Color and Symbols in Haiti

It is almost overwhelming to think about my recent eight days at the LaCroix New Testament Mission in Haiti and what I might pick and chose to share about. Given that Carrot Top Studio focuses on colors and symbols and how these can make a visual connection in worship and ministry I've decided that is how I'll share a little of my experience.

Inside the church

Carvings on chancel railing
We arrived in LaCroix late on Saturday so Sunday morning worship was our first introduction to this wonderful community.  Worshipers were full of boisterous singing and joyful body motions. Communion was shared and I gave thanks that as Christians we all share the symbols of the bread and cup. The worship space was embellished with bright colored flower garlands hanging from the ceilings. And the chancel railing was decorated with wood carvings of a plant that I interpreted as either a symbol for growth and life or maybe the Trinity because of it's three leaves. We joined the tradition of this culture of covering our head during worship.
The Haitians we encountered were some of the happiest people I have ever been around. They move through their day with much laughter and singing. The colors that surrounded us everywhere we went--inside and out--reflected this happiness. They were bright, light, and vivacious. Pink houses, turquoise classrooms, peach colored school uniforms and on and on. This bus that transported us from Port Au Prince is a perfect example! 
Joyful colors can affect a mood...who wouldn't smile getting onto this bus!
I spent the majority of the week helping to paint a teaching mural in the children's chapel. It was 9' x 17' and started with the birth of Jesus and through eight vignettes it shared the highlights of Christ's time on earth. It is bordered with the message of Pentecost. The Pentecostal people were painted with many familiar faces....some Haitian and some American missionaries.Planning for this project we always intended for the Haitians to paint alongside of this...we never wanted it to be the American's mural. What was overwhelmingly exciting was how eager the children and youth were to work. It didn't take long on our first day for children to gather in between their school classes and to realize that they could paint too! We were able to identify a dozen artists aged 9-20 to work alongside us. At times their stamina was greater than ours as our bodies adapted to the intense heat.  We were also occasionally challenged to paint in almost darkness as the sky was covered with clouds during afternoon rainstorms. Learning color words and artistic terms in each other's language was fun--although the children were much better at this then we were! And, when a gecko rested on my foot while we were painting on that first day I knew the adventure had only just begun and it didnt' stop all week. The zeal for this project was contagious with the children, the missionaries and the many adults in the community that were constantly in and out of the chapel as the work progressed. I'm still tearing up at the memory of hearing young and old tell the stories of the New Testament and ask questions as the images were transformed on the wall.
Billy and Modestin were happy to help

The finished mural
I remain grateful for those of you that waited for orders to be shipped while we closed our small business to take this trip. Thank you also for your prayers. I have never felt such peace, contentment and joy as I did last week. This enabled our team to work together as a Christian community to complete our projects. I KNOW this was the power of prayer!

If you'd like to read my 16 year old daughter's account of our week and see a few more pictures you may click on these links.... Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.