It’s Thursday and it’s day 2 of art camp. We have our morning routine of breakfast and jump on the tap tap to Titanyen to see the children again at Grace Village. I am excited to be greeted by Rosalinda and am having quiet time with God the entire 45 minute drive. Have you ever shut off your mind and opened your ears to God? I’d like to say I do this all the time but the truth of the matter is I could stand to do it more frequently and consistently. On the way to Titanyen this particular day God gave me a vision he had once before about 5 months ago, which included a guy in a red flannel shirt and Brian and I were both a part of ministering to him. This time with the vision I received scripture, Deuteronomy 1:8 which says, “See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the LORD swore he would give to your fathers–to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob–and to their descendants after them.” Now I get it. I am not Abraham, Isaac or Jacob so I too am figuring out what God wants of me. All I do know is on the day it is revealed to me, I will know that God’s provision was fulfilled.
We arrive at Grace Village and something is different as I jump off the tap tap. I did not hear the familiar voice calling, “Emmmelee.” I searched the pavilion and the playground but no Rosalinda. “Hmm? Wonder where she is?”I thought. I began preparing for the day and ran to the office to grab all of the ballet shoes that we brought which came from the past two years of donations at YPAC. I set the 40 some pairs of ballet shoes down by the supplies and continued to look around for her. She was not any where to be found. A few of the older girls had asked me to dance for them so I was turning and leaping when I saw her floral dress out of the corner of my eye, our eyes connected but today was different. Rosalinda was not in good mood today. Today was a low day. I walked over to her and she ran away and began our game of tag in which I got her to at least crack a smile and a little chuckle…until she realized she was laughing and then as quick and cold as she could she said, “not now, Emily” Today is no good…and ran toward her house. Taking a deep breath and giving her some space I sat down and began to worship with everyone in the pavilion.
She came back up during worship but sat a few seats down from me every once and awhile peaking over to see if I noticed her which of course I did and smiled each time. After worship we had to split into groups one last time to go over each of our sections. Having only a few in my last group we had some extra time at the end so I pulled any girl who wanted to try on ballet shoes over to the side and we matched shoe sizes. For the first time these girls were trying on ballet shoes, something they told me they had always dreamt of doing and guess who was right next to me putting her shoes on?!?! You got it! My sweet Rosalinda. It was a GOOD day, just like that! Of course we didn’t stop there. I set up a ballet class right there in the pavilion of Grace Village Miss Emily style! You guys it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. To watch these girls fall in love with ballet for the very first time and to look at the shoes with such admiration is indescribable. They would ask me to demonstrate and they would copy. We did plies and tendus together and each one of them had a smile on their face that would go on forever. An imagery I will have imprinted on my heart forever.
After ballet class it was time for snack and juice and on to Kite making. When you think of making a kite you are probably like me. Two sticks, make a cross, glue some tissue paper on, add a tail and string and run..right?! Well like me you have never seen a Haitian child build a kite before. This is serious business. We are talking symmetry, 8 sticks making spokes, plastic bags, tissue paper, saran wrap, tails, string, yarn. We are talking the whole shebang! These weren’t just any sticks either. These sticks were sticks that the children went and found on the property and made perfect to size. Kite making is a pure art form here! About 1 hour later we had the first kite in the air and I tell you what that kite flew at least (and I am not exaggerating) 1000 feet in the air. It was amazing!!! Shortly after 4 more kites went in the air. The rest of the kids were still working patiently on their kites. I will say their attention span is something I long for in my children and something I need to help cultivate for them in this fast paced, instant gratification society we are living in. I have learned far more from the kids at Grace Village than I have taught them for sure. It was time to pack up and head out to our next opportunity which was visiting the elderly which again is very hard to capture the essence if you are not experiencing it first hand but I will try.
We first came to Angela’s house where right away we were greeted by lots and lots of children. Some clothed some not. When I got off the tap tap instantly a little naked boy about 5 years old grabbed my arm and started pulling me towards the house we were visiting. He knew we were coming to bless his family and he was so excited and could hardly stand it any longer. We arrived and met 88 year old Angela and her daughter and extended family. Her soul was beautiful and her eyes were so kind. We asked if we could bless her with some song, and a foot bath as well as some food. As she said yes we began to sing and worship God at the same time I began washing her feet while Katie washed her daughter’s feet next to me. This was the highlight of my day. She kept telling me how good it was and saying thank you and I inside was thinking the same thing. After we were done we told her it was our pleasure and thank you for welcoming us into her home. As we were walking out I saw a young girl pumping the water well. She was taking turns with her mom to fill up their buckets, so immediately I asked if I could help out by taking a turn. So I told my mind that I was going to pump as hard as I could until everyone was loaded in the tap tap so I did. Oh my goodness their faces when the water came gushing out. They were catching their water and filling their buckets all while laughing and giggling in pure joy watching the crazy american girl pump until her arms were about to fall off. Everyone was loaded in the tap tap, my arms were still connected to my shoulders but barely and my heart was full. I take for granted so many times how easy it is for us to have clean drinking water whenever we want. God humbled me through this experience as well as gave me an awesome arm work out! I hugged the mother and told her and her daughter both that they were brave, strong and beautiful and hopped into the front of the tap tap to head over to Edmund’s house.
Edmund’s house was different than Angela’s there was not a lot of family around and he was sick. Edmund is blind and happened to have a really bad stomach ache that day and we weren’t sure if we would be able to see him. Paster Sue opened the door to his one room 10×10 house with nothing but cement walls and floors and a small bed. Next to the bed was a small table and in the center of the room was a toilet used often in hospice situations. We were a little hesitant at first because he was ill but we went in and sang to him anyway and Katie and I massaged his hands with lotion. He reminded me of my grandpa during his final days and I wanted to bless him in anyway I could. This was no way for a man to live let alone die. My heart ached.
We had one more stop to make and that was to 95 year old Marilyn’s house. As we arrived her sweet daughter let us into the porch and Marilyn came out. She was so little but so graceful. We sang to her and lotion her legs and feet. Her daughter had asked if we could leave the lotion bottle so she could massage her so we did. We prayed over Marilyn and her daughter and got back in the tap tap.
While on the tap tap I reflected on this day which was a rollercoaster of highs and lows for sure, however in each experience and each opportunity I saw God, right smack dab in the middle of it. I thanked Him for allowing Brian and I to be a part of it, took a deep breath and asked God for forgiveness for taking advantage daily of the gifts we have been given. Healing Haiti has a t-shirt printed with a dialog between two women that was actually spoken and I leave it with you tonight. The dialog was And I said to her, “God help you in this poverty.” And she said to me, “God help you in your abundance.”