Christmas Trip #1 Recap
So wow – It’s almost the end of February and I’m just now sitting down to write this recap. Things have been crazy busy lately, but there’s been a lot of intentional down time as well.
It’s been great to be home and put a priority on seeing family, having date nights and just chilling together.
Life as of late (in 2016) has been so wonderful. Edison is growing and is learning so much so fast right now.
It seems like every hour or so, he’s saying a new word, signing a new sign, or taking another risk. It’s a fun season to be in!
But over Christmas, we went to Haiti for a few weeks of trips and I’d love to share with you what we were up to.
This first week, we had a large group of 70 people serving together for Christmas! We had 14 Haitian staff and even Kyle flew in from Costa Rica (one of our non-Haitian PPM staff) and it was so much fun to be with our Haiti family.
Before I jump into the events of the week, let me give you a little back story. Good Shepherd Orphanage, who you have most likely heard us mention before in conversation or here on this blog, has hosted a Christmas week (or two) of selfless giving for almost 50 years. I believe this was their 49th year? That’s 49 years of serving the people in their community and truly celebrating the reason for Christmas – Christ.
They’ve spent these years celebrating the likeness of Christ in loving people around them and serving them in physical ways, like delivering food, throwing parties, purchasing items needed or just loving on people. We, as PPM, were so blessed to be able to be a part of this time of service for the third year.
So throughout the week, it was an honor to be able to serve alongside these Haitian men and women who truly desire to serve their community and those in need around them.
We had a week crammed full of goodness and ministry.
I’ll just quickly cover the different ministries from the week:
- Medical Ministry
- teams filled prescriptions, prayed with mothers, gave out maternity bags and even purchased new mattresses for the Aids/TB hospital.
- Feeding Program
- our teams assisted in the feeding program for the community at GSO each day
- Sports/Free Rec with Kids
- the teams got to love on the community kids as well, playing with them and investing in some one-on-one time with them
- teams went into the community to share the Gospel and pray with people – we had 5 salvations that we know of!
- Mercy Ministry
- our teams also were able to serve at ASHCA, a home and school for special needs children. We got to love on the kids, throw them two big Christmas parties and purchase a new ramp for the home! Plus, funds given to the home will provide food for many weeks to come! We always feel so welcome at ASHCA and it was a blessing to get to have time to spend with the kids and staff.
- Christmas Parties – all of these parties required intense decorating, something which our teams EXCELLED at – they went above and beyond and made these kids feel SO special!
- ASHCA parties – As I mentioned above, in conjunction with Good Shepherd Orphanage, we threw two big parties for the kids at ASHCA. We fed them a huge meal and enjoyed spending time connecting with and playing with them. It was so special to serve alongside some of the older kids from Good Shepherd, since they serve the children and people of ASHCA each week – their partnership is beautiful and it was a blessing to join with them in ministry.
- Bwadjout party – Bwadjout is a small community in the mountains above Carrefour that we have an existing partnership with. Since they’ve recently switched pastors, we wanted to encourage the new pastor and have a kids party that would also serve as outreach in the community.
- GSO staff and kids party – The staff and children at Good Shepherd spend much of their time and energy serving others, so we wanted to take an evening and serve them instead. Sister Mona is the master mind behind this party and we were so lucky to get to help her make it a reality this year! We were blessed to serve them dinner while Mona gave them all a Christmas gift and specifically talked about the strengths of each person. Afterwards, we got the chance to serenade them all with a chorus of Americans and Haitians singing Christmas songs in Kreyol and English! It was so much fun… and oh yeah! we also had a mini dance party. Did I mention it was so much fun?!
- Team party – We wanted to celebrate Christmas with just our team as well, so Eric and I, along with our staff organized a special Christmas Eve dinner on top of the team lodging. We had all 70 of us on that roof! The view of the sunset and the bay was amazing, and the dinner was so delicious thanks to Fre Denis and his cook team! We took time to read the Christmas story, talked a little bit about the end of the advent season and had a wonderful time of worship. And one of my favorite parts? We got to give everyone a small Christmas gift!
- Aaaand the BIG Christmas party!
We had such a crazy Christmas day, helping GSO throw their annual Christmas party for over 1,000 children! It was so much fun to help in the kitchen, play with the kids, put on a (impressive if I do say so myself) Bible story skit and enjoy Christmas day serving others. The crowd was actually a little smaller than we expected, but we trusted that God knew exactly who should be at the party this year and that we wouldn’t second guess him! (Thanks for the reminder Chad :))
Along with all of that, it was a huge blessing to have Edison in Haiti with us during Christmas. As people often say during the holidays, it can be easy to lose sight of the true reason we celebrate. Edison may be a bit young at this point to fully understand everything that is going on when we travel to Haiti, but we don’t want to take for granted the incredible opportunity we have to set a foundation on his perspective of the world. We know he has friends there and he understands that – so who knows what else his little brain is comprehending!
So, though he may not get it right now, hopefully he can look back in the future and cherish these memories of learning how to serve others and fully embrace the true reason for the Christmas season – the birth of Christ.
It’s not just a lesson for him though, it is a lesson for ourselves as well. To follow the example of the leaders we serve with in Haiti and bring it home to Batesville, Arkansas. Serving our community like Christ serves us – reflecting His love everyday, not just at Christmas time.
So here’s to a beautiful Christmas in Haiti, December 2015. Thank you to everyone who served and prayed alongside us, it wouldn’t have been possible without your help!
Want to follow along with us while we are traveling or while we live normal life? instagram: bethanynrichardson