Marcus & Arin: 3 month update
In January, Marcus and Arin Corn moved to our campus in Peredo, Haiti, with their young boys, Maverick and Pierson. Marcus is serving as the Peredo Campus Manager – helping with teams and projects, like organizing supplies, repairing, installing, building, and much more! They are doing a great job learning about the mission and about the culture of Haiti, in addition to learning language, how to get around Peredo, and where to find a good pizza in Jacmel.
Everyone is enjoying having them on campus. RoRo and Eline are teaching the boys all kinds of things, like how to chase lizards! (Well, RoRo is teaching that one!) Marcus and Arin are doing a great job connecting with teams. In February, they hosted a Super Bowl party for one of the teams. And teams have loved on them well too – bringing supplies and snacks, loving on the boys, and letting Maverick help wherever he can. They have walked to the rock beach, gotten to know some of the people from the Peredo community, worshipped with our Seguin church, explored Basin Bleu, made friends with Leo (our campus dog), and learned how to cook new dishes from Eline, Ina, and Elvinia. We have loved seeing so many welcome and encourage them!
Each month, the Corns update their supporters with stories of their life and service in Haiti. This month, we asked them to write a longer update we could share with all of you, which you’ll find below these photos.
Please join us in praying for Marcus, Arin, and the boys as they continue to make Haiti their home, learn the language, and host teams.
My wife continues to amaze me. A couple of weeks ago we were at the grocery store, and we talked about how we could really go for some tacos. We love tacos! Before moving down here, Arin would make tacos at least once a week and often twice. So, we decided to get some things so she could make tacos one night. Here in Haiti some things are very expensive, like tortillas. After that grocery bill, I knew that tacos would only be a “once in a while splurge” kind of meal. But tonight, my wife made homemade tortillas! She says they weren’t that big of a deal to make. I told her that after the homemade taco, you couldn’t pay me to eat one made with a store-bought tortilla now!
In a nutshell that’s what living in Haiti is like for us – adapting and making homemade tortillas when you want tacos. Nothing comes easy here: water, electricity, or finding a working toilet when you’re 30 minutes from campus and that cheeseburger from Jacmel that you knew you shouldn’t have trusted hits you. Most days we can laugh about the simple inconveniences, and, of course, other days it’s what makes our fuses a bit shorter, and we must remind ourselves that our “struggles” pale in comparison to those of people living not even 100 yards away from us.
Our boys are loving it here! We are so blessed by the way people love and look after them. They are always wanting to be outside playing with the other kids. Mav is even beginning to pick up words in Creole that we haven’t even learned yet. Most aren’t an issue. But a couple weeks ago, Mav kept saying that he wants to drink gas, and that he loves to drink gas. Since we often run generators, we do have gas cans around. Worried that he might have been trying to drink some, we pressed him pretty hard only to learn that “gas” is really “gazous” which is just a slang term the kids use for Coke.
Our language learning is coming slowly. It is easily one of the most difficult things about living here. The people here are great and patient with us, but a lot of conversations still end with us nodding our heads and saying “wi” (yes), actually having no idea what we probably just agreed to. Oddly enough, we find that the more we learn and can speak the harder it is because once someone hears you say anything in Creole they assume you are fluent. We have definitely come a long way with our Creole in just three months, but we still feel like we haven’t even made a dent.
Church on Sundays has been hardest part about this transition. Our boys just aren’t used to sitting still for a couple of hours. Being quiet and listening to a service in a language foreign to them is something they have not mastered yet. We sit in the back every Sunday because most of the time we only make it about an hour before we take the boys back home, so we don’t distract anyone else. Church is incredibly hard for us right now, but we’ll learn to adapt and figure out how to make “homemade tortillas” again.
We are three months in, and we still don’t feel like “missionaries.” I’m not sure that title will ever fit us in the conventional sense. We constantly have to remind ourselves that God wrote an entire Book using people who didn’t fit “the conventional,” and we just have to keep plugging away, being faithful and obedient. God’s going do what God’s going do. You can either hang on, stay out of the way, and try to be a part of it, or you can try to take the wheel yourself and possibly get run over. Living here in Haiti for these first three months has really driven home a lesson that we only sort of understood: “God doesn’t need us.” There is certainly nothing special about Arin or me when it comes to doing ministry in Haiti. Most of the time we find ourselves trying not to slow the Haitians down by inserting our opinion into a situation we don’t or can’t really understand. A few months in, you would think we would have a better handle on things, be more familiar with how things are done, and how to do effective ministry. And the longer we are here the more I hope that I never find myself waking up with those answers. I’ve always hated saying the phrase: “I don’t know.” If I didn’t know an answer, I found it. If I didn’t know how to do something, I learned how. But maybe that’s the phrase God is begging to hear from all of us: “God, I don’t know what to do…so just let me be useful.” We love being a part of a ministry like HCO that isn’t afraid to live this out.
Being needed and being useful are two completely different things. Arin and I are in awe of God every day for all the times where something comes up and it just so happens we can be useful in that area because of some experience in our growing up that has given us certain knowledge of that area. As a kid I used to think it was my dad having me hold the flashlight while he worked on the cars or the electrical or the plumbing or whatever, but looking back now it’s clear that it was God telling us to hold that flashlight and learn, because he wanted to use us one day.
Thank you for being an important part of the ministry God is doing here in Haiti! His people are being loved, His people are being cared for, and His people are being reached.
by Marcus Corn
Photos from Arin Corn, Jennifer Mayhill, HCO short-term team members