By: Rev. Martin Hawley
Today we decided upon a ‘lighter’ day and drove north along the coastline to a public beach once used by Baby Doc and his friends. Jean Paul needed to take a rare day off and everyone believed that exposing me to fresh sea air would also hasten my recovery. The beach was amazingly beautiful, as was the crystal clearness and the deep blue color of the Caribbean. The shoreline consisted of a pebble beach, rather than sand beach — but was nevertheless breath taking as well. The entire postcard scene set before our eyes served to convince us even more firmly that the entire nation of Haiti could be a paradise, once transformed by the Gospel.
There were several United Nations peace-keeping troops on the beach — some enjoying its delights and others guarding its visitors. We were approached by several young Haitians trying to sell us conch shells, starfish, and jewelry. I managed to find some smaller conch shells and one starfish, but went ahead and bought starfish and shells from the Haitian boys, who were going off shore a few yards in colorful boats in order to bring back these tourist treasures. I do believe that Alan managed to do the best job of bargaining for the large conch shells at a fair price!
While I looked on, Alan, Jean Paul, and later Francis and another Souls Winning member swam in the relaxing, cooling waters. While Jean Paul was engaged swimming, a Haitian boy came by in a boat and recognized Jean as the pastor whose preaching had led him to faith in Christ on a previous beach visit. As we were preparing to leave this wonderful, invigorating locale, the UN troops (who were Muslim and had been using a water pipe), began to chant their prayers to Allah.
We left the beach area and returned to the Travel Lodge to drop off Francis. Then we were taken by Jean on a tour of both the very poor and the very wealthy areas of Port-au-Prince. Jean’s design was to show us the stark differences between the 99% of poor Haitians struggling to survive, and the 1% of super-wealthy Haitians, who live lives entirely separated from everyone else in the land. The contrast was indeed amazing and Jean Paul explained that the wealth was far too concentrated in the hands of a few, with no opportunity for the poor — no upward mobility — no hope.
After a quick drive by the Presidential Palace and the other government buildings and monuments (including a look at the new U.S. Embassy), Jean showed us a brand new high-end subdivision, called BelleVille, that is comprised of homes ranging in price from $1,500,000 to $6,000,000 US. We returned to the hotel and spent a long time together in planning for the last day of the trip and for proceeding with the construction on the school building. Ultimately we determined to teach at Souls Winning all day on Friday — roughly from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, then award certificates, walk and pray over the proposed building site, and conclude with a celebration dinner at the picturesque Montana Hotel and Restaurant.
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