Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Live from Haiti!

Greetings from the All Saints component of the Haiti Outreach Mission.

We are here and hard at work, scattered across the different programs of the HOM. First, we have to thank John Mireley and the rest of the tech team who got the internet connection up and running at St. Pierre School today. Marjie and Pam are with the dental team. They went out into the countryside yesterday to a small school, and today they are back in Mirebalais at St. Pierre School. Wendy and Nancy are hard at work in the health clinic. Wendy is on intake and Nancy is in pediatrics. Andrew was doing some construction but they put him to work helping to weigh in patients and take temperatures. Yesterday the clinic treated 386 people. When we got there this morning, the streets were lined with people waiting to be seen.

I have been filling a pastoral role. (They call me Father Kit down here ...) On Sunday, there were two services, one in Mirebalais at St. Pierre (at 6 a.m.!). The other priest on the trip, Chris Yaw of St. David's-Southfield, preached. Pere Jeannot invited me to concelebrate, and I read part of the eucharistic prayer in French. You should be pleased to know that they use the American Book of Common Prayer, in French. However, they add a lot of things into their services around the standard prayers.

That's why when we went up to Las Escobas for the feast day of Holy Spirit parish, where four or five parishes gathered, the service lasted three hours. There was lots of singing by different choirs, and fabulous dancing by children dressed all in white with Holy Spirit paper dove crowns on their heads.

It is hard to describe Haiti in its beauty and its misery. The mountains are completely bare from deforestation, and the marks of massive erosion are everywhere. Most of the illnesses in the clinic are the result of malnutrition and hard work. I have had a healing prayer station in the courtyard each morning. With a translator, we pray together with mothers and children, aged men and women.

Yesterday Father Jeannot took Chris and me up into the hills to see two of his church plants. I will share pictures when I can, but the first church, Epiphany, is a woven grass hut with rough log benches. 120 people cram into this little hut of a church each Sunday to hear a layreader lead morning prayer and preach. They hope to build a real structure someday, so when people come to church, each one brings a rock. There is a large rock pile on the site that will become the walls of the church someday.

The second church, St. Michael's, is like a big picnic shelter. They get 80 people on a Sunday for morning prayer. They also hope to build someday.
Right now, the burro Patrick (who wanted to eat my dress!) wanders in and out at will. But the church in Haiti is growing. Pere Jeannot is a true evangelist and wants to share our church with many people in Haiti.

We are all doing well. Maybe later, each of us will be able to post something on the blog. In the meantime, pray for the mission, and more importantly, pray for Haiti and its people.

+ Rev'd Pere Kit

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