Blog Post by: Carol Goad
Paint the Wall
I recently heard the story of an orphanage in Mexico. The orphanage just wanted people to come love on the kids. Just simply love them. Groups would come in and do exactly that but there were times, the people would ask what could they do? They wanted to do “something of value”. They wanted to see immediate results. So the orphanage would ask them to paint the wall surrounding the orphanage. Did it need painting? Absolutely not. It had been painted multiple times by other groups who just didn’t get it. They wanted to see something tangible – something physical. They wanted to go home and tell everyone how they had spent the week painting that wall around the orphanage. The groups were thrilled with the task but those poor kids lost out.
I just got back from my first trip to Haiti and I totally understand this story. The precious kids at the orphanage simply want our love and attention. I had heard stories but to experience and put a physical name and face to these children totally makes a difference. We started traveling on Friday afternoon, spending the night in Miami and getting up at 4 a.m. (YES A.M.!) to fly to Port Au Prince. We arrived in Port Au Prince and I finally got to meet Dou Dou! He is everything I’ve heard and more. What a blessing he is to everyone at Long Hollow.
Sunday, we headed to church services at the orphanage. I entered and was overwhelmed with the worship atmosphere. They know how to worship! One by one the kids started trickling over to our laps. I had a little boy wrap his arms around my neck, I closed my eyes and thought “this is heaven!” After service, the first thing they wanted to know was if we were going to come back tomorrow and give them shots. (Not excited about that prospect). We quickly informed them it would be VBS and got smiles all around.
Monday morning, we arrive to throngs of children surrounding us – so excited for VBS! Our team assembled and I was blessed to be able to lead worship. They have such beautiful voices and love to sing. It was incredible! Then story time. Dou Dou was our interpreter and I noticed from time to time, all the kids would say Amen all together. I asked him later if he told them to say Amen. “No”, he replied, “when I say something like God is good, they know it’s important and respond with Amen.” I was amazed. What a lesson to learn from these kids. Then we got to play and make friends. It was hot (98 degrees) with 5 or more kids hanging off of you but you just don’t care. They are all that matters in that tiny spot of the world.
Monday afternoon we head to Pastor Dony’s church for another round of VBS with the village children. We were told to expect about 50 but we had close to 100 children every night. We did VBS, then again, simply played and loved on kids.
One of the highlights for me was getting to see Dou Dou’s house that is under construction. His lovely wife was there so the bonus was getting to meet her also. Long Hollow… he is so proud of that house. Our money is making a wonderful investment in his family’s future. We also got to see the chicken houses. This meant so much to me because I host Treehouse and I watched as the kids from Long Hollow gave their money to buy these chickens. How great it was to go back and show them pictures of what their generous offerings were doing!
The last day – oh the last day – imagine someone tearing your heart from your chest and stomping on it, then throwing it around. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done was board the bus and drive off. I hung out the window as they called “Will you come back?” Without hesitation I replied “YES! I will come back.