I think I will start by summarizing what we did, why we did it, and then in different blog posts will try and tell stories from each day, keeping them in sequence as much as I can. I won't be giving all details, as our team is planning a special event to share our story, but there will be things I won't have time to share at our event and those will be things I will blog about here.
A long time ago a church in a Haitian mountain village put in a request for a new building. (We pronounced it Bau Michele, but I'm still not certain of the spelling.) Their little church building was too small, and the old structure was beginning to fall down around them. In this village, the church is more than just a place of worship. It is the hub of the community. When a disaster strikes, the government tells the people to seek refuge in the church. It is a place where they come together for many things. I've never seen anyone with so little. Clothing, food, shelter is all so hard to come by. The people of the village pooled their resources and scraped together enough money to prepare a foundation in the side of a steep mountain and they worked tirelessly digging it out by hand and hauling sand from far away to make it level.
6 months ago, the people of First Church of the Nazarene in Medford Oregon sent over a gift of $19000. Construction on the church in the mountains began. A concrete floor was poured and concrete walls were built. All that was needed now was a roof, pews, paint and a pulpit.
Last week a team of 25 teens and adults left from the San Francisco airport to finish the construction project. We fundraised the money for our expenses and before we knew it we were all stepping off of the plane in Port Au Prince, exhausted and overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of Haiti.
In the days to come we would see the difference between the Haitian people who lived in the city, and the people who lived in the mountainous country. We would see unbelievable desolation and hopelessness in what was the epicenter of the earthquake. We would see mass graves and tent cities. We would experience chaotic traffic, crazy humid heat, and Haitian hospitality. We would look into these beautiful dark faces and wish we could speak their language. We didn't know how much this trip would bind us all together as a team, making memories that were beyond anything we could dream of.
The video below is a couple of quick clips of our team before we left San Francisco. My best video clips will be reserved for our official 'recap' video, to be shown June 23rd and 24th at church. I'll be posting the final videos after that time.
Next post: What I experienced when I got off the plane, and our journey to the seminary compound.