This was a first for me in my 12 years of traveling to Haiti. The Lord’s mission is always an adventure!
Our flights from Detroit to Fort Lauderdale then Fort Lauderdale to Cap Haitien went well. We arrived at the Cap Haitien airport yesterday (Saturday) with a full plane so it took time to work through entry requirements. We exited the plane on the tarmac as usual and walked to the airport building about 100 yards away. At the entrance, two young officials looked over our COVID test results, took our temperature, made notes on a form and gave it to us. Then we stepped inside to join the queue. At the first booth, we showed a young women our passports and paid the required $10 USD entry fee. (Despite time and inflation, this fee has stayed the same in all my years of coming to Haiti!)
Then we moved to the next booth where we submitted our passports and completed VISA papers to another official. She reviewed everything carefully, took our picture and gave us back the part of the form we need to exit the country. We gave a fourth official our health forms as we entered the luggage area. Finally we were ready to pick up our luggage – we thought.
We checked five bags in total – including the rechargeable speaker we use in our training and its stand. The speaker stand travels in a padded PVC tube specially made by a PPI friend for just that purpose. We stood at the luggage carousel for 30 minutes as the suitcases and duffel bags flowed past us and their owners hoisted them off the carousel. We were getting a little concerned and said we hoped Spirit put our bags on the right flight. Then the PVC tube appeared. Relieved, we waited for the rest of our luggage. It never came. Luggage handlers shut off the carousel and closed its outside doors. Now we were really concerned! “I have enough clothes with me,” I thought, “I can get by. We can do without the speaker, but we’ll be hoarse after three courses!” But if Charles Spurgeon could proclaim God’s Word to 10,000 British workers without amplification, we could train 336 pastors without it, too!
We spotted two luggage handlers at the top of the carousel and started toward them. Suddenly Brian said, “I see one of our suitcases!” Several suitcases had been taken off the carousel and piled on the floor, probably before we got to the luggage room. We found all four of our bags in the pile. Thank you, Lord!
We handed the customs officer our final form, worked through baggage check with just a little pressure to pay customs on the speaker, and finally exited the airport. Pastor Esau found us immediately. He greeted us with an apology. “The car’s not good,” he said. No vans had been available so he had hired a tap-tap. This would be a first for us – though our Haitian friends regularly use this mode of transportation. “It’s okay,” we told him. “Thank the Lord we don’t have to walk.” He smiled.
A tap-tap is a small truck made into a people-carrier. It’s genius really. Workers weld narrow benches on each side of the truck’s bed. The benches extend just over the bumper, welded to a frame that features hand-rails and a small step. Thin pads give travelers just enough cushion to make a short trip bearable. We loaded our luggage and climbed in, ready for the 1-1/2 hour ride to Ouanaminthe. We enjoyed the ride, catching up with our Haitian friends and rejoicing that the Lord brought us together once again to encourage, train and resource church leaders in Haiti.
Enjoy the pictures below from the back of our tap-tap – a first for me in all my years of coming to Haiti.
Today we attend Pastor Jasmin’s church, where I’ll preach the message “God’s Great House” from 2 Chronicles 2:1-5. After lunch our team will meet to pray and begin preparations for our three courses. Thank you for your continued prayers for us!
christopher Vincent and Margaret says
Glad to hear you’ve arrived safely Ken along with all the luggage.
Hope and pray that your preaching and training will be as convicting as always.
Blessings to you and the team.
I rode in a tap-tap myself once. The Haitians told me the reason they call it a Tap-tap is it’s basically a taxi loaded with people. Once you get to your spot you “tap tap” on the metal bar in the back and the driver knows to let you off. Great experiences!