Hello all! I can not believe day two of work has come to an end. Everyone here has been putting 100% effort into every project despite the heat and lack of sleep. My name is Katie Phares and I am so incredibly proud to say I am a first time member of the Joyful Spirit Haiti Team. Ever since my brother came here I have had a strong desire to experience Haiti for myself. Many years have passed since then but I believe that God had a plan for me to come this year and I couldn't agree more. I have to admit that being the youngest on this team intimidated me at first, but I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend my first trip in Haiti with. Since the time we stepped into the van at 4:00 a.m. last Saturday morning, God has been continually melding us into a tightly knit community.
Today Christiaan, Gina, Julie, Josh and I went to Little Children of Jesus. When we arrived we helped feed the little ones breakfast. Then some of the members enjoyed some play time with the kids during rec time. Christiaan even played his guitar and had the kids actively engaged in playing musical instruments. Throughout the day Julie, Gina, Christiaan and I did some therapy with some children and we finished the day off with some crafts that resulted in neon circle stickers stuck to not only the kids' faces but all of us as well!
Our other team members; Pam, Cheryl, Jim, Gene, Shannon, Steve and Jimmy went to Village of Hope and painted up a storm while battling high winds. I have to give them credit for doing such hard manual labor out in the blazing sun. At the orphanage we are fortunate enough to have shade! They also enjoyed time with the children from the school, who socialized and watched them as they worked. I have not yet been to VOH but can't wait to go tomorrow as we have front row seats at the kindergarten graduation.
Tonight during devotions we discussed the initial sadness we experience when we see the severe disabilities the children at LCJ deal with each day and how difficult it can be to not question God about why these children are the way they are. It can be heartbreaking to see child after child with complete mental capacity but trapped in a body that to our standards does not work right. Especially when many of the disabilities we encounter in these children, are to an extent we will never observe in the states. However, these kids have more joy, love and trust than I will ever have. They are our example of who Christ really is and in God's eyes are great. The short time that I have spent here has taught me this and has allowed me to realize that what the world sees as great is no where near God's view of what the Kingdom of Heaven is. I have personally never seen the love of God shining more brightly that I have at LCJ.