Chris Fuller, son of Fuller Center founders Millard and Linda Fuller, is currently in Port-au-Prince, Haiti as part of a group of eight people from the Georgia Baptist Convention helping rebuild a church. They are there from April 16 – 25th.
Below are some of this thoughts and observations.
From Chris Fuller
Monday, April 19
The living conditions are appalling. There are thousands and thousands of people in tents. The weather is hot, so it would be miserable for me. I have fans in my room, and that makes it tolerable, but the locals have no electricity. It also hasn’t rained here. I can’t imagine how bad it will be once the rains come.
After breakfast we have devotions. The translators, security guards, and some local pastors all gathered together. There’s about 40 of us together. Then we load up in pick-up trucks with covered beds. They are called "tap-taps." I don’t know why. I think you tap-tap when you want to stop to get out.
The church we are working on is only about 15 minutes away. Another group had started construction, but only had a basic frame. It’s about 50 feet by 20 feet. It’s for a congregation of 88! We spent the first day just getting it ready for the tin roof. The work was hot and the shade was minimal. We had a great view of mountains in the distance and could see lots of rooftops. We are also not far from a little tent village. There are even tents on roof tops. The government had decreed no concrete construction until 90 days after the earth quake to allow for aftershocks.
The first day, we had a great supper of beef and mushroom stew, red rice, some squash-like vegetable and tomatoes. It was all good. I had seconds. Each day after supper we do testimonies and praises. We had a team from California of eight men, many of them younger. That was good to see. I was honored as one of our team members said that he wanted to give a praise and that was he was thankful for me. He said that he believed my being able to speak the language really helped them understand everything and have a great witness.
We left for our worship service in two vehicles. We had two translators and two security guards. We weaved through rough streets, dodging holes, garbage, rubble, and people. I saw only one working traffic light on our 20 minute commute to the church. We passed by the presidential palace, its domes crumbling and obviously tilted. UN guards with large guns on military vehicles stood watch. We passed by vendors on the street selling clothes, snacks and whatever. Half the people seemed to walk around with purpose, the other half stood by watching their countrymen or the weather.
The church, we were told, was in a rough neighborhood, but I can’t tell the good neighborhoods from the bad. They all look bad to me. The church was a two-story building, but the top story was totally destroyed.
The second day of work was brutal as we were putting up a tin roof. The tin got hotter and hotter as the day progressed. We got about two-thirds of it done. As you might guess, I was the one assigned to do the dangerous work of climbing up to the top of the room and monkey around on the rafters. My teammates just didn’t feel like they could do it. I feel like I was really helping and making a difference. Even Haitian people come and look at the crazy American about to kill himself and anyone he falls on.
There is a small school right next to our work site. There are 50 students all in one class. They are 8-15 years old. During a mid-morning break, I went down to where a group of children were taking their school lunch break. I just walked into the classroom where they were eating and starting talking to them. They couldn’t believe it. I told them to study hard and to listen to the professor. I also told them to listen to God. By listening to their professor and listening to God, they would have a lot of success in life. They smiled a lot and many nodded their heads in approval. That was fun.
I am really getting to know the Haitan security guards and translators who work with us. We joke around and have a good time. Later in the day, as we were waiting on some supplies, I taught them the song, "King Jesus is All." They really liked that song and wanted the words to it.
Chris is also involved with The Fuller Center of El Salvador. Read about his family’s journey there last summer.