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.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 2012 Haiti Team Update #6

Monday, March 22, 2012

It has rained most nights we have been here and it is so loud, pounding on the tin roof, but it’s nice.  Thankfully, it wets down the dust but doesn’t make it a muddy mess.
All the walls of the orphanage are framed, but we haven’t been able to get the plans for how to put the roof trusses together, which is frustrating.  The team tried and tried to figure out how they go together, but it was impossible.  Please pray that the company will send us good plans for that very soon.  (Before sending this email, I got one from the company, Supaframe, with the plans – praise the Lord!)
They got the front and rear walls framed and up on the center part of the guest house.  They put up the center beam for the roof over that.  They made the beam out of 4 layers of 2x8s and it’s 28 feet long, and weighs probably about 500 lbs.  It took numerous Haitians, ropes and ladders and careful coordinating to help them get the beam up in place – it was quite an accomplishment and they were glad that Cal-OSHA wasn’t there to supervise how they pulled it off.
Larry got a new name.  He was jealous of Joe because all kids liked talking to him because they could say his name and none of them could say Larry, they kept saying things like, “Wawy.”  LOL.  So he changed his name to “Jay,” and now he’s popular with the kids.  The kids call Corey, “Cool.” Greg and his father-in-law, Brett, were having some bonding moments – they both claimed they the other was yelling at him all day, but they were laughing about it – I don’t know what was going on there, lol.  Bob was assembling lumber and Gary kept jumping up like Shreck scaring him.   I think people are starting to get delirious or something in the sun???
Victoria and Brittany worked with the Haitian kids Davidson and Roslande to pick up trash all over the property, bless their hearts.  They also spent time hanging out with the village kids and teaching them English and learning Creole from them.  Nichole was practically teaching an English class to the villagers hanging around the property. 
Several people sponsored Haitian kids so that they could go to the Lifeline school.
Nedy, one of the “Bobsons” would come around the house, waiting on the porch for, as he calls them, his “Mommy and Daddy and brother.”  Mind you, he is a very tall, older teenage boy, who probably has a family of his own.
The wall around the property is all done except for the top being capped and the rebar cut.  I designed a gate and Osmy got it ordered.
Ryan and I had to go to Port separately, but met up at the immigration building to get our fingerprints done.  The bank still wouldn’t give me a bank statement (it’s another world down here…) but they said they would give it to Candice tomorrow.  Once she gets that and gives it to Solane, our legal helper in the government office, we will have everything (and it’s A LOT) done for our permanent residency, which will be complete in about a month.  Praise God!  Ryan’s hunter/tracker skills sure do come in handy here.  Even our professional Haitian drivers get lost in Port in certain areas (it’s total chaos there), and somehow, Ryan drives around, even to difficult areas like where this office is, and he drives back out of the city or to other hardware stores, no problem.  It’s pretty amazing.
Dee noted that she is in awe of how God protected the team this week from any injuries, in spite of the conditions the team was working in.  It was a miracle in itself.
I was just thinking about how the last 2 times I’ve been here, there haven’t been mosquitoes, so this time I got lazy and didn’t take my anti-malaria meds or put on bug spray, and I bet others did the same.  Maybe it’s because of the rain or the season or something, but I am covered in bug bites this time, so please pray that none of us get malaria.
This afternoon, the majority of us went to Wahoo Bay to enjoy the Caribbean Sea.  Some went snorkeling, some went swimming in the ocean and the pool, some took naps on the beach, sat around the pool watching the sunset, played ping pong and more.  A young Haitian boy dove out in the water and caught a huge crab and smoked it for us and then seasoned it was spicy Haitian sauce.  We had a large seafood and steak dinner in the restaurant there.  It was a lovely way to end a week of hard work, with a little R&R in a beautiful place in this country. There were 6 men that refused to come though.  Ryan, Steve, Brett, Greg, Joe and Larry (the Corona guys!) all stayed back and worked until after dark, even a little in the rain, and we just brought them dinner back to the mission.  Bless their hearts!
Steve led the devotional this morning and gave a very personal testimony of God giving and God taking away and how God has totally put things in perspective on this trip – it was very touching.  Then tonight, Corey volunteered to lead the devotional, his first time doing something like that.  He thanked everyone for teaching him on this trip about how to have a closer walk with God and said he too, has a whole new perspective.  He taught out of the first few verses of James 4, about coveting, and then closed with the verse in Matthew about seeking first the kingdom of God and then everything else will fall into place.  It’s awesome to see people growing in their walks here, and I would ask for prayer that this fire that has been ignited within all of us would not simply be forgotten when we go back to our busy lives at home, but that it would blaze on and that we would truly go home changed.  We laid hands on Pastor Tommie tonight and prayed for God to fill him with the Spirit and prepare him for preaching at the revival this weekend, and we ask you to continue praying for him as well.
Tomorrow most of us leave to go home to California, some getting a tour of Port-au-Prince on the way to the airport.  Tommie, Nichole, Kathy, Gary, Ernie, Bob, Linda and Jeremiah will catch a fly-boat to La Gonave Island and spend 2 nights there helping with the revival and anything else Pastor Benis needs, like helping with his construction projects. 
Thank you for covering this team in prayer – God has been exceedingly faithful!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 2012 Haiti Team Update #5

Monday, March 21, 2012

Today was a very productive day – praise God! 

Osmy took Tommie, Nichole, Brittany, Victoria, Delores, Kathy and Ernie to an orphanage and school in Williamson.  Getting there was quite an adventure as they literally drove through a market, on a very narrow road and had vendors yelling at their bus.  They were afraid that they were going to get onions and tomatoes thrown at them.  At the orphanage they ministered to the kids, did crafts with them, and Tommie got to know the Pastor, who is a wonderful man of God.
For those of you who remember Pastor Louissainte, the pastor down the road with the small poor orphanage who we have begun 2 buildings for, God brought something disturbing to light…he is incorporating some very ungodly, cultural, Voo-doo practices in his church.  Pastor Bob had to tell him today that while we will not end our relationship with him, we cannot support what he is doing because we don’t agree with that stuff.  That was a difficult decision because of the children.  However, Bob invited him to join the group going over to La Gonave Island to the revival.  The revival has already been going on this week and hundreds of people have been coming to the altar in repentance and revival, and there have already been a couple of demon-possessed people delivered there.  Louissainte will be staying with our team, so this should be…interesting…pray, pray, pray for God to do a mighty work in him and break him free from the bondage of these demonic activities and make him a true Pastor of the Gospel of Jesus, especially for the sake of the children…and all the oddly pregnant women in his church.
Gray Squirrel (Doug) rented a motorcycle for $6 and went a little crazy driving and got side-ways (those that know him aren’t surprised).  Corey rode it too – but don’t get any ideas people – I told them not to do that again!
A guy wanted to sell Ryan some land that he said was 20 acres so he and Bald Eagle Scout Corey went to survey it with Corey’s GPS.  It ended up being more like 125 acres with hills, cliffs, thorn bushes, they were holding on to trees to not fall of cliffs.  They came back all scratched up and said the man who owns it and was walking them through it in flip-flops with no shirt.  They said it is an amazing piece of property, with some of the best views in Haiti – it goes all the way to the dam above La Digue.  We are all going to be in prayer about it and just see what God wants to do in the future.  I don’t see why we would need it, but Ryan says you never know, so just keep it in prayer.
Corey filmed an exceptionally small, 80 year-old man with no teeth, pudgy cheeks and skinny legs, who helps at the site, while he was standing on the tail-gate dancing in a straw hat and singing, “I no work today, but maybe tomorrow…”  (Bob’s little jingle lives on…)  Apparently Ryan was teaching him the cabbage patch dance moves and the song…wow, can’t believe I missed that.
Kathy, Gary, Bob, Linda, Bill and Dee got all of the metal frame walls up for the main orphanage building – praise the Lord!  Brett, Greg, Steve, Larry got the walls up on the guest house common area.  In addition to their expeditions, Corey and Doug put the roofs on all 7 little buildings.  Larry & Joe finished the electrical wiring in all 7 small buildings.  Joe also brought his ipod and a big speaker down to the site and blasted worship music, so that really kept people’s spirits up, including the Haitian workers, when everyone was getting tired and slowing down.
Bill & Dee rode back from the job site on a motorcycle tap-tap with Dee sandwiched in between the driver and Bill – so that was pretty exciting for them.
I saw a dead body on my way to Port-au-Prince today.  It was sad.  We were driving down the highway and came up to a bus stopped in the road, with a motorcycle squished about 3 feet under the back, and the body laying there, partially covered with a sheet.  It was eerie, and there were no cones, flares, police, ambulance, nothing – just a few people off on the side of the road just standing there.  Quite solemn.
Candice and I did get a lot accomplished going to the city today with Dav our translator and Jacques our driver.  Ryan and I had to get our passport style pictures for our residency taken in Cabaret and they dressed us up in suit jackets, a tie, a scarf, fixed our hair and wouldn’t let us smile, lol.  We got some work done with the government lady, Solane, who wants us to partner with her on a nursing home ministry (something to pray about), we got banking done, shopped for paint for the orphanage (that is very limited…I’m looking for this one place I know that sells Sherwin Williams, so we’ll see).  Then we went on a little adventure, searching for an artist’s house in Petionville (the one wealthy area in Haiti), I had read about in a magazine.  We finally found it and it was amazing.  When we went through the gate it was like an oasis in a crazy city.  This man is amazing.   He is a visionary who is Haitian but was raised in Mexico City.  He asked if I spoke Spanish so I said, “Poquito, donde esta el bano?”  He laughed and said I had a strategic response and invited us into his beautiful home, that was covered in artwork, to use what was the nicest bathroom I have found in Haiti.  For those of you who have been in Port, you know it is not easy to find a decent bathroom, so yes, I was strategic.  He does not like how his country is so dependent on handouts from others and believes they have the people and the products to use and should be more self-sufficient.  He goes around collecting trash such as bottles and tires and makes beautiful things out of them.  He cuts the tires and paints them bright colors, turning them into birds and fish, etc. that are planters hanging from trees, chairs, swings, etc.  He uses tires to build buildings with cement around them and puts glass bottles inside that cast beautiful light through them.  What I am really excited about is that he has lots of ideas to use all of this to build a recycled, one-of-a-kind, Haitian made, bright, beautiful and fun playground for our children at the orphanage!  He is going to start emailing me ideas and we will negotiate prices and start working towards this, if anyone has it on their heart to help support this project, let me know J.  I love that we will be partnering with a Haitian on a project like this, rather than depending on it to be American made.  They need people to believe in them and work with them for their country to blossom, grow and get cleaned up.  Candice and I are really excited about this.
Well, tomorrow is the last day for most of us here, and I have to leave for Port at 6:30 am, so I will say goodnight.  Thank you for the prayers – please continue them, they are invaluable.  God is doing great things both in and through this team, and we are eternally grateful to Him for allowing us to be His vessels.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 2012 Haiti Team Update #4

Monday, March 20, 2012

It was homemade banana pancakes from Chef Ernie this morning and then I led the devotional and we had a time of worship.  After that, we all went our separate ways.
Ryan took the building team to the site and got them started and then headed to Port to get supplies from a bunch of different places, again.  I went to Port, in a different vehicle, for meetings.  We ended up at the airport because Lifeline had an unexpected delivery of rice flown in by the Airforce and we had to be there until Osmy got there to receive it.  I got to help a team of Haitian men load 50 lb. bags of rice into the box truck so that was fun.  It was good to experience where and how that all happens, even though it through off my plans for going to the paint store to get paint samples for the orphanage walls – priorities, ya know?  J
Candice and Osmy led a team including Pastor Tommie, Joe, Victoria, Brittany, Nichole, Delores and Kathy up to a poor little school in the mountains.  It was an adventure just getting there.  They rode in the L200, a truck with a cage around the back, that they stood in, holding onto the bars, giving Pastor Tommie flashbacks from his life before Christ days, lol.  They were on a treacherous, narrow, rocky, road, with cliff on one side that, according to P-Tom, went up so high they were in the mountains, passing people with donkeys the whole way.  He clarified that although he wasn’t scared, the trip was scary.  They all said they had the most amazing time at the school.  Kathy, the teacher in the bunch, who brought all kinds of wonderful school supplies, including 60 individual chalk boards with dry erase on the other side, chalk and 200 crafts, led the group in the projects and had great assistants.  She was blown away by how many kids were stuffed into the classrooms, many children having walked up to 5 hours just to get there, and they were all so well behaved.  The team was greeted with enthusiastic songs about Jesus and they did crafts with the children.  The teachers left their classrooms to come see what Kathy had brought for them to help teach and they were extremely grateful. 
After that, they went back down the mountain and Candice gave them a tour of the Barbancourt village, surrounding our orphanage. 
Tommie went on a little walk up the mountain with Bob and Linda and a guy shimmied up a coconut tree and cut it open for them with his machete to eat and drink the milk.  So he was late on the village tour and our Haitian friend Kenol took him on a private one.  They went to the Voo-doo church and the priest was there.  Tommie talked to him, asked him numerous questions, and got a tour of all the various rooms where he saw the skulls, spirit murals, etc.  The priest told him all about how people pay him to “appease the spirits” through various rituals in order to help them with their problems, and also how he puts curses on people.
Everyone is amazed at how much has been accomplished on the building site in just a couple of days and how God divinely brought together this team of people with various skills, many who didn’t know each other before.  Tonight Doug Westmoreland led a wonderful devotional about the extreme measures Christ took to go out of His way to save a homeless, scary, lunatic (Mark 5), all out of love.  After that, we all told a little about ourselves and how we got here and pretty much everyone said that Haiti has stolen their hearts and they can’t wait to come back.
2 Haitian girls came up and gave Nichole and Victoria manicures and pedicures and put braids in Nichole’s hair.  They charge $10 and this is their livelihood so it’s fun for us and a blessing to them.
This coming weekend, half of the team will go home and half will stay and go to La Gonave Island for the revival.  Please begin bathing the revival in prayer.  We want to pray that the Holy Spirit would draw hundreds, if not thousands, to a place of repentance and revival and that the entire island would come alive and be on fire for Christ.  We know the enemy will not want this to happen, so please pray against anything he might be scheming and for the Spirit to pave the way for a mighty move of God.
Everyone down here wants me to pass along their apologies to their families at home for not being in contact more often.  The internet has been very spotty on this trip.  Also, I know these emails are long, but know that there is SOOO much more going on down here; I’m just trying to hit some basic highlights.
Blessings in Christ,

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 2012 Haiti Team Update #3

Monday, March 19, 2012

Today we got up and Ryan did a devotional on the great missionary, the Apostle Paul.  Then we had breakfast burritos made by Chef Ernie, complete with homemade beans, rice and eggs, and also homemade enchiladas.  He is spoiling us – we are eating better in Haiti than we do at home! 
The team went to Barbancourt to work on building.  Brittany isn’t feeling well so she stayed back, it’s nothing serious, but pray for her. 
Several people including (I think) Bill, Dee, Tommie, Kathy, Linda, Victoria and Nichole got to serve the children lunch at the canteen, Lifeline’s feeding center, next door to our orphanage.  Then they sat and ate with the people.  They really enjoyed that.
I had the opportunity to sit in on a Lifeline staff meeting.  I met the principle of the Lifeline school in Barbancourt, right next door to our orphanage.  I got information I needed for our orphanage license application because we have to be connected to a school, and he is going to partner with us on the small pre-school we will have at our orphanage – helping us find teachers, curriculum, etc.  He also asked if he could send some students there who aren’t in the orphanage and if we could take children into our orphanage that he knows of.  I told him that it is up to my committee and the social services department here, but he is excited about the partnership so that is a blessing.
Later, Osmy and Candice took me to what looked like a capitol building in Arcahaie to meet with the mayor.  He wasn’t there so we met wit his director.  In order to get licensed we must have a bank account and in order to open a bank account for the orphanage, we must have an official document from the Mayor authorizing us as an organization.  All he cared about was how much we were going to pay him so Osmy negotiated and got the price down by 50% to $187.
Next we went to the little Cuban hospital in Arcahaie so that Ryan, Jeremiah and I could get physicals and official certificates of health so that we can get our permanent residency.  Ryan needs that to own land and I need it to do official work for the orphanage.  We had to get blood drawn – that was an experience!  Ryan and I were big babies about it but they actually did a very good job.
After that I went back to the orphanage site and Ryan when to Port to get more supplies.  I got to work with Greg and Brett from Corona on designing our kitchen for the team hospitality house.  Greg is a contractor and both of them were very helpful.  That was kind of fun!  Pastor Tommie was assigned to removing all the doors from the buildings – they are pretty flimsy and aren’t holding up well so we are going to replace them.  Kathy, Gary, Bob and Linda have been very frustrated with figuring out how to put the orphanage together, since all the pieces are numbered but we don’t yet have the correct directions for where they go.  They had Pastor Tommie come over and lead them in prayer over the project at one point.  Then when I got there Linda asked me if I would lead them in singing Revelation Song (I just happened to have my laptop with the music on it to play).  It was actually quite special to be able to stand in the center of our property, at our main orphanage foundation, and sing praises to God with all the workers around doing their various jobs.
Bald Eagle, Gray Squirrel and P-Tom all returned early from the worksite this evening.  I asked how they got back walking the back way without a guide to which Gray Squirrel replied, that Corey used his Eagle Scout skills.  I am SO impressed!  That is not easy, believe me.  You have to go over hills, around fields, cross a river, etc., etc. – there is no way I could do that without a guide.
Victoria and Nichole were at the job site today and went looking for the latrine (outdoor bathroom at the school next door) and got lost.  They ended up in someone’s backyard, completely confused, thinking the doghouse was the school latrine, lol.  They were looking all around and the people who lived there started laughing and invited them inside their little house to use their toilet.  Don’t tell Ryan that or he will handcuff them to their beds and banish them to staying at the mission for wandering off by themselves! 
It was Joe’s birthday tonight so Ernie made him a cake and cupcakes and we sang to him.  It was also Doug’s wife’s birthday at home so we sang to her over the phone.  Joe is a software engineer (or something), so he brilliantly got my computer to print the orphanage plans we were waiting for from New Zealand on the office printer here that hadn’t been working – yay!
A lot more than this got done today, but I think that’s long enough for now.  J  Please continue to lift us up in prayer as there is a lot of spiritual warfare.  The enemy is not happy about all the progress we are making!
In Christ,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 2012 Haiti Team Update #2

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Well, I had told the team that it never gets cold in Haiti, but I actually got cold while I was sleeping last night!  We woke up this morning and were treated to Sunday breakfast (huevos rancheros) that was actually served to us at the table by Chef Ernie. 
Then we went to church at the Haitian Lifeline church right next door to the house we are staying in.  They have a worship team with all the instruments and a singer that sings REALLY loud.  Some of the songs we could pick out the melody and recognize the English version.  It was neat to actually have an idea of what they were singing.  One song was All in All…”You are my strength when I am weak, You are the treasure that I seek, You are my all in all…Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your Name…”  Our good friend Celissa translated the message for us, which was out of Ephesians 6 and the importance of putting on the full armor of God in order to fight the devil’s schemes. 
After church we went on a tour of the Lifeline facility and then the village and up to the dam.  Village kids followed us around, climbing all over us the whole way.  For those of you who might remember the picture of me with the adorable tiny baby from a few months ago (it was my Facebook profile pic for a while), her mother, Milan, grabbed me when I was out in the village and took me into her house to see her mother, Monique.  When I went in there instead of staying with the rest of the group on the tour, I noticed I was being followed…Ryan had sent Corey to be my bodyguard.  Those guys are a bunch of worrywarts down here, ha ha.  Monique was in bed, in severe pain and couldn’t walk.  So I went back to Lifeline (with Corey in tow) to get Janet, the nurse from Kentucky, and Celissa to interpret.  It was determined that Monique has bad back problems due to her hard life of lifting large buckets of water in and out of the canal every day, which is her job.  So all they could do was give her pain medicine and a cane.
After lunch the majority of the team went to Barbancourt, to the orphanage property, and began work.  This group has a lot of various skills, from framing to electrical, so it is a blessing.  They already got a lot done in just one day.  They are beginning to sort out the pieces of the main large orphanage house that arrived in the container the last day of our last team’s trip, but we have a problem.  Everything is numbered and is supposed to be assembled a particular way, but the plans we have don’t go into that detail.  Please pray that we will be able to get the correct building plans from the company in New Zealand that we ordered the buildings from 2 years ago.
I stayed back at the mission and worked with Celissa on understanding the laws applying to the orphanage and filling out our licensing application.  Pastor Tommie (P-Tom) stayed back to prepare his messages for the revival he will be preaching at this coming weekend on La Gonave Island. 
Ernie stayed back and started his very own missionary culinary school.  He taught Candice and Michelle how to make homemade refried beans.  Then he taught Brittany and Victoria how to make homemade cinnamon rolls.  Victoria really got into it and even looked up a recipe for cream cheese icing.  So we had quite a dessert treat after dinner tonight!
Apparently, Doug Westmoreland, aka “Gray Squirrel,” has a tradition of christening every place he travels to with some trick entailing putting steel wool balls on the end of a wire and spinning it around fast so that it sparks and looks pretty cool.  So he and “Bald Eagle” Corey Clayton, Ryan and P-Tom went out on the soccer field tonight to have some fun.
P-Tom, for some reason, has also taken it upon himself to become my personal trainer, I’m not sure why…I think he is worried because I’m a wimp or something…so tonight he took me, a girl named Hannah from Kentucky and Celissa down on the soccer field with his laptop and we did the Insanity Fast and Furious workout video.  It had rained earlier in the evening so I thought I might get out of it, but it stopped, so I didn’t.  Thankfully, his battery went dead 5 minutes into the workout.  I thought I off the hook again, but then he just took over leading the class.  Three Haitian guys came to watch and laugh at us and Brittany and Victoria came to be our cheerleaders.  I survived, but I’m worried about what Trainer P-Tom has in store for tomorrow night.
Our internet has been giving us problems, so if you don’t hear from us, that is why.  Larry is our hero because he fixed the hot water heater last night.  J
We have so much to do on this trip that our heads are spinning, but it is nice to take a little time out here and there to experience the people in the village and also to fellowship with each other.  There’s truly no fellowship like mission team fellowship.  God has put together another GREAT team, we are blessed.
Thank you for continuing to lift us up in prayer.  You are just as much a part of our team by doing that.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

IV HOPE Team March 17

Saturday, March 17, 2012

We made it to Haiti, finally, praise the Lord!  It has been a loooong day.  It’s after midnight in Haiti (we are 3 hours ahead) and we have been traveling since yesterday at 1:00 pm.  We have a wonderful team of 20 people here: Bob & Linda Stovall arrived two days ago and have been on La Gonave Island with their son, Jeremiah, helping Pastor Benis with his buildings – they will meet up with us tomorrow morning.  Ryan Rothfleisch, Corey Clayton, Doug Westmoreland and his 17 year old daughter, Brittany, Nichole Grijalva, Ernie Manriquez, Pastor Tommy Rogers and myself all travelled together from El Centro yesterday.  Gary & Kathy Rinkenberger came for a second time from Atascadero.  Bill & Delores Van Leeuwan, Joseph Albrecght and his 17 year old daughter Victoria, Larry Horton, Greg Scott, Steve Koppes and Brett Gibson all travelled from Corona, CA.  Pastor Moore was supposed to come but his health has not been good and so he decided last minute not to go – please pray for him. 
Getting here was difficult.  I am expecting God to do great things with this team because there sure were a lot of obstacles that arose in getting here. I had a strange prompting to pray for Pastor Tommy since he was separated from us on a different flight and he told me that the reason he got delayed from Florida was because they wouldn’t let a certain lady board, who he called a “terrorist,” and they had to unload all the luggage just to get hers off.  We were very thankful that God intervened and did not allow this woman on the flight, so he finally arrived at about 10:30. Every flight was delayed quite a bit, but the worst was the Corona group.  My flight arrived at about 8:30 this morning and I was expecting theirs to arrive at 11:30, which changed to 1:55, then 4:30, then 6:20.  By the time we left the airport it was dark in the city so they didn’t get to see much.  But we did kill some time for a while with the first half of the team and took them to lunch, to the collapsed palace, to the wood market to buy souvenirs, etc.  The rest of the time we waited and rested at the airport.  The Lord was good to us because the majority of the time in the afternoon it was cloudy with a breeze so people just took little naps on the bus while they waited.
Ryan went to the hardware store and bought supplies and our personal chef, Ernie, finally got to experience the grocery store.  (BTW, he already prepped everything for a Sunday morning feast of huevos rancheros – woo hoo!)  Ryan and Gary returned in our truck to Lifeline with all the supplies to get plans ready for the team while the rest of us stayed in Port-au-Prince all day.
This is the very first mission trip for the majority of this team.  They were quite surprised at the chaos and poverty of the city, they weren’t expecting it to be that bad.  But they are enjoying experiencing everything.  When we finally arrived at Lifeline there was a Haitian feast waiting for us – an eggplant, onion, cabbage concoction, Haitian rice with beans, spicy Haitian coleslaw (pickly), freshly baked bread and about 5 kinds of fruit.  Then we got Larry to fix the hot water heater (my new hero) and we all settled in for the night.  I am listening to the now-familiar night sounds of bleating goats, dogs barking and bugs chirping as I get ready to turn in for the night, the last one up as usual.  J
Please join us in thanking our mighty God for bringing this amazing, large team together and for getting us here safely.  Pray that we will all stay focused on Jesus and the reason we are here doing this, that we will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and that we will be lights in this community and a blessing to all, as we represent Christ.  Pray against what the enemy might want to do to deter us from our mission.

Thank you all.
Nikki Rothfleisch

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday 3/17

It's our last day in Haiti, our last day doing dental, our last day visiting schools, our last day with Lifeline....for now. This was an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING trip and I think all of us will be back if God provides the opportunity for us to do so! Lifeline is an AMAZING ministry with many different opportunities. We worked in dental, visited schools and taught them how to brush their teeth, wash their hands, and taught them about God's love using the story of Zacchaeus. Spring, our leader this week, wore so many different hats and literally ran everywhere she went. She was an incredible example of Godly leadership and she was tons of fun! We will miss her and her partners in crime, Janet and Jeremiah, they are all amazing people and we are glad we were able to meet them and spend time getting to now them this week.

Today the dental team finished up students and teachers, then opened up the clinic for walk-in patients. They saw 41 people today and this week they saw 458 people! They completed 458 exams, 201 fillings, 74 extractions, 41 composites, 23 cleanings, and 15 perscriptions. Praise the Lord! The dental team wore themselves out everyday this week and didn't complain even once, they even served with a smile on their face.

The other team walked right outside the compound to a school accross the street. We did 4 presentations for the different classes at the school and then we made our way to the feeding center at the Lifeline school to help the cooks serve the food. It's amazing how God brings you a blessing when you serve His people. I think we can all agree that serving God and His people is the best blessing we can recieve.

This afternoon we headed to the beach! The beach we went to was at a resort in Barbancourt. It was beautiful! It was strange to think that a couple miles away from this resort is poverty. We were able to swim in the ocean and many of us went snorkeling. That was quite the adventure! We were able to swim in the pool also. After we swam under the Haitian sun and had so much fun, we wer able to eat dinner at the resort and order yummy Haitian food. It was a great experience and I'm glad we got to see that part of Haiti, but I think I prefer to be in the village with the beautiful smiling children.

Our day closed with a beautiful sunset and fellowship with our team-members. I will always feel close to these people because we have served God together.

1. that we are able to make it to the airport safely tomorrow and on time
2. we are able to get out of customs and securtiy quickly
3. that our plane ride is smooth and that we can get through the Miami airport safely and quickly
4. that we are able to have a safe drive home to Port Charlottte

See you all on Sunday! Thank you for your love and prayers and God Bless!

Blog written by: Tricia Gadomski
Pictures by: Katrina Graham; Tricia Gadomski

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday 3/15

Today was a great day! I can't believe that tomorrow is our last full day in Haiti. I wish we could stay here longer, I feel like our journey here is just beginning.

The dental team saw over 100 people in the clinic today. They finished up the school students in Barbancourt and are working so hard to serve the people.

The other team went to two different schools in the morning and saw over 200 children. We did our presentations and our Bible skit. When we were finished at the second school there were two men who were filled with questions about Christ and what it means to be in the family of God. It was inspiring to see their hunger for the things of God.

In the afternoon we went back out to an orphanage. The orphanage was very poor and Lifeline is only able to provide dry food for the kids there. We were able to bring them toothbrushes, toys, and dresses. We got to play with the kids for a while and they were so sweet. They loved us playing with them and holding them. Some of the kids were very skinny and malnourished. The church just got a new roof and got their walls fixed. The girls dorm is made from plastic and is very, very hot inside. There were only two beds and we were told that most of them sleep on the floor. This trip to the orphanage was very special for Joshua Schaefer. He and his wife, Mimi, are currently in the process of adopting two children from Ethiopia. Today they found out that God has provided the money, through grants, to bring one child home. They are still trusting God to provide the rest of the money and they know it will come. Today we rejoice with them as they anticipate the arrival of their precious children!

We have started watching the students play soccer in the evenings, it is fun to go out and cheer for them and talk with the other spectators.

Tonight we are having a real Haitian meal, I'm not sure what is being cooked, but it sure smells good!

Continue to pray for us as we minister to more schools tomorrow and share God's Word. Pray that when all is said and done we can feel confident we gave all we had to these people. A local orphanage director we spoke to yesteday thanked us for bringing God's Word to the orphanage and told us that helping each other is what it is all about. It is always about helping your neighbor in need and showing God's love always. j

Blog written by: Tricia Gadomski
Pictures by: Tricia Gadomski

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday, 3/14

Today a team went to two orphanages/schools and it was heartbreaking to see and experience. We were able to do our presentations and skits and afterwards at the first school we were able to hold and play with the orphans. We all wanted to take them home with us and they wanted us to take them home too. It was hard to leave, but we know that we can't take them back with us. The second school/orphanage was very poor and had around 30 children. The school had worn down concrete around parts of the building and tarps covered the ceiling and the walls. When we entered we were told not to touch the walls because they would fall down. The whole school was in this room and all of the children at one time. There was a girl laying down out back who had failing kidneys. She was skinny, sick, and had sores on her back. Spring (our leader) said that she looked much better than she did last time they visited. We prayed healing over her body. It was sad to see her secluded and sick behind the building, but that's all they can do.

The dental team saw over 50 people today and will continue to work throughout the week. They finished working on the students from the Lifeline school and have started working on students from other schools in the area. Dental care is needed over here, so the dental team is making a huge difference!

Josh Schaefer worked in construction today with Jeremiah (a construction guy who works for a separate missions organization, but is friends with Lifeline). They did work on dorms for another orphanage and got the drywall up.

In the afternoon we took a trip to the local market. We couldn't take many pictures, but our translator was able to get some. It was different, there was raw meat, fruits, and vegetables sitting out with flies and people cooking on the side of the street (their version of fast food). One vender was selling mud cookies. They are cookies made from mud and water and sold at the market. We were told that the pregnant women eat them because they believe it holds extra nutrients.At the end of the market we went up a hill and around the corner were tons of bags filled with charcoal. The ground was colored black and women were sitting in soot, picking out the large pieces of coal. To make charcoal they burn down their trees and cut them up because they use charcoal to cook and heat things and charcoal gets 3 burns out of it while burning trees only has 1 burn. It was sad to see and imagine that this is what these people do all day. The charcoal field was right on the water. The shore was filled with trash, but the water was gorgeous and sailboats filled the water. Our translator was able to get a picture of the team in front of the water.

When we returned from the market everyone went back to work. A team went to the warehouse and finished cleaning and organizing, which was a huge task. Jon and Tricia went back to teach another English class, Josh was still out working on the house, and the dental team had the afternoon off and were able to rest after 10 days of hard, hard work.

Our time here is very busy, but we are blessing the people and being God's hands and feet. We talked about 1 Corinthians 13 in devotions today and we are striving to be intentional about our love for each other, Lifeline, and the Haitian people.

Please pray for us as our week comes quickly to a close and that no time would be wasted as we preach God's word and minister to the people.

Blog written by: Tricia Gadomski
Pictures by: Joan Potempa

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday, 3/13

Today is Tuesday and we are having a great time here. The dental team was able to work on 139 people today. The team works so hard and they put in long hours each day to ensure the people in this area are without pain and are able to eat normally. The kids have beautiful smiles and the dental team is making sure they stay that way.

The other team went out to work at two different schools in Barbancourt. We arrived at the first school of 350 students who shared a one-room schoolhouse. There were six chalkboards around the room and each class had benches facing their class' chalkboard. We did our health presentations and our Bible story on Zacchaeus. The students thanked us by singing for us. They were all Bible songs and the team knew some of them. It was wonderful to worship with the Haitian children. The next school we went to was made from weaved palm branches and they assembled together in the church sanctuary. They welcomed us by singing worship songs too. It was a joy and we joined along with clapping and singing in English if we knew the songs. Because the scools combined the classes for our presentation, we had time to spare so we decided to go to one last school.

The last school we went to had only 40 students, but it was the most wonderful trip we have had so far this week. After the story about Zacchaeus, Bethany asked if the students had any questions, like she has done at every school. Two students stood and gave a testimony on how the earthquake came through and killed so many, but they survived; and how the cholera epidemic has come and they have survived that too. Another boy stood up and told us that he doesn't want to be like Zacchaeus and do bad things, but wants to follow Jesus. He told us that he wanted to pray to recieve Christ into his heart. Smiles were plastered on the teams faces and tears came to my eyes. We explained salvation again to the students and told them it was a one time decision and it wasn't the words you say, but your heart. We then asked those who would like to invite Jesus into their hearts to come forward. They got down on their knees and repeated a prayer to the Lord. It was a touching moment and during our time there we just helped Baptist Emmanuel School to fullfil their mission, to reach the children in Haiti for Christ. We ended our time there by singing praises to the Lord together.

In the afternoon people switched out in the dental clinic, some cleaned out the warehouse, and some taught in the classrooms at the Lifeline school. It was a great afternoon.

We have Haitian women from the church cooking dinner for us this week and they make amazing food! Tonight we had goulosh and had fresh cut pinneaple, mangos, watermelon, and many other fruits. It was AMAZING! Toward the end of dinner, Katrina asked me (Tricia) if I wanted to walk up to the cross with her to take pictures of the sunset. Katrina, Jon and I walked up there and although you can't be here to witness the amazing scenery and sunset, but we would like to share a little piece of it.

Tomorrow the dental team continues to work and a team is headed out to an orphanage. Pray that God works in the hearts of the children as He did today around 11:00 and that we would be effective in speaking the Gospel.

Blog written by: Tricia Gadomski
Pictures by: Tricia Gadomski

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday 3/12

Today was our first day at work in Haiti. We started our morning with prayer, devotions, and reflections at the prayer rock on the mountain and watched the sun rise on the mountains and on the ocean. It was a beautiful sight and no pictures could do it justice.

Our team split up for the morning and some of the team worked with the Potempas in the dental clinic and the everyone else walked a couple beautiful miles through tropical brush and streams to the next town over to minister in a school/orphanage. We saw 350 students and taught them how to wash their hands properly, brush their teeth properly (we even gave them toothbrushes and toothpaste), and we did a skit about Zacchaeus and transitioned that story into the Gospel message. After that we took a short break for lunch then headed to the cafeteria to serve food to the chidren. After all 350 students ate, the village children were let in to eat too. The children loved us and enjoyed us being at their school and teaching them about health.

In the afternoon, once the team came back from the school/orphanage they went straight to the dental clinic to switch places with those who had been there all morning. The dental team served over 100 students from the Lifeline school today. The people who left the dental clinic and those who could not help there went to the storage room and helped sort boxes. After that we all went to the warehouse and continued to clear it out for all the supplies. The storage room is taking up classroom space so clearing out the warehouse is important.

We are really enjoying our time here and growing closer together as a team, as a community here in Haiti, and sharing the Gospel with hundreds of people daily!  We feel like a huge family already! We have a busy week ahead of us, pray as Jon and Tricia teach an English class tomorrow, teams are going to two different schools, and the dental team continues to work here in the village.

Blog by: Tricia Gadomski
Pictures by: Tricia Gadomski

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday 3/11

This morning we awakened to the worship of God's people filling the air. Sunday school starts at 6:30a.m. at the campus church and they play live worship music through speakers that fill the village with the Gospel. We arrived at the church at 8:00 for the service and although we did not understand the service or the songs, we were filled with joy to see the Haitian people worshiping God and learning from John 10:1-19, where the sermon was preached from. Katrina Graham sang a solo in church. She sang "Redeemer" by Nicole C. Mullen. She did great and the church loved it!

After the church service we headed out on a tour of Port Au Prince. We went to the Palace, where the President used to live. The Palace was destroyed in the earthquake and hasn't been touched since. It is really sad. We were able to see the markets and buy some souveniers. Next we headed back to the airport to see if our 18 totes of supplies had come in and THEY HAD! God provided! All 18 arrived and none had been touched. Three of them had to be searched in Haiti, but none of the supplies were taken, praise the Lord! God answered our prayers! On our way back to Children's Lifeline we stopped at the mass grave site for the 220,000 + people who had lost their lives in the earthquake. It was very touching to see the memorial and hear of all the lives that were lost. Our dental team served 18 staff members today doing around 30 fillings and 7 extractions.
We winded down our night by talking and planning for tomorrow. We prayed for rain in our devotion time and within 30 minutes after our prayer, rain came and continues to come. God is SO good!We are having a great time fellowshiping and serving the Lord here in Haiti. Tomorrow we will be going to a school/orphanage to do skits and serve the children. Pray their hearts are open to the Word of God and we are able to be a witness for Him!

Blog Written By: Patricia Gadomski
Photo Credit: Patricia Gadomski

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday 03/10

Today we set out from Miami, FL and headed to Port Au Prince, Haiti. We had heard stories, but had no idea what we would be experiencing. Our journey started on the plane into Haiti. On the plane ride into Haiti I was looking out the window, I was looking for the line of deforestation. I didn't see it, but I did see huge houses on the coast with personal piers and boats and a couple miles west the huge houses had turned into a city of tents, red ones, blue ones, white ones. When we arrived in Haiti, we walked off the plane and onto the runway. (This was a first for me) We took a bus to the airport and when we arrived we were greeted with a Haitian band! The airport (immigration, baggage claim, and all) are in one small non-air conditioned room...imagine that. We then found out that all 18 tote boxes of supplies were never put on the airplane in Miami, so we have to go back to the airport tomorrow to pick them up, Lord willing.

We took a very bumpy bus ride to Mission Lifeline and were greeted with love by some of the children who graciously carried our bags in and by some of the staff here. Spring is our missionary leader for the week and she is WONDERFUL! We got to unpack and eat a sandwich lunch. Spring debriefed us and gave us a schedule for the week. Then, Spring took us on an amazing tour of Mission Lifeline's campus and into the surrounding village. We took a walk up to Prayer Rock, where we will be having morning devotions and prayer time. A little bit farther up the mountain we came to a cross. Mission Lifeline has a huge concrete cross that is painted in glow-in-the-dark paint. It was put up before the earthquake and were able to help with humanitarian aid because the helicopters could only find the Mission Lifeline campus by the cross. The cross is at a peak and the view is BREATHTAKING! I could sit up there and worship God all day!

Mission Lifeline has a clinic, schoolwith 350 students that goes up to 10th grade (they add a grade every year), church, and they minister to schools and orphanages all over the country feeding 8,300 children every day. They are starting a concrete block trade school for the men to learn how to make concrete blocks to sell and do construction on the Mission Lifeline property. They are also starting a welding trade school, a sewing trade school, a nursing trade school, and they do teacher training and enrichment for their school staff. The children are sponsered to go to the school and people can send money to sponser the building of houses for people. Mission Lifeline is run completely on donations and they minister to SO many people! God is definitely using this ministry to do AMAZING things in Haiti and in this village.

Spring took us into the village and we got to see the "houses" these Haitian people lived in. They were mostly simple concrete, one room houses where a family would live, no matter how big or small the family is. Some houses had palm branch weaved walls and roofs. The children in the village LOVE us. They wouldn't let go of our hands and followed us everywhere. They wanted us to take their picture and wanted to use our camera to take our pictures. They loved to play with us and hug on us. They are precious children! All the people we met were so happy and kind and let us into their homes.

We had to say goodbye to the kids for today, but we will probably see them again tomorrow. A couple of us challenged some of the older boys to a game of dominos, they won. We were fed a wonderful Haitian/American dinner of grilled, marinated chicken, black beans and rice, corn, green beans, Haitian bread, peaches, and salad. It was great food!

Because most of us got up before the sun this morning, we are all exhausted beyond believe and will sleep well tonight, permitting the roosters don't crow until sun up. We can only hope...

Enjoy some pictures from our first day in Haiti and continue to pray for us this week as we strive to stay healthy and minister to these people by serving them and bringing them God's Word.

Thank you and God bless!

Blog Written By: Patricia Gadomski
Photo Credit: Katrina Graham