June 12, 2018

Happy in Haiti

Tim Gonzales and his son, Nathaniel, are the kind of people who give back, a lot. On a regular basis, Tim is a customer service representative at Summit Electric Supply in Farmington, New Mexico. But, this summer, Tim took his son to Haiti and joined a team of people who are making life better for the children who live there.

When Pinion Hills Community Church asked for volunteers, they said that the mission to the village of Marchasse in Haiti would be a lot like camping. There would not be running water, automobiles or electricity, but the community was in desperate need of a school building. Currently, the children in the village only receive a 6th grade education because there is no room for higher education. Tim jumped at the chance to volunteer and his 16-year-old son joined him. He quoted the following bible verse,

1 Peter 4:10
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

The flight to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was long, but not as long as the 6-hour ride through the jungle to get to Marchasse. Tim recalled how six people were sitting knee to knee in the back of a Jeep during the ride. “You couldn’t rest because if you fell asleep, your head would bang on the window. The ride was so rough,” he said.

Once the group arrived to the village, they found shelter in the community church and air mattresses with mosquito nets to rest on. But, there was a lot of work to do, so they were up early. Their mission was to work on the school building’s foundation. They dug out huge rocks and leveled dirt to get the ground ready. Then, Tim and Nathaniel’s group poured concrete and realized that they were ahead of schedule. They were in Marchasse for seven days and their hard work allowed them to finish more than expected. The group was able to put up walls that were built by volunteers who had previously visited the village.

It was a lot of hard work, but Tim and his son say the work was fulfilling because of the incredible people who lived in the village. Tim said that the children there were very affectionate and not afraid to express their feelings and thankfulness, which was not something he, or his son were used to.

“I wanted my son to see how other kids in these countries deal with things. Even without money, they were happy,” Tim stated while recalling how young boys would play soccer with a water bottle until the sun went down. They were smiling and having a great time. They weren’t watching TV or on the internet. Their lives were simple...and happy.

Both Tim and Nathaniel made friends in the village and are eager to get back to visit and work again next year. If all goes well, Pinion Hills Community Church will dedicate the new school building to the children of Marchasse in August of 2020.

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