Right now I’m sitting under the dining pavilion with a lingering taste of pasta and sour guava fruit in my mouth listening to bits of conversation drifting across the room over the sound of tubadu (Haitian music-the internet can spell check that). “Am I burned?” “Look at this tan line.” “Where did your group walk in the village today?” “What was your favorite part of today?” “Yeah, she fell right asleep in my lap and I couldn’t move. “What kind of sauce is that?” It was our first full day here, and it was indeed full. This morning after breakfast we went straight to the orphanage and instead of forming bucket lines and concrete mixing stations like we have on so many trips before, we spent 20 minutes carrying lumber to the new pavilion area and spent the rest of the morning playing with kids, with the exception of our skilled carpenters Randy and Phillip who began work on the pavilion’s roof. Thus, the morning was full of introductions, full of mixed Creole and English conversations, full of laughter, and full of fun. There’s something incredibly relaxing and restful in chasing a smiling seven year old around in circles until both of you are out breath and don’t think you can run anymore. Until you do five minutes later. Looking across the orphanage I saw the beginnings of dozens of lasting, impactful relationships and it simply made me smile and hug those kids I’m closest to a little tighter.   By mid-morning the orphanage was full of new faces as the mobile clinic from Mission of Hope arrived on property. The church filled with children as MOH staff and volunteers and a visiting pediatric surgeon, whom we met last night at Kaliko, began check-ups and diagnostics. Thanks be to God that there were only minor ailments and injuries that necessitated attention, though our resident team dentist Joe Leonard got to exercise his expertise and pulled two hurting teeth from brave and numb-mouth children. Then we all packed up, headed back to Kaliko for a quick lunch, and loaded up our back packs with three Bibles apiece (which take up more space and are heavier than you might assume) to go back to the village for our first real taste of what was planned months ago with the announcement that our main supplies for this trip were Creole Bibles. Walkie-talkies in hand, we split up into four groups that headed in four different directions and returned with four different sets of experiences, 29 different individual experiences. God is at work in Williamson and we were lucky enough to see that firsthand today:

“I was shocked by how receptive they were. In America most people just shut their doors when unexpected visitors knock. We talked to one older lady whose husband died six years ago and as she was telling us about it and we were talking she got really emotional and that showed how real what God’s doing is. And my initial take on Haitian men was that they are always very serious, but we shared with one man who had the biggest smile and was very expressive the whole time. When I looked back he was looking through the Bible we left and it was cool to see the importance of that gift. “

“Everything was wonderful. Cody led a man to Christ and that was incredible. His name was Jackson, which I thought was neat considering where we’re from, and as Cody talked he basically said ‘I want what y’all have.’ So Cody kept sharing and led him through a prayer and we marked Matthew 1 as a good place for him to start, and he said he would come to church on Sunday. It was also nice to be able to talk to men about being a father and about their Heavenly Father and how important it is for them to share Christ with their sons and daughters.”

“There was a girl who was about 20 years old who asked us to pray specifically for her condition as an anemic – that she would be able to get medicine. Well this morning when Jenny packed her nurse’s bag she put in some vitamins with iron in them for no apparent reason thinking they wouldn’t be useful. They were exactly what that girl needed.”

“A younger guy was trying to talk to me while we were with another family and our interpreter was busy so I couldn’t understand him. He followed us after we left their house and we were able to understand that he wanted us to pray for him. After he walked off some ladies across the way said it was important that we got to pray for that particular guy and that that moment was very special.”

Those are only a few of the many things that the Lord did today, and I encourage you to ask your family members and your friends that are on this trip to describe to you what they saw the Lord doing. You can talk to all 30 of us and get 30 different answers; praise God for that. When all the groups returned with now lighter backpacks we headed back to Kaliko for yet another glorious sunset of God’s perfectly mixed hues of grays and blues and golds.

I’ve now shifted to the main lobby area post-devotional where team members are spread out playing cards, talking about their days, and reflecting on everything they saw and smelt and felt and heard today. A boy named Nelson asked Clayton Martin today, “What is your dream for tomorrow?” Clayton didn’t know the answer, I don’t know the answer, and most of this team probably doesn’t know the answer. I challenge you to ask yourself the same question. You may not know the answer either, but thankfully the Lord does. And He will turn what we think are our dreams upside down to give us even bigger dreams that are directly from him. TJ spoke about this tonight, as well as about boasting in the Lord alone and living out 1 Corinthians 10:31 – whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all for the glory of God. We pray that this is our motto here, this is our motto at home, and this is your motto wherever you are. We pray that this is every believer’s desire and motivator; that in whatever we are doing – hammering a roof together, holding a tired child, measuring out liquid ibuprofen, making tiny solar-powered race cars, pulling a tooth, kicking a soccer ball, eating a plate of pasta, writing a journal, taking a picture, walking to class, going to work, sharing the gospel, waking up, sitting down, breathing in and out – we are doing it for the glory of the maker of this earth, the giver of life, the savior of this world, Jesus Christ. This is our prayer for tonight and tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that. I ask that you pray it with us, for us, for yourself, for all believers, and for this world.