Wednesday, June 27


Today was absolutely incredible. It was life-changing. It was fun. And I can't believe how quickly it ended. By the way, this is Jimmy Westenberg from GPS Faith Community, invited by Pastor Josh. It seems like only a few short hours ago we were waking up at the crack of dawn for another incredible breakfast of fresh mangos, yogurt, and cereal from Mrs. Debbie. 

Today was different because it was our first day off in two days. We took a day off from volunteering at the orphanage and the health center for a special ceremony marking the graduation of the kindergarten class at the Village of Hope School. Once we arrived to the Village of Hope, we took a quick tour for the people that haven't gotten a chance to see it yet. Soon after the tour, we rushed into the front row of the chapel to witness the graduation. The graduation was so enlightening. All of the children entered into the chapel singing and dancing to some traditional Haitian music. Throughout the graduation, the children sang songs, danced, and showed us that they knew the English version of the ABC's. Throughout the graduation, I don't think there was a single team member that wasn't smiling from the joy that the children gave to us. To me, the graduation was the best part of the entire trip so far, and it was one of the highlights of my year so far, as well. The graduation was a perfect showcase of Haitian culture, education, and pride. The look on the children's faces as they were singing was unreal. No words can describe how happy everybody was in that room today. 

Soon after the graduation, we moved over to the cafeteria to serve chicken and juice to the students' usual lunch of rice and beans. For two hours, we served almost 600 children a special lunch for the end of the year/graduation day. After the students were done eating, we were lucky enough to have a meal of the rice and beans with chicken. It was great. SIDE NOTE: if anybody knows the recipe to the rice and beans, please give it to me! 

After the school lunch was over, we left to go to the metal working village to buy some hand-made Haitian art. I, for one, spent WAY too much money, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. But seriously, how could you resist? After spending some time shopping, we left to do some odd jobs around the compound. We then had yet ANOTHER amazing meal from Debbie. I wish I could tell you what everything was called, but I would fail miserably if I tried to pronounce everything correctly. 

Today was a day of rest, sweating, shopping, and working. It opened my eyes to many different aspects of Haiti, and was, quite honestly, one of the most memorable days of my life. This trip has been life changing for me, and has helped me grow even closer to the lord. And as far as I can tell, it has been helpful to some other of my team members, as well. So, goodbye from us until tomorrow!


  1. Jimmy, check with Gina Baker - she brought home a bunch of recipes last time and she may have that one :) - Deb Tomsky

  2. And if it feeds 600 you'll have a lot of left overs!

  3. Sounds fun to attend the kindergarten graduation and see the pride the children take in their education. Think of it as a good thing you spent way too much money purchasing the art works from the metal working village. You are supporting the merchants and that is a good thing! By the time you read this your final day in Haiti will be close to an end. It was wonderful hearing from each of you "newbies" and how you have grown in these few short days. May God bring you home safely, and may you always remember those feelings of joy, love and pride that you have felt this week. Jill

  4. GOD is Good - GOD is Awesome! Glad you were able join the Haiti team and have new memoriable moments.

    Debbie b