John Flores attends The Compass Church has been on 3 short term mission trips to Haiti. This past April he was part of a small team from The Compass Church that worked alongside the STEP Seminary school in Port au Prince to build a house for a needy family. He shares about the experience in today’s post.
With Haiti being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere the abundant need for aid keeps me going back. This year the main focus of my team’s trip was to build a house for a family that had lost their home as a result of the earthquake in 2010. Since then, the family was living in a make shift house of tarps and tin with no water or electricity. Their home was located on the side of a mountain with narrow paths to walk and no roads. When it rained, the water would wash away anything that was left on the ground which usually meant that the family didn’t sleep if it rained at night.
The STEP Seminary school is located next to where this family lives and building homes is a part of STEP’s community outreach. The program is completely funded by donations so they only build homes when money is raised – it cost about $6,000 for a house. Our team went down to assist in the building process. There were translators on site while we were working and the fellowship during that time was incredibly powerful and impactful to me.
Throughout the day, many curious children and adults would come to the work site to be a part of the experience. Have you ever seen the show “Extreme Makeover”? Our missionary host described the feeling of the local people as getting a live episode of that show. It was an exciting time for their community and most recipients of a new home have endured many many hardships. When a new home is built for a family, it’s common that other relatives will come to stay with them because it is a much better living situation than what either family had before. Just imagine living with 8 people in a 150 square foot house.
John working on the house
When Americans come into their community the Haitian people are more receptive to hearing the Gospel. So a few seminary students came to the work site with us every day to take advantage of the opportunity to evangelize to the eager onlookers. One seminary student told me that he’s tried going in the community by himself but the people thought he was the police or part of the government and they wouldn’t talk to him.
We brought snacks, balls, bubbles, and other things to play with the local kids. The best place to play, on that part of the mountain, was on top of a concrete roof of the house that was below us. One day a seminary student offered to translate my teams’ testimonies to the people that were gathered around the construction site. He directed all the kids to sit on a dirt mound and the parents filled in around them. Sharing my story with the group that day was one of the most memorable moments of my Christian walk.
Playing on the roof
Each day I spent in the community I felt like I got to experience a tiny bit of the pain and suffering the Haitians experience each day of their lives – hardships that would mentally cripple most people. This made me so much more excited to share with them about Jesus. Three people accepted Christ while we were there. I pray that one day all of them will experience God’s love, redemption, and peace.
Seeing God’s work in Haiti has increased my faith immensely. I plan on going back to the mountainside community and bringing the guys from my small group to build another home in the spring of 2018.