If you follow CPR-3 Movement on social media, maybe you have heard about the mother of eight who has had teams loving her and her children since Grace Fellowship, Pickerington first partnered with Canaan in 2012. Her son Davidson and daughter Daley were the first shy, reluctant children to approach the team and the visitors had no idea what a beautiful family there was behind these two kids who followed with big eyes at the time.
Fast forward a year later, and I met the mother – Nelsie. She was sweet and knew who I was before I introduced myself, as her children are apparently very talkative after a week with a team visiting. I loved her sweet smile and personality and she invited me quickly into her home. The next month she found out she was pregnant and to my congratulations she responded with a thank you that was quiet and a face wrought with tension. She couldn’t feed the seven children she already had…what to do now?
As Pickerington comes over the years, both new friends are made and old friends visit each other. Nelsie has had her healthy 8th child, a boy, and relational roots have gotten deeper. With so many kids, Nelsie has met more people over the years. Some of these people love her children dearly and come back to Haiti, coming back to visit her home. One of these team members is Hannah Johnson, who was a Compassion Intensive Training participant (CIT) this summer – Hannah was the one to invite and push a little harder for Nelsie to try out the church that so many of her friends came through.
With the opportunity to go to Canaan and walk around for the first time in months, I passed Nelsie’s house and excitedly visited with her on the way to meet with Pastor Samedy. I asked what she had thought of that service – just to find she is still going! I asked about the church – as friends, I was honestly investigating a community member’s perspective on the health, activity, and heart of the church. And what I got in response was beautiful!
“Pastor Samedy is a good teacher. I’ve gone to other churches and you don’t really learn the Bible…Pastor Samedy isn’t like that.”
Great! But what about the church people, how do you feel in the church?
“I love the church. It isn’t like other churches. Of course not everyone is perfect, but people do what they say. They remember me, they visit me.” She is getting over a case of malaria right now and went on to say, “It was Pastor Samedy who visited me and kept checking on me, and who helped me. He didn’t forget me and prays for me and comes to see me.”
Pastor Samedy, by the way, has had a sick wife, sick newborn, classes in Port-au-Prince to get to, three other children to raise, and the church to continue to lead.
What a beautiful picture of church. I told her that I was glad to hear that she was going and that the church was better than past experiences she has had. We spent a few more minutes together and ended with hugs and grins from the little ones and teenage girls that make up the tiny home as big as my room, then I went on to Samedy’s house to talk about sponsorship and other things.
I love that this is what Nelsie sees in the church. I love that Samedy, when I asked for stories on the kids who still need sponsored, told me that he profiled three of her children months ago and she has such a big need – he would love us to try to help her. Her older daughters will likely have to drop out of school, and none of her kids are registered for school as she sees no possibility for this year.
He didn’t even know I had just come from her house.
Canaan was a beautiful picture of the physical and spiritual side of the cross coming together this week, and the marriage of how international teams and the Haitian church can work together to win. I am so excited as we see more and more fruit in this community!