As Eric and I were preparing to move to Haiti in 2008, it was our intention to move to Balan, Haiti. Over the course of a few months, God directed our path toward a different direction; however, our hearts are forever bent toward the people who live here. Balan is a village that sits close to Lake Azuei which is nestled beneath the high mountains of the Dominican Republic to the west and to the east is surrounded by a portion of arid land. The desert like thorn bushes and cacti are growing from a salty, sandy soil. Men and young boys move their herds of sheep and goats from watering holes to patches of grass throughout the day and then on and on into the days, months, and years before and behind them.
There is little relief from the pounding sun here where the mango trees refuse to grow. Most of the town’s residents live in one room mud huts with a thatched roof. Daily living is a chore and survival demands all from those living here. A long term solution to the water needs of the people in Balan has yet to be reached. The ground water is salty, the lake is brackish, and the only fresh water spring is a mile and a half away. The road to Balan is treacherous making the delivery of goods and supplies very difficult.
New Hope Haiti Mission has planted a church here in Balan. Pastor Leonel and his family are wonderful friends. He travels to Balan several times a week to study and pray with his church members. He is dedicated to the people, to the village, and to his church. He loves the Lord with a great passion.
It was for the children here in Balan that the SOAR group prepared short lessons and activities. Monday and Tuesday afternoons, we headed out around noon to meet up with the children after school. The church is sitting on a piece of property on the edge of the village and currently has no wall around it and no doors on the church. The hardest part about a VBS in Balan is keeping a manageable sized group of kids to work with. It always breaks my heart to have to put a bench across a doorway and a person to guard it to keep others from crossing into the church. Unfortunately, we have learned the hard way that when we don’t keep a close watch at the doors, chaos ensues and no one gets the blessing of the story, activities, and treats. We leave it up to the ladies from the church to figure out who gets to participate.
The kids learning to sing a song in sign language. They were glued to Miss Wendy as she taught them the signs.
These photos come from the camera of Melinda Wilson. Thanks, Melinda for the great pics! Ok, just one more picture of this really sweet little girl.