Today started off with a visit to Grace Village. Grace Village is a campus built by Healing Haiti centered around an orphanage, which is home to 56 children. Grace Village also contains a school for 300 children from the area, a multipurpose facility that hosts Sunday services, a clinic and an aquaponics facility. It was amazing to hear the vision for the future of Grace Village, and the focus on expanding Grace Village’s ministry to the local area.
After our time at Grace Village, we traveled to the homes of several local elderly people. Healing Haiti has a ministry in place to provide for some of the most basic needs of these elderly people, however our primary role was to minister to their spiritual and social needs. We had a chance to sing with them, pray for them and hear some of their needs. One of the elderly ladies we visit was over 100 years old and was still living in her home and not lacking any spunk. When we asked her about her prayer requests, she simply asked us to pray that God would continue to provide for her.
After finishing our visits with the elderly, we took the truck to a local orphanage. This orphanage was home to 16 children and was far different from the orphanage at Grace Village. Where Grace Village was blessed with beautiful, clean buildings, this orphanage was lacking in some of the most basic items. All of the children were living in one small building that looked to be in need of repair. There were no toys or play sets in the yard, but when the truck pulled up, we were greeted by 16 smiling faces who were so excited to greet us, they made it difficult for us to get out of the truck J. Each kid seemed to have an adult picked out as we got off the truck and they were eager to tell us their names and find out ours. At first we weren’t sure what to do with the kids, with the lack of available “kid stuff.”
The kids started out by singing us a song, partially in Haitian and partially in English, expressing how happy they were that we were there. It was a beautiful moment, seeing the kids thank us simply for being there. After a few songs, we started a couple games in the yard and much laughter and fun followed. Even the members of our team were getting competitive with each other and the kids were taking sides J. This was one of the most joyful experiences many of us have had on this trip, and for the moment, these kids just seemed like kids, not orphans who were barely having their most basic needs met.
We left the orphanage to return to our home for the week and enjoy some delicious Haitian food. After dinner our team discussion centered on the joy of the day. The joy the elderly people expressed in spite of their years of difficult circumstances and the joy of the children living at an orphanage with almost no earthly gifts. It was beautiful to see that even though God has not provided these people with an abundance of earthly gifts as he has us, he has provided them with an abundance of joy and faith to sustain them.