I’ve been here over two weeks now, and feel pretty much back ‘in the groove’. The trip here was again uneventful. Alonzo Mourning was on my first flight! I almost forgot. I only caught a glimpse of him. Passengers mentioned his name as I stood in line to board. As I went through the plane’s door and turned right into the cabin, I saw a well-dressed man struggling to fold his extra long legs into the space in front of him in seat 1C. He was pulling his hat down over his face trying to hide it, but I caught a glimpse. He seemed completely uncomfortable ‘rutzing’ around in his chair and being unable to look up at people as would be natural. I went to my seat, stretched my legs out, and watched people board.
Haiti seems different. As you come through the airport now, they offer you a free glossy magazine that shows off fancy hotels, planned improvements, and people doing good things here in Haiti. I didn’t take one because it seemed disconnected with the Haiti I know, but as I read one of the magazines and then moved around Port, I began to feel that something has really changed…or is changing. It feels like a new beginning. President Martelly has been in office since May 2011. He struggled to get a prime minister in place, and is apparently at odds with most of the rest of the government, but good things are happening everywhere I look. People are giddy, like after a long-awaited rain. (THIS WEEKEND NEWS SPREAD THAT THE PRIME MINISTER RESIGNED. NEW TURMOIL?)
Many of you remember the dirt road I always talk about (and actually wrote a song about…look for it on the next ASAPH concert) that leads into and through our town. When I arrived here in 1992 people were saying that there is a plan to pave the road. Now, 20 years later, it’s happening. The 12-foot wide path is now a gaping swath of dirt 3 times wider than it used to be. The huge yellow machines roll along taking out trees, walls, and whatever is in their way. Our school wall is now standing in the middle of the new road. They tell us they are coming to knock it down any day now. I’ll have pictures.
We’ve heard the plan is to have this road be the connection from Cayes all the way to the Dominican Republic along the southern coast for commerce. From what we see, this is no ‘repair’ project. This is a real road CONSTRUCTION project. If you stand in the street in Passe-bois-d’orme, you can see all the way to Flammands in the west and almost all the way to Laborieux in the east. Those towns seemed so far away just months ago.
THEN, my Digicel cell phone now works everywhere in town. I used to have to hang it on my wall at a special place to get a signal. A year ago I used to have to climb up on my roof! Now, people are talking on their phones out in the fields, in the street, and in church…and school. New problems.
THEN, an attachment on my laptop allows me to connect to the NATCOM 3G network all over Haiti. I’m on-line right here in my house!
AND THEN, our church is full of people! When I left, there were maybe 20 people on a Sunday morning. The first Sunday I was here the church was filled…maybe 50 people. And they told me it was a smaller crowd than they had been getting. The mood was good, positive, organized. I was blessed.
SO, I’ve been thinking. I spent three months away from here and everything got better. Maybe I should…nah!
I spoke with Emmanuel, who some of you know as the man who used to stay with me and is a welder. He shared with me that he has been studying with Jehovah Witnesses. He’s already in kind of deep. I’m asking him to read the stuff John wrote and decide if Jesus Christ was God. I guess there’s still work to do here! Thanks again for sending me!
Tonight I'll spend almost 24 hours in the Miami International Airport. It's now 9:23pm, and the noise level has gone down dramatically in the last hour.
Travel isn't as exciting as it used to be. It just seems long. It'll be another two days before I actually arrive at my destination.
The first moments in Haiti are always...stressful. The Creole seems so foreign in my mouth. When I say things, I think, "Who said that?" The sounds are strange. People want to talk and talk, and I feel like a saltwater fish in freshwater. It goes away in a day, though.
In John, Jesus talks about Light. There's a moment where the disciples try to protect him by keeping him away from Jerusalem (where his life will be in danger). He talks about walking in the day and walking at night. Walk in the daytime, and you don't stumble. Walk at night, and you might. (My paraphrase, obviously.) It was his way of saying, "I know what I'm doing." And still, he was killed there. He knew...and walked on. My reaction? Thank you, Lord.
The good people at FOX43 came and spoke with me. FOX43.com has the story...something like "York native nears 20 years in Haiti."
I fly tomorrow. Arrive in PBO finally on Saturday evening. I long for the day when we'll be able to 'transport' ala STAR TREK. Travel seems like wasted time.
Working on making ASAPH Teaching Ministry a 501c3 organization. Amazing steps. God is good.
"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." Psalm 118:1
Missionary in Haiti.