Note: H.E.L.P. founder Chris Marlow is leading a team on a pilgrimage trip to Haiti the week of November 2-9. This a letter H.E.L.P. team member Lamar Stockton wrote to his wife Jill. You can also follow along Jacob Vanhorn‘s updates on Soma Austin Community Church blog.

Hey baby! It’s so great to hear from you. I got really excited when I saw your email in my inbox.

Pastor Jean Alix and his family are great.  He’s keeping us all laughing, and Malyn (not sure how to spell his wife’s name) is keeping us all full with her amazing cooking.

I miss you and the kids so much. I’m glad that Gammy is there to help out, and I hope that you and Tori have a wonderful day together today. Give her lots of hugs and kisses for me.  Tell Tyler that I’m so proud of him and that we will wrestle as long as he wants when I get home.

Yesterday (Friday)…we WORKED.  We worked our #@% off!  It was our first day of construction.  We split into two groups.  The first house we came to was at the same point of construction that the one we worked on in June was.  So the main thing that needed to be done was building the roof and plastering the whole thing.  but the road went right by the house, so all the supplies were right next to it.  So I put Adam Lear in charge of that site and gave him five other people. Then the rest of us headed to the other house…HOLY CRAP!  We had to hike about a mile up hill to get there because the car couldn’t make it up the hill. Then we came to a huge pile of concrete bricks (the big cinder block style bricks that they build with).

And Chris said, “The house is down there.”

I said, “That one?”

He said, “No, down there on the other side of the cliff.”

I said, “So you mean I can’t even see it?”

He said, “Nope.”

So we proceeded to haul hundreds of bricks down a 300 yard trail that was steep, muddy and slippery for the next six hours.  It was hard. Even harder than the last trip.  But the community joined in and helped…and out worked us.  Including a few kids who couldn’t have been more than 8 years old and a barefoot woman in her 60s who just kept. carrying. bricks.

I’m continually amazed by how beautiful the Haitian people are…inside and out.

When we arrived, there was just a foundation. And when we left, the house was 9 or 10 blocks high all the way around.  While we were hauling bricks, the Haitian men were building the house.  It was a great day.  I left every ounce of strength and energy I had on that mountain…and I am sore today.  But the soreness feels redemptive, so I don’t mind it so much.

Today (Saturday), we’re going to Pastor Gaetan’s orphanage to play with the kids all day, and then to the market.  So it will be a fun day and a chance to recover a little.

I love you and I miss you so much.