After our travel day, our first full day in Haiti was a Sunday which, by the way, works out really well since it gives people a day to recover from the exertions of travel, the emotions of seeing Haiti for the first time, and also allows you to slow down from the constant American drum of produce, go, go, go into a slower pace of life and flow that is Haiti. As a pastor, it was also great to see people practicing the Sabbath and is a great opportunity for team members to explore this aspect of the Christian life together and with the people of Haiti. Besides getting to slow down, it was also amazing to have the opportunity to participate in Haitian worship.
CODEP, in and of itself, is not a soul-saving organization. What I mean is, if we take a three pronged view on what the Gospel is, Gospel Proclamation (preaching the Word and declaring what Jesus did), Gospel Demonstration (seeing the kingdom come through actually healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and seeing justice for the oppressed), Gospel Community (Loving, caring, bearing with, etc... one another in community, being family), then CODEP is Gospel Demonstration purely. They see the Haitians as their brothers and sisters in Christ who already have heard the gospel (proclamation) and already participate through local churches in Christian community.
So, on Sunday, we went to participate in worship and thus the local community of Christians not through CODEP's personal worship service, but with the Haitian Episcopal church literally next door. The service lasted about two hours and even though it was in another language and certainly lacking in creaturely comforts the experience was clearly one of whole hearted worship. It was providential that when I returned to Trinity Presbyterian Church on Saturday that I would be preaching the very next day on the joy of worship.The worship service had many elements that were the same as in the United States such as songs of praise, the Lord's prayer, readings from Scripture, a sermon, an offering. It was great that after the service was over our team had the opportunity to talk with a few of the church attendees. Apparently we had arrived just before the national exams so a few students who were able to speak English asked our team to pray for them as they had high hopes of doing well on these exams the next day. It was great hearing our team sharing with their brothers and sisters in Christ.In addition to talking some of our team hung around and sang songs with the only instrumentalist from the church (they were trying to save up to purchase more but currently only had a single acoustic guitar).
As we walked back to the compound, we had the opportunity to hang out on the beach for a little while with a few of the local Haitians. Ashley, the only teenager on our trip, was able at various times to hang out at the beach with the local teenagers. She had her hair braided and shared photos and videos from home on her iPhone. She was popular to say the least. Our team nurse, Diane, was able to see a roughly three year old little girl who wasn't feeling well and give some medicine to help her. The afternoon was spent relaxing and enjoying the Sabbath. It was great to see the team loving on one another and getting to know each other. It was also great that our baggage finally arrived from Insel Air and we were able to have access to all our supplies. That evening we walked down the beach and joined the folks at Samaritan's Purse in an evening service. It was good to see CODEP and Samaritan's Purse make connections and share some about their experiences. It was interesting to hear that there are so many Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Haiti and sometimes they are right next door to each other but because they are so focused on their own niches and efforts that, except during times like the earthquake, there isn't much communication or cooperated effort between them. Also during the evening the missionaries (Dale and Ingram Caswell) shared some of the basic information about CODEP. For those interested about the details you can watch some of the videos below. The next day would dovetail into this information as we would have the opportunity to tour the compound and see some of the sites of CODEP up on the mountain as we really began to get a grasp of our context.
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