usually in the mid 80's to mid 90's most of the year, that dip into the 70's was quite a shock to our systems!
All in all, however it was a really great trip, and we are so thankful for God's provision for us to be able to make it together. Some of these kids had never been on a vacation of any kind before, so it was a really neat experience for them.
Now it's back to work, however. The students are all back in school, our Bible studies have started again, and we are looking forward to a number of visitors and visiting teams over the next few weeks. Things went smoothly here at the HOH in our absence, and in spite of several very stressful times since being back, we are working our way through them, and thank God for his faithfulness towards us.
Thank you so much for your prayers for us. Please continue to pray for the sick children we have here, as well as for God's provision for our needs, both financially, and materially. Pray also for each of our spiritual growth as we daily have opportunities to live out our faith in a very dark environment. Blessings on you all!