Eleven people affiliated with Park Hill UMC journeyed to Fondwa, Haiti October 12th-19th, 2013 with an organization called Family Health Ministries out of Durham, North Carolina. We went to Haiti to help the people rebuild after the earthquake, build homes and help build comfort into their lives that they didn’t have even before the earthquake. We also went to spend time with the orphans in Fondwa and to bring supplies to them (i.e. shoes, flashlights, towels, sheets.)
We were told we would receive remarkable hospitality. We were told the food would be great and we were told we would be changed. Everything we were told was true. Yes, we brought some things and did some work and provided a ministry of presence, but we received so much in return. We WILL return. – Lauren Boyd.
“Spending the last week in Fondwa, Haiti has brought a ton of emotions to the surface. To be able to spend a week with people who have nothing in terms of possessions but are rich in hope, love, community and faith was a truly moving experience. I am so blessed to be able to travel to this community to try to enrich their lives but have also found that I enriched mine. What they have given me is immeasurable.
To walk into the orphanage and being embraced by the children of all ages and to understand that some just wanted to be held, some wanted to talk, some wanted to dance, some wanted to help us in what we were doing. The older children so involved in the care of the younger, caring for them almost as if they were their own. Some of these children orphaned through death, others economic orphans who could not be cared for by their families. It was perhaps hardest to say goodbye to the children. A special connection with little Jacqueline and with the older Windine. Windine seemed to take such care of the little children it was unbelievable.
For the projects we did were only a small part of the equation. Making a set of beds for Dubois and his family of 7 in their two room house, a table for their room, fixing up his toe with our first aid kit, share simple presents (pens and stickers) with the school children, distributing their anti-parasitics to them (making an unpleasant task more pleasant with some humor and love), knocking down a house and clearing the foundation for a new beginning, moving several large piles of cinder blocks in 2 sequences of human chains to the site of a dining room where the orphans can eat together instead of needing to each on their beds in their rooms.
We spent time having coffee with our neighbors in the morning, we shared pates with Boss and Jessula, and we started to understand their story and their history. Spending time with Ysrael’s family on their farm was a deeper look at life sustained by family teamwork. The sisters at the guesthouses were so amazing, taking care of our needs as we took care of others.
To grow as a family of volunteers from 3 different states some knowing others well, many meeting for the first time. We laughed and cried together, we learned much about each other, we even danced together. It was great to learn what brings people so devoted to service together, what drives their thirst for helping others and exploring their deep faith.
This has been a truly moving experience in way more than any of the other mission trips I have had the privilege of serving on before. Part of my heart remains in Fondwa. I look forward to returning soon and hopefully being able to lead others there in the future.
For me it is better to serve in mind and body than to receive. – Christopher Smith”