Thursday, October 25, 2018

God's Presence

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Today is our last day in Haiti.

We started our day with Mass at St Gerard’s. We really enjoyed attending Mass with the congregation. It is amazing to attend Mass in another country. It is pretty easy to follow along because the Mass is the same all over the world! It was also very humbling to be at Mass in Haiti as part of a mission team on World Mission Sunday.

After Mass, we were treated to lunch by Sister Alta. We were also able to meet some of the students that graduated from the trade school last July. A Reiser Relief team was supposed to come in July and attend the graduation but the trip was canceled because of protests. The graduates were at the nuns’ home to pick up sewing machines donated by Reiser Relief so that they can get out and start their businesses. Please pray for their success.

In the afternoon, we went to Sacred Heart which is a residence for elderly women who have been abandoned. There were two young women, who are sisters and who have been blind since birth now living at the residence. We massaged the women’s arms and legs and put polish on their finger nails and toe nails. One of the nuns started singing a lively song and we got some of the ladies to dance with us! The smiles on their faces were priceless!

At times this week, I have felt frustrated. While walking back from Missionaries of Charity after morning Mass on Friday, we had another beautiful view of the mountains and the valleys below. You would have thought that you were looking at any mountain range in the United States until you saw the poverty immediately around you. I have wondered where God is in this crazy, chaotic place called Haiti. I have wondered how people can live like this. I have wondered how people can let other people live like this. I have wondered whether we are making any difference at all. The protest last Wednesday and the one in July have shown me that greed and disregard for human dignity are some of the reasons why people are living in such poverty here. So, have we made a difference? Yes, we have. We impacted the lives of every baby, child or adult we interacted with. Love was shared even though we speak different languages. We reached the people that God wanted us to reach. We have built on what missionaries before us have started and more missionaries will come to continue the work that we did this week. And where was God this week? God was in the unity and the strength of our team. God was in the face of every person that we saw. And God will continue to be with the people of Haiti through every missionary that comes in His name.

Lynn Arcand

Monday, October 22, 2018

Flower Village

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Today’s mission took us to the Korean sisters at Kkottongae, which means “flower village”. They care for the poorest of the poor. They take severely ill people off the streets and people that have been refused care at the general hospital and nurse them back to health. The people are then given food, clothing, and shelter within the village. The sisters visit patients in the general hospital and visit the elderly, bringing them food. The village has 325 small houses for the residents. There are currently 280 people living there. They have an ICU where they can give IV fluids and other cares to those that are more seriously ill. We met Sony there, a man that is being treated for severe wounds. He has the most beautiful smile and told us that he offers up his suffering to God. They also have an orphanage to care for mentally and physically handicapped children. One of the residents sang a song to us, which was delightful! The sisters showed us a video about some of the people that they have helped. I cried through the entire video- tears of sadness for the pain and suffering they endured and tears of joy for their healing.

Once a month, the Korean sisters distribute food to about 3000 people living in the landfill. They take food packaged by Feed My Starving Children and are able feed only about 350 people there. It was good to see that food that is packaged in the United States is really getting to those who really need it. People were already lined up and waiting for us when we got there. Once we unloaded boxes of shirts and food from the truck into a small building, we got set up to begin distribution. We also noticed police officers at the site. Many women and children came through the line receiving the shirts and 15 packages of rice to last for the month. They smiled and thanked us for the food. It is amazing what a smile can do! We had become very efficient in passing out the items, moving people along quickly… and then the food ran out. All of the boxes were empty, the doors were closed and the distribution was over but there were still people who hadn’t received food. Men were leaning in the windows begging for food or money. Our hearts sank but there was nothing we could do. I had to keep telling myself that we helped the people that God wanted us to help today but it was so hard to leave people behind that didn’t get anything to eat. It just wasn’t fair that some would eat and others would not.

God does have a sense of humor. We noticed one of our team members, Ken, making some “strange” movements. His arms were raised above his head and it looked like he was holding on to something. He almost looked like he was trying to surf. He was demonstrating his new creation, the “tap-tap” dance! I am sure that it will become the latest dance craze! Is American Band Stand still around?

Lynn Arcand