Today was by far the best day of the trip so far. First off, it is Robert’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Robert! He had quite the celebration all day, too. As soon as we pulled up to our first house of the day, we told Rommie, one of our interpreters, that it was his birthday. Rommie’s eyes lit up and he ran over to Robert and gave him a huge hug and sang “Happy Birthday” to him! Rommie actually celebrated his 24th birthday on Saturday so Robert told him all day it was his 25th birthday. There’s no fooling him, though. This is the Haitian who informed me today that his favorite group is the Backstreet Boys. He has really grown fond of us and all of us just love him. He really is a joy to be around all day.
Before we get to the serious matters, it seems necessary to touch on the excitement of the day. After Robert’s birthday hug from our new friend (“mawmee mwen” in Creole), he and Jerry had to go back and fix something for a lady that they built for yesterday. When they reached the house, they were greeted by a man yelling and hollering about something in Creole- something that posed a little issue given the 2 men involved. At some point in this barrage, the man began to pull his pants down. About that time, Rommie came strolling up and found out the man thought the 2 white men who walked up were a medical crew and he wanted them to check his hernia out. The fun was just beginning at that point. After lunch, our birthday boy had to drive because Gary stayed back. The roads are less than perfect around here, but he found a way to drive the Mitsubishi into a ditch while “trying to avoid a lady in the road.” There is no photo evidence of the event but the 4 of them claim that the back tire was off the ground and none of them are sure how it didn’t roll completely over. Luckily, he kicked it into 4 wheel drive and backed his way out. This was after a crowd of around 30 had gathered to watch the foreigners struggle in the ditch. Then, after work, Phil, dad, and I decided to take to the Haitian way of life fully: we rode in the back of the truck with all of our material. Much like when we are back home, all of the ladies were doing double takes when they caught a glance of us. We were the talk of the neighborhood the whole way home. Other events like Jerry stepping off into the 2 foot drainage ditch in front of the rooms and the strange cheese sandwiches that we ate for dinner made for the most entertaining day so far. But the good news is that we are only getting more tired and loopy as the week goes, so there is no telling what is to come….
Now on to the serious business. We totally tore through two houses, finishing them by 10 o’clock. Then we finished numbers 3 and 4 by 12:30. We had 4 houses finished before we ate lunch! Did you catch that? 4 houses. Done. We then ran in to a couple of issues because we had just about used up every bit of the materials and we were not totally sure that we could finish 2 more houses. Needless to say, we took a little bit of an extended lunch this afternoon in hopes of avoiding that awful time of day that we all dread. Somewhere around 2 we headed back out and, by no coincidence, were able to finish 2 more houses (the old fellas lack a couple of sheets of plywood on theirs but that’s it). Our total is now up to 16. At least 16 families now have a roof over their head and walls to support it. In 3 and a half days, these 10 rednecks from Arkansas have provided shelter for 16 families. PRAISE THE LORD!! There, literally, is no other explanation for these events. There has been much made of the talent and skill level of the 10 individuals that make up this group, but that is absolutely meaningless. There are too many variables to count that we have no control of whatsoever. And make no mistake, satan has been trying to screw this up since the time this crew was set. It is 15 degrees hotter than it normally is this time of year. Terry was sick one day and Gary had to stay back at the camp this afternoon due to exhaustion. Roody had to take our truck to Port Au Prince this morning and didn’t get back until dinner time so all 10 of us only had 1 vehicle. The generator has been out of commission for all but one night. The list could go on and on. But time after time, God has taken care of us and just absolutely floored us with His power. Once or twice, we have caught ourselves saying something about a coincidence only to realize the complete lack of randomness involved in the events. Even this group of rough and tough construction workers has made mention about how amazing our God is.
Gary is feeling better now and is itching to get back out with us and we are off to start building a church for the community we have been in all week. The supplies are supposed to be delivered tomorrow and we will most likely spend the last two mornings all working on the church. It is something that they desperately desperately need. But it is in an area that has absolutely no possibility for shade. Please make it a point to say an extra prayer for extra cloud cover the next two days. We will definitely need it since we are wearing out and the sun is getting hotter. Also, we got 4 boxes of Creole Bibles- that you all raised money for- delivered to us yesterday and you could not imagine the excitement on the people’s faces when we hand it over to them. Again, it is a desperate need in the area.
Please continue to pray for our health and cooler weather/places to hide from the sun. Again, we all thank you for the updates from home and words of encouragement that we have been receiving. Just know that you are never far from our hearts and minds.
Until tomorrow night…