It is always good to be back in PBO. Life here is like anywhere else in many ways. There are all kinds of people here, like where you are. People are dealing with all kinds of events and situations. I am always happy to be a part of this community.
A lady in our town has been paralyzed from the waist down. A hospital could find nothing wrong. She came home and cried for her 3 sons and husband who need her. She visited another hospital in Port and still knows nothing. Meanwhile, a man who lived in our town years ago has spend 9 years in prison. He was tangled up in guns and threats. In prison, he trusted his life to Christ. People say he is filled with reformed ideas nowadays. He is out...got out this week unexpectedly. Smiles adorned his family, though he has decided to NOT live in PBO anymore.
Church groups and other groups are adapting to a new reality here. Teenagers used to be free from 1:00 in the afternoon until tomorrow morning. School days were short, and choirs, teams, and groups were easy to organize. Nowadays, schools don't send kids home until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. It makes a huge difference. Kids come out of school hungry and tired. They need a recovery time before they even think about attending a rehearsal or practice. Lots of groups are affected. ASAPH's Brass Band rehearses with about 1/2 of its members. The soccer team attendance is down. We'll adapt eventually. That's life.
Christmas vacation is usually a long break here. School sometimes close up around the 19th of Dec. and don't fire up again until mid-January. Not so this year! With so much missed time already, we hear some schools in the cities will close up December 24th and reopen on January 6th. That is almost USA-like. Not at all normal for here. But, that's life.
I consider it a privilege to go through daily life with the people around me. I try to be a light in any way that I can. Kids here lack involved parents. Teachers are often remote and busy. I am happy to have every conversation with every person who drops by. Pray that I will remain available to all who need a bit of help.
Judes Medoit is Asaph's soccer coach. He sees what soccer can do as a ministry tool. People in Haiti tend not to 'play' together very much...especially not different generations. Parents don't play with their kids.
Judes set up a soccer game that pitted AAF against adult men in local churches. In several cases, it was father against son. I played as well.
We had a delightful Sunday afternoon together. There were uniforms and referees, but there was no 'game tension' to speak of. It was fun...a game!!
The kids ran around us. They passed. They collected every free ball, and they scored first on a free kick. In the second half, though, two former players combined for a great shot on goal. The young goalie had no chance. We ended up tied.
Our town has fallen in love with penalty kicks. We decided to include them since the game ended in a tie. The adult goalie couldn't really put his hand on any ball the kids shot. The young goalie was no match for adult kickers. Finally, as the sun went down, one of the AAF players missed his shot. The adults 'won', but really it was a win-win situation.
Here at ASAPH Teaching Ministry we will continue to bring people together around positive activities. We are present Christ in this rural Haitian community...one lesson at a time.
In the USA with WEC (Courtois Erntz)
October 15th was a big day for me. After 27 years of relating to people in two different worlds, they came together a bit more than ever before. Friends from the USA have come to visit Pasbwadom. That in itself was cool. But in October, one of the young people who grew up around me in Pasbwadom was able to walk the streets of Dallastown. It was a special time in my ministry.
We visited Hershey Chocolate World, Muddy Run, Harley Davidson, and York historical sites. We visited Haitian friends in Lancaster and in Philadelphia.
WEC and I played music six different places, and we were able to share a bit of the ASAPH story as well. He ate at my mom's table. He played with kids in my family. He knows my brothers and sisters. He worshiped in the church where I grew up.
We have great memories of those weeks. Now we are adapting to our lives here again. Those two different worlds seem a bit more connected.
Travel in Haiti
Haiti has been unstable this year. My trip home in October was up in the air until the last minutes. Our church was enjoying its annual week of evening services as my travel day approached. Our theme was from Joshua chapter 6 where the wall of Jericho fell after six days of walking in silent obedience. The trip home seemed impossible with road blocks every day. BUT, as happens sometimes, the protesters take a few days off. It's true. They need to move around and get some things done as well. SO, on the day I was scheduled to go to Port, the country was calm. Vehicles were everywhere taking care of business...quickly. My driver skirted one situation (two storage containers blocking the road) that would have made me turn around and come home, but I have learned to trust other people. We went down dirt roads and came out on the other side of the containers. From there, it was all good. The 25-foot wall of Jericho was reduced to dust.
Coming back was equally as tenuous. WEC was obliged to travel back to Haiti on November 11, otherwise he overstayed his VISA and would have trouble ever coming back to the USA. Our tickets were for Monday, the worst day to travel. Sundays tend to be the calm before the Monday storm. We spent the night on the floor of Miami's airport not really knowing what we would do upon arrival. I have two drivers I use. Both were hesitant. We investigated a flight with a small plane, but details seemed to not line up for a Monday flight. WEC remained confident, but I know that things seldom go smoothly in Haiti.
We landed ahead of schedule on the American Airlines flight. That is rare. Flights into Haiti are usually late. I received a message on my phone from a missionary in Fondeblan saying we could make the flight to his town if we RUSH through the airport and customs. We deplaned and sped through immigration. No questions. We got our luggage without delay. We made it through customs with only a tiny pause. WEC's cousin was waiting for WEC (for a document exchange). We had him line up a taxi while he waited. We took that taxi next door to the little airport where the MAF agent was smiling. He was waiting for us. They weighed our bags (and our bodies) and put us on the Cessna plane headed for Fondeblan. After that flight, it was a 30 minute drive down safe dirt roads to Pasbwadom.
I am thankful that God arranged things we couldn't. I am living these days as extra blessings knowing God placed us safely here while the country is locked up. (On the day of our flight, the highway was completely blocked two different places.)
Missionary in Haiti.