We flew out of Atlanta on Sunday the 27th. Our flight was early (6:30?), so we were up and at the airport before 5. We had a TON of luggage. Between the 4 of us, we had 3 suitcases each and some were up to 70lbs! We flew First Class because the cost of the ticket was less than the luggage charges flying in coach. It was NICE!!!
In case you're wondering, you CAN carry a lighter on the airplane (but you can't have it in your checked luggage), but you CAN NOT carry a jar of Nutella with you. Haha! Jared bought some and stuck it in his carry-on backpack and it was confiscated in Atlanta. Luckily I had a jar in my suitcase. :)
We had a short layover in Miami and made it to Port au Prince (PAP) around 2:30 p.m..
We made it, but all of our luggage didn't. We had 8 of the suitcases and soon were told that the other 4 pieces were supposed to be on the next flight from Miami. 2-2.5 hours later, the rest of our luggage arrived and we were ready to go! Going out of the airport in PAP is a bit crazy. There are tons of people right outside. I guess they are waiting to pick up people or looking to carry luggage for people to earn money. We each had our 2 carry-on bags + 3 suitcases, so it was a bit hectic! Pastor Accilien was waiting for us and led us to the truck.
So, this was the truck.
12 suitcases, 7 carry-on bags, and 6 people travelling from PAP to Maissade. Yep. So, on the drive up, Mrs. Lynn, Pastor Accilien, and I rode in the truck and Jared, Bro. Freddy, and Caleb (one of the translators) rode in the back with the luggage. The problem was that the stick shift was right in the middle, so I had to keep my legs to the side (squishing Mrs. Lynn) or on the dash board. For 4 hours and 20 minutes. We did end up following a rain storm once we were in the mountains, so it cooled off and we weren't quite so hot.
We arrived in Maissade (well, the village is just past Maissade) after dark. Maybe around 9:00? I was so glad to be there and out of that darn truck that I didn't even care what time it was. Obviously, there's no electricity, so we rummaged around with flashlights to get our stuff settled and the air mattresses blown up. We ate and went to bed pretty quickly after.
Here's the guest house we stayed in. This entire area was a pasture when we visited in 2012, so seeing the progress the village has made was great! The bottom area was used as our medical clinic and the top was our rooms.
The blue tarp area was the 'waiting room' for the clinic.
This is just inside the door on the bottom level, the day we left. The ladder on the right was how we got upstairs. There was the same amount of room on the left. Pastor Accilien, Caleb, and Jean Elden slept downstairs there on the left.
This was Bro. Freddy and Mrs. Lynn's room, but ours was identical. Pretty basic, but plenty of room. I don't even want to think about the critters that were around when I was sleeping.
Beautiful view from outside the church.
This is looking down from the church towards their garden and new chicken coop. They haven't put the chickens in yet.
This is the view to the left of the guest house. You can see the truck there on the right. The house on the left is a family who lives there on the grounds right now. They have 5 children from ages 14 down to about 1 year old. Their little boy, Crispin reminded me of Bo. I'll talk more about him later. :) The building in the middle, behind the trees/flowers is Pastor Accilien's house and the house of the village nurse and her husband (who is a travelling pastor). The kitchen is on the left of the house and there are 2 bedrooms on the right side. They have two 'bathrooms', one on the front left and one around the back.
The toilets are composting toilets. I won't go into more details. Ha! Our baths were 'bucket baths'. We pretty much decided it wasn't worth the trouble. Jared took one bath and I took 2 in the 5 nights we spent in the mountains.
Here's a shot of the pastor's house.
This is a picture of the church from the road with the guest house, etc. behind the camera.
The front of the church, Missionary Baptist Church, Maissade Haiti.
I am SO glad I took ear plugs because the animals were LOUD. I don't know what time the roosters started crowing, but I know it was well before the sun was up. We were up around 6 each morning because you can only lay on an air mattress for so long. Considering we went to bed around 9-9:30 each night, we did get a lot of sleep!
We had breakfast around 7:30 each morning. Haitians don't eat breakfast (they usually just drink coffee), but we were served bread from the bakery (that we topped with Nutella!), spaghetti once (yep), fresh fruit, coffee, juice, etc.
Monday through Friday we had Vacation Bible School (VBS) for the kids and adults and got started around 8:30 each morning. We used Lifeway's VBS materials from this year, Agency D3. The kids LOVED the music, as usual! We started with low numbers each morning, but as the music played, the church filled up. Each day Mrs. Lynn led worship with music, I taught the lesson, Jared led recreation, we followed with a craft, and snack.
These two boys were so sweet! They just always had a smile and loved playing the games at recreation.
Here he is dancing one of the last days. This was his one dance move. ;)
We took around 700 of the VBS t-shirts from last year's VBS (Roller Coaster World theme). Bro. Freddy and Mrs. Lynn hunted down a BARGAIN on the shirts and got them for like $0.50 each! And that's why we had so many suitcases!
They did so well learning the VBS verse for the week, "Always be ready to tell what you know about Jesus" 1 Peter 3:15. We spent the week learning truths about Jesus and how to share that with others.
Caleb in the red shirt and Jean Elden behind him. Caleb is 14 and is as smart as a whip. I kept forgetting he was 'only' 14 because he seemed so mature. You'll hear more about him when I get to the medical clinic part. Jean Elden is almost 18, I think? and is the pastor's son. They were both such big helps and there's NO WAY we could have done any of it without them translating!
This was the last day....hadn't washed my hair in 6 days or seen a mirror. Ha!
Mrs. Lynn had packed some of these mustaches as rewards for answering the review questions and they thought they were hilarious! Well, the ones who weren't wearing them did. ;)
People of all ages came to VBS!
Each day for recreation, we went down the hill, crossed the road, and walked through a path in the corn field to the pasture behind it. The pasture was owned by a Methodist church group (I think that's right?), but they graciously allowed us to use the land to play.
The recreation area, complete with goats!
Heading back to the church trough the corn field.
I learned another word playing 'duck, duck, goose'....the grass was wet, so instead of sitting (chita) the chose to squat down (koupi). Some of the older girls kept trying to cheat and stand up instead of squatting, so I said "koupi" quite a bit!
Here's a video of "duck, duck, goose".
Playing with Crispin. He wore clothes to VBS, but stripped them off as quick as he could after and ran around naked as the day he was born. Haha!
Jared's group of soccer kids.
You can look back at our trip to Haiti from 2012 here. We were in Maissade the end of our week there. It's amazing to compare the pictures and see how God has provided for the people in the village and how the area has grown!
And that's part 1 of our trip! Part 2 will cover the medical clinic and our trip home.
*Because it took me forever to do this, I'm not going back to proof-read or fix typos, so sorry. ;)