I know this is very late to be posting about the Harvest Festival that happened 3 weeks ago (!!!). My apologies!
The day after the Festival, Manis and Sam left for the US. Manis was flying out to attend a leadership conference with Extreme Response, so he and Sam decided to fly out a bit early so they could fill a box truck that we will be sending. Bonita had already left on Sunday afternoon so Krischelle and I (Judy) have been holding down the fort… and getting a little behind on blog posts 🙂 I did have a lot of fun working with the development guys and some people in the community to get a few surprises ready for the guys when they returned. For three weeks I had a free hand to “beautify” the place a bit and we had a lot of fun doing it. In the process we were able to provide some work to over 60 people in the community as part of a “thorn clearing” program. The people really got behind the idea and were willing to work for very little in order to clear out the thorns along the road. They would love to see the thorns wiped out of the community completely and we hope to be able to encourage and assist them in that in the future. But I digress…
Back to the Harvest Festival…
On Easter Sunday, March 31 the church held its annual Harvest Festival. This is one of my favorite church activities as I am always so encouraged to see the joy with which people from the community give sacrificially of their harvests, livestock and resources in order to raise money for the church.
Usually the Harvest Festival lands while a group of some sort or another is here. If only people from the community come, there is not much profit in it! This year there were no groups coming so Bonita thought of the brilliant idea of inviting friends who were already in country! But would they come? Who would want to make the long and bumpy trip all the way up here to the Plateau just for our little church’s Harvest Festival? Well, as it turns out… quite a few! We had 26 people travel up, mostly from Port-au-Prince, to participate! We were so blessed and encouraged by these friends.
The service was lead by our school administrator, Patrica. Behind her (L to R) are Pastor Simon Serleus, president of the Union of Evangelical Churches of Haiti and a long-time friend of Manis’; Mr. Armand Louis, director of the high-school that Manis and many of our students from PauP attended and one of the men who stood with Manis through some difficult times when he founded Lemuel; Mr. Leon Camues who was responsible for our PauP branch for many years and continues to oversee the work that has continued there; and Pastor David Schmid a CrossWorld missionary that I grew up with as an Uncle (his wife Aunt Phyllis was also there and entertained Ani while I ran around getting things together).
The church organized a praise team for the day.
Rounding out the music were Sam on the congo drums, a friend from Anse-Rouge on the drums…
… Krischelle on the keyboard and a friend of one of our youth on the guitar.
As part of the program the children sang an amazing, two-part song about Christ’s resurrection. The Chorus was, “He not in the tomb anymore. Jesus is alive. Now He has gone to prepare a place for us in Heaven.”
We had two visiting church groups that sang…
…as well as Myrlande, Josiane,and Modelene from our church.
Pastor Simon gave a great message combining the two things we were celebrating: Easter and Harvest.
Manis gave a challenge and told the church how proud he was of them.
To open the Harvest Celebration part of the morning five ladies and two men from the church did a “Harvest Praise Dance”
At the end they grabbed people from the congregation to dance too.
The people then brought in what they were giving and the auction began. The two MAF pilots who came with their families were so hilarious bidding against each other for a goat, Manis said he had tears in his eyes he was laughing so hard. They checked the goat’s teeth, eyes, under its tail… one even tried riding it. Unfortunately I missed the whole thing but I was laughing just hearing about it.
One new thing we added this year was a booth outside where people could buy things straight out and not in an auction format. Each lady in the church made some kind of candy or sweet thing…
…We then bagged them, put nice toppers on the bags and sold them at a fixed price. Even those in the community who couldn’t buy a goat or chicken or a whole “rejim” of plantains could buy a bag or two of sweets and take something home from the Festival.
All in all it was a great day. It was wonderful to see friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen in years, and to see the church rally together to put on such a beautiful program.
A special thanks to everyone who came!