I was so proud of the men from the Rock Church Men’s Ministry (RCMM) who participated on our inaugural trip to Haiti this summer; as a team we began construction on the Rock Church Haiti Children’s Home. Much progress was made and the deepest parts of our hearts were moved, as we enveloped ourselves in a pure and undefiled religion. It’s hard not to be won over by orphaned children. And it’s hard not to put everything you’ve got into building and establishing a home for them.
The following are excerpts from my journal, documenting this most recent adventure abroad. And let it be known, that this is all for Jesus—our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. To Him be the glory forever and ever. And may His precious children in Haiti rise up to bless Him!
* * *
Tuesday, August 11: The RCMM Construction Team of 8 men departed from San Diego at 10:15PM and arrived in Miami at 5AM. Only a few of us were able to sleep on the flight. Our sleep deprivation resulted from a mixture of excitement and failed attempts at cramming our large bodies into tiny airplane seats. No complaining here though, we are excited for what's ahead.
Wednesday, August 12: Today we departed from Miami and landed in Port Au Prince. We then flew from Port Au Prince to Jeremie in a small plane and landed at 1PM. The trip to Haiti took a total of eighteen hours. Long-term Rock Ambassador, Dan Hartman and his team met us at the airport and drove us to the hotel. The temperature is around ninety-two degrees with a ninety-percent humidity. The Caribbean sun is intense. We were told the air-conditioning would be turned on in our rooms at 4PM. After checking in, we headed immediately to the jobsite, about a half-mile away. We were able to verify that all the materials needed were there, we took measurements of the 3 pads, and made a game plan moving forward. The team circled up and prayed to God asking for His favor, guidance, provision, protection, and to bless the work of our hands. We asked Him to keep us healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and to use us in building His Rock Church Children’s Home. We also asked Him to bless the children that would dwell there with running water, showers, toilets, electricity, a bed, and people who would love them.
Thursday, August 13: Our team objectives for the day were to build the forms for the Super Kitchen, start installation of the rebar, and set the rough plumbing access conduit going into the structure. By the grace of God we accomplished it all. The Super Kitchen will be ready for the concrete pour by mid-morning on Friday. The day was very hot and a couple of men were having trouble adjusting to the extreme heat. We took several breaks in the shade and drank gallons of water. Prayerfully, we will all get a good night’s sleep and the air conditioning will stay on tonight. The Haitian men on the work crew are very excited to have us here and want to learn all they can. They work very hard.
Friday August 14: Our objective for today was to finish the installation of the rebar on the Super Kitchen and get the forms ready for pouring the concrete. We built the forms at the second building for the first children’s home. Again, by the grace of God we accomplished our objective! We equipped twenty-two hard working Haitian men with how to set forms and install rebar correctly. We are learning their names and a little bit of Creole; some of them speak very good English. Many of them say they are Christians and know the Lord. My last trip in May, I shared the Gospel with thirteen of them; I believe their salvation is real. We continue to let them know we are building God’s house here in Haiti for His little children and that this is a very special place. We experienced extreme heat again today, but the RCMM Team has made the adjustment and we are working well together. We eat breakfast at 6AM, have a devotional, and pray at breakfast. We start on the job at 7AM and put in 8-hour days. The Lord blessed us today and answered a prayer by giving us a cloud cover, making the heat a little more bearable. We got to meet the children who will be moving to the children’s home today too, after work. They are beautiful, healthy little children who sang songs to us when we arrived; I loved the sound of their voices! They sang “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Meeting these children made what we are doing become more of a reality. The men on this team raised their own money, paying $1800 each to come here; they left their businesses, jobs, and families to bring hope and build a home that these children can call their own. This was a very blessed and special day for us all.
Saturday August 15: The team’s objective for the day was to finish installing the rebar on the second building and to get the forms ready for pouring more concrete. We began to lay the block at the guardhouse building today too. We will teach the Haitian crew how to lay block that is straight, level, and plumb. We will place vertical rebar in the block cylinders and grout the cylinders next week after 9 courses are laid. Then we’ll strip the forms at the Super Kitchen and move the material to the third building on the property. Today was a long, extremely hot day; everyone worked very hard and an amazing amount of work was completed. By the grace of God, the amount of work that was done today was nothing but supernatural favor given to us by the Lord, who has answered our prayers.
Sunday August 16: The RCMM Team attended Rock Church services at the Haiti microsite hosted in Dan and Chris Hartman’s home. We heard the message today from Pastor Mingo. We met the three little orphaned children that Dan and Chris have living with them; they are all 2 years old and beautiful. The team enjoyed the time we had together with Dan and Chris. Fredrick Clerie took us to a restaurant for lunch and we went for a swim at the beach. We drove through Jeremie and around the town. This is a very poor and polluted country; it is humbling to see how the people live here. We went for a walk this evening down to the central park and walked around listening and watching the Haitian people live out their Sunday evening. Tomorrow is Monday and we shall start on the third building; we should have it ready to pour concrete by Tuesday at noon. Lord, thank you for this day of rest; it was very much needed. Prepare us for tomorrow as we begin the third structure forms.
Monday August 17: The team’s objective today was to build the forms and start the installation of the rebar on the third building. We stripped the forms from the second building and moved the material to the third building. We also continued the block work on the guardhouse, getting it ready to grout the cylinders. This is our fourth day of work; the heat has not let up, but we have adjusted to the conditions and continue to drink a lot of water and take breaks in the shade. The team is working well together and the Spirit of the Lord is upon us. The Haitian team is working well with us and learning much. God is with us and answering our prayers; no one has gotten sick or hurt in anyway.
Tuesday, August 18: The team’s objective today was to work half a day to finish the rebar and set the conduit for the rough plumbing, while getting the forms ready for the Haitian crew to pour concrete on Thursday. We poured the grout in the block walls at the guardhouse. Then we said our goodbyes to the Haitian men, encouraging them, and praying with them. The Team brought tool containers with skill saws, hammer drills, an electric metal cutting device, extension cords, nail bags, hand tools, and concrete finishing tools. We gave them to the Haiti Children’s Home Construction Project. Dan and the Haitian workers were very appreciative of the tools and time we had together this past week. The team went to lunch and went swimming at the beach the second half of our day. Fredrick found a beach where we could body surf a little bit. It was a nice way to end the trip before heading back home and we were encouraged because we completed the work we set out to do and more than we originally had planned. Thank you Lord. You are so good to us. There is none like You.
Wednesday August 19: The team leaves for home today. This has been a very difficult trip, uncomfortable at times, extremely hot, and not without long, hard days—but it was also an amazing trip we will not soon forget. The team of men on this trip are very hard working and committed men of God. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work along side of each one of them. We met weekly for 6 weeks prior to this trip to pray, seek the Lord, fast, prepare, and make plans. Each man felt God calling him to go and help build the Rock Church Children’s Home for the children of Haiti. The Lord provided the funds and answered our prayers in amazing ways; our faith and belief in Him has been strengthened. We will be home tonight by 10PM. It will be good to be back home with my wife and to be with my family once again. I am humbled and grateful in so many ways and looking forward to our next trip in October to frame the roofs on the 3 structures we started work on. Thank You Lord my God, I give You all the praise and all the glory. Today before we left, we laid hands on, and prayed over some of the Haitian men who came to say goodbye. There were two young Haitian men in particular, that God is doing an amazing work in. We gave them Bibles in English, instructing them to read it everyday. The one said he would teach the other how to read the English Bible and that they would share what they learn with the others. Lord, draw these two young men to yourself. Fill them with Your Holy Spirit and reveal Yourself to them in ways they have never seen. I trust you for it. Amen.