A little background on weddings/marriage in Haiti…… Haitian culture dictates that a couple should have their own house, with furniture, as well as a formal wedding ceremony and celebration in order to get married. The problem with that, is the overwhelming majority of Haitians can not afford to do those things. Its very rare, that a couple would get married without having these things in order. So, a likely result is that couples live together and have children together, but are never married. According to the bible, this is a sin. Some of the social ramifications of this are the couples often feel shame throughout their life for living in sin, and they can’t be members of their local MEBSH church, which means they can’t serve or teach in the church. The Wray’s wedding ministry is a way to work through the local MEBSH church, to provide the formal wedding attire as well as a small reception, after the pastor marries the couples.
Our team assisted 14 couples in getting married! Preparations started the day before the wedding with some team members packing flowers, wedding dresses, suits, ties, shoes,etc… and others baking cupcakes!
After supper, we all helped cut 500 buns! Many hands make light work! Singing while you work isn’t too bad either!
The next morning we were all up bright and early to put together the 500 pork sandwiches for the reception. After breakfast, we loaded up and started the 1.5 hr drive to the church. Once at the church, we unloaded all the wedding attire, and set up the changing rooms for the brides and grooms. The girls really enjoyed helping each of the brides pick out their dresses, shoes, veils, and flowers!
After each couple was dressed, they headed out to each of the 5 different photo stations! The photographers had a tough job! Culturally speaking, Haitians don’t smile for pics, nor do they show affection in public! But, who wants a wedding album full of pictures with yourself frowning, and no kissing pics?! So, each photographer and their assistant worked hard to get great pics! Some even managed to get the couples to kiss for a picture! Each photographer had specific pictures or poses they were to get. This job wasn’t for the faint of heart or for those who were claustrophobic in big crowds! You really have to look hard in some of the pictures to even see the photographer! They did a great job! Some of the grooms were sharply dressed in the suits that were collected by the Roanoke church!
Next was the ceremony! We ate lunch at the Pastors house, iced cupcakes, and prepared for the reception during the ceremony.
The reception was as organized as chaos can be! We had to make our way through the church, (completely packed with people) to hand out a sandwich, bottle of pop, and a cupcake to each of 20 guests for each bride and groom. There was NO time or room to take pictures! It was an experience the team will not forget! One of the most impactful parts of the wedding ministry experience, was the following day, when the newly weds returned their borrowed dresses, suits, etc, in exchange for their wedding album and framed 4×6 picture of themselves. The couples shared their personal testimony of how being married impacted and will impact their lives! Each couple also shared their thankfulness first to the Lord, then to the pastor and team for making it possible. One of the couples that were married, were in their 80’s, and had 14 children. They were so thankful to finally be “legitimate” before God, and be able to be used in their local church. The bride also shared how she hopes this will set a standard for her children of the the importance of being married.
Here are a few random pics from the week!
We will not soon forget our week spent with the Roanoke team! We will cherish the memories that were made, and the bonds that were formed. Thank you to each of you who made the effort to come and support our family! May the Lord use your week in Haiti to touch your heart, and impact you in a deep way! We love you!