by Sarah Robertson
Day #7, Sunday, February 11, 2018
This morning started off a bit crazy as we prepared for church and the day. The hotel had made us breakfast this morning which consisted of spaghetti, salad, eggs, and bananas. We were supposed to leave for the baptismal service at 6:45am., but we didn’t leave until about 7:30pm.-Haitian time!
We traveled to the river bank in Cay Jacmel for the baptismal service where three young people were baptized. I enjoyed the opportunity to witness this baptism service as these young people are making a public profession that they are desiring to serve Jesus. We sang a few hymns on the shore of the river bank while Pastor Kevin did the baptizing and Joe assisted him by helping the young people step into the river. When I say we sang hymns, what I really mean, is that the Haitians sang, and we listened. I recognized the songs that were sung even though they weren’t in my native tongue. The tune to “There is a Fountian” and “Take my Life” are the same in both languages.
Debbie Lynne and I had walked over to the Pastor’s house when we arrived to drop off some gifts that Debbie Lynne had purchased for their family. The pastor’s wife was there working on making food for the church dinner that would be held after the service. She was so appreciative and seemed very happy. Debbie Lynne and I snapped a few pictures and then walked down the hill to the church building. The service had already started so Joe, Debbie Lynne, and I stood in the back. The rest of the team was sitting right up in the front. The Haitians like to seat their guests of honor right in the front, but as the building was full, we just stood in the back. Joe had been asked to give a testimony of the Lords goodness and grace during his bout with cancer. This church family was among one of several churches in Haiti that had been praying for Joe. Kevin translated for Joe, and Joe did a great job. Joe started tearing up a bit at the end, and so did I. I’m tired so everything is a bit emotional for me today. I haven’t even held Eby today as I know how hard it’s going to be to leave this sweet baby. It does seem to me that Haitians are not very emotional people as I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of them cry. They are a strong and sturdy people, and some are very pain tolerant...like pulling their own teeth?! Ouch!
After the music, my dad was asked to preach. Preaching through a translator is always a bit challenging, but I think that he did a good job today. Following the preaching, the church had communion. Communion is always a special time for me, and seeing it here in Haiti was very special. Here in Haiti the communion table was set up at the front of the church, and the congregation comes forward to get the bread and the cup. I wasn’t sure about taking communion since I didn’t understand the language, but I figured if Emelie did it so would we. Once Pastor Kevin and Emelie got up to get it the rest of the team followed. By the time Joe, Debbie Lynne and I reached the front, it was clear to see that there weren’t going to be enough communion cups for everyone. Some of the members of our team didn’t get a cup, but as Debbie Lynne whispered “The Bible doesn’t say how much to drink, I’ll share with Joe.” Since some people were sharing the cups, the pastor had one of the young men come over and full up the cups to the very top. (The communion juice was grape soda pop.) Since we cant understand the language it was imperative that we pay attention to what the people were doing. When they ate the bread, so did we. After we drank the cup, one of the young men came by and picked up some of the cups. Then they took the cups to the front, took out a few, filled them with the juice, and then the pastor’s finished the Lords Supper. That’s something we wouldn’t do in the States, but no one seems too concerned about germs, and it was clear to see that their hearts were in the right place.
After church, we tripped up the hill to the old church building for lunch. Lunch was a church dinner with pre-plated food that consisted of chicken, rice and beans, and beet salad. Unlike church dinners in the states, I did not see any food thrown away and every bite was eaten.
Although we were a bit tired after lunch, it was time to set up for the clinic. After church we had put labels in the people in church that were planning on coming to the clinic, as that way we could make sure that we saw those people first. It was a bit chaotic at first as we tried to set up a pharmacy table, a urnine station, and make a place to see the patients. Then we had people who didn’t want to wait in line so every time we turned around someone wa trying to cut in front of someone else! Pastor Kevin finally spoke to them in their language, so we were able to find a method to our madness! I didn’t feel especially needed in today’s clinic as the space was was crowded by the pharmacy table and we had a lot of people working. However, it did allow me to have a conversation with Debbie Lynne, so I was thankful for that.
Gilly is one of our Haitian translators for the medical team. His mom attends the church gathering we are at today, and I wanted to try to speak to her through one of our other translators. Gilly went up the mountain this morning with the construction team. The translator that I was using was a bit on the young side and still learning English so I’m not sure that I was able to communicate what I wanted to tell her. What I wanted to express to her was how much I respect and admire her. Gilly is a young man with a heart for God, a desire to serve his people, and a hard worker. I admire his mom as I know that moms are important in shaping their sons. In ten years or so, I want to have four sons that have a heart for the Lord, a desire to serve, and a willingness to work hard. (I want that for my daughter too!) I’m not sure that I was able to convey what I want to say, and I was trying not to cry, but God knows my heart.
It felt like the clinic would never end today, but it did. We saw 169 people this afternoon, which me as that we did see over 1,000 people this week! Seeds of the Gospel were planted, some seeds were watered, and we did see some souls saved for eternity! God is so good!
While we were doing the clinic, some of the guys from the team where working on some electrical work in the church building. At one point in time, Joe was hanging out the window over the mountain, and my dad was holding on to his ankles to stabilize him! Then Josh was standing in a piece of plywood across two benches and the whole thing almost collapsed!
While we were waiting, a mom came in and sat down in one of the benches. She had a baby with her, and one of the Haitian pastors began talking to her. The pastor then came and asked Hannah to look at the baby. The poor baby had some type of rash going around her ankles and the skin was rubbed raw and very painful looking. We found an antibiotic in one of our bags, and hopefully this baby will feel better soon. Maybe God delayed our going back to the hotel just so we could help this mom and baby.
Finally! At around 5:00 pm, we were ready to go. On the way back we did stop at the place where Emelie and Kevin are building their house. The lot is on a hill side...as is about every lot in Haiti. But the view is beautiful! It would be a beautiful sight to take in every day.
It’s amazing how tiring these days can be. The construction team that came in yesterday headed up to the mission house after the baptismal service. Dad and Krissy are also staying for another week, but they opted to stay with the medical team. They will head back up the mountain on Tuesday.
Tomorrow is our rest and recharge day. I know that Hannah would like to take Eby to the clinic to see if they have any insight to offer. I would like to go also as I want to see the hospital/clinic again. I am looking forward to tomorrow.