Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Envious culture

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

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

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

Monday, August 13, 2012

A LIfe Changing Experience

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

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

Thursday, August 9, 2012

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

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Few Thoughts On Saturday

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

Thursday, August 2, 2012

2 August 2012

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

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wed. Aug. 1st, 2012

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

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

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

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

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