Hello sweet friends,
I apologize for the two-month delay in writing this second blog post. It would be impossible for me to put into words and explain how much God has grown me through seasons of joyfulness to seasons of absolute hardship and confusion. So, instead of writing a novel of every experience that has happened thus far, I figured you would be most interested in what an average day of Haitian VBS looks like.
Now, before I explain what VBS looks like once the children arrive, you should know how much organization and planning is going on behind the scenes. After eating breakfast, the plan is for my team of Haitian translators and I to load a school bus at 7:25. Sometimes this goal is accomplished, but more times than not it ends up being around 7:45 (my VBS translators are very intentional and relational with one another–which I LOVE–but it isn’t very common to be on the bus on time). During that in between time, I will gather up fellow MOH interns as they eat their breakfast and ask them to help load our school bus with 18 water bags from the freezer (each big bag is filled with 60 individual smaller water bags that is safe water for the children to drink during VBS). As soon as the waters are loaded in the bus, so do the suitcases. Each VBS suitcase holds 500 soaps, 500 toothpastes, 500 toothbrushes, and prizes for VBS.
The school bus will drive my Haitian translators and I down to the church and stop at two different locations to drop off water bags–9 bags will be dropped off in the kitchen area where the children get fed and the other 9 will be taken to the basketball court for our sports station. Once everything is set and taken off the bus, the bus driver and a translator will take one lap to the village we are hosting for the morning and pick up as many children that can fit in the bus. Once the first round of kids arrive to Mission of Hope, we wait for our other campus buses from Bercy to come so we can use them to get more kids (as our first bus who picked up children has to go straight back to the guesthouse by 8am to take our other mobilization interns and their North American team members to the villages for the day).
Now, here is a typical day for VBS:
As the children continue coming in by the hundreds, North American team members will typically form a tunnel or a high five line to greet the timoun (Haitian creole for “children”). From about 8:15-9:15 our translators will engage the timoun in a hype up VBS session with interactive games, dance parties and dance offs, singing worship songs, etc. Then around 9:15 is when the kids are separated into four different groups in regard to how old they are: 3-5, 6-8, 7-9 and 10-12 year olds. The 3-5 year olds leave the church and go to the kitchen to eat their rice and bean meal, 6-8 are lead to our agriculture/hygiene classroom, 7-9 are brought to the basketball court to kick a soccer ball around, play with jumprope, etc. and the 10-12 year olds stay in church to hear the Bible message given by the Village Champion.The goal is for each rotation to be around 20-30 minutes so the kids can be back in the buses by 11. My job during VBS is essentially to walk from station to station reminding each station what time to rotate the kids to each section with transition walking time, etc.
Tuesday’s and Thursday’s are especially exciting days for VBS. On Tuesday’s, one of my translators Samedy teaches about the importance of hygiene and passes out soap to around 500 children each week. Then, on Thursday’s he distributes toothbrushes and toothpaste after explaining how to thoroughly clean ones teeth. Although every day of VBS is equally as important than the other, VBS Wednesday’s are the most celebrated in the Kingdom. Every 3-12 year old child is given the opportunity to follow Jesus during our Bible rotation–we call this “Salvation Day.” It is a truly powerful thing to be given the opportunity to witness these Haitians lives being changed on a weekly basis.
The summer is already becoming a blur. It’ll take me some time to process it. So please forgive me not communicating as well as I’d like to. I’ve been blessed to touch the lives of thousands of Haitian children. I’ve witnessed the courage of malnourished Haitians pursuing their faith and protecting their families. I’ve had to be patient with stranded vehicles in the mountains and chaos in the villages. And most days I’m just overwhelmed that I’ve even been given this opportunity. I am honored to be able to spend my summer with these amazing Haitians and the people ministering to them. And I’ve known every day that my friends and family have been supporting me with their prayers. I’m so grateful for that encouragement as I’ve done my best to help the children of Haiti.
Thank you for your love and your prayers.