A team from Woodbury UMC recently returned from a cross-border trip to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, visiting 4 different areas on the island of Hispanolia, and coming back with full hearts and experience after experience to share.
Jan Slagter, who had been to Haiti before 15 years ago, expected to see Haiti in worse condition. “I wasn’t changed as much this time as last time I went, yet this time I saw more hope.”
Santiago, Dominican Republic
The group started in Santiago, DR where they were able to accompany some home visits as part of the Community Inclusion Program. They visited homes with children living with disabilities with their promotoras that visit each week learning new skills and praying with the mothers.
Jan commented that the promotoras were able to adapt the lessons with the items they readily had available. “It’s amazing to see how creative they are and how they can adapt to the situations.”
They also got to interact with adolescents living with disabilities at their group meetings where the kids get to go to a sort of “school” for the first time. Lori McBride, the team leader, loved how one of the kids Estarling helped Stephen, a new student, to feel comfortable and taught him how to play the game.
Over in northern Haiti, after a long bumpy ride along the dirt road to get to the Jolitrou Clinic, the team was greeted with nearly a hundred children singing a welcome song—a simple gesture that really seemed to resonate with the team.
The team ended at Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince, where the team was able to lead devotions to start of the day.
John McBride saw a woman off to the side who wanted prayers, and knelt with her to pray. She still looked swollen, but he discovered that in fact she had already delivered her baby but there was a complication. As they prayed, tears filled both their eyes. She was very grateful for the prayers over her children, her family, and their homes.
“This really seemed to touch our group,” Jan said. “It showed that there was something that we could do to help by just praying.”
It’s often hard for people to see such a great need in poor countries such as Haiti where people struggle to survive and hard to know what we can do to help. But as Jan said, one important thing they were able to do was to be there, listen to them, and pray with them.
Parting words from Jan for anyone who may consider going on a MEET trip with ICC: “It’s an amazing opportunity if you can ever go. It’s such a joy to see people working together to bring about something good.”
Thank you Lori, Patricia, Stephanie, Lee, Jan, Dennis, John, and Susan for traveling to Hispanolia, experiencing the programs of ICC, and sharing your love and open hearts!