Joy. Deep, unbridled joy. That would be the word to describe today.
So this morning was a little crazy... we had 3 UMVIM teams plus one extra team hanging out at the Guest House and none of them were leaving early in the morning. There were lots of folks hanging out for quite some time. However, it was thanks to this that I got to see my dad's best Haitian friend, Marc Anny. Marc Anny just visited the US and so it was great to catch up with him and hear about all of his experiences. He had a wonderful trip and it was so much fun to catch up with him briefly.
After that, I tagged along on yet another trip to the airport with Oge so I could really hide from seeing the boys. As several of them show up early, I wanted to be sure that they wouldn't see me. I REALLY wanted it to be a surprise. :) However, when I was waiting for the team to get fully loaded, Michellet and Dolison came by.
Their faces lit up when they saw me. It was not like it was last time I was here, but it was similar. I was instantly greeted with big hugs and exclamations of "M kontan we ou!" (I am happy to see you!) They did not let go until I had to leave. It was so special to have that brief greeting with them. I have missed them so much.
When I returned from the airport, the boys were all off playing soccer so I was able to sneak through easily and get all the materials needed for a fun afternoon with them. My mom gave me the great idea of playing parachute games with the kids and Wendy, Tom's (the director of UMVIM Haiti) wife, had brought a parachute down a while back for their mission in Furcy. Thankfully, I was able to borrow it.
Finally, it was noon and I got to go and see my boys. I feel like they were almost dumbstruck to see me... almost like I was a ghost, a hologram in front of them. :) Soon, though, they were each coming up to me, giving me hugs and kisses on the cheek. It was wonderful to be reunited. Sarah and Danette came out with Nathalie and began passing out some health kits, snacks, and, of course, their money for the week. It was a big exciting week!
I didn't know if parachute games would be great for all ages or not. I know that I had played parachute games in elementary school and I loved them, but I didn't know if teenagers would enjoy them or not. I hoped, though, that the new-ness of the experience might make it worthwhile for everyone.
Well let me tell you... they LOVED it. I had this moment, while I was watching them play when I was struck by just... the complete joy that they all had and I started to tear up. This is what I miss. This is what I love. I love making the day of a child who has very little. These children struggle regularly, but in those two hours, they didn't struggle at all. They just had fun. They were just kids. Laughing, playing kids. If you want to see some of that joy, go here.
It was just such a blessing to witness that. I can't really explain it. It was a moment worth savoring though. I want to remember this day for a long time.
It was kind of a sad time for the kids, though, as they had to say goodbye to Sarah who has been working here for this past year. I am certain that she'll be missed. The kids also got the opportunity to meet Danette, though, who will be taking Sarah's job. It was kind of interesting/fun to have "3 generations" of people in the same job there at once. It was a party!
Beyond all of that, I took another trip to Rebo today with Ronda and Chelsee who are members of the Haiti Partnership team (but they stayed behind to help fulfill part of Chelsee's college requirements.) It was, as it usually is, enjoyable.
Also, the plans for tomorrow have been up in the air for a while so I wasn't sure what was going to happen. Plans were so up in the air that I wasn't even sure if I'd be going to church, much less preaching. At this point, though, it looks like I will be going to Oge's mom's church and I WILL be preaching. Whoa! I'm a little nervous about it, but Oge read my sermon today and said it was "really good" so I am hopeful/prayerful that all goes well tomorrow. I'm praying that the Holy Spirit is an active presence in worship tomorrow. :) I'll try to get some video or photos of the experience.
And with that, I suppose I'll log off. Oge and I were supposed to also go swimming and get some good lunch at a hotel tomorrow, but it looks like it is going to be storming all day. If that's the case, then we'll just go out to eat somewhere nice. Look forward to my installment tomorrow about preaching, stormy weather, and delicious food. :)