Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The World Cup

We all know how important Super Bowl Sunday is to most people in the United States. Everyone throws a huge party and we all gather around the TV to cheer for our favorite team (go Colts!). Now imagine no one in your city being able to watch the game. You long to see it with your own eyes because it’s just not the same hearing about the game. We want to watch it ourselves! Haiti’s equivalent to the Super Bowl, or the World Series, or the NBA Championships is the World Cup. Boy they sure get excited about it! The problem is, most people don’t have access to watch the games because no one has electricity. In an effort to fix that problem, Lifeline set up a TV so people in our village can enjoy watching the games.

We had to run an extension cord from the guard house to the hill so the TV works. The Haitians cut trees and used tarps in order to shade the TV so they could see it. This is a perfect example of one of the things we take for granted in the US. Just a simple thing like setting up a TV takes lots of work in Haiti. It’s a joy for us to give them the pleasure of watching the games. By the way, in Haiti, their favorite team is Brazil. They have flags posted everywhere. They all wear their team’s shirts. The Haitians all crowd around eagerly to cheer on their team. Even when we’re up in the mission house, we know when someone has made a goal because of their loud boisterous cheering!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Christmas in July

The old saying, “It’s better to give then to receive” really is true and today was another time of proving that.

We went to Barbencourt today and were blessed to give out the things we’ve been working on. It was practically Christmas in June with everything we were able to give! We gave them ten school benches, 105 needs buckets that doubled as water filters, and 380 love bundles.

It was heartwarming to see the children and their parents so grateful for everything. It makes me so happy to see their faces light up with joy.

We also fed 168 school children and about 380 children who can't afford to go to school.For only $20 a day, you can make it possible for one of those children get an education, feed them, and help take care of their medical needs. These precious children need our help!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Today was another great day serving with Lifeline. It started off with a wonderful church service. I was so blessed by the words that were spoken about God guiding you. After church the day got very hard. We went to one of the tent cities in Titanyen and handed out 27 tents to people who were very deserving. It broke my heart to see all the people there who had literally nothing! Their tiny make-shift tents were made up of sheets that had holes in them. It's hard to believe that the earthquake happened five months ago. There's still such a great need!

One thing that surprised many of us was the order that they had there. Never was there a time when we felt unsafe. A man named Jonas was their leader. Amid all the chaos of homelessness, there was peace. The little children looked after one another. The adults all joined together to help build tents for each other. They seemed to have become like a close knit family.

When we finished we gathered together for a time of prayer. A lovely woman came forth and sang the song "The Love of God." It brought tears to my eyes as I heard her sing the lyrics "Oh love of God, so rich and pure. How measureless and strong. It shall forever more endure the saints and angels' song." Her trust in God's guidance was inspiring. She doesn't know where her next meal is coming from or when she'll have a house again or if she'll ever have a house again, but she trusts in God's love and his guidance. What a lesson to learn. Oh for grace to trust him more!

Amazing Stuff!

So much has happened since I first got here. Everyday has been a new exciting adventure. Day one began with a tour of the compound and the village. Merely walking through the village is an adventure.

There were tons of kids everywhere pushing each other out of the way to get the chance to hold your hand. They are so loving and so affectionate, always seeking your attention. We also spent some time going through the school. I'm so excited to get to work with these wonderful students! \

Then we met with a man named Beni and his wife Dominique, a couple who have a ministry on an island off of Haiti. We gave them 40 boxes of Kids Against Hunger food (pre-packaged rice that also includes vegetables, soy, and vitamins) to take with them to feed their school children. We took it to the sea where they loaded it on a boat. It was so nice to see the ocean!!

On our way out there, we ran into a woman from our village who was pregnant and was about to have her baby. We had needed to get to the port to make sure Beni and his wife got on the boat in time so we told her we'd be back after. When we got back she had been having contractions so she, her husband, and her mother got into the bed of our pickup truck and we were going to drive her to a hospital. Not long into our trip we had to pull over because she had to have the baby!

She was so strong! Imagine giving birth in the back of a pickup with no drugs or anything! Not even comfortable bed. We brought her back up to our clinic to get her and her baby checked out. They were both healthy.

 I then spent the afternoon going through the village and meeting my new neighbors. I also spent some time in one of the classes where I attempted to learn French along with the students.

Day two was a bit more difficult. We got up at 4:30am to pack love bundles onto mules to take up to a village in the mountain. We hiked practically straight up for two hours. That was probably the most physically demanding thing I've ever done! But it was amazing. It was a good illustration for life. When we looked up the mountain from the bottom it looked huge! It looked impossible to conquer. Even when we had been hiking for over an hour it still seemed impossible. It was so difficult! What made it crazier was seeing all these Haitian men women and even children climb up and down with no difficulty. Some of them even went up and back down again before we made it to the top. And some of them were in their bare feet! It brought to mind how many times I had complained about not having the right shoes. Now here was a perfect time to have the right footwear to climb and these sweet Haitian children were making the path in their bare feet. But Jesus says that when we are weak, He is strong. So we used his strength and continued up the mountain, taking it step by step. Eventually we made it to the top!! We felt so accomplished! It was a good reminder to keep pushing, no matter what the obstacle and to take it step by step. So many times in life things look overwhelming. What we need to do is take a step back, pray, and then take it bit by bit. God will give us the strength we need. We don't have to carry those every burdens on our own. Speaking of carrying things....Their weren't enough mules to carry all the love bundles for the school, so instead of coming back down for the rest, some of the Haitians carried them in boxes on their heads up the mountain. I don't know how they did it!

It was all worth the hike when we saw the faces of the children who received the love bundles. They were so grateful!! I will definitely do that hike again to see those children.


After loading up on water and food, we got back to work again. We spent the rest of the day building school benches, painting the school directors house, and putting together buckets of necessities that double as water filters.

During the middle of the night we were awaken by sounds of voodoo chanting and drumming. I'm praying for the day when voodoo is gone from the island!!! Pray for the salvation of everyone here please!

Today was of course another amazing day in Haiti. We got a chance to visit a market in Archaie. It was different then any other market I've been to in Haiti. There was no kind of path, just people everywhere selling all kinds of things. There was some really nice things from America! They had beautiful clothes, shoes, and sunglasses. They had all kinds of food including meat that was just laying all over the place. Then we went to where they sold charcoal. That site was pretty sad. 95% of Haiti's forests are gone. That's part of the reason why the land is so bad. There are so many things that need to be done to help this beautiful nation strive to be what it can be. I've fallen deeply and passionately in love with the Haitian people. They are an amazing, strong, loving people unlike any I've ever met.

After that we went to an orphanage. I wanted to adopt all of those sweet children!!

Got my mind rolling for an orphanage of my own one day! I kept thinking of what those kids could grow up to be and how we could make sure they lived good lives. After we got back we finished up the work on the school benches, buckets, and painting.

We also gave love bundles to another pastor and his church.

I seriously love my new life here. I'm excited to see what's going to happen next! God is doing a wonderful work here and I'm so blessed beyond measure to be a part of Lifeline!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friday's Post

On top of the Petit Bwa Mountain!

Today's Plans:

Wake up at 4:00 am (yikes!), pack up the Love Bundles (care packages), and hike the 3 miles and 3,000 feet to a village, and distribute the Love Bundles. We'll then back to the village, and do some painting, put together some water filtration buckets, and build some benches.

We soon found out that plans continue to change quickly around here...

Loading up the mules with the Love Bundles took awhile, but still, we were pretty much on time. None of us realized how utterly exhausting it was to hike 3 miles up hill on very rough terrain. Some were able to do it without much effort (mainly the Haitian people with baskets on their heads!). We finally made it about 2-1/2 hours later.

When we arrived in the village, it was the most breathtaking views you could ever imagine.

We found the people to be much different than in the village we were staying in. These people were friendly, quiet, peaceful and respectful.

After unloading the mules, they turned around and went back down the mountain to re-fill their packs on their mules! Simply amazing! We handed out the bundles to every student at the school (about 250), including the 9 teachers.

We met the local pastor and voodoo priest. We actually got a tour of his house and where he practices his voodoo. Very interesting! Our plan was to leave about 9:30am from the village, but we got delayed and finally started down about 12:00pm. Unfortunately most of us were without water by the time we were halfway down, so some of us experienced heat exhaustion. All are okay now, but it was pretty scary.

When we recovered from our big adventure, we began building school benches and painting the school director's office (small building next to the school). It was an adventurous day that none of us will forget!

Saturday's Post

Plans for today:

Visit Prayer Rock, then go to a local outdoor market, visit one of the orphanages that Mission Lifeline supports, then come back to the village to complete the work we started yesterday.

Today, things went as planned!

At Prayer Rock, we focused prayers on Don and his mother, to give them support and strength to cary on their mission here. It was a powerful moment that started the day out well.

The market was another experience entirely.

It outdoors, near the center of Arcahaie, a local town, and really quite close to the ocean. But, the aromas at this market weren't quite the nice sea breeze smells that we are used to! This was a true 3rd world market--everything outside, including the meat and fresh (?) seafood. It was very hot, very cramped, and very crowded. It was difficult to realize that these people live their life this way every day, and this is their only way to try to survive. We left feely hot and tired, and welcomed the opportunity to visit the orphanage.

Near the market, the Bercy Orphanage was another powerful experience. As we visited the single-building children's home, we were soon surrounded by the children who lived their (which included a 2-month old child who was given up by her mother, and just dropped off by her father. These children needed love and affection deeply, and grabbed our hands, and jumped into our arms. We played games and took pictures, but mostly just held these beautiful children who need so much love. Leaving was so sad--these children who, just minutes ago were showering us with affection, and receiving it from us, didn't even wave goodbye. They were so sad and heart-broken to see us leave, that they just stared as we drove away. Words can't really describe the mixed emotions this visit brought to us.
Genny sharing some love at the orphanage

This afternoon, we finished the filtration buckets, the 2nd coat (about 4 more to go!) of paint on one of the buildings, and the benches for the school.

Our meal, a home-made Haitian meal prepared by the village cooks, was so tasty! Haitian chicken, spicy cole-slaw, corn and pea salad, fresh tomato/sea cress lettuce salad, rice and beans, beets, goat, fried plantains, and fresh pineapple....what a way to end day 4!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mt. Calvary Post

We're here!! What a loooong day!

We met at Mount Calvary at 4:15am, and headed to the airport as a group. With only a few snags at check-in, we are on our way... There are so many emotions filling each of us--excitement, worry, anticipation, anxiousness, fatigue (is that an emotion?), etc. We arrived at Port-Au-Prince safely, and with no issues.

...Then we lost Doug...

We found him soon, though! And the chaos began...
Going through Immigration and Customs was relatively smooth, although we still have a missing bag (poor Kay!).
We found our leader from Haiti, hopped into the back of a transport van (with benches), and we were off to the site.
Along the way we quickly realized that we were in for quite a trip. It took about 30 seconds before we came across the first tent city, and we saw them all along our path. The roads were narrow, and better quality than we thought...but the driving was crazy! We thought we'd run into passing cars many times, but that seemed to be the norm.

We finally arrived at the Children's International Lifeline site around 4 pm, settled in to our rooms, and breathed a sigh of relief. The hosts, Donald Sr, his wife Pat, and Donald Jr, are amazing. Pat told us stories, such uplifting and inspirational stories, from the moment we met her. This ministry is clearly so strong on her heart, and tears flowed already. Their whole family is amazing, and we feel the spirit working through all of us already.

After a great home-cooked meal, brief introductions, and a layout of the next week, we shared our thoughts and feelings with each other--this will become one of our daily routines.

Exhaustion started to kick in, and we soon found our beds for the evening, ready for our first full day in Haiti.
(sorry our pics are a bit organized...the internet is shaky here, and we just wanted to get this posted!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

God is so Good!

GOD IS SO GOOD!!!! This morning at 4:30 A.M. while many of you were still resting, we were out packing wonderful LOVE BUNDLES on mules getting ready to send them to the Mountain of LaGrenade where Pastor Rony, our Mission's Pastor is from. One hundred and thrity four love bundles were carefully placed in burlap bags that mules will carry on about a five hour trip over very rough terrain to help the mountain children with some very special gifts. PRAISE GOD ONCE AGAIN FOR HIS GOODNESS AND FOR THE MANY PEOPLE THAT MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR THESE VERY SPECIAL HAITIAN PEOPLE TO RECEIVE THESE MUCH NEEDED SUPPLIES.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A busy day!

On this day of our mission trip, we began the morning with devotions at the prayer rock. Our discussion was focused on the end of Hebrews 11. Following our devotions, we had prayer and talked about some of the memorable moments of our trip thus far. Once our devotions were over, we began our busy work day.

Our work had us staying on the compound the entire day. In the morning, we built benches that we will later deliver so that the Haitan children would be able to eat off of them. We completed 7 larger benches and 4 smaller ones. During the bench building portion of our day, some of us were able to head down to the feeding center when lunch was being served to the school children. It was great to be able to see what the lunch experience was like for these adorable kids.

Once our benches were complete, we had a quick lunch and began the second activity in our work day. The exterior hallway of the school needed a fresh coat of paint so we all pitched in and covered the hallway in a nice coat of yellow. Some of the exterior walls were very high so there were some creative methods that we used to cover as much area as possible. We were fortunate to have some children nearby that wanted to pitch in and help paint. They worked dilligently as they applied paint to the steps and the walls.

After our painting was complete, we ended the day with a couple games of soccer. The large field had a big game going and then the basketball court soon became the next location to host a smaller soccer game. Everyone had a great time playing soccer but soon we were worn out and headed in for dinner. Pat, once again, fed us a delicious meal of fried chicken and sides. We were all pretty tired from the day but we managed to keep up enough energy to play a little bit of killer UNO and practice some worship music.

It was a great day overall with a lot being accomplished and staying on the grounds gave us much time to really work and play alongside many of the Haitians that were in the compund for the day.