Wow! The past ten days have been absolutely amazing and intense. I started off my journey with flight delays, an overnight in JFK and my bags being sent to the wrong airport. Luckily, I was not alone on this adventure! I had my fellow intern, Marion, along for the journey and we had a ton of fun. The surprise 24 hours we spent together in airports included funny accents, him almost being kidnapped, seeing Fergie, and riding the airtrain around JFK to every terminal around 6 times. Needless to say, we became fast friends. Then we finally arrived to Ft. Lauderdale for 3 days of training before heading to Haiti, and we found ourselves bag-less. Turns out, they were sent to Miami... but they sent them to us the next day! Our 3 days in Ft. Lauderdale were amazing and fun! I love everyone on my team and we are going to have an amazing summer.
We landed in Haiti on Sunday morning and we were to the mission by lunch! We were so blessed to have such an easy travel day! This began our week of intense training that included going to every campus the mission had around the Northwest region. Monday, we hiked to the waterfall and enjoyed so nice quiet time there. Tuesday was Beauchamp and the orphanage. We were on a taptap for 6 hours that day but it didn't stop us from having a great time with the kids. I saw Guyvenson at the orphanage!!!!!!!!! And he remembered me :) Oh I love that child! I hope to see him a lot this summer. Wednesday was Tortuga Island! This was my first time there and I loved the boat ride and the children. I had a little buddy and I couldn't understand why she wouldn't answer my questions. Marion informed my that she was deaf, so that just meant that from that point on we exchanged a lot of smiles and hugs! Unfortunately, I had the "Haitian Sensation"on Thursday and did not get to go with the group to all things Port-au-Paix, but I'm sure an opportunity will arise from somewhere to go there!
Friday was Ansefoleur. I had been to this place before but it was full of sadness and fear when I had gone with my other group. We hiked up to the monument were the huge cross had stood before and we prayed while Voodoo rituals and prayers were being performed around us. Next we went to the temple and Melonnie encouraged us to approach the temple with a different attitude than the others who had lead me in before did. She told us that these people think that they are praying to the same God we are and they would be happy to have us in there. Before, we were told that they hated us and thought that we were evil. Going in with this brand new attitude changed everything for me. I was greeted with smiles and welcomes. It was nothing like what I had remembered it being. One thing had not changed... it was heartbreaking. These people think that praying to a little girl's doll will help them and Satan is running rampant here and all over Haiti. The practice of Voodoo is truly the saddest thing I have ever witnessed. It offers no hope what so ever. After we left the temple, we walked down the street to this tiny little restaurant that had the BEST food ever!
Yesterday was just one of many beach days! We went out to visit Grant and Natasha and toured La Baie's campus. Then we went on the boat over to the private and most beautiful beach I have every been to! Ivenor led us into a cave and we scared the next group when they landed! It was so great to just be able to have fun with all of the staff that was there and to just relax for a little bit. Today was our first day off since I left Kentucky! Church was great (as always) and then we had a staff beach barbecue this afternoon! I love being here and being a part of Northwest's team! Groups arrive on Tuesday and I am ready to get to work :)
Closing thoughts: This has been a long blog and these are just really general glances into all of my experiences thus far! But I do want to let you know that IT HAS BEEN SOOOOO GOOD TO LOVE ON SOME HAITIANS AGAIN! It has been way too long. And God is kicking my butt here. One of the best things so far has been our group devos with our daily themed scriptures. Everyone has really challenged me here and I am definitely being called to do something greater. Please pray for me and my team and our "heart issues" that we are discovering! Really hitting Philippians 2 hard! But I am proud of the interns because no one has complained once since we've been here and it has been a really long and trying week!
Love you all and please keep praying :)