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Christmas Season In Haiti

There is joyfulness throughout December in Haiti. People say that Haitians store up energy all year for this holiday month. 

This year was my first time experiencing Christmas in Haiti. It was beautiful–the cool nights, the brilliant stars, the random fireworks shooting off in the evenings, the food, the lights, decorated trees here and there, music all night long, and the kid’s church program. 

It was nothing like Christmas in the states. It felt like an entirely different holiday than our white Christmases. I missed all the family traditions, but I loved seeing that side of Haiti, and it was a precious time for Nelson and me, living in our own place for the first time. My older sister also went down with me to spend Christmas with us, so it was an extra unique trip. 

Arrival 

We flew into Cap Haitien in the North to avoid chaos in the capital city. For months, Haiti had suffered a gas crisis. Gallons of gas topping out at USD 25. Before our trip, thankfully, gas trucks got through to the pumps, and prices dropped. My husband purchased gas and stored it in jugs for our arrival. 

In Ft. Lauderdale, after overnighting at the airport, we checked in and boarded. After sitting for nearly an hour, the flight attendants announced that the delay was because of the multitude of checked luggage. They worked to fit it all under the plane when they realized it weighed too much. So–the solution–take out 250 pieces of luggage and leave them behind! The next day they’d send the remainder down. So Nelson started his search for a family we could stay with in Cap Haitien should our luggage happen to be in the count. We had two checked pieces and two wheelchairs.

We arrived, and after customs, headed to the chaotic luggage room. Piles and piles of bags were thrown off the belt and crowded the floor. After hunting, I found all of our pieces. Thank God! We joined the stampede and, after another 30 minutes, were outside. We drove five hours south, up into the mountains, and got home in the dark. 

Our Own Home 

It was wonderful to arrive home. To our own home, for the first time. I was surprised to see it finished. I got very few pictures over the months of work, so I didn’t know what to expect. It is better than I envisioned. Above all, it’s ours for the year or however long we rent it after that. Nelson is also finalizing paperwork for the land we purchased outside of town. Lord willing, all of that finishes up this month, and we can start planning for fencing our lot as soon as we have enough funds saved. 

Grace Academy 

We got to Haiti on the 14th, and our activities began on the 15th. We attended Grace Academy’s Christmas program. I spent so much time with the school kids when I helped teach art and first-grade math. But I hadn’t had the honor of being there for Christmas yet. So we went. 

They decorated beautifully. All the kids were joyful, and their parents were proud to be there. I met Rodberry and Lizzy Jaques–who came to sing as part of the program and see the kids perform songs and dance. They are all getting so big! We got to visit with the kids at GSA a few other times. Oh, how much they have grown. My little Julinsky is so big and smart! 

Wheelchairs 

Both candidates for wheelchairs received them and were very grateful. We were also able to bring rice, beans, and oil. We had the privilege of another trip to Chevery to deliver the second chair. The lack of rain made for a much faster and less eventful journey. Friends and family surround us who are always ready to go with us–even if their job is wheelchair carrier! 

Local Sponsor Kids 

We got rice, beans, oil, and live chickens and bagged up the food kits. 

Packing the backpacks with all the gift items was also a lot of fun. 

We distributed the kits and backpacks to the eleven kids around our area first; these children live in four different villages or zones. We drove to each of their houses. We would have loved to have them all in one place and have a special event for them, but we have not found a central location to do so yet. That is our hope for next year! We also hope to add more kids to the program. And to have frequent programs with them throughout the school year. 

Some of the semester report cards have come in. Several were outstanding. Some children haven’t received theirs yet. One of our requirements for a child to stay in the program next year is a passing grade. We need to know the kids are serious about school and that the parents are willing to put in the time to help and encourage their children in their education. 

Saltadere Sponsor Kids 

We distributed the rest in Saltadere the following week. Our Saltadere team joined us–this consists of three guys. These guys are some of the best there are, as far as friends go. We are so grateful for them. 

Our 13 sponsor kids and a parent for each met us in one of the schoolhouses. There are three schools in the area where we send students. Nelson and I were able to introduce ourselves, speak to the families about our hopes for the program, and share our joy of being a part of helping their community. 

Tchia, who is starting a government-recognized nonprofit in the area, spoke of our partnership, his thanks for US sponsors and donations, and what true friendship is. (He and Nelson have been like brothers for the past five years, even sharing a rented room before he and I got married. They would do anything for each other.) 

It was a beautiful time–one of the fathers prayed, several of the parents shared their stories of worrying their kids would not be able to attend school this year and their joy when their child sponsored. Some of the kids shared their semester report card numbers. I was so proud of them! Then we gave them their goodies, and they picked out their chickens and posed for a group picture. 

Extra Days 

On the 29th, when we got to the airport, our flight had been canceled. So we had to reschedule for the next flight two days later. After we got back home, we heard that a gang abducted four Haitians on the road we traveled. God was watching over us the whole time. 

We spent the two extra days resting, enjoying the gift of 48 more hours together, and completing a few house projects. 

We left on the 31st and got back to Missouri that night. 

God is looking for those with whom He can do the impossible – what a pity that we plan only the things that we can do by ourselves.

A.W. Tozer

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

1 Chronicles 29:11 

With gratitude and joy,

Wishing you a Happy New Year, Nelson and Rachel 

2 Responses

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Hi! I’m Rachel. Through a series of God orchestrated events I ended up in Haiti, in 2017.  Through years of serving with a ministry there I came to love the country and its people. I met Nelson and we got married in 2020. It was the best decision of my life! 

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