… For my nipple.
Now, in my defense, I am not the first to seek help from Johnson & Johnson: Lukas and Tyson needed to be taped up after getting cuts from the buckets while pouring concrete in order to keep working, and I cowboyed-up and pushed through the pain of my first scratch.
But this–this was different. For those of you who have never worked with concrete, what’s important to know is that concrete left on the skin can cause a burn, similar to a chemical burn. What I didn’t know, is that at some point during the pour, a nice little chunk of juicy concrete made its way down my shirt and landed right on my nipple. I didn’t notice, cause I was sweating buckets. Buy the end of the day, it felt a tad sore, but I just figured it was due the wet shirt chafing all day. Then Yesterday morning I woke up to a red, raw, rashy pectoral area. Of course, heat doesn’t help this. So now I look like a true marathon runner–band-aid covering up the left side, so my shirt doesn’t end up rubbing it completely off. Even a massive purple-nurple would feel better I think…
Tapion yesterday was one of those life experiences that I think I will cherish forever. To give you an idea, it’s about a 15 minute drive, through the backwoods, then up the highway that climbs up the side of the valley between two mountains. About halfway up the mountain, you pull to the side of the road, and there is little rock “path” (that’s being generous) that goes straight up the side of the hill. You feel as though you aren’t going anywhere, but all of sudden there are a bunch of crudely built tents (think Eeyore, from Winnie the Pooh), the odd building battered and bruised from the earthquake beyond recognition, and then…. a miniature version of the church here on the compound–an open air tin roof, held up by a bunch of poles with a dozen or so wooden benches underneath. The view is breathtaking in all directions. You can see all the way down the valley, and across to the mountains on the other side, and behind the church the mountain dips before rising again.
And it’s here, with this village of mountain people, that they have a church almost exclusively made up of children. Lots of children. We’re talking up to 200 plus. And boy do they cram them in. We showed up and took up a ton of bench space, so some of us guys stood at the back… until a weathered grandmother with a large smile started bringing us the chair from her home–100 yards down the path–one by one, until we would all sit. We hit the floor pretty quick once we realized what was going on, so save her the extra trips.
Then Rosalin got things started. I like to think of her as the Haitian Jessica. She runs a tight ship, and the children are quick to respond to her. Contrasted to the “order” of our Kids Camp, I felt kinda sheepish. Only 24 years old, she’s studying in Leogane to become a nurse, but every week, for the past few years she has led those children. She teaches them hygiene, etiquette and manners, and, because most of them cannot read, she teaches them Scripture to memorize. And lots of it. The rattled off verse after verse as they practiced together in unison. Then, one by one, a few of the kids got up to sing songs. All I could make out were words like “joie” (joy), “dieu” (God), and “Jesu” (Jesus), but in that moment, I felt so incredibly blessed and humbled to be able to witness what was going on.
With the incredible backdrop of God’s creation, and the gentle voices of children–children who are seemingly forgotten by the rest of the world–singing praise to their Father, I couldn’t help but cry, and be thankful.
I think that might be the closest glimpse to Heaven I ever get to see in my life.
And I still had to get up and teach yet. What do I teach to a bunch of children who are, in that moment, teaching me??
We talked about Moses, and the Exodus of God’s People, and how God promises to protect us–not from difficulty, or hard time, but to protect our hearts, and to lead and care for us if we continue to follow him. As I closed I wanted to give them a new memory verse to learn, to remind them that if we follow Jesus, he promises to guide us and go with us. “Psalm 119:105″ I said.
And before I could even begin, they recognized the reference, and began reciting it back to me:
“Pawòl ou se yon chandèl ki fè m’ wè kote m’ap mete pye m’, se yon limyè k’ap klere chemen mwen.”
We sang some more as a group with actions, (they loved the “tootsie-wootsie” part of the one song), I botched “I’ve Got A River of Life” (no one cared), then said the few Creole phrases I had picked up (which royally confused Lisa Honorat who was there translate for us, as she began translating me back into english before catching herself, to everyone’s delight), and the did some crafts and gave out visors to each kid. We ended with handing out rice. We had packaged the rice in 1kg bags, which would feed a family of 5 for a week. The excitement caused by the rice almost started an uproar, but it all got handed out as little hand clutched tightly to their precious cargo–hat on the head, rice in hand.
With that, they prayed, said thank you in english, gave some hugs and we’re gone.
Never in my life have I more clearly understood Matthew 19:14.