Thursday, November 15, 2012

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Need is Great

Day 2 got our team off to a great start with much hard work on our plate. After a brief tour on foot of the village, the team visited the construction site for Pastor Odmy’s new home, and some stayed to help the Haitian team that was already hard at work. The rest of the team helped with feeding programs and sorted through all of the donated materials that were brought for various purposes.
Our first full day here in Haiti has left many of us with a better understanding of what conditions most in Haiti are living in, and how Children’s Lifeline is helping those in the area. I don’t think anyone could fully prepare to understand just how great the needs are here. From witnessing small children walking around without clothing, to the building project for Pastor Odmy that allows all 12 people in his family (and the many others he lets into his home) to have a place to stay, to the stories of widows who come for a day and a half’s ration of food. These are small examples of just how desperate the conditions are. Bill and JoEllen have been telling us too, that they can get discouraged easily when you start to focus on how great the needs are, they’re endless, but they always tell those who come looking for help that The Mission offers tools and resources, but that God is the bottom line and the ultimate answer. His will be done.
I’ll leave you with a couple shots from the day, and a journal entry by Brandi Bessinger.
-Tim Blaum, River Oaks Community Church
After a noisy night listening to the dogs barking and the rooster start his morning ritual, a new day awaits as we awake very early in the morning. After breakfast we head to “the rock” for devotional time with our family for the week. We have a wonderful team here in Haiti. As we sit together during devotional, we meet the pastor of the village just outside the mission compound. He is a Quiet and compassionate man. I am reminded of why I was called to visit the people of Haiti.
As I reflect on my day here, my mind is directed back to a little boy as we were walking to the dam. This little boy ran up to me and grabbed my hand to walk with me. I asked if he would let me take his picture and he nodded yes. When I was finished he wanted me to show him what I had taken. I realize that this may have been the first time he has ever seen himself.
Words are indescribable to give you my perspective on how these people live. That little boys face lit up when I showed him the picture I had taken of him. He was so excited, and my heart was touched! The people here just want to be loved. They have been very kind and love that we are here to help them. There is much work to be done here in this country as the poverty is unlike I have ever witnessed anywhere else.
Thank you for the continued prayers for our team’s safety & health along with our work together to continue doing God’s will. – Brandi Bessinger

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mission trip or Money?

In the 26 years we have been involved in short-term missions one question invariably pops up over and over again - "should we send the team or send the money?" To properly address this subject, one must consider that there are basically three groups affected by a mission trip: the travelers, the group sending them out, and the recipients at the other end. With that in mind, let's look at the benefits and detriments to each group.

For the travelers, there is ample opportunity for spiritual growth. When you take them out of their comfort zone, I mean literally take away the comforts of air conditioning, computer games, television, Internet, etc, they find that God is speaking to them but they didn't hear Him over the roar of white noise and endless activities that riddled their days and nights. The routine of starting each day in devotional time with fellow Christians and closing the day with discussions of how they saw the hand of God move among them, their spiritual becomes refreshed and revitalized. This is why many say the experience changed their life. Without all the distractions, God's voice seems to be heard clearer, louder, and more frequently. That, my friend, is spiritual growth.

For the church to see grown men weep as they tell of half-naked, dirty-faced little children grabbing their hand and eagerly dragging them to a place where they can twirl a jump rope or kick around a soccer ball is one of those God moments you don't soon forget. When they show the pictures of serving starving children a hot meal or teaching them a Bible story, their smile is just as wide as it was on the day they dropped their daughter at her first day of school, or watched their son hit his first home run, or held their first grandchild. This week long trip was an event that changed their perspective and the spiritual fruit is almost tangible as they tell of their adventure. It awakens the church to embrace in a greater way the Commission to reach the world for Christ.

As a resident missionary, I have to point out the benefits to the community served during that week. For some, it is sweet fellowship with other Christians that makes the world feel smaller and much more friendly. For others, it is an opportunity to receive encouragement, affection, food, water, or medicine at a time when they needed it the most. It may be a song that lifted their spirits, a puppet show that gave them a chance to laugh, a Bible story that made them think about God, but it is a break in the never-ending struggle to just get through each difficult day as best you can. It's a message of hope preached through an interpreter that came when they had all but given up.

The key seems to be in balance or moderation. Some teams come to accomplish something - build a house, a school, a church or an orphanage. Some come to change lives through teaching or preaching or VBS. Some desire to build relationships and mentor and disciple or church plant. A successful team strives to do them all in some form or fashion. The various personalities represent just as many talents and giftings which are used by God to touch lives. When each person yields to God's plan for the week, when they are obedient to His direction, the lives of all who went, sent, or were on the receiving end are changed.

Blessed are the feet of those who go, but also blessed are those who send when they cannot go. Not everyone is healthy or wealthy enough to take a trip. Not everyone feels that tug of the spirit to go. Everyone can contribute to the blessings poured out upon the poor in body or spirit that are touched by the teams. They can pray for those being sent. They can send supplies needed in the field. They can assist with fundraising for the cause of furthering the gospel of Christ. 

There are many ways to reach the lost for the kingdom of God, short-term mission trips are only one way. Each part of the body of Christ must decide how they will answer the mandate to do it. Sending short-term teams is a recent trend in North America. In 2006, over 2.2 million travelers went to foreign mission fields on short-term missions trips. This is either a movement of God for global evangelism or a fad the church has caught the fancy of middle-class churches. Let the fruit of your team returning with stories and pictures convince you of the importance of spreading a message of hope to those who desperately need to hear. Many here will tell you that they will remember the smiles and hugs long after the meal is gone and the shoes have worn out.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Envious culture

Blog based day: Augest 11/12 2012. Blog written day: Tuesday Augest 14 2012.
We hiked down a mountain Saturday, it was a fun trip. Took a couple of slides, couple of scrapes & bruises, nothing really, but let's talk about the village on top of the mountain before I really get started on subject of the hike down. Let's just begin the day, woke up at 5am Saturday, got everything ready to go, and Mr. & Mrs. Race, Ms. Spring, and I climbed into a truck to make the ride up. The rest hiked up. I stood up most of the way to look over the railing.
We got there and it was fun. We mainly did a prayer walk, that was pretty fun. Then we refilled our water bottles preparing for the hike down. I hiked down, there was amazing sights, unfortunatly internet is not too good today so I can't upload a picture. Children's Lifeline is a awesome place. It's been a real blessing for me to have come here. We got at the bottom of the mountain and I was soaked head to toe. Let's talk a little about the 11th.
We went to Port-au-prince and we went to the market, and I wished I brought my camera, I thought you were not supposed to bring your camera, I wish I had now, two years after the earthquake and there is still massive damage. The presidential palace is utterly destroyed. We then carried on to a burial grounds of at least 200,000 bodies, which appearently were brought in by front-loader bulldozers. they were buried approximatly 4-5 feet in the ground, we litterly walked on 200,000 graves, it was a very, very, very humbling sight. If someone feels led or called to come to Haiti, COME! It's very shocking, very sad.

On to another subject, these children, these little Haitian children, they have nothing, but they are some of the happiest children I have ever seen. I mean, if you walk in the village right outside of this compound, they walk right up to you and grab your hand, if your swinging on their swings, they will come up to you, and jump on your lap while you swing. It's funny, we have a ton of stuff in the States, and we are not happy, we want more and more and more and more. And yet we are not happy, but these guys don't even have the neccesities and they are super-happy. 1 Corinthians 13:4 "Love is patient love is kind, love does not ENVY love does not boast; it is not arrogant or rude." Did you catch that? "Love does not envy..." One of the reasons we are not happy is we envy, they are happy because they have nothing to envy.

In closing, it is now the last full day in Haiti, I feel that we just got here! I don't know about anyone else, but I are, I will be back soon!

Monday, August 13, 2012

A LIfe Changing Experience

This is my first trip to Haiti.  I have come on a mission trip with my husband and daughter as well as several members of my church. To say this is life changing is an understatment. You can read about it in newspapers and see it on television or the internet but until you see it firsthand you will not understand the devastion caused by the earthquake in 2010 nor the circumstances by which the people of Haiti live.  They do not have the conveniences that we have in America. Some are lucky enough to have very small block homes, most live in tent homes with as many as 13 other family members.They do not, for the, most part have electricity, they wash their clothes and take baths in a canal, they cook their meals outside and most do not have more than a few outfits to wear.

All of this being said, they are happy! Wow, what a concept. They have next to nothing but yet they are satisfied with what they have. They have smiles on their faces, they have a very strong sense of community, they watch out for each other. Visiting an orphange and helping with the food distribution, you see children who make sure that their sibling or friend sitting next to them gets food before they do.  Do we as American's live like that?  Or do we take for granted what we have each and every day...three meal a days, a nice home to live in, air conditioning, electricity, a car to drive. I will leave this island a changed person. Someone who will try not to take for granted the great blessings that God has given me and I will try my very best to give back to people that are less fortunate than myself. I will take many lessons from this trip they will forever affect my life.  I would challenge everyone in America to make a trip to Haiti and I assure you that they will leave a changed person.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Having been to Haiti on several trips over the course of the past two years, I know about the poverty.  I know about the illiteracy rate.  I know about the death rate of children ages 5 years and under.  I know about the high level of unemployment.  I know about the lack of sanitation which creates diseases everywhere you go.  Now that I have been to Children's Lifeline, I know that there is an organization here which is working hard to do something about it.
Lifeline supports a neighboring village via providing instructional classes to the ladies teaching them how to sew.  They have an opportunity to earn their own machine by making things and selling them to the short term teams which come to support the mission.
There is a school here (on site) which I believe supports roughly 350 children during the school year.  Additionally, Children's Lifeline participated in a teachers conference to offer training for local teachers where they could work to improve their skills.
Children's Lifeline serves as a distribution center for Kids Against Hunger, an organization which provides food to hungry families all over the world.  Lifeline is responsible for providing over 8000 meals a day to people (primarily children) who may otherwise have nothing to eat here in Haiti.  Tomorrow our team will participate in serving some of those meals.
There are water filtration systems here which are being distributed to local homes to help provide a source of clean water.  Working to reduce the spreading of diseases - yeah, they do that too.
I write this post not as an advertisement for Children's Lifeline.  They don't need me to market them.  I write this post as an example of faith in an example of 1John 3:18 : "My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring."  Thank you Lord for all of the people at Children's Lifeline (both in Haiti and the US).  That you for showing me yet another example of what it means to "love each other,"  (1 John 3:23) and taking that COMMAND to heart.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Few Thoughts On Saturday

This is Kim. Today we woke at 5am and hiked Mattheux Mountain to the small village of Petit Bois. It was a difficult hike for many but the views from the top were so worth it! We gathered at the top under a bread fruit tree for devotions and thought of the many life applications we've experienced this week that we could apply spiritual.  Ryan spoke about spiritual gifts and just couldn't help but apply our various painting skills as examples, LOL. The true blessings of the day came through prayers for various sick ones in the village.  Casey Davis had previously asked our church family to anoint and pray over handkerchiefs to pass out to the sickest that we came in contact with.  It was good to be reminded that these people were our brothers and sisters in Christ; that when they hurt, we hurt; that when they experience joy, we experience joy; and the same in sorrow.  It does not matter where travel, the family of God is universal.  Thanks to all who have prayed for us on this trip.  Continue to pray for the people of Haiti; the blood of Jesus Christ makes us one with them.  They are our family.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

2 August 2012

This is Taylor, I am with a group from North Carolina. Today the group decided to walk through the village to get to our work site, it was very nice to see more of the village than just through bus windows. Even though some places were rough, I enjoyed getting more personal with the community and meeting the Haitians. While in the village, we came across a beautiful house, one of the nicest we had seen. The lady welcomed us into her home, we were told that her and her family were being sponsored. It's amazing what people can accomplish through giving and helping one another.
After, we went to the local orphanage, where my heart broke for these children. So many are sick. We had the opportunity to share a little of the gospel with them. One of our own from the group, Teresa, told the bible story of Noah's Ark to the children with a translator. I was overjoyed by the kids responses with animals. I liked that she got them involved in the story. After, we passed out colored construction paper and crayons for them to draw the animals that were mentioned in the story. So many children crowded around me wanting me to draw them pictures and write things. I drew a camel, a few giraffes, then I began to write "Jesus loves you" and " Jesus is the way, the light, and the truth." They loved it. There was one little girl that stuck out to me the most from the group, I do not know her name, but she couldn't have been more than 2 years old. She was sick and all she wanted was for me to hold her. I did for a little while, then as soon as I went to put her down, she would bring up her knees and start crying, it broke my heart but I knew I had to leave, she did this 2 more times. I wanted so badly to take them all with me and  heal them the best way I could.
 As Christians and as Americans, we still take for granted everyday what we are being handed everyday, whether it is shelter, food, clean water, clean clothes, or love from our families and relationships, yes we consider these things as necessities, however, we fail to realize these are in fact, luxuries. If you don't get anything from this, understand this...what you (Americans) see in the US on your television sets, on the news, (when we hear of disasters, poverty, things we fear in our country)  by being a part of a mission team or coming here and seeing these things with your own eyes, you will have a hard time understanding our thoughts and feelings. I hope the thoughts and feelings of me and others before me as you read this moves you to grow, to learn, and help those who need your God given abilities. Please pray for these children, these families, and this country and all those in need and working for those who need. God bless you!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wed. Aug. 1st, 2012

This is Faith, down with a group from North Carolina...just to share a few of my thoughts after a day here:

Being in Haiti reminds me of the story of the little boy and the starfish that had gotten washed up on shore during a storm. I don't remember exactly how the story goes, but the essence of it was that there were too many to save all of them, but he was going to throw back and save all he could.  There are just SO many people here living in the worst conditions imaginable...without complaint.  I know as Americans, we're "aware" that such conditions exist, but nothing can make you really get how fortunate we are, like seeing it with your own eyes.  Being here and walking among the folks in La Digue makes me want to cry (and I'm not much of a crier).  It also makes me much more appreciative of home. 

I never thought I'd sincerely appreciate a cold shower, but it's my favorite thing in the world down here. Oh, the mission house does have hot water (I actually almost scalded myself the first night because the knob that says H is actually the cold one, so I turned on the other knob because I wanted a cold shower...oops) but cold just feels so good down here. 

It's not been as hot as they expected (although it's pretty hot!) but there's been some rainshowers that have cooled things off a bit.  Didn't stop the kids from playing soccer though.  T'Neal and Taylor (two of the girls down here with us) actually got out and slid around in the muddy soccer field in the rain with the kids.  The kids are adorable, by the way.  We haven't been to an orphanage yet, but the village kids flock around every chance they get.  A fifteen year old (I'm not sure her name, but it sounded like Wood-Lee) talked to me for a few minutes.  She was the sweetest thing.  She's in 9th grade at the mission school and wants to be a nurse, she said. 
So we walked through the village this morning and then came back and helped get some scrubbing done in the mission, then took a short break for lunch, and after all that, we went and painted at the new school.  It's a lot of bare concrete walls right now, and it's sure not like painting at home.  Frankly, I don't think I will paint anything yellow for a long while.  =)  But it sure looks good on the walls in the school that have been finished.  The concrete sucks the paint really bad, so we went through a lot of paint and didn't feel like we got very far, but we did what we could.  I think we may be supposed to go back tomorrow to paint some more.  It felt like a much longer day than back at home.

Now everyone is just chilling back here at the mission until bedtime; I can hear them playing games out on the deck, and I think I'll go join them.

Monday, July 23, 2012

3rd Annual Teacher's Conference begins!

The 3rd Annual Teacher's Conference is off to a great start! We had 88 teachers and administrators registered...but 102 show up! They came from surrounding villages and mountains. Some walked 3-4 hours to be here. We gave them a bag of teacher supplies and a neck tie at the registration desk. The conference opened with prayer and a song ("How Great Thou Art"). Tammy spoke about why she teaches and asked the teachers and administrators to write down three reasons why they teach. Next, we had a break-out session with approximately 25 per class, where they were trained in: 1) Classroom Management, 2) Special Needs, 3) Lesson Mastery, 4) Lesson Planning. During this time, the administrators (approximately 15) were trained on the moral imperative of leadership, building relationships, and respect. They also discussed the basic needs for their school. The last session was an opportunity for them to ask questions. It was interesting that they experience some of the same issues that we do in the USA (i.e. fighting parents, not enough classroom time, slower learners, etc.) We concluded the session with singing the hymn "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," and prayer.They received lunch before they left, probably the only meal of the day for most of them. The teachers were so interested in learning how to be better teachers and they were very appreciative of what they learned.
Some basic general observations about today:
1) They did not complain about anything (heat, bugs, supplies, etc.)
2) They asked great questions and are truly interested in helping their students.
3) While language, culture, and lifestyles may be different, educators can likely agree--kids are kids, wherever you go!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Haiti 2012

Today was my fourth day here and honestly by the first day, I had already learned a lot of things about myself.  Walking around in Haiti made me realize that I take the gifts of life for granted.  Back home I am so spoiled, yet I never really noticed it.  Not only that, but I feel like we spend so much time worrying about the simple things in life. By being here, I realize that the people in Haiti aren't ashamed of anything.  As a matter of fact, they seem quite happy with the way that they live.  Not to mention, they seem to appreciate everything that others have to offer "without" complaining. 

For the past couple of mornings during bible devotions we've talked about hope.  Some people think that the people here in Haiti have no hope, while others seem to think otherwise.  In my opinion, I think that when we look around we let our emotions get in the way of everything.  They have hope; however, it's hard for us to believe that.  When we looked around we see little hope only because we are used to living in a certain way.  To them every year they get a little bit stronger.  Without hope I don't think that they would've came as far as they have already. 

We also were fortunate enough to go and visit a few orphanages and tour some villages.  It's amazing how much love is found here.  The children all run up and hold your hands and they just crave for attention.  Not to mention, they love taking pictures.  When I look around I see so many ways one could help; but at the same time, I feel so helpless.  It's quite a culture shock when you notice that children don't even own a  pair of shoes; however, my closet is so full I can't figure out which pair to wear.  I just pray that when I go back into America I'll be able to show others how big of an eye opener this trip has been to me.  I also pray that I'll learn to appreciate the things of this world without worrying about tomorrow.  Being here has taught me many things and it has been a great experience.  I encourage others to experience it as well, because you never know what you may learn about yourself that never slipped your mind before.

Destiny Key; Kentucky

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Today was our second day here in Haiti for Children's Lifeline.  Our day started out at prayer rock with a devotion by David speaking about obeying God's authority with the verses found in John 10:27-31.  Shortly after that, Spring took us on a tour through La Digue, the local village.  We walked around the village with local children flocking to us almost immediately.  The first thing that stole me was the lack of shoes that these children had.  For those unfamiliar, the terrain here is mountainous and not extremely conducive for bare feet.  Many children, in fact, asked for the shoes on my feet.  We walked around and looked at the dam where many children went for a swim in the water.  After that we were taken to look at one of the houses that was recently built.

After lunch we went to two orphanages with Mark, Richard, and Sylvio as our translators.  At the first orphanage we provided a bible school for the children including singing led by Hilary and Julie, a lesson by Josh over John 3:16, crafts, and activities.  The children sang for us in their native language, which was one of the highlights of the day for me.  At the second orphanage, we did another bible school with them.  Before we left the second orphanage we passed out 17 love bundles to the children.  This was the second highlight of my day. 

The children were in pure joy over what little they received from us today.  It made me question my life and what I am used to having on daily basis; sounds kind of cliché but this is my first, in person, experience with extreme poverty.  This first day could be summed up into one word: surreal.  I’ve heard stories, of course, about what it was like here, and also saw pictures from previous trips, but seeing it in person is completely different.  At prayer rock this morning we were asked to share what impacted us the most.  The thing that impacted me the most was the normalcy of this country compared to where I come from.  We come from spoiled, energy wasting America, and the norm down here is shacks and tents.  I’m praying for God to use our group to do whatever it is that He has intended for us to do down here for the next several days, and that the kids and Haitians that we come into contact with each day have open hearts to hear what God wants us to say.

-Reagan Summers from Illinois

Friday, June 8, 2012

Yesterday was a holiday. It was God's birthday in Haiti. Happy birthday, God. I have no idea what the significance of the holiday is, and the Haitians didn't seem to know either... :)

It was a day of contrast (and so has been the whole trip really). We saw two extreme sides of Haiti: the ugliness of poverty and sickness and the suffering of children; but we also enjoyed the stunning beauty of Haiti's coastline. It was the experience of two worlds, really. And we Christians know the whole two worlds thing, don't we? The already and not yet. The city of God and the city of Man. 

The morning was spent with the children at a local school, Bois Neuf. Lifeline coordinates sponsorships for these children. Even though it was a holiday, many students showed up to update their height and weight, so that Lifeline can provide a general report to share with their sponsor families. While the kids waited, we played soccer, sang songs, distributed coloring books and crayons, and had lots of fun with the kids.

This is what is so amazing about children in Haiti (I've experienced this in India and Kenya as well): despite the sickness, pain and lack they experience, their spirits are high. That is an important distinction to make... even within the ugliness of such extreme poverty, there is beauty in a stalwart and courageous human spirit, no doubt because the love of God is present in their lives.

In the afternoon, Lifeline team also took us to a nearby beach. I can't say it was as beautiful as those children, but you must know: Haiti is no wasteland! There are parts that are entirely destroyed, ravaged by years of abuse and poverty, and of course the earthquake. But the clear, warm Caribbean water and imposing mountains put so many U.S. beaches to shame! It was a relaxing afternoon to end the week's work, but it was more than vacating. I found it very important to realize what Haiti could be. God's creation is wonderful - the people and places of Haiti are good examples of that. But humanity has failed to steward God's creation in many ways, and the Haitians are no exception on that point. It may take years and years, but there is a strong vision among Haitians and those doing relief and restorative work here to return Haiti to its natural beauty and wipe away the destruction of disease and suffering.

We are people of contrast, living in two worlds, struggling with a real and often disparaging tension. Yesterday was a day to celebrate the good in that tension, and obtain a clearer vision of what pursuing that good really is.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The day started out with an early morning breakfast followed by a devotion lead by Katheline. Afterwards, we packed sack lunches and headed out to a nearby orphanage to deliver "love bundles". The bundles are made by friends in america and contain snacks, school supplies, a toy, and a towel all appropriate according to age and gender. Handing out bundles at the orphanage was a remarkable experience to say the least. Everyone was so appreciative, gracious, and kind. We sang songs with the children and shared the Gospel with them. It was incredible to see the way that Christ is working in this place. Although poverty coats the village, there is so much hope evident in the eyes of each child, and it was encouraging to see their somber faces taken over by a smile as they were handed gifts. From there we packed up the school bus and headed off to the banana basket market place.We pulled over and ate our sack lunches under a tree in hopes to find some shade. Across the street at the market the women were super excited to have customers and the banana leaf baskets were beautiful. After purchasing baskets we went on our way to a Haitian market. We sipped on cokes and walked along the market streets admiring all the different things for sale. The market was quite a sight. When we passed through the fresh produce and meat section, a stench filled the air. The meat was covered in flies. After the market, we headed back to the mission. Once here, we went out into the village and delivered shoes to an elderly women whose home recently burned down. Once the shoes were on her feet, she began to dance and then proceeded to give hugs to everyone. The day ended with a local soccer game, dinner, and then card games back at the main house.
It was an incredible day to say the least. Our eyes are being opened, hearts are being broken, and understanding deepened. Jesus is teaching each of us more and more each day about His love for this country and His love for His children.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Haiti- Day 2- June 5, 2012
By: Madeline Chilton

Day 2 in our trip to Haiti was unforgettable. We woke up bright and early, had breakfast and then headed to the "Prayer Rock" for a group devotional. The "Prayer Rock" is a meeting place for devotionals, which is also where the Director also decided to keep as a memorial for the land they were given. The devotion of the day was about being servants in Christ. Afterwards, we took a forty minute walk to a nearby to a school and feeding center called Barben-Court. While we were on our walk, we stopped by a local Voo-Doo Priest's house where we saw their place of worship and learned more about the Haitian culture.  Then he allowed us to pray over him, that he will come to know Jesus. When we arrived we were put to work doing anything from re-organizing wood and pipes to helping with the construction of a new orphanage. Once again, when walking by the school we were joyfully greeted by all the school children. After a couple hours of hard work, we took a quick lunch break and then headed over to the Feeding Center. We had the awesome opportunity to help feed 300 school and some local children their lunch. That day, they were serving white rice, beans with some sauce and noodles. It was a cool to see all the children, and the difference between the school children and the local children. The school children were dressed nicely in the khaki and green uniforms, while the local children came in ragged and dirty clothes. Then, we took the bus to another local orphanage. This was a small orphanage with about thirty kids, ranging all ages from just three months to eleven years old. We handed out blankets and sang "Jesus Loves You". Afterwards, we headed back to Lifeline and had time to relax and rewind.
After landing in Haiti around noon, the Camp Kivu team made our way through immigration and the Port Au Prince airport. Many Haitians welcomed us, some by playing music and others by trying to grab our bags and carry them for us. We then took a bus through Port Au Prince and north up the coast of Haiti to Archaie. As we drove through the outskirts of Port Au Prince, we saw a lot of small crammed tents with plastic-like tarps as roofs, the homes of people who were pushed off the streets of Port Au Prince after the earthquake. Many strong stenches came from this area, called tent city. When we arrived at Children's Lifeline, we had lunch and we went on a tour of their facilities, which include a school, a cantine (kitchen/cafeteria), a church, a soccer field, a medical clinic and a warehouse that holds all the donations. The volunteers live on the second floor of Lifeline's school. We also took a short walk to the top of a hill where a glow-in-the-dark cross stands overlooking Lifeline. Then one of the Lifeline leaders, Spring, showed us the village that surrounds their ministry. The children in the village immediately and excitedly ran to us, holding our hands and smiling, most of them with bare feet and some of them without any clothes on at all. The children were swimming in canals, like man-made streams, which are used for their bath and cooking water and also act as an irrigation system for some people's farming. It was amazing to see how willingly and confidently the children came to you just wanting to hold your hand and hang out with you. That night, we ate a great dinner cooked by two Haitian women, and some of the girls got pedicures and manicures by two other Haitian ladies.

Friday, June 1, 2012

River Oaks First Mission Trip to Haiti

Our team was blessed with a safe and uneventful trip to Haiti.The roller coaster of emotions we experienced on the drive from the airport had us both laughing and crying.  The hour and a half ride in the mission bus had us all kissing the ground when it was over.

Each morning starts with breakfast followed by devotions at the mission prayer rock, a large boulder with a thatch roof hut built around it.  Today's devotion was "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. What is child like humility?  It's not the lack of intelligence, but the lack of guile. The lack of an agenda.

After devotions, we set out to do HIS work among the children for miles around us.  Haitian time is not measured in minutes and hours, it is in relationships.  The more hungry children we can feed, the more smiles and laughter we can share, the more hope HIS SPIRIT passes on to these these people through us, the more timeless we realize each day is.

HIS work has consisted of feeding children in the schools and orphanages, framing a new guest house for  future mission teams, building benches for the schools, painting bookshelves and most important, trying to be light in a very dark world.  

One of the highlights was hearing the children sing 'HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS" in English at one of the orphanages. The children love our attention and we love giving it back.

The River Oaks Mission Team

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

After just a couple days in Haiti, my heart is melting and it is not because of the heat.  As a nurse practitioner, I was excited about the opportunity to see patients with new and interesting conditions. Yes, I’m certain this sounds crazy to those who do not work in healthcare but to me these things really are intriguing.  Before the trip, I had done my research and felt prepared in my knowledge and training.  However, after my first day in the clinic, I quickly learned that Haiti (and its people) had a lot to teach me. 

The very first patient I saw had injured her leg in a motorcycle accident.  Although her wound was extensive, she allowed me to cleanse and dress the area without any complaints of pain.  She was grateful for the help.  I continued to work and continued to learn. With the limited resources, we had to ration the medications and other supplies. Although, I wish we could have done more i truly believe we are making a difference in the lives of these people. 

I am grateful for this opportunity and am excited about the rest of my time here. Thank you, Haiti, for melting my heart!! 

Ginger McDaniel, APRN

Mt. Sterling, KY

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eastern Kentucky Comes to Haiti

After months of preparation we were very excited to bring God's love to the children of Haiti. We knew that God was going to do great things when our 8 hour flight down turned into 14 hours. We FINALLY made it to Children's lifeline and have been working hard ever since. So far, we have visited 4 orphanages and helped at a feeding station, where we assisted in feeding almost 500 children. So far we have told the story of the creation and of Noah. Two things have really impacted us so far. The first real experience we had with children of Haiti was being greeted by a class full of preschool children singing This is The Day That the Lord has Made. It was so beautiful to hear children so small be able to sing about rejoicing in the Lord and truly mean it. One of the orphanages that we visited also serenaded us with one of our all time favorites, Oh How I Love Jesus, in English. It was so beautiful to hear the love for Jesus in the way that the children sang.It was definitely something we will carry with us forever.
The other thing that has really stuck with us so far is the shoes that the children in the orphanages wear. We take shoes for granted because even if we do not have very much money, we can always find shoes to wear that match. One little girl today that simply broke my heart had on two sandals that were not only mismatched but were also two left shoes. It is so humbling to think about how much we have that we take for granted and these children have so little and are so very thankful.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bees at Lifeline

We now have bees at Lifeline!  We will be able to package the honey and sell it.  For now we are eating it!  Yum!   We have planted MANY more trees that will provide more pollen for our bees.

Our "Bee Man"- Cayil with Minold (who also has bees at his house) and Marcson with the bee frames.

Smoke to put the bees to sleep.

Bee boxes in our back field.

Cayil tearing cardboard to burn for the bee smoker.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Least of These

Ministry to the sick

 This woman lost her baby and tested positive for TB so we took her to a TB center where she will receive treatment until she is well enough to go home. 
 This girl came to us with a very bad rash on her leg.
 The rash was not cleared so we took her to a dermatologist and hope the new medication will work.
 This young boy was hit in the face with a rock while playing with friends.  We cleaned him up and took him to get stitches. 
Baby Kevens was sick today but he tested negative for Malaria which we are now able to test for at our clinic lab.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Longest Day

We woke to rain on the tin roof and thunder rumbling in the distance.  It was 3 am and we gathered our gear, meds, and selves to load into three trucks for the two hour drive down the mountain and the ferry below to return to the mainland of Haiti.  The past three days have been spent on the island of La Gonave, in the town of Mapou.  Pastor Benny Guerrier and his wife, Dominique, hosted our group for three evenings.  The village is remote and life is challenging, particularly with respect to water.  They were gracious hosts and skillfully managed the logistics of organizing the church for two days of clinics.  We saw over 400 people in those two days and touched the lives of young children and elderly alike with malnutrition and infection, young pregnant women,and older folks with hypertension and other chronic illness.  Lack of access to clean water and inadequate nutrition are some of the biggest challenges facing this community.  Pastor Benny is working to bring these resources to his community through education, harvesting and storing rainwater and spreading his faith and message of hope to the village of his birth.

The sunrise was enjoyed on the dock of the daily 7am ferry on our return to the main island of Haiti.  After a beautiful journey back, we had a quick cleanup, checked in with families and friends at home and were off to Escole Congreganiste St. Francis de Sales for a full day of clinic for local school children, both sick and well, and many parents.  General health education, infection, malnutrition, the stress headache of a 10 year old boy brought on by the continued uncertainties of life post earthquake and the common maladies of adults were all part of the day's experience.

Tomorrow we rise early to provide services for the children of a Govaines orphanage Children's Lifeline has served for several years and check in on the progress seen in the care of these beautiful, hopeful  young people.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Staff Meeting

We had a successful 4th "All Staff" meeting.  Previous month's Employee of the month: Joseph, the gateman; Fresnel a Barbancourt teacher; Anite, a canteen cook and this month: Jean Renel, a maintenance man. Pictures to come!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Baby Goats!!!

Our pregnant goat, Janet gave birth to three healthy kids April 13th!  We lost one of the babies two days later because the mama rejected it.  Then a week later, April 20th, our other female goat, Judy gave birth!  She was pregnant as well when we bought her!  We had not known this and had been trying to breed her.  We started to think she must be pregnant now but had no idea its been so long.  What a surprise to find out she had been just as pregnant as Janet when we bought her!   We hadn't payed for a pregnant goat but that's what we got.  We are so excited for the goat milk program and to see how already God is multiplying our efforts.  The mama's have not had enough nutrition throughout their pregnancy for us to be able to milk them and have milk for their babies.  We even had to bottle feed Judy's smallest baby so she would not reject it until she was producing enough milk and he was strong enough to fight for it.  We have planted the back field with goat friendly foliage and have just completed goat milk booklets on the nutrition of goats milk and tips for raising goats for better milk production.  We just purchased materials to build a fence for the goats.  Right now they stay in the chicken coop at night to protect the kids from dogs.
Our first kids: Chocolat and Rire 

Fritz and Cayil's daughter Witleen

Janet with Candice and the kids of Cayil, our animal caretaker.

Judy with her kids: Clovs and Yona

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Eye Clinic

Just returned from the eye clinic in Montrouis where we took 10 patients from our village.  One patient, a young lady that bakes bread here at Lifeline, has very bad cataracts but is on the list for surgery in two weeks!  The doctor said we caught it just in time and surgery should be a success.  Praise God!

Four patients, siblings, had the same condition and were given steroid drops and a follow-up appointment, two patients were given glasses, two only needed drops and one was pronounced completely blind.  Please pray for him as he has only been blind a few months and is very distraught.  The doctor said only a miracle could give him sight again as his nerves have atrophied.

Pictures at "New Vision" eye clinic and orphanage in Montrouis:

Article By Candice

Monday, April 16, 2012

Healing Prayers

Please pray for two babies that came to the clinic today.  One is Nono, one of our employee's baby, only about two months old.  His wife brought her in.  She looks very sick and had swollen eyes and her nose was bleeding.  They sent her to St. Mark Hospital right away.

The other baby is also two months old and is from Montrouis.  I met the family a few days ago when I was with Cayil and Adrian looking for roosters.  The man helped us find a good rooster for our laying hens and told us about his daughter.  She is not drinking from her mother and formula makes her sick.  She came to the clinic today looking so tiny, grey and thin.  To thank me for helping them, although I did very little, they gave me two rabbits.  I didn't even know they had rabbits in Haiti.

Please pray for these babies as we know that God can and does do miracles :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

     Today was an exhausting but rewarding day! We started the morning with a  devotion at 7a.m. and then headed to Port Au Prince to visit four orphanages. The bus ride lasted about an hour and a half. When we arrived at the first orphanage we got off of the bus to see several little children's faces beaming up at us. I love that feeling! I have never been around more people that are geuinely happy to see you, what an awesome experience! Most of the people I see seem to have such sweet and gentle spirits, which inspires to be more like them in that way.
     We started out with a puppet show for the kids, telling the story of Zaccheus.We all had a great time with the show and the kids responded well. Their little giggles made my heart smile. I was also so impressed with well they listened! They knew the answer to every question that we asked about the story. After the puppet show we listened to the children sing "Yes, Jesus Loves Me". Their voices sounded so soft and beautiful. I could listen to them sing forever! When they finished singing we handed out sun glasses to all of them. They took the sun glasses with huge smiles on their faces and immediately pushed them on to their face looking at us for confirmation that they looked "cool". At that point, a simple thumbs up sent them into laughter. What a sweet sound!
     We left the orphange and headed to another. We visited two more orphanges in Port Au Prince after that. Visiting that many orphanges made it a very busy day that seems to be a blur now but there are faces in my heart that I know I will never forget. We left the last orphanage and attempted to go to down town Port Au Prince. The traffic  was so backed up we didn't make it. However, we passed through a lot of Port Au Prince on the way and drove by a tent city. Seeing the  tons of tents lined up so close together and crowded broke my heart. I've never seen anything like it and will never forget that sight. Being unable to reach down town Port Au Prince, we headed back to the Mission.
     We returned at about 4:30 p.m. We all rested a little bit and were able to watch the Hatian women cook dinner. What a neat experience! I carefully watched them make the homemade bread that we stuff ourselves with every night. They very politely let us watch and even help! All of the food was absolutely delicious, I will miss it when I'm gone!

     After dinner some of us went outside to watch the kids from the village play soccer. What athletes they are! It's so much fun to watch them play so freely.
     I am extra tired tonight due to the long and bumpy bus ride to Port Au Prince. As I said, it has been an exhausting day, but I'll lay in bed tonight and let all of the sweet faces I saw today dance through my head. That makes it all worth while! Now I am headed to bed, I can't wait for tomorrow!

Careece Glass
First Baptist Church Metropolis
Metropolis, IL

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Today was a great day!  Started the day off with morning devotion at the Rock.  Spring led our devotion with a scripture from Acts.  Then off to Barbencourt.  What a beautiful walk.  While there we saw the ongoing construction of the new Hope for Haiti orphanage and school.  It will be amazing!   

We also visited 2 different orphanges.  The children were adorable and seemed to enjoy our puppet skit of the Woman at the Well.  We were able to give each girl a pillowcase dress and each boy a pair of shorts.  The children's faces were so precious.  They have so little and are so greatful for anything that they get.  I just wish everyone could experience what I felt will break your heart for what breaks His!  Also while in Barbencourt we helped serve at the feeding center.  Lifeline delivers them food Monday through Friday so they can serve beans, rice with vitamins and minerals to over 350 students and the village kids. We arrived back at the mission house, at a quick lunch and then started making school benches so the nursing school here on the compound can begin meeting in their new location.  By the way, Holly is a beast with a drill!  Jimmy kept the saw going and the rest of us stayed busy putting them together.  Supper was awesome.  Tonight we had authentic Creole chicken with beans and rice.  The cooks are never go hungry!  Well it's almost time for "lights out".  See you all on Saturday.  1 Corinithians 10:31 Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.    Jane Ann Gentry- Metropolis, IL

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!  What a way to start a trip...worshiping our Lord together celebrating His resurrection.  A 2 hour service full of the same things that we have in our worship, just in a different language.  The house missionaries fixed a wonderful pancake breakfast to start the day.  It's amazing to see these women serving the Lord and the excitement in their step.  Jean Fritz(the 3 year old orphan that lives on the compound)  was fitting!  A redeemed child being redeemed by the Redeemer on Easter!    This compound is an AMAZING blessing to this village and the surrounding area.  It's impossible to even describe it.  We met one of the elders of the village who asked the man who started Lifeline to come to LaDigue in the first place.  That was awesome!  Then we toured the village and loved on the children.  They LOVE attention and want to be held all the time.  They go where you go.  The parents trust Lifeline to know that they will be ok.  Then we had kids club...

80 kids pouring in each Sunday afternoon to hear the Word even more!  They got to do a craft, sing, play a game(who can drink a coke the fastest without their that's fun!) and then ate some candy :)  Alot of chaos but so worth it.  The day ended with a devotion at the "rock" and a birthday party for Jean Fritz and Ramonda(another orpan that is being adopted by a couple from the US).  Both of these children are waiting to be adopted...pray for them and their parents that they can have patience and peace everytime they have to leave their babies to others.  All I can say is I'm so glad I brought my daughter...we have been blessed!  I definitely will return with more of my children so they too can experience the joy of serving!

Today was our very first plane ride. It was scary and exciting. The inside of the airport was like a mall, except everyone is carrying luggage, hahaha. The bus ride was bumpy but worth it. It's so pretty here! When we got there we took a tour of the compound. The missionaries are really nice, And the food here is great! It's so amazing to see all the people and what they have... which is not much. But to them it's a lot and they're so happy. Whenever the kids see you they come up and cling to you. We're 12 and 14 and it's crazy to be in a foreign country, but we think it's so worth it in the end.

                                                                                                Emma Lange and Mackenzie Easter

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ministry to the Sick in our Community

When you live in an impoverished community, it’s a blurry line to determine who your neighbor is and when the Good Samaritan parable comes into play.  But when emergencies are at our doorstep, there is nothing fuzzy about it.  We have the means to help and there is someone in dire need of help with no other option.

When Pastor Odmy brought a woman to us who came all the way down from the mountains and who had not stopped bleeding since giving birth two days ago, we couldn’t turn her away.  Our clinic is not set up for surgeries and she had no money for the nearest hospital in Saint Marc.  Pastor could help her pay for a ride to the hospital but not for the hospital visit or medications… so we took her to the hospital and pay for her bills.  A week later she was well and came to thank us.  She was glowing with health and her baby was well also.  She was unable to nurse because of the medication she had to be on so we provide her with formula.  We told her when she runs out, try to buy goats milk from neighbors.  There is more goats milk in the mountains than formula. 

Most of you have heard the story of Baby David (Dabbins Wadley) who was 3 months, 2 lbs.  His mother died in childbirth and his grandma was giving him water and flour and mashed food.   When he came to us, looking almost dead, we could not look away but felt compelled to help.  After a two week stay at the hospital, Baby David is a miracle growing healthier and stronger every day.  The hospital we took him to is the only free children’s hospital in Haiti but the family member staying there has to pay for transportation and food during their stay.  His grandma was grateful for the help which allowed her to spend everyday with Baby David at the hospital.  It is a joy to see him often and help the family with his formula and diapers.  But we are always low on money for these kinds of unexpected expenses.  It is so hard to say no in these situations when you know they have no other option.
Jean Fritz and Baby David both orphans rescued from starvation

I could tell you more stories like the woman sitting next to me in church in obvious pain, wasting away with an unknown illness because she had no money to pay for the expensive tests she needs and ashamed to ask for it from her family members.  By the time she came to us, the doctor feared it may be too late.  Some of our friends have lost family members even after we paid for them to go to the hospital, buy medication or tests because it was too late, they waited too long.  And there is one young girl, only 15 with bad kidneys who takes 10 pills a day for all of her symptoms.  If we don’t buy her medication, she doesn’t take it and if we don’t take her to her appointments with her specialist, she doesn’t go.  It’s not that her family doesn’t care, it’s that she only has her mother, sick herself from neglecting herself to care for her daughter.  They have lost everything from medical costs and now live on the floor of Pastor Louisainte’s church.  Sometimes we don’t have the finances to send them to the hospital but have to wait until we’re taking a trip into town and can bring her with us. 

Girl with failing kidneys
Woman from our church suffering from an unknown illness

Last week we were able to take our bread cook to the eye doctor and get her eye medications, if we hadn’t she may have lost her sight.  We also took the baby of our housekeeper, Madam Lumen, to our clinic for her cold and bought her medicine.  She is only two weeks old and not strong enough to battle the cold on her own.  Some of our employees, although they get a salary from us, have up to seven children and may care for others.  They are not always able to take care of their medical needs and we see them as our family we need to care for.  What kind of mission would we be if our own employees and their families were ill?
Madam Lumen and Fritline

Thankfully our clinic is running well with Dr. Carmel and we have plans to expand it so that we can do tests and eventually minor surgeries.  But as for now, anything requiring testing, surgery or a specialist costs a lot with transportation, hospital stay and medicine.  Please help us to meet the emergency needs that come to us.  A hospital visit, roundtrip tap-tap and medicine can cost as much as 1000 gourdes ($25US) which is more than most here make in a month. 

Article by Candice

March 2012 Haiti Team Update #7

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The majority of the team arrived home around midnight Friday night, but 8 others took a boat to La Gonave Island for the weekend (Bob, Linda & Jeremiah Stovall, Gary & Kathy Rinkenberger, Pastor Tommie, Ernie Manriquez and Nichole Grijalva).  When they arrived on the island, Pastor Benis gave them a ride up the mountain to where his church and house are.  The trek up the mountain is steep, rough, rocky and slow, the vehicle was swinging side to side, back and forth on the road.  They traveled between zero and five miles an hour the whole time and they couldn’t understand how the vehicles could make it.  It was an adventure, to say the least.  “Haiti is an adventure, but La Gonave is another world…”  Benis usually only travels the road (trail) about once a month, but because of all the special guests coming for the revival, he had made the strenuous journey multiple times in one week. 
The revival had been going on all week and that night (Friday) a lady named Madame Marie Michele spoke.  She is very well known in Haiti and has a fascinating but very strange story, a former child Voodoo priestess who is now a Christian…you can read more about her at the end if you are interested.
Saturday night Pastor Tommie spoke and shared things on his heart such as the theme verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  He also shared about how there are other ways to serve Satan than just Voodoo and that Jesus being more powerful than the Voodoo spirits is not the only reason to come to Christ.  He called them to repentance and shared his own personal testimony about delivery from drug addiction. 
Pastor Benis really appreciated his testimony and asked Tommie to come back some time and spend a week, but Tommie doesn’t think he could handle that.  For a tough guy, Men’s Home Director, ex- Marine, he sure was kind of wimpy on the island!  LOL!  (I would have been the same way though).  He is amazed at what Benis’ family is doing and how they are sacrificing the comforts of the life they left behind in the US to be there, with their young children, faithfully serving the Lord and the people.
I have only talked to Tommie and Ernie so far…Tommie said he didn’t eat anything except a little fruit and the snacks I sent with him.  He was scared to eat the food and when I asked him about the cow Pastor Benis had bought specifically for when our team came, Tommie said he couldn’t eat something that he had walked past numerous times as it had been hanging upside down from the tree outside the house they were staying in for several days, with its brains and guts hanging out, no matter how well they cooked it.  Chef Ernie, on the other hand, said Benis’ sister, who had been a chef at a 5 star restaurant in Haiti, did the cooking for them and that it was amazing.  He loved all of it and was amazed at how good it was.  What a contrast – LOL!  They both said that they were impressed at how homey Dominique had made it and what a wonderful hostess she was, always making sure everyone had anything they needed and presenting meals in a lovely way.  The mattresses were also very nice and they slept well.  There was no electricity or running water.  Jeremiah worked on installing pipes so that eventually they will have running water from their rain-water catching cistern.  After 2 days of no showers, Tommie & Ernie were stinky (I safely assume! J) and asked Benis if they could shower so he showed them where to get the water in buckets for a bucket bath.  I was cracking up as tough-guy Tommie described how he would dump the cold water on himself, then after he came out of the cold water coma, he would lather up fast and do it again.  Because of the no running water, it was recommended to go to the woods to “do your thing.”  At one point they ran out of water so they had to send donkeys down to get water so they could bathe and flush toilets.
Hundreds of people walked for well over an hour, over rugged mountainous terrain, to be there for the services.  When the service ended, it was quite a sight to see people departing on motorcycles, donkeys and on foot with little flashlights, out into the darkness.  There is no excuse not to make it to church when you think of what these people would go through to get there!
6 or 7 different choir groups sang and led worship, which was beautiful. 
Sunday morning, was an annual day of thanksgiving and offering.  Pastor Tommie spoke again and Pastor Bob spoke too, sharing about why we are in Haiti, how this new generation of Haitian Christians will be the leaders, and how he rejoices because he is seeing the transition toward hope in Haiti and believes they are on the right track.  People are very poor there and don’t have much to give toward the efforts of the church, but bless their hearts, they brought chickens, goats, various food items, goulds (Haitian money), etc.  Over 200 people gave their lives to Christ over the weekend alone.  Praise the Lord!  They had a big feast after church and ate the rest of the cow.
We’re not sure where Louissainte is at…he showed them a document certifying that he went to seminary for 5 years, however he couldn’t answer a single question from Tommie and Benis regarding basic Bible knowledge.  He’s a con man.  However, he did participate in the revival all weekend with a good attitude and asked for prayer when he went home.  He needs to be discipled and held accountable, so we’ll see.
Before they left, Pastor Benis’ little son, Benden, fell out of a hammock and cut the back of his head.  They had to shave it and put butterfly bandages on it.  Benis was visible shaken and stressed from the week he had just come out of.  Please keep him and his family in prayer.
Bob also put in 5 posts for a future screened veranda for the guesthouse where people can dine.
On the ride down the mountain, Bob & Linda sang songs to keep people entertained during the difficult journey.  The boat they rode home in was crowded and they got splashed.  They went back to spend their last night at Lifeline.  The next morning, Ernie had to leave early so Bob & Linda got up and made breakfast.  Ernie, Tommie, Nichole, Kathy and Gary went home and arrived at about 3:30 this morning.  Bob & Linda will come home tomorrow.
What a wonderful team and a wonderful, adventurous, fruitful trip.  God is so good and faithful!  What a might God we serve!  Thank you for partnering with us in prayer.
PS – for those of you who want to read the story about Madame Marie Michele, as told by Tommie who talked to her, here is what I got…keep in mind that there are weird spiritual things in Haiti…
Her mother was unable to get pregnant so she went to a Voodoo doctor and there were 2 spirits named Marie and Michele who told her what to do.  She conceived and had this baby girl and named her after them.  At the age of 8, her father sold her to the devil.  She went underground where Satan was and stayed there for a month.  She made a contract with him – he would give her amazing power but at the age of 18 he would kill her.  When she emerged, she had incredible powers and became a very young Voodoo priestess who the people feared and revered.  At the age of 16 she had teamed up with 2 other girls who had killed their parents as a sacrifice to the spirits, when some missionaries came to her house and prayed for her against her will.  They walked around her place, praying for her as she was inside seeking the spirits.  The 3 girls got together and set a trap for the missionaries that would kill them when they left, but when they went through it, they didn’t die.  She tried to figure out why it wasn’t working so she grabbed a knife and went to stab them in the back.  A hand stopped her and a voice said, “Don’t touch them, they are Mine.”  She went back in the house and asked the spirits why they didn’t help her and they replied that when the missionaries came into the house, they knew they were in trouble too.  One of the girls got scared and went to meet with them, but when she came back, she died.  The other 2 girls got scared and buried her body in the back.  The next morning they found her head, innards and other body parts in her bed.  At this point they were really scared so they went to talk to the missionaries.  This is when she gave her life to the Lord.  She told God that if He would just keep her in His arms and protect her, that she would tell everyone about Jesus.  She is over 30 years old now and has been telling people about Jesus ever since.  She is currently being heavily persecuted in her hometown so Pastor Benis is trying to come up with money to rent her a place to live safely somewhere else.

Friday, March 23, 2012

It happened to Kettma

The rainy season is starting and there are times when the rain comes down so hard I (Michelle) feel like the roof is going to cave in. I only think this, knowing it won't actually happen to us.

However, it happened to Kettma.
[The woman we are doing a micro-finance project with. She was a prostitue but is now selling clothing and attending cosmetology school]
Kettma and her 2 young children live in a home made of tarps. The wood is warped and weak and the heavy rains collected in the tarp. Last night as Kettma and her girls were lying in bed, the wood holding up the tarps collapsed. She barely grabbed her children and made it out of the way in time. Everything she owns is soaking wet- some of it ruined and she lost her "celiing". As you can imagine, she is very distraught and feels hopeless.
I am so ignorant. I have had a sturdy home and roof over my head my entire life and yet there are many here in Haiti who dread the rains because it means their house will flood.

 What would it be like to not have a dry place to escape to in times of the rain?
 What would it be like if I had no where to take my children for dry and safe shelter?
I can't imagine

Kettma and her girls in front of their home- before. 

The rain damage.  
They were lying on the bed when it collapsed.