Students returned from Christmas break this week. Unfortunately, about 20% of them stayed home with fevers. As the week went on, more and more teachers were absent, as well. While no one is testing, it's pretty safe to assume this is a COVID outbreak and it is country-wide. Does this sound similar to where you live?
These past two years have been full of cancellations - no teams, no conferences, no anniversary celebrations - all times two! It almost goes without saying that we are beyond pleased that our Thozin staff banquet actually took place AND somehow it was very well attended.
Those of you who have visited Haiti already know how the people LOVE pretty! Just look around a church gathering any Sunday morning and you'll see pristine suits, beautiful dresses, polished shoes, and elaborate hairstyles. Well, this banquet reminded me of a Haitian wedding - everyone dressed to the hilt, decorations galore, and the presentation of food - wow!
The preparations for the banquet were led by Pastor Lex, Jephte, and Madona. They were joined by a whole slew of volunteers - including the Thozin campus' senior class. All the volunteers were excited to make something beautiful for the staff to show their appreciation for their hard work.
Vendors that we use regularly, along with the mission's lawyer donated some of the food for the event.
So many women volunteered to cook. They were happy, collaborated just amazingly, and the food was not only pleasing to look at, it was also delicious! Praise the Lord!
If there's one thing we all know about Pastor Lex, it's that he loves to feed people. I have gone without food on purpose, but I've always had food available to eat every single day. Imagine going all day without eating anything? Or two days? And then when you do eat, your tummy can't hold enough to last until the next time.
I remember when we rescued 32 children from an orphanage where they were neglected and not fed well. The first morning, we gave them eggs, bread, and peanut butter to eat while we prepared a big meal for them. One of the children asked Madame Manyol, "Auntie, is this all the food we will have for the day." Knowing the child was thinking they needed to save some for later, she responded, "No, sweetie. You go ahead and eat ALL of that. We'll be having a big meal in a few hours." The child smiled and went to work eating it all.
When the big meal was ready, the staff prepared these HUGE plates for these little children. (Think haystack. It was literally at least 3 times the size of a normally LARGE plate of rice and beans!) I was thinking about the money and almost said something to the ladies about having made too much food, but I held my tongue. Well, they all ate all of the food and went back for seconds AND thirds, before the food ran out. We quickly discovered that we had to limit how much we fed them, as they ate themselves sick at every meal, having been conditioned to take all they could while it was available.
All that to say, Pastor Lex took great pleasure in serving the volunteers lunch.
Something you may not have known about Pastor Lex: He prides himself on his ironing skills! Consequently, he thoroughly enjoyed teaching some of the students how to iron the tablecloths using an electric iron. A little aside here - with electricity being undependable or nonexistent in Haiti, most homes still use a charcoal iron like this one.
Hats off to all of those who helped create this special evening!!!
I do have some other pictures I want to share with you. Here's Marlouse, the school nurse at our Port-au-Prince campus. She works hard to relieve suffering for our students and staff.
It's such a joy to see how hard the children work and how much they enjoy learning!
The babies in the Ravine continue to grow. Weighing in and giving them vitamins are important aspects of tracking and keeping them healthy.
This morning, Pastor Lex was at our campus in the beautiful mountains of St. Etienne and shared a message with the church there. Six families committed themselves further to the Lord as they chose to dedicate their children to Him. Praise the Lord!
Thank you for your continued prayer for our friends in Haiti. I ask that you would lift Pastor Lex up in prayer, as well, that he may be filled with wisdom and understanding as he navigates leading the mission in such a difficult season in Haiti. Thank you for all your support and encouragement! We're so much better together!