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    Author: Signe Damdar

    Category: The Pulse - 2017.37 Issue 37, The Pulse - 2017.38 Issue 38

    How a Bucket, a Water Jug, and a Hug Can Change a Life

    The 2017 WEFC Haiti team of 22 arrived in Port au Prince ready to do what God would have us do. 

    We knew this meant hard construction work. We moved cement blocks up to the second floor to create walls for secondary school classrooms.  We passed buckets of hand-mixed cement to be poured over the rebar to secure the walls.  We cleared a plot of land, removing trash, chunks of cement, and rocks so that it could be tilled and used for a garden.  “Bucket lines” are essential in Haiti as we line up side by side to complete a task.  By working together to pass heavy buckets we, Haitians and Americans, can slowly but surely make a difference in building schools, providing education, and growing food.

    We knew we would be able to feed about 300 families and give them clean water during the food distribution day. On Sunday, Franceli, the director in Haiti, asked us to pray because the Culligan water factory machine had broken and it was possible we would not have any water on Tuesday to give. We praise God that it was repaired! Tuesday at 5:15 AM, six men from our team stacked the water jugs in the garage, ready for distribution. We worked that day repackaging rice and packing bags of spaghetti, rice, manna packs, and oil to feed this hemisphere’s hungriest.  The loud sounds in the street of people desperate for food and water still ring in our ears. The faces of children who come alone to get food and water and of grandmothers who arrive after the food runs out is burned in our memories.  A jug of precious potable drinking water will never be the same.

    We knew we would be spending time with the 50 precious children of Redeemer’s Child Orphanage. We played games, taught workshops, got schooled in soccer, sang songs, drew pictures, received colorful manicures, laughed through improvised Creole conversations and swam at the beach with these kids. Somehow, we developed a special rapport in just 8 days spent with these children. Each of us will forever cherish the hugs from kids who were neglected, abused, and abandoned by their parents. Jill will tell you how snuggling a babe who would have died without the formula it received at the orphanage has impacted her forever. Nate will tell you how he looks up to a young brother who would willingly return to the hard life on the streets so that his sister would be safe in the orphanage. Dan and Dawn will tell you how a toddler’s hug is so sweet from a boy whose own mother tried to sell him.  Each child has a story that is impossible to believe. At Redeemer’s Child Orphanage each child is taught God’s amazing love and grace, Jesus’ sacrifice and gift, the Holy Spirit’s power and strength. The children wrestle with questions, but they learn to forgive and they learn to trust again. And they hug us, sometimes clinging to us, not letting go. That’s what changes us.

    Dear family in Christ, the Haiti team is grateful to you for your partnership in this most recent Haiti mission trip. We want you too to be changed by the simple things: a bucket, a water jug, a hug. If you are interested in hearing more about the trip, please seek out one of the members who will eagerly share stories and pictures of God’s work in Haiti. If you are interested in learning more, please visit Love in Motion.