Wednesday was our first morning  for Arts Camp at Grace Village and when we arrived guess who was waiting for me. “Emmmeleee” a voice came from the pavilion and out runs Rosalinda with a big hug. Today is a good day. Rosalinda immediately grabs my hand and runs me to the pavilion. She sits me down and grabs my hands. She puts two fists up and asks me to do the same. She hits my fists twice then opens her palms to clap our hands together two times as she does this she says “Dibble Dibble This This” then she continues to teach me with two fist bumps and two backwards hand claps, “Dibble Dibble That That.” Slowly she does one fist, one clap, “Dibble This”, into one fist, one clap back, “Dibble That”, then two fist pumps and a clap forward clap back in a row “Dibble Dibble This That.” “Bien?” She asks me which means are you good? “Oui” I answered…she giggled. “Go.” And we began our game of Dibble Dibble with roaring laughter over me messing it up. After a few times I got it solid and she was proud and I was thankful for the reminder of how much fun patty cake games are and I can’t wait to get home to share with my kids. It was time to start the morning with worship.

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Pastor Welsey, the pastor of Grace Church came up to lead us as Brian and Guy joined him singing and playing guitar and what an experience. I can’t even imagine what it is going to sound like on Sunday when Pastor Wesley, Brian and Guy lead with the whole band at Grace Church. We sing both in English and in Creole and the children’s voices are that of angels. After worship we broke into our groups for arts camp and I had two things on my agenda. Have the kids teach me some of their favorite dance moves and for me to bring a little bit of home to them. We started with them though so with a little beat box from Rosalinda which she thought was hilarious, we joined in a circle and they showed me their favorite moves including, Sacca, NeNe, and Ba Poul (Boppy-0). I then taught them O Happy Day, Community Christian Church Kids City Style and you should have seen the smiles. After that we collaborated with the rhythm group that Brian and Guy led to do O Happy Day together and the energy in the room was simply amazing. Worship has never been so lively for me. We finished the day with a snack and drink, headed into our second group and got ready to leave  for the day. But before we left I noticed a little girl sitting off to the side alone. She needed a friend. I introduced her to Rosalinda who is also someone who plays alone and I had Rosalinda show Dacia Dibble Dibble and as I walked away they were playing and laughing and smiling and the gift of friendship was born. Something I hope they will keep forever. Next stop would be Shalom Orphanage just down the street in Titanyen.

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We pull up and walk down a small dirt road and step up to the front door of the orphanage and reality smacked me straight in the face again. It is an amazing roller coaster ride we are on. When you are at Grace Village you forget the children are orphans because of they way they have built it and structured it around family but when we walked up to Shalom and into the modest 400 sq ft home you are reminded all orphanages are not like GV but they do have some things in common. We were greeted by two of the older orphans who were on the front porch doing laundry and asked if Emmanuela was home. Emmanuela runs the orphanage and is the mother to all of the children about 12 in total. She wasn’t there at the time but we asked the two older girls if we could come in and share some bubbles, music, snack and a story with them. They said yes and as we walked in the kids came out of a curtain one by one a little on guard until they saw the bubbles. Their faces lit up and they began to blow and catch and instantly joy filled my heart and replaced the shock I had initially felt. The guys began playing the guitars and we started singing and that is where I saw the gift of dance in its truest form. Through little Jessica. This little 4 year old had more rhythm and passion in her little body than most dancers have in their life time and she was good! She danced and danced and danced and smiled and danced and you couldn’t help but forget where you were standing. Heaven came into that orphanage that day as I believe it does everyday. God is here.

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After worship we gave the kids a snack and it took a bit for them to trust us to open it for them once we handed them out. They were afraid we were going to take it away. We finally got all snacks open and got ready to share The Giving Tree book and this was hilarious. Guy and Katie acted out as Pastor Sue read the story. Guy was the tree and Katie was the little boy and Brian played back round music with his guitar. The kids smiled and laughed and watched and the best part was Emmanuela had been given a recording device so she was able to record the worship and the story to play again for them when we are gone. She told us the children pray every night for Healing Haiti visitors to come because they have so much fun. Now they can watch even when we are not there. After the story Pastor Sue asked if they would share a song with us. This I wasn’t prepared for. All of the children along with Emmanuela began to sing and again the sky opened and heaven appeared in that little room. Their voices were unbelievable and moving. We got to sing along with them and the whole room was filled with praise and worship to our awesome God. We left the orphanage with a completely different emotion than when we got there and I believe that is God’s way of showing us that their is joy everywhere. We just have to choose to see it.

On this day I was reminded where joy and love come from and through. It comes from God through serving and blessing others. It doesn’t come from how big your home is, what clothes you wear, how skinny you are, how much money you make. It comes through God and from God.

Feeling Heaven in Haiti,

Emily