Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Agape takes an American picnic to Haiti

You all do not hear from me too often and there's a reason for this; Travis does the most amazing job at keeping you updated and sharing our lives with you that I don't have much to say after she is finished. But I have an experiential edge on her with this one. Most of you know, other than those who live with me and those who have attended the Free to Love Marriage Conferences (cops and perps too), that I am a fairly quiet guy. Well, that can mean a number of things as you know, but I will just share this with you. As I ponder in my silence at times, I am gathering what God does not want me to miss, or I am just trying to make sense of what is happening around me. As I met with children in Haiti, there was not too much to be said. Not only were we 30 something apart in age, we did not speak one another's language. This made talking, well, senseless. So we smiled, and shook hands and just sat on occasion looking at one another. Worlds apart and unable to communicate. What a picture of what it must have been like at the Tower of Babel. Fortunate for the children pictured below, they had teachers, teaching them in their language (Creole) and sharing the saving grace of our Savior with them each day.
The main purpose of our trip to Haiti just a little over a week ago was to encourage the missionaries in Port au Prince by bringing them a good old fashion picnic from the US of A. And we did just that. Charlie and I had chicken and burgers and dogs moving on and off the grill like a Kansas Tornado. We even threw some BBQ sauce into the mix to bring a little Kansas City flare to the event.

The young lady to my right could not stand to watch so I took some time to teach her the trade of the grill. She had not seen a grill quite like the one we shipped down and left for the event, and I am fairly sure she had not cooked a burger on a grill before, so she jumped right in and helped, eager to learn. I found this attitude of service to be in all of the staff at the International Mission Outreach (IMO)where we stayed, they wanted to learn and serve as best as they could. Charlie Gardner addressed the missionaries who attended the picnic with thanksgiving to them for what they do each and every day.

On Sunday morning we attended the service at the IMO. As most places I go in the world where the people are generally a little smaller that the big boned North American, the boys found their way to me. We exchanged a bon jour and then sat and enjoyed one another's presence. Here we are attempting to learn one another's names. I still don't know what his is.

On Sunday evening we traveled to a village in the mountains to the North of Port named Terre Rouge. We had to trek through a large segment of Port to get to the road to head north, the below photo shows the state of the "roads" and waste management plan of the city.

This church, on the mountainside, built in 1946, was packed the night we attended (about 80 or so). The pastor who built the church is still there and attended the service with us. The service was lit by a lantern that was positioned at the pulpit, and there were no instruments, but the place was alive. The pastor's son is now a pastor and they treated us to a meal afterward including goat and several other fixings. They went all out on our account.
The staff at the IMO treated us like kings and queens for our entire 5 day stay. I helped when they would let me, but it seemed to be an insult to them for me (and the others) not to allow them to serve. An extremely caring and kind bunch.

I will finish up with this, the sun rises and falls on the righteous and the wicked, the poor and the rich, the haves and the have nots alike. What we focus on will determine our mindset wherever we are, no matter if we are in the most affluent of cultures or in the poorest of our Western Hemisphere. Remember, that no matter where you are in life, IT IS TEMPORARY. This life is short, a blink, a rain drop, a dash mark between two dates. Keep the faith, depend on Christ for your strength, and move mountains in His name. Paul


Anonymous said...

What an awesome account of your time with the Agape servants and precious missionaries and people of Haiti. My eyes welled up in seeing you with the children and the anxiousness for them to help with everything. Who would have thought, during your formative years that you would be a missionary to those of whom we only heard stories about in listening and seeing what the teams of Dr. Noyes had taken there?
What a blessing for you and the others who are serving in this way.
We love you and thank God for who you are and what you do. You have never forgotten who you are and whose you are.
We love Paul,

Marner Family said...

Paul, thank you so much for sharing these events! What awesome things you are doing in Gods name, and what it is also teaching us. I know God has been planting seeds in Jon of sometype of serventhood to help others and I am so thankful for that because of the example he has seen though you and others. It is a slow process ... but we are getting there together. Thank you so much!

Continued Blessings, love the Marner's

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, Paul. Amazing journey you are on and to be so passionate about your trip even though you couldn't speak Creole. You and Travis and Agape are in our prayers and thoughts daily.
Barb and Steve Wilson

Cindy and company said...

Paul, It's good to hear from you! Thank you for the wonderful post! The kids and I are always wondering just what it is like in Haiti. I will use your post today in our schooling. We read this week about the Tower of Babel. Perfect. It is wonderful for the kids to see someone that they know serving the Lord the way that you and your family do. Thank you. You and your family inspires ours to serve Him boldly!

ps. Have you ever heard of a group called Beyond Borders?