A daily blog by Bailee Schow
Our first day and half… Kind of…
After packing 10 of us into a van, 4 more into an expedition with luggage, stopping to eat in Brighton, flying the red eye for 4 hours to Miami, arriving at about 6:00 am Eastern, sleeping on the ground for 4 hours until the next flight, boarding our next flight late and sitting on the tarmac for over a half hour, we FINALLY made it to Haiti!!
I can’t believe I’m back. I have been so excited about this since we got back to the US almost 4 years ago. This place has changed so much and I can’t wait to get out and about and see all my kiddos again.
We didn’t really do much after we got here. We got in about 11:00 am, went through customs, found our driver, got our bags, endured the heat and humidity, found our van and got stuck in traffic! The amount that this city has grown is amazing. There are more stores, there are actually police (and they direct traffic, too!) and believe it or not, less trash. Every little bit that this city and country can improve, even if it means a little paint on a building, it’s a huge success. After we arrived and dropped all of our stuff off at the house we ventured back out to see one of the churches that we sponsor. Pat, the VP of World Wide Village which is the organization that we go through to get here, said the traffic was some of the worst she’s ever seen. I, unfortunately, didn’t take any pictures (shocking) so I will have to post tomorrow.
Not much else that we’ve done today other than get settled in. Everyone is alive and well, tired and a little hungry, but that’s nothing that can’t be fixed! We are so excited for our week ahead of ministering to the Haitians. We can’t wait to see how God works through each and every one of us!
Church and a Lookout
Some of you may not know that Haiti is on Eastern Time but they don’t abide by daylight savings, so we’re actually on Central Time.. Long story short, everyone went to bed between 7 and 10 because it had felt like midnight since 5:00 pm.
We enjoyed debriefing on the roof with a refreshing light rain. We are each sharing our testimonies on different nights after reflecting on the day and finishing with a Bible Study. It’s a great way for all of us to practice how to talk to those we will come face to face with throughout the week. In the words of Bill Redinger, “They can’t argue with your own story.” How true? What better way to share the words of Jesus!
This morning we all got up and went to the Mission of Hope church outside the city (see pictures). It’s a church where a lot of the missionaries in Haiti go with the places that they stay located around the church grounds. The best part is it’s a Haitian led church so everything is preached in Creole and many, many Haitians attend. (The pastor will sometimes stop and say part of what he was saying in English and they have the songs in English as well). Haitians never cease to amaze me. The way that they worship gives me chills. They are loud, not afraid and love sing and pray. It’s very inspiring! Many of the kiddos sat with us and tried to rub off our tattoos and played on our phones. They love to love on us and we love to love on them!
After church we got to go out to eat on the United Nations (UN) base. The food was wonderful and it was cool to see. It was really relieving to have running water and an actual toilet after not having either at church. We then changed and headed up to the top of the mountain!
Above Port au Prince there is one of the highest mountains with the most expensive homes and a beautiful lookout. The drive took about forty minutes to get all the way up there and looking down you couldn’t make out a single road that we had taken or any roads for that matter. Standing above the city was breathtaking and also heartbreaking. Seeing all of the clusters of homes in a different perspective made it look like “rubble,” as Tayler put it. But as the higher we climbed as we drove, the less people, the bigger the homes and the more vegetation. It was beautiful.
Tomorrow we will venture out to Williamson, where we will spend the majority of our time. We couldn’t be more excited! Especially because the breeze coming off the ocean makes about a 10 degree difference 😏 Prayers appreciated!!
God’s Love at Work…Day 3
Today was our first day to be out and about outside of Port au Prince. We were all very excited to take Williamson by storm and to do God’s work! It’s a lot different being out in the smaller community, a lot more comfortable. It’s about as different as being in Omaha and Paxton.
We started out the morning by getting acquainted with our surroundings before breaking off into groups. The guys went up the mountain to City on a Hill, where the new guest house and clinic will be, and us ladies went to paint a house occupied by a family caring for the WWV chickens! We got to engage with a lot of kids, which was by far the best part. They love to be held, chased and loved on. Mikayla literally let down her hair and was getting an updo by many different beauticians. As soon as Tayler walked through the gate he was surrounded by little boys who wanted picked up and played with.
The guys were helping build a fence and were putting the posts in the ground and pouring concrete around them so they don’t budge in the rocky soil. They said it was definitely a struggle trying to push a wheelbarrow full of concrete up a rocky hill. Us ladies got most of the painting done on the house but will be back tomorrow and Thursday to finish.
After regrouping and taking a little break around noon we broke off into our groups, with a translator, and evangelized around Williamson. My group consisted of myself, Mikayla, my mom (Cheryl), Myranda and Beau. We came across many individuals who already knew Christ and followed him but maybe just needed some prayers. We got to know them and their families as much as possible in our allotted time. Tomorrow we plan to go back and do a short Bible study with them since we have Creole Bibles for them to use. I was very scared and nervous to open up that much about my Faith to people I don’t know and who don’t speak my language, as were many others on the team. From what I heard and encountered it actually ended up being a very easy, heart and eye opening process. The Lord definitely worked in our hearts today and we are so grateful for the connections that we made!
Tomorrow we will be going back out to Williamson and basically doing the same thing. Please pray for guidance to those who need us most, for our hearts to be opened wide once again and for safety, as always. We are so grateful for all of you following this journey! We couldn’t do it without you.
Cold showers have never felt better… Down here there is no hot water but why would you want hot water when all you want to do is cool down?! Today and yesterday have been excruciatingly HOT!! The temperature says it’s only 90 degrees but there’s just as much humidity so we were all feeling the effects of the heat.
This morning we got to paint a little more on Mirielle’s house. We are so close to being done and will hopefully finish it on Thursday! The guys got a lot of the fencing done and almost got it finished! They had to pull the chain link fence and tighten it by hand but they said it really wasn’t all that bad. Mirielle has goats that have little babies so when we weren’t painting and holding the kids, Myranda was holding baby goats. There were a lot more kids who hung out around us today and helped us paint and got paint EVERYWHERE! A few of the team members walked up the hill to the public shower, which they thought was a lot closer before starting the trek, for the kids to wash off. One little boy had paint all over his clothes and Mikayla asked him if it was his only clothes, to which he responded yes. She then asked more questions and decided to sponsor him. They think he’s around 10 but they have no record of his exact age. He smiled and grinned and she will take him some clothes on Thursday… He was thrilled and kept telling everyone she was his “fairy God-mother.”
We trekked back to the school to meet the guys and take a little break. We ended up hanging out there longer than expected but we had a lot of kids show up and played with them for a couple hours. They did Mikayla’s hair all over again and the boys showed Wilsmith, yes that’s his name, one of our sponsor kids, how to play American football. I don’t know how they mustered up the energy to play in that heat but they did and had a grand time! The Haitian boys loved every minute.
After a long break and a Coke, we broke back off into teams and went out around the town again. Tayler found his calling on the trip with the kids so he hung back and they wore him out! Many of us ran into some people that we had talked to yesterday and prayed over them again. One of the ladies told us that when she sees us walking up to her door she could feel the presence of God. Makes everything we do so worth it! We are definitely making impacts. Please continue your prayers and for God to work on our hearts and open our minds! Thank you all so much!
Somewhere on a Beach
What better way to break up the hot week then to spend an afternoon at the beach? Did I mention Haiti is in the Caribbean? So that just adds to the pleasure!
This morning we went to Arcahaie to the market and got to experience it all first hand! In previous posts there have been pictures of markets along side the road and it just looks like mass chaos, well it is. But Arcahaie has one of the biggest markets and about 2 years ago a building with space built in for vendors was built. It makes the mass chaos seem a little less mass and a little more organized! It was a little nerve racking at first to walk through just because all 15 of us stick out like sore thumbs but it was also cool to actually get to experience what it’s like. Mikayla got to buy clothes for her sponsor child and some of us girls also stopped and bought some really cool fabric! Arcahaie’s market is really close to the ocean so out the back the market continues. Our group didn’t walk out that way but some did and they said that’s where most of the meat was… And it was all being cut up right on the spot… And there were flies everywhere. No thanks! Thank goodness for the breeze off the ocean!
This afternoon brought us to Wahoo Bay! It is an absolutely breathtaking resort pretty far outside the city. It’s becoming more and more popular around the world and becoming a great vacation spot in the caribbean! We got to swim and jump on the trampolines in the water, some of the boys went snorkeling and got to snack and take an afternoon to just relax and truly enjoy the beauty that Haiti is! It’s such a different perspective between seeing the devastation in the city and then being out there and getting to see Haiti for who she truly is. There were a lot of vendors so we all got some pretty cool souvenirs to take home.
On another note…
Last night it was my turn to share my testimony and a lot of what my testimony is most people haven’t heard. I was very pulled by the Holy Spirit during this moment. Now, when I was born, the Methodist faith believes that babies should be baptized, so I was. When I was like 12 or 13 I officially gave my heart to Christ and was confirmed into the Methodist faith. My family and I have since changed churches and are now Evangelical. Since joining this church I have changed immensely as a follower of Christ. I have grown and gone off and on the beaten path; it’s not easy. So after I shared my testimony last night, God was really pulling at my heart to ask Bill Redinger to re-baptize me. After getting my MIP last May, I had to sit through a diversion class and listen to Bill talk about Emma, who has played a role in my life. I felt about 2 inches tall and it really woke me up and I then vowed to try to be a better Christian. So, I went up to him after our evening prayer, told him, he cried, I cried and told me he’d be honored.
So after lunch, he announced our plan and we all ventured down to the beach where I was re-baptized. I cannot explain the feeling after coming out of that water. Renewing, refreshing and the Holy Spirit was just overflowing. Praise Jesus!!!
Oh, and if you need to know if Chaco’s are comfortable, they’re definitely worth your money 😉
Another Day in Paradise
Today was just another day like Monday and Tuesday. We went up to Mirielle’s again and got most of the painting finished, all that’s left to do is her back wall and a few small areas but she said she could finish it no problem. While we were there many kids joined us once again and Carlie got to use the evangecube to tell them the story of Jesus. It was beautiful! The guys went back up the mountain and the fence itself was finished so they did a little concrete work around the bottom so nothing can get underneath it. Us ladies got to take an adventure up there to see the progress and lookout over Williamson and the ocean from the viewpoint of the new guest house (pictures). Breathtaking! And there’s almost always a breeze so it will be amazing once all of the work is done.
It takes quite awhile to get up and down the mountain especially when we can’t fit all of us in the back of the pickup because the van can’t go up and down something that steep. So, the ladies got back to the school first and sat around and talked, played with kids and so on. The men finally made it back to the school and we did just a few evangelizing things today. Mikayla’s and Bill’s sponsor kids are brother and sister so they ventured out to meet their family and pray over them. The boys got into a pretty intense game of football and/or keep away, not really sure what it was. There were a group of ladies who came to the school for sewing classes and mom felt led to go over and evangelize to them. Brylie and I felt that maybe we shouldn’t but went anyway and it was tough. Many Haitians struggle to interpret the Bible and one gal understood that the only way to get to Heaven is to accept Jesus into your heart and understand that you are saved by Grace through Faith but then she started talking about how her church believes that she won’t go to Heaven unless she gets married and is baptized and so forth. We tried explaining and reading the Bible to her that those are good works, but they don’t get you to Heaven. She argued and fought and we ended up praying over her and will be back tomorrow for a Bible study. Really tested our patience and our faith.
Tomorrow we will be at the school all day celebrating the last day! We are very excited to spend our last day here with all the kiddos and really interact with them before we leave! Continued prayers as always!
Our last day…
Today was undeniably bittersweet. It’s no lie that we are looking forward to going home but we’re also leaving a part of us here in Haiti.
All day we got to spend time with the kiddos. They had an end of the school year party with music and great food! We just got to love on them, play with them and spend as much time with them as we could. Some people went out and did a little evangelism and took some others a few Creole Bibles but the majority of us loved on the kids.
During this week we have all been touched by these kids and I think my pictures are evident. We try to show them as much love as we possibly can and we definitely walk away with so much more than we could ever give them. They literally touch us down at our souls; completely changing us forever. This whole country does. We are leaving tomorrow changed in one way or another and it has a lasting impact. I’m sorry this is such a short post, it’s just very bittersweet. God has definitely worked on us all this week and we have grown so much individually and as a team. The area we grew the most was by far our spiritual walk. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for all of us. Haiti – we will all be back! Praying it’s next year!! We are all blessed that you have followed us on this journey, we couldn’t have done it without all of you. Bondye Benyou! (God Bless You)