Today was our first full day here in Haiti. It being Sunday we went to church. We left the compound and drove through the streets, then made a few turns off the main road down some side streets – barely wide enough for the van. After a few turns and a u-turn we made it to the small building that is the church.
We got out of the van and were immediately welcomed by an usher who showed us to our seats in the front of the church. I don't think that I could accurately describe the the scene or even begin to put into words the experience, but I will try:
The church was a small little cinder block building with a slanted tin roof, there was an old wooden pulpit at the front, a keyboard and a drum set (played wonderfully by a 8 year old boy). For church the Haitians are dressed in their best, pressed suits or dress pants, shirts and ties for the men and dresses for the ladies. There were wooden pews on both sides – and there was not a seat to be had. People were standing outside trying to listen. The kids were outside in a courtyard for Sunday school being held under a tree. When they were done they came over and sat on a pew outside pressed as close as they could to hear the pastor's message.
There we were in this little church, listening to words that we did not understand, singing songs out of hymnals written in another language: however we were there to worship and praise God so it did not matter. We sang and listened to the people give their testimony and praises. At one point a young family brought their baby to the front and they were praising God for the gift of the little girl and thanking the congregation for their support through the difficult pregnancy. It was a moving experience for all of us.
There was a little boy about 2 ½ dressed in tan pants, a dress shirt and a sweater vest who would wander around providing entertainment as he would peek around items and give a smile. As I sat there for the 3 hour service: I found myself amazed. Here I was in a this small church in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, yet people were dressed in their best – even though they had to walk and there was not an empty seat. No one complained about the length of the service, the heat or the strange Americans in the front row. I was humbled to be there and reminded that no matter where you are you can praise God for all that you have – no matter how little it is.
After church we had lunch and then came back to the compound to sort all the donations so we can get them to we they now need to go.Tomorrow the work begins. The construction crew will start removing the kitchen ceiling while the other group will go to Little Children of Jesus to work with the children and help them however they can.
Thank you to everyone at home giving us their support.