We had the much anticipated re-match of Scotland v Haiti in football today in Ouanaminthe. Things did not bode well given Vic and I are in the twilight of our careers but fortunately Anna and Lisa are young so we were confident that we would have a chance to win. Graciously the Haitians gave us some of their players to make up a team. We had to go and buy a ball before we started which took around 40 mins and then had to find something to inflate it with. By the time all of that was done we were kicking off in the midday heat. As you can imagine it is pretty hot here at the best of times but when you play football in it, it takes on a whole new dimension.
It is amazing the power of football in just about every country of the world and Haiti is no different. Vic had brought a full set of strips for the Haitians and their team looked fantastic in the team photo before hand. They looked very professional and nothing like their Scottish counterparts. We won this match last year but it was not to be a repeat this time round. Although we scored early and held the lead till half time, a combination of good play from the Haitians and tiredness in the heat from us saw the Haitians run out deserved 2 - 1 winners in the end. It was cool because it made the crowd very happy. We probably had about 100 people watching the game, some even sitting on the roofs of houses etc. We have started a hoops 4 haiti iniative which aims to tie in with Celtic football club and generate much needed funds to build the school. If we can use the power of football and the pwer of God to change this part of Haiti it will be fantastic. Please pray for the work we are doing here and that we will build lasting friendships with those we played with and against today.
All of this came after a Friday where we spend more time working with the children in the church. we are really starting to bond with the children now and have started to teach them phrases in English. They particularly enjoyed the MI team trying to say John 3 v 16 in Creole. It was a market day and so there were less kids (probably about 60) today but that was good in some ways because it gave us more space to play games with them. We taught them the hokey cokey which makes me sweat when I do it in Scotland, doing it two or three times in the Church in Haiti makes me look like I have just had a shower in my clothes.
The market day was also an experience. Basically on a Monday and a Friday the Haitians are allowed to go the market in dajabon and buy things to sell in ouanaminthe. The border becomes a seething mass of people but there is also a lot of sadness there too. As is often the case the weak get left by the wayside. It is also quite intimidating for 5 white people to walk through. We are very grateful for the people like Wilner who look after us and keep us safe in those situations. It is not the same border crossing as last year because it has been closed on safety grounds and so all the people cross in the one place and that makes life very difficult.
It was a good day though because I was able to go to the market in ouanaminthe with the Pastor and buy 10 bibles in Creole for the Church. We will be running a discipleship course next week with the leaders of the church and it is important that they have sripture in front of them. They are not expensive for us but they are expensive for them and so it was a great privilege to be able to buy some for the Church. I pray that God will use them to develop the Church in Ouanaminthe.
Before we left, we were reminded of the difficulties of life here. One girl in the church wasvery ill and did not have enough money for medicine. We were able to help out a little bit with that which is nice but the Pastor confided in me that it is a real burden for him to have so many people in his Church struggling for health and being able to do so little to help them. Hopefully in the years ahead we can start to lift that burden just a little bit.
Finally, please pray for the team that we will continue to stay safe and well. From a leaders point of view the team has been fantastic. I am so honoured to be here with them. Vic will be preaching tomorrow in the Church so please pray for God's blessing on him as well.
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read our blog and to pray for us, it means more than you will know to all of us here.