I started posting Joel's Haiti Journal with a specific purpose - to inspire you, my readers, to make a difference in lives of those less fortunate. But, it is I who will come away from this more convinced... more inspired... more passionate... that there is much more that I can do!
Day One intrigued me. Day Two, I was inspired. Yesterday, Day Three, grabbed my heart as I envisioned those precious children carrying those bricks down the mountain.
Today... broke my heart. You'll see why... the image of that little orphan boy is haunting... the memory of an abused wife - still, likely being abused, is gut-wrenching.
True, there is sorrow and pain like this all over the world. Who you choose to pour God's love on is your choice... but, love them, we must. Our blessings are astronomical in comparison. My challenge to you today is, be a life-changer! Get involved in something bigger than who you are! That's what Joel has done, and the affects of his choice will likely blow his mind when he's getting the "Welcome-to-Heaven Tour".
Knowing how easy it is to forget the pain in the world around us, I invite you to pass these posts on to others and I pray that you, too, will be inspired to make a difference!
Haiti - JUNE 7, 2011
By Joel Troyer
This morning we headed back out to the house in Calabasse to continue our work. I was armed with a good night’s sleep (sorry Brent) and those tools for the workers I had purchased at Giant. (Man, I love that store)
When we arrived, the team split into 3 groups. Two went door-to-door in the village to simply pray with the people and minister to any needs they may have, while John Levesque, Tim Mcyntire, and myself stayed behind to help with the house.
It was business as usual and the going was rather slow. I thought about going up the hill when all the cement was mixed to get more blocks. We decided going alone was a bad idea. Not because of any danger from villagers as they were all very nice people and the majority were Christian. It was more because of the danger of the walk itself. It was a rough walk back up that mountain - long and steep. I remember saying to John that for all I knew there were men up there already getting blocks to bring back down anyway. It was only 5 minutes later that I saw Masseur Antoine coming down the mountain with TWO of those heavy blocks on his head. This man was 80 plus years old and here he comes with a slight grin pursing the corners of his mouth. John and I looked on in disbelief as he stopped at the house and we grabbed the blocks from his head and then, without saying a word he turned and started back up the mountain. I had to stop him and ran to get him a cup of water. He seemed grateful enough as he downed it in a couple of seconds. He then gave me a “merci” and started up again. I had to stop him again while I grabbed a sweat rag and then we began walking up the mountain together.
We walked together in relative silence. I would turn around to look at him and he would simply give me a little smile. I could only think of how even though he didn't say it, his actions showed his true joy and excitement. I was excited for him. I thought of how even though this man and I cannot communicate right now, we someday will. We will walk together in the streets of glory and talk and laugh and think of the time when some white boy from Michigan came all the way to Haiti so he could have a new home. Man, I can't wait to see Antoine again! We were a kindred spirit on that walk. Two total strangers who were united as brothers in Christ.
Sharing that bond needs no words. I think words would have ruined the moment actually. And I truly believe he was thinking the same thing.
On top of the mountain, he placed two blocks on top of my sweat rag on my head. A woman who was tending some crops nearby ran over to place two blocks on his head. The very first part of the walk down that mountain was steep and covered with slippery limestone. I took some steps, then some more, then a couple more.....and then I decided I didn't have that extra vertebrae that God had given the Haitians and the thought of ruining two blocks (a precious commodity) or me falling off a cliff was something I felt in my heart was not worth the risk. I stopped after about 40 steps and put the blocks down. I took one of the blocks and placed it back on my head and looked over to see the woman in the field laughing at me. I only heard her say something inaudible followed by “blan”. Hey, it could have been worse. I could have slipped on that limestone and hurt my better side and destroyed two blocks in the process. I wouldn't see her again, at least not anytime soon.
We made it down the mountain and Antoine dropped his blocks off to the workers. When he did he promptly turned around and started the long walk back up the mountain. I stood there drinking water, watching him get smaller and smaller. We had that one moment.....that was plenty.
This man made at least 5 trips like that up and down that mountain. Each trip carrying two blocks on his head. I was amazed. This was the definition of sweat equity.
Antoine showing the true
meaning of "sweat equity"
The rest of the group arrived and had some good stories and seemed excited in general about their 'romp around the block'. They did the greatest thing a missionary can do for those in need. They laid hands on the people and prayed for them. Then I saw the kids coming again. Down the mountain, carrying blocks. Man, what a sight. The house was nearly finished. The only thing left to do was finish the top row of blocks and the roof. Dr. Bernard would send a crew out to do the toilet later and the roof materials hadn't arrived yet.
I was assured the house would be finished within the week. I watched Masseur Antoine look at his new home with a lot of pride. It was his house. We only gave him what God asked us to give. It was more than enough.
Only one more row of blocks
and then the roof!
This is what YOU did!
We blessed and were blessed. We all gathered around the outside of the home and laid hands on it. We prayed for the house that God would protect it along with Antoine. I then grabbed Pernos so he could interpret and a group of us laid hands on Antoine and I prayed for him that God would keep him protected and that this would be a tool that could be used to minister throughout this mountain, from this village to the next and then the next.
Laying hands on the house
Our work on the house was complete.
All of the folks that gave DID THIS! Their donation did something truly wonderful not just for one man, but for an entire village. You helped Haiti today, and you made God smile.
On the way home, we stopped by an orphanage that BGM had recently supplied with 119 beds that a company from Franklin, TN donated. The kids had been sleeping on rolled up mats and rags that were filled with mice, rats, and roaches. The place is called the Haiti Rescued Children's Home. We took a quick tour of the facility. It was horrible, and when I say horrible I mean HORRIBLE. Still, Brent said it had improved so much since his last trip there.
The children at Haiti Rescued
There were kids everywhere. A couple of the guys started a basketball game with some of the boys while I took a walk out to the patio to find some boys (foot) dribbling a soccer ball. Some of the children just sat, staring off into space. I wondered what they were thinking about. Do they still have visions of seeing their parents piled onto a truck and hauled off to a mass grave? When was the last time they saw their parents? Or worse did they witness their parents being crushed by a falling wall? Were they thinking that there was no hope left? My God, it's only been a year and a half since the earthquake. Some of them had the eyes of hope… others had cold empty stares that said nothing.
I played soccer with some of the boys in a circle for a bit until it was time to go. I was ready. It was too much to see the little boy sitting alone at the balcony rail, looking off into the distance, staring at nothing. I approached him and he turned slowly to look at me. I saw the look of defeat. How can this be at such a young age? I smiled at him, but none was returned. His eyes had pain that I've never known. I snapped a quick picture and turned and walked away. That image will be forever burned into my memory.
As we piled into the tap-tap, the kids were all hanging off the balcony rail above, waving to us. Some of them, anyway.
I noticed that boy still looking off into the distance. That boy’s face still haunts me. Please God show Yourself to that child. Give him the hope that only You can give. I wish I had a bigger house and a bigger income. I need more help for this place. I am realizing how Jesus felt when He couldn't help all of them. It simply wasn't God's will at that time.
"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in Heaven always see the face of my Father in Heaven" - Matthew 18:10.
This child broke my heart.
On the human side it's such an empty feeling when you have to walk away from those children. At least there are the crèche kids to come home too. They don't seem to care that you are tired or hurting. They just want you to hold them and play with them.
Rolled the ball again with that little girl. She grabbed it as soon as she saw me coming. I have a fan! Love, love, love those children. If someone just came down here and looked into the eyes of these kids, there is no doubt that they would do whatever it took to help them in any way they could -- even the folks that don't believe in helping people abroad. These children get to you.
Give me strength for this trip and for more Lord.
I don't know about this devotion thing. My mind gets so caught up in the day's events. Brent wants me to speak tomorrow night and I don't know if anything I say can make an impact. Part of me wants to just praise God and sing all night, another wants to curl up and just cry. I don't much feel like trying to give some "inspiring" devotion. Such an emotional roller coaster this place is.
I do know I need to pray for Raul Pierre as he is a spouse abuser. I didn't meet his wife today, but the group that went door-to-door did and they said she could do nothing but cry.
God how do we love and pray for a man like that? I only want to lay hands on a person like that around the head and neck. A man who laughs at his wife for reading the Bible and who verbally abuses her for loving Christ.......but we must love him. That is all you ask of us and it is the least we can do after what you did for us. It is what is commanded. It is just part of being like You.
He was a big part of the discussion tonight in devotion. His wife, Madame Pierre, will be prayed for by many as well. Her strength is an encouragement and I know our group encouraged her.
I was also fascinated by the conversation about the groups coming in who just build and don't consult with the villages and neither do they seem to care. They are doing “God's Work” by coming and just building what they want and how they want it.
No, no, no!
You have to truly care, to truly give......especially if you want it to be truly appreciated.
Am I already saying goodbye to day 4?
Note from Lynette: Joel is planning a fundraiser for the people of Haiti. Last I heard, he is planning to return there in November. If you are interested in helping in any way, contact me and I will put you in touch with Joel.
Also, don't forget about the BBQ Competition coming up at FFM on August 20th from 2-8. You can find more information here.