Early this morning, Darrin Geier, Dan Schauer, and I left to travel to the country of Haiti. (Thank you Jim Nygren for driving Darrin and I to the airport at 4 AM!) We joined four other pastors from North Carolina, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota to explore a possible partnership between Woodbury Community Church, World Wide Village, and the people of Haiti.
Those of you from Woodbury Community Church know that God has been doing some unique things in our church as it relates to this tiny island nation. It all began when God placed a burning desire on Sara Lein’s heart to do something to make an impact in the nation of Haiti. The island nation, which was already one of the world’s poorest countries, was ravaged by the devastating earthquake in which an estimated 316,000 people lost their lives, countless children became orphans, over 1,000,000 people became homeless, and over 30,000 commercial buildings were destroyed.For the past couple of years Sara and her daughter Breelynn have traveled to Haiti, to work with A New Arrival Orphanage and partner with the school that works with these orphans. They have also worked alongside a number of organizations that exist help bring hope and healing to the people of Haiti. Many of you have seen the beautiful jewelry produced by the women at the Apparent Project, or participated in the Kozefò 5K, which helped benefit some of the educational initiatives that Sara is working with through her school in Haiti. One of the beautiful things that has come out of Sara’s work is the decision by two families at Woodbury Community Church to adopt sons from A New Arrival Orphanage! You will hear their story in our services on October 28th.You can read about Sara’s work in Haiti here. You can read about the journeys of our two families’ that are adopting from Haiti here and here.This Thursday we will have a chance to meet Stanley and Davensly, the boys that will be a part of our church family sometime in the next year or so! We can’t wait. We will be taking some video of the guys to share with their future families.
We arrived in Haiti at about 4:30 this afternoon. We were greeted at the airport by our wonderful hosts and taken to the home that we are staying in for the next four nights. After a delicious meal we spent about two hours talking about Haiti, getting to know the other pastors on our team, and sharing why we are here.Tomorrow we will be travelling about an hour north of Port au Prince to visit with a number of pastors. We are going to learn from them. They will share with us about their country, the needs in their nation, the ways in which the Haitian church is trying to address these needs, and practical ways that we can partner with them. One of the things that came through loud and clear tonight was the need for Haitian pastors to be trained. As many as 60% of Haitian pastors only have a 3rd grade education. So, training is a challenge. I’m looking forward to learning from these men tomorrow.I’m hoping to capture some pictures of Haiti’s beauty tomorrow. This is a lush country and beauty abounds everywhere. The people are who immediately capture your heart. They are friendly, smart, have a great sense of humor and I can’t wait to spend more time with them.We are all operating on about 3 hours sleep, so I’m going to sign off for now. I’ll post more tomorrow.