We are finally here, and it really feels like home. The other missionaries here took the time to have our house ready and were so very welcoming. It feels like this is where we belong.
Getting here was pretty nuts, but that was to be expected. The drive down to Fort Pierce was great and we arrived just like expected. The guys at Missionary Flights International welcomed us as fellow family members of the body of Christ. We had everything unloaded, weighed, and done in about an hour. As we unloaded they noticed all of our instruments and asked us to play them some songs. We worshiped our God together in the hangar right next to the plane and closed out with I'll Fly Away. Truly a picture of the body of Christ.
The next morning we boarded the plane and the pilots prayed for us before taxiing out. That was truly a first and an awesome experience. The morning was damp and the first beams of daybreak were just beginning to break through over the horizon as we took flight.
Two hours of flight brought us to Exuma, Bahamas to take on more fuel. We were on the ground just long enough to catch a bathroom break and then we were off again. The morning sun was beginning to take full flight and shining a beacon of light across the blue waters of the Carribean.
Once on the ground in Port au Prince things got really crazy. We made it through immigration with no problems and no lines, as we were the only people entering at that moment. Then we went down to baggage claim for the circus.
The good news was that Michelle Meece – fellow Hands and Feet Project missionary - had somehow made her way into the airport to meet us, where she was already at work organizing an assembly line of Haitian workers to help us out. It was amazing how much Creole we were able to understand and use right away. A special shout out to Deacon James Paul from Saint's Sanctuary Church in Augusta for the sweet hookups on the language training.
Michelle is just the best. Things would have been so much harder without her veteran experience. She has a servant's heart and just lives out what Jesus has called us to. It was wonderful seeing her right away.
We loaded everything onto luggage carts and made our way through customs as a team. Customs was sifting and sorting through everything, cutting zip ties on packages, dropping stuff on the floor, and rapidly asking lots of questions on what everything was – in Creole. After this we made our way out to the parking lot, wading through a sea of people, to a bus that was loaned to us by a local church. The team of Haitian helpers loaded everything on the bus, or onto the roof a van also on loan to us.
Michelle waited for some more team members to return on another flight and sent us on to Grand Goave with a local Haitian driver and long term friend of Pastor Drex, Franz. Franz navigated through the madness of the Port au Prince road system and into the towns beyond getting us safely to Grand Goave. We unpacked the bus and had everything into our new home just in time for Thursday night worship service. The amazing part was that when we looked at our inventory sheet and started checking off boxes, everything actually made it! Praise God!
We all eagerly headed up the mountain to Ikondo for the Thursday night worship service led by the Sutton Family along with the older Haitian boys on instruments. We sang and praised God together and were eventually joined by the other families from Jacmel. It was great to finally be here together with all of our teammates.
Thursday night we saw our first tarantula (in our house), had our first successful battle with ants, unpacked our bedding (inflatables), and slept awesome. We woke up Friday morning to the sound of the Haitian kids heading out for school. Shortly after waking up we had our first morning devotion together as a family, then headed up the mountain to Ikondo to enjoy breakfast with the rest of our team.
Friday was spent getting further acquainted with all of our team mates and going over expectations for orientation. We are exited to be diving right in, getting to know the kids, and getting to know our fellow workers. I really can't imagine anywhere on earth I would rather be right now.
Friday night was spent unpacking some things and learning where all of the roof leaks were during our first really good thunderstorm. Duct tape is effective first aid for roof leaks by the way. After the thunderstorm subsided we all enjoyed a good night sleep, except for Amy who lay awake to the thunder, lightning, and occasional mango dropping on our oh so thin roof.
I slept like the dead until about 4 am when all the power went off. By the time I got my boots on to check things out Blanchard, one of the night guards, had gotten the generator up and running. I went back to sleep. I don't think Amy did.
We woke up this morning to no water – actually I had some water to wash my face but no one else did. I got dressed and started checking out the water filtration system and holding tank. Everything seemed fine with construction workers around the tower getting water out of the valve mounted to the tower, but the rest of the village remained without water. I vainly tried to solve the problem until Andrew arrived and we tried to figure it out together. The problem was finally solved when he called the construction boss and discovered there was a new ball valve mounted near the tank. Apparently someone had turned it off.
Luke said to me earlier, “This has been the best 3 days of my life!” I agree.