Yesterday was a good day. A very good day. The work was hard like always. Finishing final touches on the homes, building fences around each property, cleaning construction debris and trash from the sites and laying the final thirty feet of road. And like every other day I’ve been here, exhaustion took over at the end of it, sending me off to sleep long before I would if I were back in the States. But today was different. It was a surprise, and a joy. It brought tears to my eyes that I didn’t expect.
I have been coming to Haiti with John for the past two and a half years helping oversee the construction of homes for the homeless. Very rewarding. But always the best reward has been for me on my return trip when I see the houses we built the last time being lived in. Seeing gardens and fences and gates and house plants on the porch. And always the white laced fabric hanging from the front door blowing in and out. It’s how they keep bugs out of the house. And then my heart laughs as I see children burst from the doorway or a tiny baby sitting on the porch. I have seen women from the neighborhood gathered on the porch and out front singing and praising God. It has always been the best and most rewarding part of the trip.
But this trip was different. I usually leave Haiti before John. This time we planned the trip a few days longer for me. And so, for the first time, I experienced the Exodus. The day that those families whose lives had been pretty much hopeless were now venturing their first steps into a new life they could not have imagined or hoped for. I was reminded of one of my favorite verses as I watched these families, one by one reverently walk into their new homes. “Now unto Him is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we could dare ask, think, presume, imagine or dream . ”AMP
The joy on their faces, the tears in their eyes, the awe on their lips as they walked around and through their new homes made that scripture come alive. They could not have imagined it. They could not have dreamed it. To presume such a change in their lives would be unthinkable.
I was standing in the back field of one of the homes helping my workers do final touches to the fence and saw one of the women that John and I had visited the week before living in deplorable conditions. But we were astounded how immaculately clean her hovel was. Here she was now moving into her new home. She saw me and broke into a beautiful tear-filled smile and came to me and gave me the traditional Haitian kiss on the cheek but then a huge hug. I didn’t understand much of what she said to me but, really, no interpreter was needed. She was ecstatic!
As each family began the process of moving in, I saw the same thing over and over; boys taking turns jumping from the top step down to the ground below, fathers laughing as they carried heavy cases into their new homes, girls chasing each other around and around their house, and mothers filling pails of water from their very own spigot to mop the floors before moving in. I it saw in all their faces…sheer joy!
It was a very, very, very good day!