A Peek into Christmas for Haiti
Every year a little extra hope is gifted to our friends in Haiti. During our campaign, 40% of every purchase goes toward "Christmas for Haiti" ensuring hundreds of Haitian people are able to learn about the birth of Jesus, eat a warm, nutritious meal, receive gifts, such as sandals, toys, clothes, and notebooks for school. The people are always so happy to be there, and so GRATEFUL to be able to participate and they certainly feel the love.
So, what does the program entail?
It’s quite a bit of effort (all worth it, of course!). First of all, several trips are made to Port-au-Prince. (Haiti’s capital and considered the ‘big city’ and where you’ll find the bigger markets to purchase things in bulk). Keep in mind that most Haitians do not own cars and rely heavily on motos and tap-taps. (Think taxis, although on a moto, you’re riding on the back of a small motorcycle and a tap tap is a truck with benches in the back end, used to carry lots of people at once to and from wherever they need to go.)
So, they schedule a ‘driver’ and make the trip into the city. They gather all the supplies they can and then make as many trips as it takes in order to get all that they need for the program. Once they are able to gather all the supplies they needed, there are many late nights, organizing what food and gifts to take to what location, not to mention preparing all the food that needed to be cooked.
On December 22nd, a small team and three donkeys saddled up with gifts and food and ascend up to the mountain village of Nicola. The Christmas celebration starts the next morning on the 23rd. The people are always very excited and give the team a happy welcome. The team see many of the same faces from the previous year’s program, but there were many new faces as well.
Christmas Eve is spent back at home, re-grouping, re-packing, and organizing for the program in Digue Proby on Christmas Day.
On December 25th, the cooks are up bright and early at 4 am, preparing and cooking the chicken. It always is a beautiful day, and the team will meet at 10 am to pray before the driver arrived and they loaded up for the trip to Digue Proby. Charles, team leader for the program, says it's amazing to see the kids’ faces light up while accepting their gifts.
Towards the end of that day, the team travels to a Homeless Shelter where they all eat together, pray, pass out gifts, and retell the Christmas story. Many have heard about Christmas but for most, it's the first time they had ever celebrated the day. They were very quiet, but polite and grateful.
So, all in all, people came — hundreds of people came — and for all sorts of reasons… for food, for gifts, simply for fellowship, they came to learn about Jesus. As much joy and happiness that the food and gifts brought, the majority of the people were most happy simply to learn more about God, and the story of Jesus’ birth. For some, it rekindled their faith, and others decided whole-heartedly to follow Christ from that point on. God is so much greater than any of us could ever imagine. So here we think we are going to be like Santa in Haiti, but little did we think or know that our God would use this program to change peoples’ lives and put them on a path centered on Christ. And that, my friends, makes me happiest of all.
To quote Charles, “We must give the people of Haiti hope, for God is great and can do wonderful things.” Yes, yes he can.