Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012 – Update # 8

Today was bittersweet as 7 of the 14 headed home. We left early in the morning to drive to the airport and the 5 of us flying to San Diego were dropped off. Kathy & Gary had an afternoon flight so they stayed with Candice and Michelle in Port for a while. They had to take little Junior back to the orphanage they found him at. Everyone was sad to see him go and Junior was probably the most sad to go back. The girls are hoping that now that the director knows that they will be checking in and there will be some accountability, that he will take better care of the children and make sure they are fed properly.

I haven’t heard from anyone in Haiti since we were dropped off at the airport so I have no idea how that went or what went on with the remainder of the building team there today.

Ryan, myself, James Hawk, Brian Floyd and Cameron Colace are all home now. We got Brian home at 11:55 pm, on the night of his 20th wedding anniversary. When we pulled up to his house it was the cutest thing ever. His wife and two kids were hiding in the front yard waiting for him with silly string. They had decorated luminaries lining the walk-way and had a big “We love you” sign hanging over the front porch. They were so happy to have him home.

I will send another update as soon as I hear from Haiti. The remaining 7 on the team return home Wednesday.

I am so tired from traveling all day, but it sure feels good to be home and it feels great to have had such a productive trip, completely blessed by our wonderful Heavenly Father.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 – Update #7

The internet has been down most of the time at Lifeline for the last few days so we haven’t been able to communicate. Sunday was our day of rest. No one went to the work site. After getting up and having breakfast (prepared by Ernie), Candice and Michelle led us on a tour of the Lifeline property and then through the village of La Digue. We heard the history of Lifeline, got beautiful hilltop views of the ocean, went up to the dam, visited one of our Haitian friends’ very humble home and were followed around by village children all wanting to hold our hands.

We then had a little church service on the balcony and after James & I led worship, Pastor Moore gave a wonderful message.

After lunch, we drove about 30 minutes down the road to the Wahoo Bay beach resort. We enjoyed relaxing in the beautiful environment there and the fellowship was great – it was very refreshing. Quite a few of the guys swam, played football, etc. out in the ocean. Ernie and Pastor Benis rented a Sea Doo jet ski and rode around for their first time doing that. Others sat around and talked or read or swam in the pool or played ping pong.

Before sunset we did something really special. Bob and Linda Stovall celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary tomorrow so Linda and I plotted behind the scenes and planned a little surprise vowel renewal ceremony. So Pastor Moore had a message from Song of Solomon prepared and stood at the water’s edge and we gathered everyone else to form in lines on either side of the “isle.” Then Pastor Benis’ children descended down the lovely concrete stairs onto the beach as the flower girl and ring bearer, then came Dominique, then me and then finally, the lovely bride with a flower in her hair and in her hands. Celissa was the DJ playing pretty worship music for background on her laptop. Bob stood up with Pastor Moore and Jeremiah was his best man, who was holding little Jean Fritz (how appropriate in Haiti, ha ha). The ceremony was very romantic and after Bob kissed his bride, we got lots of pictures, then group pictures, and then we went up to the restaurant area and enjoyed our dinner. Some got lobster that was caught right off the shore there.

After dinner we headed back to Lifeline and I had “counseling” sessions with the girls who live there, ha ha while the men got things figured out for the building since half of our team would be leaving the next day.

By the way, James Whitehead is feeling much better. He thanks you for the prayers.



Saturday, January 28, 2012 – Update #6

Poor Ryan had to go to Port AGAIN today! BUT, praise GOD, he got the truck! IV HOPE for Haiti is now the blessed owner of a 4-door nice, new little Nissan truck. Yay! He worked more on getting the container released and now we think/hope/pray that will happen on Monday.

A precious little boy from the village showed up at Lifeline this morning with terrible burns on his leg. He had been helping his mother cook the night before and tripped and fell down carrying boiling water. The skin was completely gone and he was shaking because he was in so much pain. Poor thing! I tried to comfort him while Candice put special ointment on and a nurse staying here wrapped it. Junior, the little malnourished 7 year old seemed to be doing much better today, but pray for him because they have to return him to the orphanage Monday and they don’t want him to go back to not being fed properly there and be right back where he started.

I got to go to the open air market today in Arcahaie with Celissa and a 3 of the other American women living at Lifeline right now. It was great getting to see where it is, how it works and what they have there for sale. I love seeing all the big baskets full of various beans, rice, nuts, produce, herbs, etc. The end of the market is right at the water’s edge. This is a very sad area. It’s where they bring charcoal over from the island of La Gonave on little boats. All of Haiti’s hills have been stripped of trees over the decades to make charcoal (they use it to cook with). Now they are getting it from the island. The people who work there have a very hard life. It is a big open area next to the water, the ground covered in charcoal, the people covered in charcoal, their lungs, I’m sure, covered in charcoal, and they are bagging it and sorting it to sell. Celissa said that she did that for a year when she was 12 to pay to go to school. She said it makes people sick and they die, probably from lung cancer they don’t realize they have.

After that, we took lunch to the men and I got to spend the afternoon in Barbancourt at the building site. Our property is coming along quickly. It is an absolutely beautiful piece of land with lots of potential, and all the buildings look great. They used the backhoe to put all the heavy roof panels on the agriboard building and have one side of our guest house done. Gary, Kathy, Linda and Jeremiah got the drywall and tin roof put on the administration building, where Jeremiah will be living. Brian, Cameron, James Hawk and Ernie did the electrical wiring in the kitchen supply/prep house. James Whitehead rested in the morning and then went over and worked in the afternoon on the wiring and taking measurements of the whole property with Ernie so that he can draft the property layout. The wall, which Haitians are working on even while we are gone is about 2/3 done around our 4 acre property. It is cinder block and looks really good.

There are always village children hanging around. Today we came across 2 little girls, probably age 2 and 5. They looked ill – orange hair, distended bellies, yellow, watery eyes. We had Celissa look at them (she’s almost completed her nursing education) and she confirmed that they have worms, malnutrition and one has an ear infection. She told their moms to bring them to Lifeline’s clinic tomorrow to get medicine. We also pulled them inside one of the houses and Brian Floyd gave them some of our extra food. We have to be so careful about handing out food because it will turn into a mob of kids constantly begging us for food. All the children are poor, but these 2 girls were definitely not well at all so we helped them out discretely. We decided that we are just going to have to be careful about who we give food to and make sure it is discreet so it doesn’t get out of hand with mobs of kids begging. That’s a difficult stand to take, but necessary. Some on our team members have big hearts and have a tough time saying no, and some have big hearts, but have no problem telling them no – like Mean Ernie, ha ha – I guess that’s why he’s the security guard.

Pastor Benis and his family arrived today and it is so good to see them. They will be staying 2 nights with us. They seem to be doing well, but pray for them because their children still ask on occasion to go back home. It’s a difficult transition, but they will be ok with the Lord’s help. When Pastor Benis first showed up at the building site, he went up to James Hawk , who didn’t know him, and told him that he was a Haitian building inspector and that the pipe (I think, I’m trying to remember!) was 45 degrees in the turn but it must be 55 degrees. He had poor James going and then finally told him who he really was!

Candice and Michelle took us on a walk through the village of Barbancourt. We got to go to Osmy’s step-mother’s home and visit with her while she prepared dinner in their outdoor kitchen and then we bought sodas from her. We saw the soccer field where the Barbancourt team practices and competes against the La Digue team, which plays at the Lifeline soccer field (the 2 neighboring villages). I guess it is quite a fun rivalry. J We also got to see more of the agriculture, which is beautiful. Some of the things they grow in the village are: beans, tomatoes, mangos, vitiver (a plant they make perfume out of), plantains, papayas, coconuts and bread fruit. They also raise animals like chickens, goats, cows and pigeons (yes, pigeons!).

Tonight after dinner we had a big meeting with Pastor Benis and Dominque to discuss the March trip and the revival. That trip will be March 16-23 staying at Lifeline and building the orphanage and then the 23-26 staying on La Gonave Island with Pastor Benis and putting on a large revival. So let me know if you’re interested and have questions. Not everyone will be able to come for the entire time, but it is going to be a great trip. I will email more details later.

Today was our last work day for half of the team. Tomorrow is Sunday and a day of rest and relaxation. It’s bittersweet - I know the men want to do more, but they also feel they have accomplished a lot and are looking forward to a wonderful day tomorrow.

Madame Ryan (My Haitian name)

Friday, January 27, 2012 – Update #5

Today we went 3 different directions, as usual – a lot going on! I went with James Whitehead to see the doctor at the clinic here at Lifeline and Michelle took the little boy, Junior, as well. That doctor sent us to the larger hospital/clinic in Arcahaie for blood tests for both of them. I hate that they are both sick, but it was a good learning experience for me – to know where the clinics are and sort of how they work. While we were there we witnessed the victim of a motorcycle brought in and pass out in front of the crowd waiting and his sister hysterical. I was praying! Thankfully, a while later, they wheeled him out with an IV and he was conscious and his sister was more calm. We found out that James (supposedly) just has a bad cold/flu virus and that all that was wrong with Junior had been so malnourished and then ate too much food too soon for several days and it caught up with his digestive system. He was extremely bloated with severe gas and was vomiting. Both of them were a lot better by tonight, praise the Lord!

Ryan and Osmy had another long and frustrating day in Port – dealing with the container, the vehicle and supplies.

There was lots of action at the building site…

The BIG news was that they got this huge beam that’s 32 ft. long and weighs well over 1000 lbs. up in place. If Cal OSHA had been there they would have required scaffolding and a crane. But our resourceful guys used straps on either end, lifted it high into the air with the backhoe, and then Jeremiah climbed up and carefully put it in place. The entire village came out to witness the event. It was exciting! Later, Ryan and a Haitian man were lifting smaller beams together and the man told Ryan, “Together, we are backhoe!” Ha ha.

I didn’t even realize this, but all this time we have had tons of wall panels stored inside the classrooms at the Lifeline school next door. They moved all of them out today and it was a miracle that as they maneuvered those 500-600 lb. panels they didn’t kill any kids because they were all around. Now the school actually has room for more kids in it! Wow – thank you Lifeline for letting us intrude for so long! I can’t even begin to tell you all what a blessing straight from Heaven our partnership with Lifeline has been – in so many ways.
Here are some of things the various people were doing today…
Brian Floyd was REALLY happy and was running around working like crazy everywhere – he took an extra dose of powerful painkillers! (That, and God has answered your/our prayers of course!) I keep telling them that he is supposed to be taking it easy and doing security for Ernie. But everyone said Brian was way too happy to do that today – he would have happily given everything away ha ha! And Brian said he is not as mean as Ernie, he says, (to the villagers that want our teams supplies), “Get out of here, PLEASE.”
Ryan invited the neighboring Voodoo priest to church with us on Sunday. The priest told him he might have an emergency come up, but Ryan told him, “No, you won’t.” J Pray for this man’s salvation and for our team to be able to minister to him.

Kathy Rinkenburger helped with dry wall, organizing the men’s tools, and then went and did more children’s ministry with her crafts at another nearby orphanage. There were 50 kids and they sang a welcome song when she and the team (another small group here with Candice and Spring) arrived and bowed in gratitude when they left. She said they were delightful. The pastor had just had hernia surgery so the team prayed for him. Candice tried to get Cameron to go to children’s ministry with them, because we hear he’s so good at it, but he wouldn’t leave building site – he’s BO!

James Hawk and Cameron Colace cut out bigger windows in one of the houses and did lots of other work on the site. Pastor Moore says James is a “haus.” He even drove the backhoe. We were reminded that there hasn’t hardly been a team come to Haiti that didn’t have a Hawk on it. Wow!

Noe, our Spanish speaking quiet, gentle giant, was pretending to be a backhoe today and lifting kids up over his head. They love him. He has been very helpful in every aspect with the building.

Gary Rinkenburger did drywall and loved how the village kids come around and hug you. There was one little girl, maybe 4 years old, who doesn’t talk, but has been clinging to him all day for the last 2 days. He is concerned about her because there doesn’t appear to be anyone claiming her when the team leaves the site at the end of the day. Pray for her. He was amazed at how he has to have work boots and yet she runs around barefoot on all those rocks.

Pastor Moore’s knee was hurting him quite a bit today. He put Ernie’s essential oils on though and it was feeling better tonight. Keep him in prayer too, please. He commented that even though he’s been here more times, everyone calls him Bob, Pastor Bob or even Bobson – ha ha!
Tonight, I led the devotional and we had a lovely time of fellowship after. This is a great team and it’s so fun to get to know people in this environment, as we are serving Christ and others together. Chef Ernie, aka, Mr. Popular, got out his homemade salsa again late tonight and there was another party in the kitchen. We got to see Bob, Linda and Jeremiah do the Stovall family dance. The Rinkenburgers sang and did a lovely, choreographed hula dance. And (Grisel, forgive me for egging it on), Cameron made techno sounds while Jeremiah danced around with a wind-up strobe flashlight. It was all quite comical and yes, I got it on video!
I found out I get to pick colors for the orphanage buildings to be painted soon so, naturally, I’m excited about that!
Tomorrow, Ryan has to go to Port with Osmy, again. Please pray for him. All these meetings are so frustrating for him, and we really want the vehicle and container released, but we also trust the Lord and know that it will happen in His perfect timing.
Pastor Benis, Dominique, their 3 kids and his cousin are coming over from La Gonave Island to stay 2 nights with us. Please pray for a safe journey as those boats can be dangerous.
We have been blessed with wonderful weather. Yes, the sun is intense for the guys out working in the sun. But in the shade it’s quite nice, and at night, it cools down and is very comfortable sleeping. This morning when we went out on the balcony for our devotional, I almost got cold! God is good.
Madame Ryan (as the Haitians at the building site call me)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

IV HOPE for Haiti Day 3

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 – Update #3

This morning we woke up to a lovely breakfast of eggs, corned beef hash (?) and really good pancakes, courtesy of Chef Ernie.  Then Pastor Bob Stovall led a devotional and James W. led worship with his guitar out on the front porch.
Later, Michelle and I took Cameron, Linda and Brian (since it is their first trip) to Port with us to pick up Gary and Kathy Rinkenburger from the airport.  Cameron and Brian worked most of the morning at the building site with the men and then we sort of kidnapped them when we brought the team lunch. 

I had warned Gary and Kathy not to let go of their luggage at the airport because they would be bombarded with people trying to “help” them with it for a tip.  They carried multiple 50 lb. bags all the way out almost to the parking lot when the Haitian trying to “help” him pointed at me (I was waving at them) and said, “Mama!”  (Like he knew me and I was his “mama” – I’ve never seen him before, lol).  Gary dropped his bag for 2 seconds at that moment to greet me and the guy snatched up the bags, took them to the bus and was then upset because he didn’t get a bigger tip.  Welcome to Haiti Rinkenburgers! Ha ha.

After that we went on a tour of Port-au-Prince.  First we met Ryan and Osmy at the Eco Depot (a wanna-be Home Depot) and Linda and Brian advised him on electrical and light purchases. 

Then we drove through City Soleil and La Saline, the poorest slums in the entire western hemisphere, where they make the mud cookies for kids to eat (although we didn’t go in where they do that because it’s also the most dangerous slum).  Brian said it was difficult for him to comprehend the chaos and that people actually live in that trash.  Kathy couldn’t believe kids are actually raised in that environment.  There is no personal space, no identity – in other areas of the city we saw women bathing and relieving themselves alongside the busy street – there’s no privacy for people. 

After that we took them to the Presidential Palace where we learned that although they’ve done nothing to try to rebuild it, they still have a flag raising ceremony in front of it every day.  Next we went to the wood market to buy some hand-made Haitian souvenirs and Gary bought a $5 “Picasso”. 

And finally we drove out of the city and to Titanyen, where the mass grave is.  This is where more than 200,000 bodies were dumped into pits by dump trucks after the earthquake – a very surreal and solemn place to experience.  It looks different than before because January 12th was the 2-year anniversary of the earthquake and President Martelly wanted to commemorate the site.  So they moved a lot of dirt and rocks and made a big terrace on one side where he gave his speech and they build a big round monument with black tiles and a large rock on top with a plaque.  I was surprised that they would have moved all that dirt with that many bodies buried not far beneath.  We found 3 human bones among the rocks in just the short time we were there.  Another interesting side note is that the land right next to the mass grave (that is a very controversial site among Haitians because of their respect for the dead and the way they were treated there) was selected by the government to grant to people as an incentive to get them to move out of the tent city right next to the airport – they are trying to clean up the area a bit as they attempt to revive tourism and industry.  So that tent city that people are so used to seeing is pretty sparse now and the hill-side next to the mass grave is filling up.

Ryan and Osmy spent a long, frustrating day in Port trying to find necessary supplies and purchase the 4 door Nissan truck he found at a dealership.  It is evident that we do need our own vehicle here. 

In the morning, Ryan and Kenol had taken 3 different tap-taps (Haiti’s version of taxis) around to different places like Cabaret to find supplies.  That was quite an experience.  One was a scary ride on the back of a motorcycle, one was in the cage of the back of a truck completely full of chickens (glad I wasn’t there!) and one was blaring Haitian music and everyone was dancing inside and the ladies were poking Ryan, trying to get him to dance with them.  (I wonder if I should be jealous…;-) To get off a tap-tap you push a button that is an actual door bell that goes ding-dong, signaling the driver to stop, then he “tap-taps” the side of the truck, you pay him and he leaves you and takes off. 

Bob also gave Kenol (a good Haitian friend here) driving lessons today – apparently poor Kenol is not a good driver and they had a few laughs and got into a few pickles.

Saying the driving in Haiti is crazy is a huge understatement.  Cameron Colace, aka Jimmy Johnson, thinks it’s quote, “fun and exciting.”  The only time he got a little scared was when Jaques, our driver (who I think would be capable of winning the Baja 1000) was passing a truck on the highway, with an oncoming vehicle and he just went right in between them at full speed.  Linda said she definitely feels God’s hand of protection on us!

The men got some electrical work done and beams out at the building site.  They were glad they got those Agriboard beams out when they did because the termites were starting to eat them!

Things are going well here, but we also see the enemy at work trying to put obstacles in our way.  So we need prayer from our prayer warriors out there.
James Whitehead is very sick and had to quit working half-way through the day and went to bed early tonight without leading worship – that is saying a lot because he is really tough.  Wildo (a Haitian) got a very heavy beam dropped on his foot.  Jeremiah cut his finger with a knife and was treated at Lifeline’s clinic.  A few people have gotten pretty dehydrated.  Brian is still having his pain off and on.  Noe, who is like a gentle giant – a sweet, burly man who doesn’t talk much, because he speaks Spanish.  His wife, Reyna, is having a very emotional time at home because this is their first time being separated.  Pray for her, as this can be difficult on the families left behind.  Also, Candice and Jean Fritz (the little boy Adrian takes care of) have been sick.  Some of us are also still trying to get our residency paperwork, driver’s licenses and the container released from customs.  It’s a slow and frustrating process and it just doesn’t seem like there’s enough time here to do everything we need to do while we’re here. 

Thank you for all the prayers.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much the team appreciates and feels the prayers from you at home. 


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

IV HOPE for Haiti Day 2

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 – Update #2

Our team of 10 flew overnight via LA and Miami and arrived in Port-au-Prince at 9:30 am safe and sound.  We drove the hour and a half out to Lifeline so the team could eat a quick lunch and then go over to the building site to join Ryan and Jeremiah working.  They hit the ground running, meeting a truck at the blacktop full of supplies that Ryan had purchased yesterday.  They began construction of the Agriboard buildings, which will serve as our guest house in the future. They also started working on what needs to be done to finish the future orphanage administration building, which will be Jeremiah’s temporary house.

Gary & Kathy Rinkenburger had an issue with their flight so they won’t be arriving until tomorrow afternoon.

I personally only had time to use the bathroom and fill up my water bottle and I was back on the Lifeline bus headed back to Port with Candice, Michelle and Adrian.  Adrian had a meeting set up with an American lady at an orphanage who does adoptions to discuss the process of a couple from Ohio adoption Jean Fritz, the little boy Adrian cares for.  That turned out to be a divine appointment!  The lady, Chris, was amazing.  We spent more than 3 hours with her and learned so much about the orphanage and adoption process that I could say that one meeting made my entire trip worthwhile and I could go home now and feel like I got something huge accomplished!  She has great connections with people we will need to work with, understands the system, has a heart for the kids, is well organized and since she sees this all as a ministry of the Lord, she was VERY willing to help us any way she can.  I am so excited!  Oh my goodness though, this is a HUGE undertaking…Lord, be with us!

I want to take this opportunity, on behalf of the, let’s say…”thin skinned” in the bunch, to give a big shout out to Donald Curtis and all those who made possible…HOT WATER!!!  After 2 days of travel with no shower, and wondering if it would have to be a cold one, that was quite possibly the most enjoyable shower ever in my life.  Thank you!  Aaaahhh….it’s the little things, right?  :-)


Monday, January 23, 2012

Afterthoughts of Earthquake

The mention of the country Haiti brings what to your mind?   It is easy to understand without some experience or attachment it is possible that nothing of impact comes to mind.   We as American’s are a custom to not having an opinion or thought unless it affects us.   This is not the recommended path I would suggest for anyone, but this is often sadly the way many live their lives.    As a Minister of the Gospel since 1982, I have had the experience of many moments that I cannot shake from the memory of my mind involving people, and situations. 
                 The most impacting moment of my life happened while I was in Haiti this past Thanksgiving 2011.  Sometimes it is the unexpected that catches you so off guard and unprepared.  It is for me not the lack of knowing what I was about to experience or see but rather the actual experience itself that touched my inner most being.   I have been called by many families to attend to a hospital bedside or to an accident in an attempt to minister God’s love in a crisis.   The biggest crisis many ministers attend to is during the hour or time of a death.  The loss of a loved one, family member or friend can be challenging not just for those that loved and cared about the one deceased, but funerals are also significant challenges to ministers.   Finding the right words to say is not always easy but I believe the most significant challenge for those leading such a service would be keeping their emotions in check. 
                While in Haiti serving our mission team had daily activities we were attempting to complete which included everything from feeding children, busting up rocks for new construction and our work as a team also included trips to different orphanages where we delivered food, conducted programs and loved on people.  My moment of unpreparedness came when we visited the mass gravesite for the victims of the January 12, 2010 earthquake.   I am not sure where I was or what I was doing when the announcement was made that we would be stopping at the mass gravesite but for whatever reason, I was caught off guard.  I was at the front of the bus talking with our driver when he made the turn to go up a gravel road toward the mountainside.   It was at that moment when I asked where we were going that I learned our destination.    Here in American after the attack of 9-11 there has been millions of dollars spent building memorials to honor those that were killed.   Not only millions of dollars but the projects have taken over 10 years to complete.   All the dollars and time to honor 3,000 lives and what I was about to see was to honor over 300,000 lives.   What I saw was what left me unprepared, and speechless.   
                In Haiti over 300,000 lost their lives in a single earthquake on that January afternoon and our bus made its way up a dusty gravel road that had no road markers, no road signs, and no monuments.  There was no parking lot to get out of the bus and walk over to a viewing area that allowed for the hallowed ground to remain in a memorial state with honor and dignity.  There was no historical marker describing what had happened, how the Government of Haiti had to dig a mass grave and that they placed the dead bodies of her citizens here as a final earthly resting place.   No mention how the men, women, and children buried here had been removed from their homes, buildings and the streets and brought to this place as the government’s only solution to the staggering death toll from the quake.   Yes, I was totally speechless to see only black wooden crosses that once stood lying on the ground.  I was unprepared to know that cattle walked and grazed over this mass cemetery.  There was no fence, there was no official marker to say anything….not a single word written to honor those that once lived and died because of the earthquake.   Without thinking I took my camera out of my pocket and I began to take pictures, and honestly I found myself wanting to take 300,000 pictures, but I knew it wasn’t possible.   I wanted to somehow honor the lives of those I was now standing over, looking at, and with my mind racing with the thoughts of a hundred cemeteries I  had preached at and conducted services at, I knew this one was different and I would never be the same.
                You may never have been to Haiti.   You may not know or have ever met a single Haitian.  You may think that what has happened over there is of no concern to you.  You might have never thought for a second is there something you can do, but there is.  


New Team Arrives! IV HOPE for Haiti Day 1

Imperial Valley's HOPE for Haiti (building orphanage in Barbancourt)

Good morning!  Just letting you all know that Ryan and Jeremiah arrived in Haiti yesterday morning.  They went to church and got to hear Donald Curtis (Lifeline Executive Director who we are partnering with) preach with a translator at the Lifeline church, and they said it was excellent.  They went to the building site and thought through a lot of things with Donald's experienced advice and developed a supply list.  They also discussed IVHFH purchasing it's first vehicle.  To get a reliable one, it is very expensive there, so please be in prayer that we make a wise decision in how we spend the money God has supplied us with through our wonderful supporters.  Donald left this morning to go back to Kentucky and Ryan and Jeremiah are spending the day vehicle shopping, building supply shopping (so they will be ready when our team arrives tomorrow morning) and they have a meeting with a man at customs regarding releasing our last container.  Earlier this week, Donald negotiated with them to get our fee reduced substantially (they charge you storage fees - crazy), so that was nice, but that's also still expensive.  Please pray that the meeting goes well for Ryan and that the container is released soon for a minimal amount.  At 1:30 pm, the rest of our team meets at Christ Community Church parking lot to depart together for an overnight flight.  All except for 2 people who are flying from Central California, the Rinkenburgers.  Gary used to by Ryan's corporate boss and we are so excited to have him and his wife along on this trip.  Below is the list of the team - 14 people.  We all appreciate your prayers for a fruitful and safe trip and for the anointing of the Holy Spirit as we do the Lord's work in Haiti.  Thank you!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Junior, Lifeline's newest addition

Last week we visited one of the orphanages we provide food for in Port-au-Prince with a medical team. We hadn’t been there since October and were sad to find the children still in poor condition. We have concerns about dishonesty going on within the system and sadly, the children suffer for this. Please be in prayer for this situation.

Junior is a small, 7-year-old boy living at the orphanage. He is one of the more malnourished children and clearly needs proper nutrient care. On Tuesday, Jacques drove me (Michelle) to the orphanage again to take Junior to the hospital. The doctor was not in at 2 in the afternoon so I decided to bring him back to Lifeline. In the hour car ride back, Junior sat on my lap and I was terrified if I held him too hard I would break a rib, but if I didn’t hold hard enough he would fly off my lap from the bumpy roads; but as we sat there I had a strong feeling he would be at Lifeline for a while.

Once back at the mission, we all decided it was best for Junior to stay with us for we would be giving him the same care a hospital would (we have a doctor here 5 days a week if we need anything), plus we would give him love and constant attention.

Just to give you an idea of his size—he wears Jean Fritz’s clothes and weighs the exact same amount as Jean Fritz. They weigh 31 pounds and wear size 2T pants and 3T shirts. Junior is 7 and Jean Fritz is 2. They are 5 years apart…

It’s been a mere 4 days since Junior came to stay with us and we put him on a eating/hydration plan and we have already seen significant improvement! Adrian is playing soccer with him right now and I can see him running around on the soccer field. He could barely keep his eyes open when he first came.
He smiles a lot now too. He takes joy in such little things, like bath time and being read to (even though he can’t understand English).

The pictures are from the 2nd day he was here- as you can see he still wasn't smiling a lot. 

Junior and Jean Fritz 

Please be praying for Junior as he finds nourishment and love. Also, please be in prayer for his future as it is unknown.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Baby "David"

Last month a baby was brought to Lifeline that was very sick. He had been born between 6 and 7 months gestation and his mother had passed away shortly after giving birth. When he arrived at Lifeline he was a little over 3 months old and weighed only 3.3 lbs. With help from Lifeline and doctors in Port Au Prince the baby is now 5 months old, doing very well and is pleasing the doctors with his progress. He is receiving nutrition and diapers through Lifeline. We visited with the baby and his family today. Here is the evidence of what a difference child sponsorship can make. Please go to www.childrenslifeline.com and check out how you can sponsor a child. Also, for Baby "David's" full story and for pictures from last month, please go read his blog from December.

We came to Haiti to help a difference, but you don't have to make a trip to make an impact on a life!

-The Suttles Family

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Today the people of Haiti remembered the devastating earthquake that hit their country two years ago. The earthquake turned this country upside down and left so many people hurting, both physically and emotionally. Families were torn apart and children left without much hope in sight. This earthquake, however, could possibly have turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to this country. The amount of aid and attention this country has received as a result of the earthquake has begun to help the people. However, since the media has stopped reporting on the devastation still remaining in this country, it's as if we have forgotten the country all together. We were able to attend the two year memorial event held at outside Port Au Prince at the site of a mass burial ground where approximately 200,000 people were dumped and covered over with gravel shortly after the earthquake.  For the people of Haiti, this site will forever serve as a memory of the devastating tragedy that happened at 4:55 PM on January 12, 2010.  This single moment in time was able to captivate the world, but time will tell if the ever present needs of this struggling country will become just another distant memory of a story on the 11 o'clock news.  One thing is for certain though, the struggling people of Haiti will never forget.

Please take a moment to pray for the families of those lost in the earthquake, as well as for continued support for the constant needs of the survivors.

- Kurt and Morgan Oetken

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"I woke up this morning with $14 (USD) and wondered to myself how I would feed these 79 children, then you come and bless us with medical care and 3 bags of beans. Now I can feed these children for an entire month without worry!"

What else can we say?! We came on this mission with a vision of touching the Haitian people, yet we have found that the love and appreciation that we have been shown will far greater impact our lives. We have never been more heartbroken than looking into the eyes of children that are orphaned and malnourished as they sing praises of thanks to us; when the pastor of the orphanage prays for our safety and well being as the children he cares for are starving; when they thanked us for leaving our families to help them and they have no family. Oh how we have been humbled!

-Miranda Davis & Allison Justice

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Our Five Senses

Our day began today with devotions about how our entire being, all the way down to our senses, were created by God for His purpose to be accomplished for His glory.

Today my senses were challenged.  My day began by smelling the meals being prepared for the day - one perk of having a room on that end of the house.  My hearing was awakened with the sounds of children coming to school and roosters!  My taste buds woke up to pancakes this morning.  My eyes saw the beautiful faces of these people, especially our sponsor children whom we met today for the first time.  My sense of touch has been invigorated today because of all the little hands that want to be held.

But of all these senses, I believe it has been my heart that has been touched the most.  I had to explain to our kids that my tears were those of joy not sorrow.  I only hope they can understand.  As the song says, I Will Never Be the Same Again.

Dear Father, thank you for all of my senses and please may they all be used for Your glory.  Amen.

- Mary Jane and Randy Suttles

Monday, January 9, 2012

Will we have electricity? What about clean water? Is there a shower? Where will we sleep? Can we wash our clothes?

These were things many of the team members were concerned with when planning to come on this mission trip. How would it compare to being at home? The answer to all of these questions is yes. The mission house has most modern amenities...minus just a few luxuries (air conditioning) staying here at the Lifeline mission house is much like being at home! We have learned that all of these things we were all so concerned with really don't matter at all. We have yet for one moment to ever feel unsafe or unwelcome. The truth is.... we are so appreciated and so welcome here you can almost feel guilty for never having been here before.

Today we visited two different schools and treated 180 children.  This is just a fraction of the people here who need our care - but maybe, we have touched at least one life and made a difference.  Mary Jane led the devotions this morning at the prayer rock and spoke of ordinary people doing extraordinary things through Christ -  well we are here through Christ and for Christ and we are receiving  a much larger blessing than we are giving. What an extraordinary experience!

- Amy Chase

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Amazing Grace!

Amazing Grace!
This is what our team sang in church for our Haitian Christian Brothers and Sisters in Christ this morning. They know how to worship the Lord in music and Word. The children were delightful and so loving and friendly. We may speak different languages, but the Spirit is the same...amazing!

Today was a day of extremes, coming from a service of worship to a heartbreaking tour of the mass grave site of over 200,000 Haitians lost in the January 12, 2010 earthquake. In spite of overwhelming, unbelievable poverty, we were encouraged to see God's amazing grace at work in Haiti!

-Ruth Oetken and Donna Wainright