Well today was an pretty exhausting day and we didn’t do much more than travel. Most of us were up in the 4am hour to be at the airport by 5 something. The majority of our team traveled from Tallahassee, but we had others converging on Miami from Orlando, West Palm and even Guatemala! So from Miami we were in the air for Port au Prince, Haiti.
For all of us, this is our first time in Haiti and first partnership that Wildwood has had with ESMI (El Shaddai Ministries International) which is a PCA work of MTW (Mission to the World) our global missions arm. They have been hard at work in Haiti for decades now and have multiple locations and facets to their ministry.
Upon arrival in Haiti we were greeted by some friendly people, a strange language and some warm, tropical weather. The PAP airport is quite the experience and we were prepared, but learned Haiti time and US time aren’t the same. After moving through immigration and customs we had a good wait until we were able to retrieve our checked baggage. From there we were glad to meet a staff member of ESMI who helped us through what seemed like herding cattle. Outside the airport was an even crazier experience and then we felt the full heat of the Haiti sun. We navigated through an overcrowded parking lot to find our bus waiting on us. Which was actually a travel coach with AC!
Now we were off on a 5 hour drive to Les Cayes. We navigated down the east coast, made a pit stop (complete with armed security) to use the restroom and grab a snack and drink) and then crossed over to the south coast to arrive at Cayes. Haiti is a stunning country. As you look out you are surrounded by tropical fauna, beautiful mountains and then you look down into the cities to see devastation and poverty. It was honestly quite a bit to take in. Although, most of us caught some much needed shut eye that was punctuated by the persistent use of the horn and brakes. But we were grateful to safely arrive and even though it was dark, we got to see just a bit of ESMI’s ministry center here in Cayes.
Pastor Louis greeted us and showed us to our rooms. We were totally surprised to feel the coolness of some AC units. In fact, they were shockingly cold to what we had acclimated to. ESMI has been working here in Cayes since the early 90’s and told us of the recent deviation from Hurricane Matthew and how different the ministry center and surrounding vegetation looks now.
On site they have a church, multiple buildings for the children here in the orphanage (with 7 other orphanages in the area), multiple building for school and then the guest house area. They’ve also planted hundreds of churches here in Haiti.
We had our usual team time, but kept it a bit shorter as we debriefed and opened God’s Word together. We’re off now for a good night’s rest and excited to see what the place actually looks like in the daytime.
Thank you for standing with us in prayer and for following us on this journey. You can also follow more updates on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) – just look for wildwoodstudents.