Haiti

 

Haiti Wedding

Haiti Wedding

The Haiti Ministry Team was formed in 2010 to coordinate efforts of First Presbyterians’ Haiti Mission.  First Presbyterian has sent a medical mission team to Haiti each year beginning in January of 2005.  We prepare team members for their mission to Haiti, share stories and experiences with the congregation and larger community, and continue to maintain and to strengthen our relationship to our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Our mission teams in Haiti have established a connection, especially, with the remote, rural community of St. Martin on the extreme southeast coast of Haiti, working alongside, worshiping with, and living among the people of this small village during our week long clinics.  We work through Harvest International, an International Christian organization which has had a presence in Haiti since the 1980’s.  In particular, we work with full-time missionaries, Rod and Debbie Wray, who support and direct our activities while in country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 2017 Mission Trip

The focus of this trip will be hurricane relief: our work will be general construction, clean up, and even mechanical repairs and restoration. For more information please  see our Information Sheet: haiti-2017-info-sheet-final

The mission trip application form may be accessed here: missiontripapplication-150114

 

 

 

Our Blog from the Youth Mission Trip to Haiti in June 2011

Posted: Sunday, June 19th:

It’s almost unbelievable that we’ve arrived at the end of our week together in Haiti–an incredible testament to God’s faithfulness.  Since returning from Saint Martin on Tuesday, we have dabbled in a variety of project, serving the Wrays (the missionary family we are working with) in any way possible as they minister.  We spend much of Wednesday printing wedding pictures to make into albums for the couples who were married, and also organized all the wedding supplies, cleaned trash off the nearby beach for a group of 20 blind individuals who will be spending Saturday at the Wrays’ camp, and cleaned a pavillion for the blind visitors to use.  Several of us then had the opportunity on Thursday to brave the boats once again to return to Saint Martin to collect the borrowed wedding clothes and give the couples the photo albums we had created for them, while the others prepared the floors in an orphanage the Wrays are constructing at their camp to for concrete to be poured.  During the afternoon we toured Les Cayes and got a glimpse of the market, and along with it a new understanding of how the women who sell their goods–pots, vegetables, meat, machetes, and almost anything else one could want–have to persevere despite a physical setting that is much different from the stores we visit in the United States.

We spent Friday delivering food, clothes, and hygiene kits to families whose homes were recently flooded when heavy rains caused the river in the ravine behind their homes to overflow its steep, deep banks and along the way got to meet a baby who was only a few hours old.  We were then warmly welcomed at a girls’ orphanage in Les Cayes, where we dropped off some food and supplies before spending our last afternoon in Haiti enjoying some sunshine at the beach.  Early Saturday we will drive back to Port au Prince to begin our long journey home, but even though we will leave Haiti physically we will carry in our minds images and memories, reflections and heartaches of Haiti.

Next Sunday, June 26 is Haiti Sunday, when we’ll be sharing our experiences as well as some video clips and pictures from the trip, so we’ll see you at church!  We would love to have the chance to share with you what God has given us the opportunity to do.  Thanks for your prayers for us!

In Christ,the Haiti youth mission team

Posted: Wednesday, June 15th:

From the time we loaded three motor boats with cots, wedding dresses, suits, gallons of drinking water, and wedding decorations and climbed in ourselves, headed for Saint Martin, to the time we arrived back in Les Cayes to the guest house that has become our home for the week, only 36 hours elapsed–but they were full of preparations, celebration, and lots of sweat!

Our team, along with Rod and Deb Wray, the missionaries with whom we are working, two of their children, and a Haitian youth group left for Saint Martin on Monday morning.  Because of heavy rains that Haiti experienced last week the road that our medical mission teams usually take to get to Saint Martin was unpassable, so we traveled in boats to a beach about a mile away from the village and carried our supplies the rest of the way.  But that scorching passage was only the beginning of the work.  Once we arrived we began to organize our materials, designating several of the rooms in the local school to become dressing rooms for the brides and grooms, and prepared for the weddings by fitting each couple for a wedding dress, suit, veil, shoes, and rings.  In the evening there were scores of cans of turkey to be opened for the sandwiches that would be served at the wedding reception.

Tuesday was the biggest day of all; we began at 5:00 am to frost cakes, set up photo stations where the couples would pose, decorate the church, and help the couples get dressed when they began arriving at 7:30.  It was incredible to see the couples arriving in the morning, many of the brides with their hair beautifully done, and knowing that today was the day!  Around 9:00 the wedding began, and quite a wedding it was!  As each of the couples had been asked to invite about 20 people for the wedding and reception and there were 21 couples in all, the church was packed.  The pastor offered a message on how a husband and wife ought to serve each other, and emphasized the permanence of the couples’ commitment.

By the time the wedding was over around noon and all the couples and their guests were finished eating (which took only about half an hour!), it was time for us to grab a quick lunch, prepared as our other meals in Saint Martin were by the pastor’s wife and several of the ladies of the village, and then repack everything in preparation to return to Les Cayes.  Another long hike back to the beach, and we loaded up the boats–only two this time–and headed for the guest house.

On Tuesday evening, while in a cluster of small villages in the south of Haiti 42 men and women concluded their first day of being formally married, we had some time to process what had gone on during the weddings.  We noticed many differences between the way that weddings in America often take place and the way that these weddings did, but fundamentally, marriage itself is the same in America and Haiti: a covenant made by two people before God to love and serve each other.  The youngest couple were 18 and 21 and the oldest had been together 61 years–yet all of them made the same promise to love and serve each other for the rest of their lives.

Although we were received with warm hospitality in Saint Martin, we were not the focus of the day.  We only facilitated a celebration that was about a lot more than the signing of a marriage license: a covenant ordained by God.

Now we are back in Les Cayes, working at the camp that the Wrays are constructing to hold sports camps for Haitian youth where they’ll learn not only sports, but also life skills.  We pray that you are well and that God continues to bless you.  Thanks for your prayers was we continue to open our hearts to serve as we are called and learn all that God has to teach us in Haiti.

In Christ, the Haiti youth mission team.

Posted Monday, June 13th:

As everyone agreed after a long day at the feeding program, touring the hospital at Les Cayes, and packing up all our gear for the weddings, so far our time in Haiti has been extremely productive–and an incredible time of learning about how we can respond compassionately, as Jesus did, to the people we see around us, right now in Haiti but also when we return home.

???We are about to take three boats out to St. Martin, the village where our adult medical teams serve, to perform the weddings of 21 couples tomorrow morning.  Please pray that God would bless those unions and continue to protect and provide for us as he has so richly!  There won’t be any updates tomorrow as we will be in St. Martin for the night, but check back later.

Posted Sunday, June 12th:

We’ve arrived!

After two long days of traveling, beginning at 6:30 on Friday morning with a
drive to Chicago, a flight to Ft. Lauderdale in the evening, and then an
early morning flight out to Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Saturday, we finally
made it to our “home base” near Les Cayes, southern Haiti.  God has provided
for us already, bringing us safely here–and taking us through all sorts of
challenges, from having to collect all of our luggage (which included 38
wedding dresses for the weddings we’ll be celebrating on Tuesday!) at the
Ft. Lauderdale airport–14 bag and boxes, plus our carry-ons–and then
bringing it back with us the next morning since it couldn’t be checked
through, to having to repack all of our boxes into several suitcases when we
arrived at the skycap in Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday morning and learned that
there was an embargo on boxes entering Haiti.

Yet here we are awed by God’s faithfulness, the beauty of His creation as we
can see in the ocean that crashes right next to the guest house where we are
staying, and the way that He is reflected in the people around us, team
members and Haitians alike, who are all created in God’s image.

Today we’re about to head out to a Sunday school program organized by the
Wrays, the missionaries we are working with, that teaches songs and Bible
lessons and then provides a meal for between 800 and 1000 children who come
each week.  We’ll be helping to distribute the food and just help in
whatever way we’re needed.  As we reflect on what it means to have
compassion–as opposed to pity or sympathy–for our brothers and sisters in
Haiti, we’ll certainly have a chance this morning to put love into practice.
Later this afternoon we’ll start baking wedding cakes and making other
preparations.

We’re all healthy and doing well, praise be to God.  Thanks for keeping up
with us, and be on the lookout for more blog updates to come!  Just keep in
mind that, although we’ll do our best to keep posting periodically,
sometimes technology or our schedule will prevent us from doing so, in which
case there’s no need to worry–you can trust God’s provision for us and look
forward to hearing more stories when we return.

In Christ,
the Haiti youth mission team.

 

upcoming events
Contact Us

First Presbyterian Church
233 West Ave South
La Crosse WI 54601

Phone: 608.784.4248
Fax: 608.784.1091

Email us:
info@Firstpreslax.org

Office Hours

Monday - Friday
8:00am - 4:00pm

Sunday Service

8:30am Worship
9:30am Sunday School
10:30am Worship

PC_USA_Logo-150x150