In December 2011 a meeting was held at Through the Roof Ministry Centre in Flinton, Ontario, for persons interested in participating on a short-term mission trip to Haiti to help build a school for the local Free Methodist church in the city of Gonaives. The group would be led by Reverend Bruce Kellar.
When the team left from Toronto for Port au Prince, Haiti on February 21, 2012 there were eleven in total – eight men and three women ranging in age from 16 to 62, and twenty-five bags of check-in luggage including gifts. There was a short stop over in Miami before landing in Haiti.
The team was met at the airport by Larry Judy, the FOHO (Friends of Haiti Organization) coordinator, who made our local arrangements. We all jumped on a flat bed truck and headed to the Mission House where we would be having supper and spending our first night.
On the road the next morning for Mapou where we would be staying while we worked in nearby Gonaives, and travelling in a convoy of 2 pick-ups and the flat bed, we stopped for a “break”. Someone noticed that one of the tires on the flat bed was in need of changing, a God intervention. It was changed in no time at all and we were on our way to Mapou again.
The next day at the work site we started our 10-day assignment — to continue pouring the school’s flat cement roof. Two of the eight classrooms had been roofed previously. After bending many feet of pencil rod, tying rebar and mixing concrete, then pouring it up on the roof by bucket brigade, three more class-room roofs were completed. We also poured some of the support beams for the remaining three rooms.
Up to nineteen Haitian men of the local church worked along side our team each day and friendships with them quickly developed despite our different languages.
Pastor Michel Smith, the Gonaives Free Methodist Church minister, was very pleased with the progress we had made during over visit. On Sunday we had the joy of worshipping with the Gonaives congregation, and Pastor Bruce was honoured to preach through an interpreter.
Each day of our trip we encountered a God intervention, from safe travel to healings and many of us meeting our sponsored children from International Child Care Ministries.
The food we ate was delicious, even if I do say so myself (I was the main cook with help from all the other members). When we were on the work site, the simple but delicious lunches were graciously cooked by three Haitian women of the church.
What a great experience as our team members saw God working through the hands of God’s people from two different countries who started as strangers and became friends through helping each other toward the goal of a new school. All of our team members were touched in various ways. God had a lesson for each of us as we participated in this important work. As Matthew 5:16 says, “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”