Well, this was it. The highly anticipated trip to Haiti for the missionary retreat. Gaëlle seemed most excited about the plane ride but I knew she would love the entire experience.
I made sure to get a photo of the kids as soon as the plane touched down in Haiti. What a moment. It has been 5 years and 5 months since Gaëlle has been back and the first time the kids have been back together.
The above picture is at the Port au Prince airport as the bus took them from the Canadian Embassy the morning of January 27, 2010. Their smiles just get me every time.
Our first night in Haiti was at the Ortlip Ministry Center. It's about 1 1/2 hours from the airport. Needless to say, Gaëlle was already making friends with one of the missionary kids.
Wednesday morning we went on the Wesleyana to La Gonave. We had a good crossing with just a gentle swell.
Gaëlle was fascinated with the goats all over and managed to take a few pictures of them.
We did a bit of walking around La Gonave and got a tour of the Wesleyan and WISH compounds. Peter played soccer with some kids and a soccer coach/ police officer visiting from the states. We enjoyed our quick visit to the island and it's nice that the kids could get a sense of where we will live and where they will have school.
Now onto the retreat. We arrived at Moulin Sur Mer Resort on Thursday night and we started off with a time of introduction to the retreat. Throughout the 4 days, there was a rich time of fellowship, teaching, sharing, praying, and just having fun.
A church from Pennsylvania has come for the past 3 years to work with the kids and youth. They were great and it looks like they kept the kids busy.
I was asked to provide team building games for the adults. We brought down small Post-It notes and had the groups create a scene that you would find in Haiti. Some of the adults had a hard time wasting all of those Post-It notes but I think it was fun.
In this game we recreated Bananagrams. That went over well and we gave our "tiles" to a missionary who is helping to organize another retreat.
The kids had a talent show for us one night. The younger kids sang songs and did some fun hand bell songs. You can tell there was a music teacher in the group. So it was really fun to watch.
The youth also did a couple of songs and "skits" for us. They even pulled 3 adults up to compete in a sword drill. There were 10 scriptures to look up. Some how we all had 3 points and so the final passage was the tie breaker. I walked away the winner.
Every afternoon we had free time so I pretty much put on my bathing suit and watched Gaëlle enjoying the water.
She got to experience freshly cut coconuts. And while I loved the ocean water, she much preferred the pool. The salt water actually seemed to dry out her skin.
She spent many hours at the pool. All of the kids would eat together and Gaëlle was in heaven the whole time.
The resort was beautiful which made it nice to just relax and get to know the other families.
Peter did a lot of hanging out with the other youth. On our final afternoon the youth and some adults spent a few hours playing volleyball. Every night the youth would hang out in the air conditioned conference room or one of the hotel rooms and play games or music. I'm so pleased we were able to go and be spiritually nourished as well as start making connections to fellow missionaries.