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More than Buildings

As the sun begins to rise, a team of eager HarvestCall volunteers climbs into the Construction Department truck and several utility vehicles to drive to a work location in southern Haiti. This team has travelled to Les Cayes, Haiti to participate in building a roof on a school or church in a remote rural village several hours away from the Citi Lumiere depot and guest house. The route to the job site is much more rugged than US travel, as Haiti has few bridges or improved roads, and fording streams, bouncing over bumpy terrain, and perhaps changing several flat tires along the way are all part of the experience.

When they arrive in the village, they are greeted by a group of cheerful children, neatly dressed in their school uniforms and eager to see their school completed. A local pastor welcomes the team and shows them the work site and accommodations. The women of the village are already hard at work preparing the meals for the team. The Haitian villagers have constructed the walls of the buildings (sometimes taking years due to limited financial resources) which are now ready for roof construction. It is an important, memorable day in the village as the awaited time has arrived for their completed school or church to become a reality.

Soon the materials are unloaded from the truck and team members get to work cutting wood members for the roof trusses, preparing roof purlins, and with the help and assistance of young men of the village, begin assembling and staging roof trusses to be lifted on to the building walls. In another area, other members of the team set up cots in existing buildings or homes, as the work requires several days and an overnight stay or two. They then began assembling pre-cut school desks or church benches and when complete, paint the desks or varnish the church benches.

In a day or two, the roof is complete and the team returns to Citi Lumiere. However, the construction work performed is only a part of what is accomplished. Team members spend several days in cross-cultural fellowship, and the relationships formed with the Haitian believers in the village leave a lasting impression on hosts and visitors alike. While on the team visit, volunteers have the opportunity to visit, sing, and worship together with the Haitians, and experience a bond of Christian friendship that will last long after the visit. After several days together, the time of parting comes, and smiles, hugs, and farewell tears at the event remain with the team members as they return home.

For over 30 years, HarvestCall (formerly World Relief) teams have been supporting the Haiti Construction Program in expanding the number of churches and schools in southern Haiti. Construction of the schools enables many Haitian children to receive an education and break the cycle of illiteracy that is commonplace. Construction of the churches enables Christians in Haiti to assemble in a common place of worship and provides a spiritual center for believers to proclaim the gospel message of salvation in their community. Teams build approximately 25 roofs per year and have constructed or repaired hundreds over the course of HarvestCall involvement.

If you are interested in joining a team and participating in this rewarding experience, see the HarvestCall website or Silver Lining schedules and contact one of the team coordinators. This program also needs prayer support and financial support. Contributions can be made online or to HarvestCall with Haiti Construction in the memo line. For further information, contact Bro. Jon Zeller at jczeller1972@gmail.com