The following is a travelogue compiled from daily emails sent from Haiti by Fr. David Haines, Vicar General of Global Partnerships, from his February 2016 trip to Haiti with Bp. Bill Perkins.
Travelogue for Haiti
Day One 18 February, 2016
Bishop Bill Perkins and I left Fort Pierce, Florida, for Haiti early this morning. We had both spent the night at Fort Pierce and left for the airport earlier this morning arriving at the Missionary Flights International facility at 5:45 am. Our flight for Cap-Haitien left Fort Pierce around 7:30 am with a refueling stop in Great Exuma in the Bahamas. We landed in Cap-Haitien without incident at 11:45 am and passed through passport control and customs with very little fuss. The arrivals area has all been remodeled since my last visit two years ago.
Once outside, we were NOT mobbed by people trying to help us with our luggage, because since the remodeling the area is patrolled and somewhat restricted. Bishop Perkins probably thinks that I had been exaggerating about the chaos that used to greet one in the past. Both Fr. Mews and our translator, Ronel Joseph, were there to greet us and had a vehicle that they had borrowed from a friend to transport us to Avis to pick up our rental vehicle.
Once we got out of the airport however, the familiar noise and chaos of the Cap-Haitien streets was evident once again. I had Bishop Perkins sit in the front seat so as to get the full experience of the closeness of traffic in Haiti. Once at Avis, we modified the rental agreement by adding comprehensive insurance (something you definitely need to have in Haiti) and then after a brief consultation with Ronel and Fr. Mews we agreed to visit the property in the Limonade-district where the people have requested to become part of the APA.
The property is owned by the Roman Catholic Church, who is wanting to sell it, but only the Roman Catholic Bishop of Cap-Haitien can tell us the price. We spent the best part of the afternoon chasing the Roman Catholic Bishop of Cap-Haitien from place to place across an assortment of potholes and flooded Haitian roads only to find at each destination, that the illusive bishop had left “just five minutes ago.” Thankfully, we finally gave up and then headed back towards the hotel.
En route to the hotel, we stopped to exchange some of our American dollars into local currency. The two tier system of currency still persists in Haiti. The exchange rate was $1 (US) to $12.2(Haitian), but the notes are not in Haitian dollars but in Guede. There are 5 Guede per Haitian dollar. So $300 (US) is worth $3,660 (Haitian) and gets you $18,300 Guede. When you have goods priced in Haitian dollars remember to multiply by five to get the correct number of Guede. Thank God for our translator who is a math and algebra teacher and able to keep things straight.
We finally made it to the hotel around 3:15 pm and were able to check in without difficulty. Bishop Perkins proved to be a real trooper. After we got in the rooms, he found that one of the louvered glass panes was missing from his outside window, the neighboring property was burning trash, and the wind was blowing directly in the direction of the hotel and the missing glass. Undeterred, the Bishop used some plastic bags and tape to seal up the gap, and he now has a fully functional window, at least by Haitian standards!
After dropping off Bishop Perkins, Ronel, Fr. Mews, and I set out to purchase some bottled water for us to use during our trip. During this venture, Fr. Mews informed me that he was not putting forward the candidates for confirmation since he felt that they had not attended regularly enough, and he had not been able to complete their preparation. He said that he thought the postulants who have worked closely with him these last three years were at a place where they could be ordained to the Diaconate. He also felt that the lady who had been willing to serve as a Deaconess should probably be set apart if at all possible.
I made no promises with regard to any of this and explained that we would need to consult with Bishop Grundorf in order to so drastically change what we had planned to do. After talking to Bishop Grundorf by telephone late this afternoon (Yes, you read it right, by telephone from Haiti. Verizon finally came through!) Bishop Grundorf agreed to the proposal under certain conditions. This means we will be rearranging the service for Sunday and getting things set up to accomplish what needs to be done. So in less than six hours, all kinds of changes have been accomplished and more direct communication taken place than in almost two years of emails! Being flexible and patient remains the key to doing mission work around the world but especially here in Haiti!
Bishop Perkins and I had dinner around 6 pm, and we ordered a chicken dish prepared in a certain way. When it came to the table it was nothing like it was supposed to be, but the waiter had said the chef usually prepares it just the way we got it! Listen closely to the waiter if you don’t want to be surprised by what finally shows up.
We are expecting another busy day tomorrow, and we will try to complete another report at that time. Thank you all for your prayers during this visit. We ask that you continue to pray for us as we try to deal with difficult and changing conditions and circumstances on the ground, and try to make the correct judgments and decisions so that the building of God’s kingdom in Haiti may be moved forward to deeply impact and improve the lives of the people here. Haiti remains a tough and rough place with really no human solution visible. It will take a massive movement of the hearts of the people by the Holy Spirit to effect lasting and meaningful change in Haiti.
Lastly, I also ask that you would pray for Fr. Mews’ wife, Giselle, as she has a serious heart condition and has been in the hospital in Port-au-Prince for the last four months. (This is something else that Fr. Mews had not shared in his emails to us).
Heading to bed shortly since we only had five hours of sleep the night before due to our early departure from Fort Pierce.
Day Two 19 February, 2016
Bishop Perkins and I began our day with breakfast at 7 am this morning, and we were then picked up at 9 am by Ronel and driven to Balan to visit the school and agricultural property. Fr. Mews joined us there around 10 am. As usual, we were warmly greeted at the school and got to visit each of the classrooms and the teachers. Due to the heavy rain overnight, several of the students and one of the teachers were absent since some roads were too difficult to travel.
It was a heart-rending visit in many ways since the number of students is down to 56 from our previous high of 256, all because of the previous government’s promise of free education. The good news on the political side is that the President has stepped down and the country is now being run by the President of the Senate and new elections have been scheduled for later in the year. It appears that the former President and his party will lose power and that the current education policy will change and be repealed. But elections in Haiti are never a sure thing, and outcomes are highly unpredictable. We pray for change that will work to the benefit of the school and for the children of the Balan district. While in Balan, we also visited the broiler house and the agricultural property. During our time with Fr. Mews, we discussed the possibility of having someone rent the broiler facility for a nominal charge with a small percentage share of the profits going to the school. This would get the facility up and running and functioning again. Fr. Mews thought that this would be a good idea and seemed encouraged by it (or perhaps he was relieved that he was not being asked to play at being a farmer again). During our discussion, he suggested that a small building to serve as a residence within the walled compound would enable the person to live on the property to safeguard the chickens. I have asked Fr. Mews to get an estimate of the cost and to submit that to us for consideration. We also visited the property which adjoins the school, and where it is hoped that the church building will eventually be established. During this time Bishop Perkins, suggested that Fr. Mews might consider erecting a pole-barn type structure with a concrete foundation and floor and roof but with open sides to serve as the church. This should be possible at fairly modest or low cost and would enable the building to be enclosed at a later stage when funds become available. Fr. Mews will submit an estimate of the cost for us to consider as well. We did learn during our time this morning that most of the thefts at our properties have been carried out by just one of the neighboring families who mistakenly claim that the broiler-growing project was established as a money maker for the church and Fr. Mews, and that funds were being diverted away from the building of the church. Unfortunately short-sightedness and rationalizing of bad behavior is all too evident throughout Haiti. We simply ask for prayers for these uncharitable neighbors that the Holy Spirit might turn their hearts. At the close of school at 12 pm (School in Haiti starts at 7am and many schools have two sessions the second starting at 1 pm and ending at 6 pm), we headed back through the traffic. This is the busiest time of the day, since the first school session is heading home and the second school session is heading to school. The roads are jammed with all manner of vehicles and the sidewalks and other pedestrian areas (which includes part of the road) are overflowing with uniformed school children as they make their way to bus stops or to connect with a tap-tap (the local small truck taxis) or a motor-cycle taxi. Our destination was the La Kay restaurant near the bay where we ate lunch. After lunch, we headed back into town to try to find a bookstore where we could purchase Bibles to be presented to the ordinands during the service on Sunday. It required a visit to two bookstores for us to purchase sufficient copies. At the second bookstore, which is located at a local Roman Catholic Church, we arrived at the same time that a very large congregation was gathering in the church for a funeral. While the people were fascinating to us, I am sure that the sight of two rather weary and slightly disheveled Anglican clergy were equally fascinating to most of the people gathering since we were the only two white faces in the crowd. Once we had purchased the Bibles, we headed up the mountain to avoid the traffic that was now leaving the funeral and the congestion which coincides with Friday mid-afternoon in Cap Haitien. During our passage up the mountain, we stopped in at the Hotel Beck (which Bishop, Dr. Mary, and Tina and I all have not-so-fond memories from our first visit). The hotel has been transformed, and a number of new buildings and a sparkling swimming pool have been added. We took several photographs to show Bishop Grundorf, Dr. Mary, and Tina on our return. In addition, the road up the mountain, which was more gully than road when we visited in 2011, is now paved and fully functional. Some things in Haiti do occasionally change for the better. We were able to call it a day a little after 4 pm today and have had a fairly-restful late afternoon and evening although we are trying to work out and finalize all the details for the service on Sunday. To complicate matters just a little, Fr. Mews has also requested that I do a baptism during the service as well. (I think he was afraid that I would feel left out as apart from the preaching I would not have too much to do!) I know that this will sound familiar to Bishop Grundorf since he was often asked to do a baptism or two in addition to numerous other functions on our visits to India. We are heading to bed after a light dinner. We plan to meet with the candidates for ordination tomorrow here at the hotel. Please continue to pray for us as we move forward with our visit, and as we try to encourage and uplift Fr. Mews and his congregation and future clergy to continue in their task of spreading the Gospel to the people of Cap-Haitien in Haiti.
Day Three 20 February, 2016
Bishop Bill Perkins and I had an easier start to our day today as we met with the candidates for ordination and the deaconess candidate at our hotel at 10 am this morning. We were joined by Deacon Wilfrid who was ordained during a previous visit in 2011. I arranged to use a roofed but open-air conference area in the hotel and the eight of us were able to meet in relative seclusion and privacy. During this time, Bishop Perkins and I were able to outline the duties of a deacon and the differences between deacons, who are ordained and part of the clergy, and deaconesses, who are set-apart and part of the laity. We also shared with them the expectations that Bishop Grundorf had expressed about their continuing their studies following their ordination. They all agreed with the requirements, and they also each swore to and signed the oath of conformity required for all clergy in the APA. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the translation skills of Ronel Joseph who has graciously made himself available during our visit.
The caliber of the candidates is fairly impressive by Haitian standards. Deacon Wilfrid is a school teacher as are two of the candidates for the Diaconate (Rosemond Etienne and Yvon Thermidore). The youngest of the men (Pierre Nelson Nacius) is completing his studies in Technology at a local college in Cap-Haitien and hopes to teach after graduation. The candidate for Deaconess (Jocelyne Lezin) is the principal at our school and has been a school teacher for many years. While they have limited English, most are able to read English but are not able to communicate very effectively in English. (I am unable to understand, read or communicate at all in French, so I felt pretty humbled by their abilities to comprehend English even to this limited extent). We were able to answer many questions during this time and to discuss various aspects of the ministry here in Haiti and listen to some of their thoughts and concerns. Both Bishop Perkins and I felt that we established a good working relationship with the group and their desire to serve God and to promote the Anglican Church in Haiti appeared very evident. The trust and fellowship established during the meeting, in my mind at least, has made this trip worthwhile. Following the meeting, I invited them all to lunch at the hotel. The idea was great, but we probably would have been far better off going somewhere else. The number of people eating lunch in the hotel restaurant at one time fairly overwhelmed the staff here, and the limited menu and small portion sizes caused some consternation among our people as they felt that we were being exploited. After some pushing and urging on our part, the hotel did eventually produce enough food for everyone, but the meal was certainly a disappointment. As we were ending lunch, Fr. Mews arrived with the bulletin for Sunday Morning. He had spent the morning getting it prepared and printed for the service on Sunday. As we were just about to leave, we recommended to Fr. Mews that he go to La Kay (the restaurant that we ate at yesterday) for lunch. I gave Fr. Mews the money for his lunch and as he listened to the ordeal of our lunch, he was quite happy to go. Before leaving, he also told us that he had arranged for us to meet with the Roman Catholic Archbishop at 5 pm this afternoon to discuss the Limonade property. After saying good bye to our guests at 2:30, pm Bishop Perkins went to work on preparing for the service tomorrow, and I went to work on writing a sermon that would be appropriate for the occasion as the sermon I had prepared before the trip no longer seemed very appropriate. At 4 pm, Ronel Joseph came back to the hotel to drive us to pick up Fr. Mews before going over to the Archbishop’s residence adjoining the cathedral in downtown Cap Haitian. We arrived about 20 minutes early and were able to park within the compound at the residence. We were then taken upstairs to a very large and comfortably-furnished conference room with a number of large pictures of various Popes and Roman Catholic Bishops from around the world on the walls and asked to make ourselves comfortable. During our wait, I learned that the current Archbishop and Fr. Mews had been in seminary together for a year, before Fr. Mews left to pursue his calling in the Anglican Church. At 5 pm, Archbishop Max Leroy Mesidor arrived and greeted us warmly and recognized Fr. Mews and seemed genuinely pleased to see him. The Archbishop is a tall man, certainly a few inches or maybe more than six feet, and Fr. Mews is considerably shorter. The two of them must have represented the opposite ends of the height scale in their seminary class. We talked about many things, and the Archbishop seemed genuinely interested to learn about our Anglican group and the work and position of the APA in traditional Anglicanism. He explained that with regard to the Limonade property that the decision would be in the hands of the parish committee and the new priest. The current priest in charge of the Roman Catholic parish is due to retire by the middle of March and the Bishop would be announcing his replacement in a few weeks. The newly-appointed priest and the parish committee would then make a recommendation to the Archbishop regarding the property. While we expressed our interest in the property we also explained that we were not in any great hurry at this point. We also learned some interesting things about the political situation and the promise of free education for the children of Haiti. It was small comfort to learn that the Roman Catholic Schools have struggled with some of the same issues as our school and had not been granted funds. A large part of the issue turns out to be rampant corruption in the government here. (Who would have guessed?) It appears that several people in conjunction with certain government officials created “ghost schools” that don’t really exist and then applied for funds and pocketed the money that was issued. So the children of Haiti and the future of Haiti have been the victims of corruption and graft. This is really a sad situation. After an hour long visit we thanked the Archbishop for his time, and he thanked us for visiting with him and asked that we continue to keep in touch via Fr. Mews in the future. Although we were unable to resolve anything with regard to the property, this appears to have been a fairly-profitable use of our time and we may have the beginnings of a relationship that could prove to be beneficial in the future. We returned to the hotel around 6:30 pm, freshened up quickly, and then ordered dinner at the hotel. Both Bishop Perkins and I are turning in early tonight to be ready for our ride to Balan at 7:45 am to be ready for the service by 9 am. Please continue to pray for us and for the service tomorrow and the successful conclusion of our visit here. Please also remember the young men and Jocelyne, the candidate for Deaconess, in your prayers.
Day Four 21 February, 2016
Our day began when Bishop Perkins and I were picked up around 8 am to travel to the school for the service which was scheduled for 9 am. Ronel Joseph was 15 minutes late because he had some difficulty getting his suit back from a friend who had dry-cleaned it for him the day before. One learns to not get anxious about time after you have been in Haiti for a day or two; both time and distance are somewhat relative and not exact terms here!
Being Sunday, the traffic was relatively light, and so we were able to reach the school just after 8:30 am. We knew that Ronel was a little anxious since he did not see one of the bumps in the road and we hit it fairly hard, resulting in the jack being shaken loose in the back of the rental SUV. He apologized profusely several times and for several minutes. This is the third time that Ronel has driven for us (he was our driver and translator in 2011 and 2014) and this was the first time that something like this has happened. This was not major by any stretch, yet it did indicate that he was concerned about making us late. When we arrived at the school, we learned that the tarpaulins that had been suspended over the courtyard the afternoon before had blown loose in the night, and so there were several people frantically trying to get them suspended over the area once more. Ronel immediately went to help with the work and being over six feet tall, he was able to render some much needed assistance. While we were reviewing parts of the service with Fr. Mews we heard a crash outside in the courtyard and found that Ronel had slipped and fallen into the dirt while trying to tie one end of the tarpaulin to the roof. Fortunately, he was not hurt, although he may have a bruised hip tomorrow. Sadly, his newly dry-cleaned Sunday suit did not fair as well and had to be brushed off to return it to something like it was when he arrived. Ronel has a wonderful heart, though and appeared to be unfazed by the whole event. Shortly after 9:30 am, everything was in place and the service was able to get underway. There were about one hundred people in attendance and as always, the service is fairly lively with a good portion being sung. All the singing is done a cappella and it is very melodious, and the people seem to know the music very well. In the first part of the service, Bishop Perkins ordained the three men to the Diaconate. Each of them had borrowed albs and stoles for the occasion. During the ordination, they were each presented with the Bibles we had purchased on Friday afternoon. After their ordination, one of the newly-ordained deacons (Rosemond Etienne) read the Gospel. I then preached the sermon that I had prepared after my arrival, and following the sermon, Bishop Perkins set aside Jocelyne Lezin as a Deaconess. We decided that before it got too late, we should also perform the baptism that Fr. Mews had asked me to do. So I had the privilege of baptizing two-year-old Rhoude Lynne into the one holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. This really was an exciting day in the life of St. Yves Anglican Church in Cap Haitien, Haiti. Following the Baptism, the service continued with the Holy Communion, and Fr. Mews had both Bishop Perkins and me serve as co-consecrators with him. Just before the service ended, one of the newly ordained deacons (Yvon Therimidor) gave a short address on behalf of the deacons thanking Bishop Perkins and me as well as thanking Fr. Mews, the members of the church vestry, and the congregation for all their support and confidence in them. It was a heart-felt and very meaningful address, and it provided further insight into the character of these young men. The service concluded with Bishop Perkins offering the blessing for the newly-ordained deacons and the set-apart deaconess, and he then gave the final blessing to the congregation. The time was now almost 12:30 pm, so all of this was done in three hours! While we certainly felt like we had done a day’s work by this time, I would be remiss if I did not mention the work that our translator Ronel Joseph does for us during this time. He is the only one who does not get a break anywhere in the service; for when he is not busy translating what we are saying to the people, he is also busy translating any part of the service that is in Créole to Bishop Perkins and me. All that, after an early-morning struggle to get his dry-cleaned clothes and after taking a nasty tumble while trying to secure a wayward tarpaulin! After the service ended, there was the obligatory photography session which lasted for quite some time but which is so important for recording the occasion. After we had changed out of our vestments, both Bishop Perkins and I turned over some of our vestments to Fr. Mews for him and the new clergy to use in their ministry. These items were all gratefully received by him. Shortly after 1 pm we headed back towards Cap-Haitien with an overfilled vehicle as we transported two members of the congregation back to the town. Bishop Perkins, Fr. Mews, Ronel Joseph and I then had lunch together at a restaurant in Cap-Haitien overlooking the bay and the port. Fr. Mews expressed his thanks to us for the day and for all we have been able to accomplish so far during this visit. After a pleasant and relaxing lunch, we dropped off Fr. Mews, and Ronel drove Bishop Perkins and I back to the hotel where we arrived a little after 3 pm. While so much has turned out differently than we had planned during this visit, it seems, to me at least, that considerable progress has been made in the church here. Several ideas that have been discussed have given them encouragement and a vision for a way forward in the future. Also, the young deacons will provide good support and encouragement for Fr. Mews who I am sure will not feel as though he has to fight all the battles alone. It looks as though we have the nucleus of a good team of clergy which has now been established here in Haiti. Please continue to pray for the remaining days of our visit here, and continue to pray for our Anglican Church and clergy here in Haiti. As I suggested to them in my sermon this morning, there will be and there still are numerous obstacles and difficulties to overcome, but by focusing on the importance of spreading the Gospel of Christ and by sharing the Good News and trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the work of building God’s kingdom will be moved forward. We are headed to bed shortly and hope that we might have another productive day tomorrow, as we attempt to establish the connection with Logos House and Fr. Bill Martin so that these men and woman can continue their theological studies to better equip them for their offices.
Day Five 22 February, 2016
Bishop Perkins and I were picked up at 9 am this morning to begin the process of looking at the prices of motorcycles here in Cap-Haitien. The deacons had indicated that it would be most helpful for them if the church had a motorcycle to enable them to travel more easily on visitations. After talking with Fr. Mews, he agreed that this would be helpful, and so we decided that we needed to know what was available and what the typical price would run here in Haiti.
We visited three different motorcycle and auto supply stores to determine the prices. Each of the motorcycle stores we visited sold a different brand of Chinese motorcycle, the types that fill the streets of Cap-Haitien and other parts of Haiti. The price is very similar to the prices for the motorcycles that we have already purchased in India for our clergy there. The prices range from $1,300 to $1,600 depending on the make and size, and they all include a helmet, elbow protection, and knee protection. One company even offers a free tank of gas. No promises were made, but it was felt that it was important for us to know the cost of these items in order to be able to present any kind of monetary appeal to our churches. After we had gathered our prices, we picked up Fr. Mews at 10:15 am. He had been trying to encourage Bishop Perkins to visit the Citadel which is a large historic fortress in the mountains outside of Cap- Haitien. It was built by King Christophe of Haiti following their rebellion against the French, and was intended to protect Haiti from invasion by the French from what is now the Dominican Republic. The French never returned, the king fell and was paralyzed, and eventually committed suicide and the fort, together with its guns, cannonballs and other components ended up just remaining in place. Bishop Perkins has insisted to them that we did not have enough time during this visit, so as a compromise, he agreed that we could visit the Palace which is in the same area but at the base of the mountain. The Palace San Souci was built on the plan and scale of Versailles in France but was destroyed by an earthquake in the mid 1800’s. This is much easier to reach, and so we headed out to the village of Milot where the Palace is located. We enjoyed a quick visit here accompanied by two guides who I told were not needed but who insisted on staying with us during our walk through the ruins. Having been here on previous trips, I knew or remembered most of what they told us, and Ronel knows the history and the sight very well having visited it often as a child and having learned about it in school, as well as having visited it several times as an adult. Nonetheless, we were not able to discourage them. This is the point in the trip where the Vicar General was a little grumpy and inwardly thought about bumping the guides over the edge of some of the higher outlooks. I have a lot for which to ask forgiveness! By the end of the tour, I had decided that I was being petty, and so I tipped them each 200 Guedes (about $3 a-piece) and they seemed satisfied and most grateful. I am not a very good tourist! At 11:30 am, we headed back to Cap-Haitien as Fr. Mews was scheduled to teach at noon. We made really good time until we got into the traffic in the city and eventually dropped off Fr. Mews just as the Cathedral bell was tolling for the noon hour. Ronel Joseph, Bishop Perkins and I went in search of a place to eat lunch. The La Kay restaurant is closed on Monday and consequently looked for somewhere else to eat. We went in search of a new restaurant that our hotel manager’s husband had recently opened. (They are both Filipinos and speak good English). The restaurant sells a variety of gourmet burgers and pizza is geared towards western tourists. I remembered the street that it was on but could not remember the name, but with Ronel’s patient driving and sharp eyes, we eventually found the “Café Deli”. It is a very small place but was spotlessly clean and had a very good menu. Unfortunately, they were having electrical problems so there was no air-conditioning, and they could not cook pizza as the ovens were not working. Some things and parts of the stove were working as were the lights and the ceiling fans, so we ordered what we could and opened the windows and door and had a good, cool flow of air through the place that made it quite bearable. The food was of a high standard and the fish burger I had was extremely good and Bishop Perkin’s spaghetti and meat balls appeared to satisfy him as well. After lunch, we returned to the hotel to prepare for the interactive Skype session that the newly-ordained deacons and Deacon Wilfrid were to have with Fr. Bill Martin from Logos House. Earlier in the day, I had spoken to Fr. Martin via telephone (actually while we were driving to the palace. This is something we have never been able to do before in Haiti, so things really are changing here) and he informed me that he was having some problems with Skype and would be grateful if we could move the session back to 3:30 pm. This actually would work better for most of our men as they would be coming from school and from their jobs. I had tried to connect to Skype earlier in our visit and had also had difficulties and I was very anxious that we might not be successful and might end up putting the deacons through a lot of trouble without any positive result. By 3:30 pm, I had managed to get onto Skype on my end and had sent Fr. Martin a message. When he had not responded, I called him from the hotel, and he told me he was on the phone with Skype and that he would have things up and running in about five or ten minutes. True to his word, in a little over five minutes, we had made connection, and the exchange between the deacons and Fr. Martin was underway. Fr. Martin speaks French very well, although he was a little rusty in places, but Ronel was there to translate when necessary. The session lasted almost an hour and arrangements were made for them to start their sessions next Monday at 3 pm. This represents an important milestone in the beginning of the theological training for the deacons. It is also a great leap forward compared to the last time that we visited where we were able to get them enrolled in Logos House, but as a result of several changes and problems at the seminary they never received any instruction or materials. Since Fr. Martin has taken over the academic responsibilities of Logos House, there has been a marked improvement not only for our various foreign churches but for our domestic postulants and clergy as well. Following the session, I gathered all the email addresses and all the telephone numbers for the deacons and for the deaconess and have since emailed them to Fr. Martin so that effective communication can begin as soon as possible. Following the session, I invited all the men, including Fr. Mews who had returned after teaching, and the deaconess, Jocelyne, to have a drink with us before heading home. Bishop Perkins graciously hosted our guests as I was still busy sending the email to Fr. Martin. During this time, the youngest of the Deacons, Pierre Nelson Nacius stayed at the table with me. He had come to the meeting directly from the college where he had taken an exam today. After pressing him a little, he told me he could not have something to drink since he was too hungry having not eaten since before leaving home today. I managed to persuade him to have something to eat, and he eventually did so and seemed fairly satisfied and most grateful when he was done. This seemingly small and brief interaction served as a sharp reminder to me of the sacrifices that many of our clergy and others in our foreign churches endure in order to try to meet their calling and the many demands that we sometimes put on them. In our society, we are far less tolerant of many of the fairly insignificant inconveniences with which we sometimes have to put up. Just as everyone was about to leave, Fr. Mews presented Bishop Perkins and me with gifts that I suspect he had purchased at the palace during our visit there earlier in the day. They are both still wrapped, but they appear to be fairly large pictures or paintings. We will have an interesting time getting those on the MFI flight tomorrow! After our farewells, we arranged with Ronel that we would be picked up from the hotel at 9 am to begin our journey back to the airport in Cap-Hatien to get our flight back to Fort Pierce in Florida. What remains tomorrow will be to adequately recompense Ronel Joseph for his time and service to us during our visit and to gas-up the rental car before it is returned and then to give the remaining Haitian money to Fr. Mews for any specific need for the church or the school. There are always mixed emotions when ending a visit like this one. There is a degree of sadness to be leaving the wonderful people who we have had the privilege to get to know and to share some greatly important events in their lives, but there is also the excitement and anticipation of returning to those we love and cherish at home and to familiar surroundings and the ease of communicating which we take so much for granted in our own circumstances. We also leave with the slight satisfaction that a number of things have been achieved and others set in motion, which may lead to improvements in the lives of the people we have spent time with here. Hoping and praying that through the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom of God will be extended and continue to grow here in Haiti. Please continue to pray for the work being done here in Cap-Haitien and for all of our clergy here in Haiti. Also, please keep Bishop Perkins and me in your prayers as we travel back to the US and to our families in Florida and North Carolina tomorrow.