Saturday, November 2, 2013

Update from the Mission

Genesis 9
12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

We have arrived here at the mission and settling in quite nicely. It took us some time to arrive between the traffic and a couple of accidents that had to be cleared out of way. But with the promise of God’s rainbow guiding our way I knew He was with us and right where we needed to be.
Helene, Samoan, and Madam Pastor, were here to welcome us and had prepared us dinner, mac and cheese, plantains and breadfruit. It was delicious!    
Our second day was mostly spent trouble shooting things that were in need of repair and doing some unpacking. It was nice to wake up with the children arriving for school. Some playing on the playground, others singing and laughing with the chickens, goats, and geckos chiming in.
Today has been really quiet. It is a Haitian holiday here so the schools are out and all the workers or off. The people in the village started with singing and prayer at church early this morning then everyone loaded up on the bus and went to visit the shut-ins and the ones that were sick.
Looking forward to meeting our team that will be arriving here in just a few short weeks.
 Until then blessing to all, Teressa

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Powerful things Happening

Thanks again for a great week. We were all changed. I'm still praying for your family's future. I know God will use you well. 
For all 21 of us, it was our first time to Haiti. For some, it was the first time out of the United States. Others had been on a variety of international trips and experienced various cultures. Our training attempted to prepare us for what we were to experience. But learning about poverty through text and video is no substitute for experiencing it.
We came to Haiti to minister to orphans. We planned on teaching them about the armor of God - especially the helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit. We brought jump ropes, soccer balls, coloring pages and other toys and games. We also brought water-purifying units to give to those without clean water. We got to do so much more.
I could tell right away that this trip would be much more than what we planned. We got a tour of La Digue right away, experiencing the everyday lives of the Haitian people. The children welcomed us with open arms, wanting to hold us and know our names. The plan was to ease into the culture and get acclimated to our task…then the trucks came. Four big trucks pulled into the Lifeline compound, loaded with unique care full of Kids Against Hunger meals, love bundles and other aide sent from the States. It was rigorous work helping the local staff unload the cargo. We were amazed to see the storehouse fill up.
On Monday we witnessed where all this food would go. At the feeding site we visited hundreds of hungry boys and girls who ate=[ what was probably their only meal since the feeding the Friday before. Dishes were washed as children finished then refilled and handed out to other hungry little ones. Our girls witnessed this daily as they painted the classrooms on that site.
The boys were given a different task. The playset on the Lifeline campus was deemed unsafe to play on. We were asked if we might be able to reinforce it so it could be used again. After looking it over and discussing it a few times, we decided it was not practical. Given the go ahead, we ordered some supplies. God in his wisdom provided just what we needed, even the things we didn’t request. It seemed like we had just enough time and supplies to put together a playset worthy of replacing the old one.
A couple of our women also experienced the medical clinic and widow ministry – both very valuable and powerful ministries. We take simple cuts/lesions for granted in the United States. In Haiti, they can be life-threatening - if for no other reason than the difficulty of keeping them clean. 
It was awesome to see God work through our team. High Schoolers stepped up to present the gospel using evangicubes, Jesus bracelets and large-group talks. Each one was unique as they allowed God to speak through their own personality and experiences.
The pastors we partnered with were elated to have a device to purify water for their children. They shared with us their remaining major needs: having food to give their children and money to pay the teachers. Education is valuable in Haiti. Those who can afford it get to learn. The rest survive other ways.
Of course, we got to experience much of the culture: dangerous bus rides, mountain hikes, market, bartering, tarantulas, rats, lizards and other creepers, delicious food, beach time, grilled goat and warm friendships. We were encouraged by the Lifeline staff and other mission teams. God is doing some powerful things in the lives of the people here. 

Thanks again, 
Andrew Wiese

Friday, May 31, 2013

The night before we go home

We arrived in Haiti on Mother’s Day weekend.  Sunday during church they gave a gift to the oldest and youngest mother; very similar to that of American churches.  The rest of the week we worked on building a house for a family, we visited orphanages, fed kids who either don’t have parents, their parents don’t want them or in many cases the parents just can’t provide for them.

Today however was the best of times and the worst of times.  My two boys and I decided to pick a couple of kids from the village and bless them.  By that I mean we bath them, feed them and send them home with a gift bag or love bundle.  We picked Nixon and Jenlie.  Both are exceptional kids, but Jenlie broke my soul.  I took her into the shower and she loved it.  I’m not sure when her last bath was, but she didn’t want to come out of the shower.  Afterwards, she ate a peanut butter sandwich and a plate of rice.  Then she ate half of Nixon’s sandwich and 2 glasses of water.  Then we walked her home.  Kids teased her, because she was clean, had on new clothes and shoes and had a bag of what they assumed was food.  When she entered her home I heard a squeal from her aunt whom she lives with.  I entered behind an interpreter and told her, “we did this because we love her and God loves you both.” It’s not what she said, but how she said it. The best way to describe it is this; imagine if Ed McMann just gave you a check for a million dollars.  She cried, I cried, we all cried.

Flash forward 1 hour and our twins arrive with their mother.  We anticipated seeing our sponsored kids all week, but were told we probably wouldn’t.  Their father died in April and we couldn’t find them.  He was their mode of transportation to and from school.  He would bring them everyday on his motorcycle.  With the help of an interpreter she told me this.  She also said she was their only provider and didn’t know how she could keep them in school.  She has 4 boys to care for.  Fortunately the pastor of the kids’ school was at the mission and they talked about finding a school closer to where they lived or getting her to move back to where they were so the kids could start to walk to school.  I promised to continue to sponsor them if she could find a way to get them to school.  The twins played bouncy ball with my boys, then we gave them a ride home.  30 minutes and 10 miles later, she laid her hand on my shoulder and in her best English said, “thank you April.”  The look in her eyes broke my heart.  I cried.

I share all of this with you so I can say this:  18 years ago I gave birth to the first of two sons.  As a parent, I want what is best for my kids.  I can’t imagine the torment of not knowing how I was going to feed my kids or keep them in school.  It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s that they can’t.  We go home tomorrow.  We go home forever changed; forever grateful.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

To start off another hot but worthwhile day in Haiti. Ritchie delivered a moving devotional to give us all something to think about. After leaving the prayer rock, the men and women all split up for the morning.

While the men slaved away in the scorching heat building a home we were a little more lucky. We traveled to two different schools to update the sponsored children who greeted us with huge hugs and smiling faces. We were so preoccupied with taking photos and weighing and measuring the children that we didn't even notice the heat.

After returning back home, we were met by the guys whose morning had clearly been more tiresome than ours. We made treat bags to give to the kids at the orphanage that we were going to visit. We all loaded into the mission bus and started the journey to the Arcahaie market. Once we arrived we all walked in single file through the streets, admiring the goods that were being sold and making sure to dodge any vehicles that wouldn't move for us. As we walked past the fruits and meats, thousands of flies were there to greet us.

Once we were done exploring the market, we gathered on the bus to make our next trip to the orphanage. When we got off the bus we were greeted by little arms wanting only to be held and played with. I was fortunate enough to meet Nathalie, the little girl I now sponsor. After singing songs and coloring with her for quite some time, it was time to leave. These children now owned our hearts.

When we returned back to the mission almost everyone in the village was there gathered at the soccer field for the championship game. It was the freshman versus the juniors. Although it was a heated battle, the freshman overcame the upperclassmen and won. While the best soccer players in a 10 mile radius battled it out on the field, the children from the village swarmed us. With five kids attached to each one of us, we were all as happy as we could possibly be.

We finished up our night with another delicious meal and multiple games. We can all go to bed satisfied with how well our day was and remembering the faces of the beautiful Haitian children.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Keeps Getting Better!

Today is our fourth day in Haiti and it just keeps getting better. Our team consists of a mixture of Kentucky and Texas and I feel as though God placed us all together for a reason. We each have so many different talents/passions and it's amazing to watch God use our differences to serve this people. He has poured His blessings on us today.

The day started with a devotion at the prayer rock talking about consequences for our actions and how as christians we really need to be mindful of how we treat others and present ourselves.

The men worked on building a house for a Haitian family while the ladies got to witness the widow's mite ministry, which brought tears to my eyes because those women have been through so much yet they remain faithful to God and continue praising Him.

We helped feed six or seven hundred kids at the Barbancourt feeding station then we visited and distributed gifts to two orphanages.

The second orphanage really touched my heart. The orphans ran to welcome us and hugged our legs as we walked in, then they each found a lap to sit in or a hand to hold. As we distributed the gifts it brought tears to my eyes to see their reactions. They acted like you had just given them the world. As I watched them eat their skittles, hang tightly to their new clothes, and play with their new bouncy balls, it made me realize how blessed we are back home. These kids have NOTHING, not even parents, but they are so happy and joyous. We have most of everything but we have a tendency to be grumpy and take it all for granted. I know I certainly do. I complain when my food gets cold while some of them don't know where their next meal is coming from.

It's only be the Grace of God that we don't live in these same conditions. It could be us in a heartbeat, so I've learned to be thankful for all I have and to ALWAYS praise God for His goodness and grace.

Please pray for these precious orphans! Please pray for all of Haiti!

Thank you Lord for your goodness.

Ashli Sexton
Ison, KY

Monday, April 22, 2013

From Hostility to Hospitality

This is the last evening in Haiti for our team and although we have missed our families in the States, we are sadly leaving our new extended family in Haiti.  Many lessons have been learned by this group.  As the week has progressed this team has daily changed from reserved timidness when we first rode together from London KY to the Cincinatti International Airport,  to an amazing oneness.  We have moved from a state of "I'm not sure about you," to a state of "You are unique, and I accept you without judgement."  We have learned that partly from a very hospitable group of people.  At first, they too had some reservations about us, but tonight we can all say it has been good to be with each other and we are individually better because of the true spirit of biblical hospitality. 

Tonight we shared as a team, and with our amazing team coordinator Sol, and our lovely new Haitian friend Helen, three things - our highlight of the trip, our most emotional moment during the trip, and objective ideas on how we might be better as a team and as an organization, going from good to great.  Some team members shared about a particular child, a particular moment at an orphanage or school, feeding children,  a moment when a pregnant mother saw her baby sucking it's thumb on an ultrasound, or meeting a child that they have been sponsoring.  There were tears, much laughter, praise, and singing.  Tonight we are packing, leaving behind things that others might use like shoes, clothes, tools, etc., and taking with us small handmade items, banana baskets, and Haitian coffee. More than anything we will take imprinted images that will never be forgotten, and memories that will last a lifetime. 

As I end, a gentle rain is falling once again outside making for a wonderful way to fall asleep in our heavenly Father's arms.  A soft breeze is blowing and the sounds from the village are quickly fading as we listen to the lullaby our Great God is orchestrating.  Good night from Haiti.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Heaven Came Down And Glory Filled My Soul

Our team left early this morning to worship at the new church in Barbancourt. As singing began in the Creole language, neither of us could understand the words, however the tune was universal.  Suddenly, I joined in singing in English, others joined in, others hummed.  Truly Heaven did come down and glory tabernacled with us.  There was a reading from Psalm 115, followed by more familiar tunes, and then a sermon from 1 John 2:17, Imagine coming to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and hearing, "The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."  A message about the desire for material things, a message our entire team coming from the richest country in the Western Hemisphere needed to be reminded of. 

After church we were taken to Port Au Prince to view the museum that told the story of a once very rich country that now has very little materially to boast of.  But one thing the country is rich in is an amazing  people group.  Many of which  love God, many who need to know God, and how much he loves them.  Thinking back about home tonight, we are rich in our own people group.  Many of whom love God, and very many who need to know how much He loves them.  Can I just say tonight, at the end of broken dreams, people, all people need the Lord. 

We have one more day to work before we begin our journey back to the States on Tuesday.  We plan to deliver love bundles and 27 mattresses to an orphanage tomorrow.  Our guys will hang a ceiling fan in the waiting room of the clinic, while our nurses assist Dr. Carmel.  It will be another busy day of being the hands and feet of Jesus.  I encourage you, if you have not been to Haiti, to pray, to commit, to come be a part of a great LifeLine to some very amazing people. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Christ In You, The Hope of Glory

For many years now Col. 1:27 has been a life verse for me.  I have often said, "Christ in me is the only hope of God ever getting glory from my life."  Recapping the past four days has caused me to think daily about just how powerless we are to do anything.  We have no resources outside of what God gives us.  We have no provisions outside of what gives us.  We have nothing, are nothing, outside of God, the fountain of living water.  So my thinking is this as I sit here tonight....In reality we are all very much on level ground.  We all are dependent upon the God of all creation for food, shelter, and air to breathe.  Obviously life is not fair, but thankfully God is a just God, and that means everything to me, sitting amongst the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere. 

On day one, JoEllen the residential missionary challenged us to learn all we could from the Haitians.  I have learned much, and much has been confirmed about my faith.  I am grateful for a Pastor who just spent time teaching us that we should always take people back to the event:  Jesus died.  Jesus was buried.  Jesus rose again.  Jesus lives.  Jesus desires a relationship with me. I have loved sharing that story, the only story that really matters no matter what socio-economic level people find themselves.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Be a good steward of your talents

     This morning, we all arise and start our day bright and early on the rock with morning devotions. Today it was lead by Sol who is here from Lifeline, and as he shared his heart with the scripture on the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30), we set on our journeys today thinking in our minds about how we can invest our own "talents" in God's kingdom.  It is hard sometimes to try to comprehend, when you see all the poverty that surrounds you and all of the wealth in your own home, how can it be that some people are given conditions that seem so unfair. And while we cannot possibly answer that question, it was the heart of our devotion this morning on how it is that we can use all of the blessings and gifts that we are given in our own lives to grow the kingdom of God, so that we will get to heaven with many friends...Haitian friends at that!

      Our schedule today consisted of the medical team going back to the clinic to assist with OB patients, our men going to the church to make much needed improvements in the church at Lifeline installing ceiling fans and a group going out to the feeding center. We then spent the afternoon at another orphanage. The children we have found always greet us right off the truck with smiling faces and little hands that want to hold ours. We sang songs with them, played games, made crafts and just loved on them.  The children quickly steal your heart when you realize the only thing they want from you is to hug you and hold your hand.  We hope that back at home you are still joining us in prayers for these wonderful people.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Today started out with Debbie sharing a devotional with the team on the "rock".  This is always a moment for us to sit back and reflect on God before beginning our day.  Our team was split  into 3 groups, all working on different projects.  The medical team went back to the clinic and saw some adult patients.  Medical treatment is very different in Haiti than in the States.  Helping in the medical clinic is very rewarding and challenging all at the same time.  We are able to attend to the patient and spend time with them, but we have very little resources to help the sickest of the sick in Haiti. 

The men of the group are doing some electrical and welding projects at the church.  The guys are going to have to install electrical conduits before they will be able to install the fans for the church.  They plan on having the fans hung in the church by the end of the day tomorrow.  

A couple of the team members went on a prayer walk with the pastor and prayed for the people of the village that had many different needs.  The people of Haiti face many different challenges than we do in the States. It is so encouraging and on the other hand sad to me that the Haitians seem to truly have more faith than the average American.  People that have so little but still realize that what they do have comes from God and for that they praise him. 

The last stop of our day was visiting an orphanage.  This orphanage had around 25 small children.  The children are always so glad to see you.  We were able to love on them through songs, teaching them how to make flowers out of yarn and other craft activities.  These children are very happy and energetic even in their limited living conditions. 

So for this day and blog we ask all of you that are reading this to please take a look at your surroundings.  The Lord supplies all of our needs and most of the times even our wants.  Even though the Haitian people have little, they still worship in a way that most Americans do not.  We ask you to worship our God and trust in Him in the good times and the bad because we are truly blessed!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Allow the Haitian people to serve you

A group of ten members consisting of nurses, xray tech, respiratory tech, professional counselor, state employees, retired couple, and building inspector arrived at Children's Lifeline yesterday evening after a very long delay at the airport.  The team was ready to go early this morning and by 7:30 we were lead in an amazing devotion by JoEllen on of the resident missionaries.  JoEllen shared passionately about this people group she has served for over 26 years.  She encouraged us to slow down, pull away from our fast paced American lifestyle and spend time worshiping the God of all creation.  We were challenged as she describe just one day in the lives of the people who live in the village where we are.  She described the difference in their daily dependence on God simply to exist, and hopefully survive and have another day tomorrow in a place where the average life expectancy is 51.  Amazingly, she challenged us to allow the people of Haiti, the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere to teach us something about true worship.  She encouraged us to let go of our agendas and form relationships while we are here, relationships that change lives.  It has been a good day for us all. 

The medical clinic was swamped but no one was angry that they were having to wait in long lines.  Trips were made to pick up supplies, and the ones who went had to come back empty-handed only to have to turn around and make the same trip, but no one was angry.  We walked through a village with houses made of tarps, scrap tin, mud and sticks, and children ran out smiling, grabbing us by the hand and walked with laughter.  It is an amazing place here.  God is certainly up to something very big here.   Prayers appreciated.

Orphanage is making great progress!

The orphanage that we are building in La Digue Matheux is making great progress. Can't wait until we can open the doors and start having orphans living off the streets and into a safe sanctuary. What a blessing this will be.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A New Start

Today we met with some of the elders of the village of Barbancourt. Our purpose was to introduce our new pastor to them and get their blessing. The village is one of about 5,000 people with several established churches already, but they were receptive and encouraging about birthing another one. We were able to construct the actual building through the giving of a lifeline friend who wanted to reach unsaved Haitians for Christ. We dedicated the new church in her honor last May and finally found the man with a vision for church planting that matched ours. Alfredo and his wife, Merline, are planning their first Sunday service this week - Easter Sunday. We are so excited for the opportunity to be there as they launch this new ministry effort.

We are also excited about their plans to get to know the community through Kid's Club activities, door-to-door evangelism, and teachings for the young parents of the village. They have a young child of their own and realize the value in talking to young parents struggling to raise their children in difficult times. We invite you to pray for them as they take this step in reaching out as strangers in this area, Although they just live a short distance from Barbancourt, they are not from the village and may meet with some resistance. We believe God has directed us to choose them to be a part of Lifeline's Mission to reach Haitians for Christ and He will go ahead of them, but solicit your prayers on their behalf.

As you prepare this week to celebrate Christianity's most sacred events - the death and resurrection of our Lord - please pray for the Lifeline Mission to effectively spread the gospel message to all who have ears to hear. And we will pray for each of our partners to reach those in their neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools, and be a shining light for Christ as well. May God bless!

Bill & JoEllen - resident missionaries, LaDigue Matheux, Haiti

Friday, March 8, 2013

March 2013 Newsletter

This is the March 2013 Newsletter. We hope you enjoy reading what the Lord is doing through this mission. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Childrens Lifeline Experience

Haiti has been calling my name for 16 years. I was here in 1995-1996 with the U.S. Army serving with the United Nations. During my stay I was moved by the needs of the people and the children. I wanted to be able to reach out to them and serve in some way. Life continued back in the States but I never forgot the desire to serve Haiti. I never forgot the people or God's voice in my heart and spirit.

I met Arnold Lemke on my first visit to his church and that day he asked me to come to the mission. Of course I was overwhelmed with the awe of God's plan for me to return. I had no idea what to expect but my heart was full of excitement and joy. Everyone I met along the way seemed like family. My heart was filled with hope and anticipation as we arrived at the mission but what I received was more than I had ever imagined. I came to find a place to serve and I found a place to not only serve but served me. My spirit has been filled with the fountain of life. My heart again has been filled with the love for the people. I searched for purpose and meaning and I found it.

I came as a nurse to work in the clinic. Knowing Haiti from my last visit, I had a realistic expectation of what I might find. I had no idea I would find a place where even though the resources are few, the hearts are great. The love of God is strong in this place. His presence is known here. He is healing the sick, providing for their needs, and spreading His word through the people who are here. Your stay will be filled with the love of God, the knowledge of the mission, and a place for you to bring your gifts. To bring what God has called you to bring. To give what God has called you to give. The needs are great but the Provider is greater. The resources are scarce but the needs are being met. I have come to give and received far more. Not in things but in experiences. Not in expectations but in love. The more you give, the more you receive. Sometimes there is more to receive in the midst of nothing than there is in the midst of everything. Where there is pain there is healing, where there is heartbreak there is love. I'm in love with the people of Haiti and Children's Lifeline. If you come, I pray you will see what I see and bring what God has called you to bring. Listen to your heart and hear His voice. Move with compassion to meet the needs. Be renewed in your spirit that God is real and His love is great. He is the great provider for not only our needs but their needs. He uses us and I want to be used. I pray He can use you too! May God lead you. May He use you. May He provide for their needs through you. May He make it known through our expereinces to go out into the world and share His work here. To encourage others to meet the needs as God directs us. Enjoy your trip and let God lead. God bless you and the people of Children's Lifeline.
In God's love,
Dana Jenkins RN, BSN

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Update, January 25th.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve all just come in from putting the finishing touches on our Friday! So much has been done in the last three days, it’s hard to decide where to begin.
The last three days have been full of hard work, improvisation, and love. Two tangible projects have seen major advancements come to light since our last update. Several men, along with a very enduring team of Haitians, have gotten our water project to a nearly complete state, and tomorrow will allow for many final steps to be taken to facilitate clean water for the village.
There are several points of interest on this project to note. As with any project, the unknown always has a way of making planning difficult. The right people are here, not only on our team, but with our partnership with Fountains of Hope, Lifeline, and the Haitian men putting many sweat hours into the project (some, voluntarily). This led the project planner and head of Fountains of Hope to say that the system we’re installing (of the hundreds he’s done) is one of the most intricate systems he’s ever done. It’s a very impressive feat and we are bubbling with excitement for what it means for the village. At a meeting tonight with several people in the community, the project was explained, and resulted in an ovation of sorts. It’s clear we’re not the only ones excited about it.
The solar lighting project is almost all complete now, and last night several of us went out in the evening to see what activity was resulting from the installation. Kids were out in swarms! Playing games, watching each other play, interacting, etc. We can only hope that in the future it will continue to grow into a gathering place for people to come together and extend their productivity and days.
The women had their final gathering together as a bible study yesterday to a full church crowd. There were project lessons, activities, songs, and the women who came seemed very grateful for their time together. At the end of their session, the ladies were presented with a gift of some things that helped us show them that we care about them and that they’re not forgotten, as many Haitian women can feel.
Many of us have had opportunities to go to at least one, if not more than one orphanage over the last couple of days. Living situations for children in these orphanage settings vary greatly, depending on where they are at. At some locations we visited, it was obvious the kids were cared for, loved, and looked forward to our presence. Unfortunately at one we visited yesterday, we had quite the opposite experience, a very stressful and difficult situation that left many of us feeling defeated, overwhelmed, upset, and frustrated. We have committed that location to much prayer, and specifically the man in charge of that location, that his heart may be convicted to take better care of the children he’s responsible for. Today he was brought to our group at lunch, to apologize for how our visit went. We continue to pray for him, and his ministry.
Today also provided us an opportunity to visit two additional orphanages, and distribute the wonderful KidsWorld Children's Ministry supplies that had been collected over the Christmas season. It’s hard to explain to you the pure joy that radiates from these children when they are given these “goodies.” Adorable voices saying “thank-you,” “I love you,” and “you are my friend” just melt your heart. They’re each so precious.
Many other projects have been accomplished too, from adding additional solar lighting to dark stairways, to fixing screens in windows, caulking gaps in the window frames, screening in one of the feeding centers, fixing computers, applying stucco to a new dormitory at an orphanage, and fixing the block making machine to get it back to a good working order. It is the end of our Friday, and a lot has been accomplished. Tomorrow we will put the finishing touches on many projects. Many team members will take tours of a local market, and of Port-Au-Prince, to witness what life there is like for many Haitians that aren’t touched by the hands of Lifeline. For those of us who went before, this is a touching excursion that really puts into perspective the extremes at which poverty in a third world countries exist.
Sunday we look forward to spending time together in worship at the church here at Lifeline, and then venturing off to the beach for an afternoon of relaxation after a week of hard work. That afternoon can tend to be a difficult one to let ourselves indulge in, but it remains a valuable part of the trip, to remind us that there are so many beautiful sides to this nation, past the hardships that are faced daily. And Monday we travel home, already!
I will hope to update at least once more before we depart. We continue to appreciate your prayers and notes of encouragement. We pray you all remain well at home too.
-Tim, for the group.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Welcome (back) to Haiti

We can feel your prayers from Haiti!
The team from River Oaks Community Church, Goshen, IN, united at 1:30am EST Monday morning (Sunday night?) to do final suitcase arrangement and packing, and we were on the road by 2:00am, many of us not having slept a wink. Some were able to catch some shuteye in the van ride to O’Hare, but for almost all of us, the excitement kept us awake and energized until we arrived.
Check-in at the airport also went smoothly. Our team brought down 30 checked bags full of supplies and donated materials. Simply awesome! The downtime after check-in gave us yet another time to rest a little bit before we boarded. Our original flight schedule allowed us to have a perfect 2 hour layover in Fort Lauderdale, but that quickly dwindled down to a 15 minute crunch time after sitting at the gate in Chicago as the maintenance teams diagnosed our “engine failure.” Lucky for us, the good staff at American Airlines had us on their radar, and they held the plane when we landed and rushed to the gate next door for our second flight. Miraculously, the baggage handlers got all 30 of our less-than-light suitcases on the plane in that short amount of time as well. Praise the Lord!
Our first evening in Haiti got the team acquainted with the delicious dinners we are to be spoiled with all week long, and allowed many of us to finally get some quality sleep in. Many of us came armed with white noise and earplugs to drown out the friendly roosters and trusty (but loud) guard dogs.
Today began with a quick breakfast and tour of the grounds. For those of us who were here in November, it was rewarding to see what has changed and what progress has been made on projects we helped with last time. Some things we found quite surprising as well, such as the mostly dried up river (rainy season begins in a month or so), the impressive structure in place for the new orphanage, and a wonderful new detour on the way to Lifeline that shortened our airport trip by 20-30 minutes. Oh, and speaking of the airport, a brand new baggage return area and immigration center opened recently, making the airport experience a less scary environment to land in. I digress.
After lunch, the ladies had their first bible study session and were overly excited to see around ~40 Haitian women in attendance. They will continue their time with them on Thursday, and remain excited to continue spreading the word and showing their love with activities, songs, and crafts.
Many of the men started on several projects and planning for a run into Port-Au-Prince to buy the remaining supplies we need for our water project. The lighting system is mostly installed already, and the goal of fixing the concrete block making machinery saw some positive first steps taken as well.
Lets not forget the loving on children that has happened as well. For those of us who’ve returned, our hearts were filled to see familiar faces and hear our names belted from the gate. Several of us who have started sponsoring children eagerly dispersed gifts of clothing, food, and toys today. The glow on their faces was brighter than 5 Christmases combined.
Many who are making the trip for first time had children quickly take their hands, legs, shoulders and arm hairs, on our walk into the village and were already wondering how many of them they could sneak back with us. The first timers have also been making observations about the differences they are noticing since arriving here. Many of these are very familiar to those of us who are returning, and we enjoyed discussing some of these together during our meal and devotional times this evening.

I’ve written quite a bit, so I’ll leave you with Matthew 25:35-40, as shared to us tonight during our devotional time by Donald Curtis, the president of Children’s Lifeline, who is along on our trip.
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
We look forward to serving the least of these over the next week, and will continue to update you as we can. Many thanks for the prayers and messages of support. We feel so loved by you all.
Tim, for the team.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Our Final Day

January 19, 2013

We have reached the end of our Haiti mission, and we finished it off in grand style. After an early morning devotion at the cross for some of our team members, we "experienced" the Haitian market.   Although we did not stop to patronize the locals, we did get an up close and personal view of an important facet of Haitian life. Following our walk through the market, we visited the "basket lady" and   bought some souvenirs to add a splash of Haitian to our living rooms and the homes of loved ones. We then headed back to the mission to barter with the extremely talented Haitian artisans. The craftsmanship on these pieces was outstanding (especially when you consider the primitive instruments  that many have to construct these works of art), and we enjoyed browsing through the various paintings and hand-crafted objects to again bring a bit of Haiti back to display in the states. We also had the opportunity to buy some items from some of the young men and women that we spent many hours this week. They had woven bracelets, small bags and purses, and various other collectables, and it was truly hard to say "no" to any of them after developing the relationships with them over the past nine days. Following a quick lunch, we headed to the beach for a little fun in the Caribbean and dinner at the resort restaurant. We had a great time snorkeling, lounging in the ocean and pool, and some just read quietly or dozed off as the waves broke at our feet. After working up an appetite, our dinner was dashed with some Haitian spice as we enjoyed entrees such as chicken, lobster, fish and shrimp. It was a great way to cap a memorable week as we talked with one another and sampled the Haitian cuisine. Next, we headed back to the mission and said some goodbyes to many of the young men that we have spent time with this week. These special children of God are bright and talented in various respects, and with the continued support of those who can contribute, these individuals will have an opportunity to have productive lives in a country that is in desperate need of community leadership. This is why it is so important that we continue to help individuals, who without the assistance of outside commitment, do not have the opportunity to help themselves. We have seen this first hand this week, and it makes you want to continue the work you started to provide the necessary components to equip these young people with the tools they need to care for their families. The work and the education that is being administered in Haiti is encouraging in some areas, but the efforts need to continue for days to come. The adversity faced by this group of individuals cannot be conquered in a short span, and must be aggressively dealt with on a daily basis. After all, Jesus reached out to those who were less fortunate in many Biblical examples, and it is our Christian duty to continue his work here on earth today. Overall, it was a great nine days and we can honestly say that we left Haiti better than we found it!        

Friday, January 18, 2013


It is night number three for our Haiti blog, and we experienced another epic day on our last work shifts of the week. The medic crew were in heaven on earth today as they spent the morning in the OB Clinic  with forty-eight pregnant mommies (*unfortunately they did not get their wish of delivering a baby yet, but four mommies could deliver very soon and they could be called out this evening or tomorrow), while the guys were either working in Barbencourt on the orphanage dorms, or doing projects around the mission. The morning was also blessed again with the visit of six of Mary Jane and Randy's sponsor children. Each of these occasions have been special moments this week and we look forward to the final visits tomorrow morning. In the afternoon we experienced a first for all of the mission team members as we traveled through the village on foot and shared in prayer with many of the Haitians who live close to the mission. This was a special way to end our work week as we cared for those who were injured and provided food for those in need. The most remarkable part of the journey was the way that many of the Haitians wanted us to continue to pray for our own well-being and the safety of others who may be able to extend their hearts by sending love offerings to this adversity filled country where Christianity is on the rise. We ended our venture by sharing some treats with the group of children who followed us during the entire trek through the village. This affection shown by the children was always a highlight of each day and we never were tired of feeling the warmth and compassion that the children showed us. Following a wonderful dinner, we spent time at the "Cross on the Hill" in evening devotion  and put a cap on the work week by sharing some of favorite moments from the day. It has been an awesome week and we look forward to some rest and relaxation at the beach tomorrow. Thank you for all those who have followed and prayed for our trip this week, and although we will miss our experiences in Haiti, I know I can speak for everyone and say that we are excited about being reunited with our loved ones on Sunday. I would especially like to take this time to thank my wife, Jennifer, who is responsible for me being a part of this mission team. This was truly a dream come true and I would like to thank my beautiful wife from the bottom of my heart!

Michael, Randy, Mary Jane, Shelby, Jayme, Coty, Jill, Morgan, Kurt, Miranda, MaKenna, Jim, Katrina, Kyle

Thursday, January 17, 2013

everyone needs a little soul!

January 17, 2013

On the heels of our first blog last evening, we had another great experience today as we visited two orphanages in the morning and then headed to a school in the afternoon to spend some time with two more of our sponsored children (one of Randy and Mary Jane's and one of Michael' kids). At the first stop, we witnessed some great work being done by the teachers at a small orphanage of 18 students. The kids were in pretty good health and the small teacher to student ratio was very noticeable in the kids' smiles and their willingness to interact with us in song and dance. Our second stop saw a much different scene as approximately 45 kids and staff members were a little less well off, but the kids truly enjoyed the time that we spent with them playing soccer, jumping rope, and passing tennis ball following their checkups. Our final stop of the day was highlighted by meeting our sponsor children and spending time with the entire school of faculty and students. We were also blessed by the presence of a neighborhood lady who came in and added a little soul to our Bible School songs with the children. We danced, clapped, and sang with emotion and we all left feeling the presence of God in our hearts.  We finished the day with dinner and evening devotion and completed another productive day in Haiti. ***We were also very blessed to have the opportunity to give a love offering to a Haitian mother who did not have the money to bury her baby son. With the money we collected, she was able to give him to our Lord in a proper and respectful manner. Please continue to keep the Haitian community and our group in your thoughts and prayers, and we hope all of you are doing well at home. God Bless.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Message from Haiti 1/16/2013

The team has been in Haiti for 6 days now, and in that amount of days so much has happened.  Many of us have been here multiple times and others it is their first, and the 14 members of this group couldn't have been a better group of people.

On the morning of January 15, there was a little 20 month old baby boy, Woodson, that was in desperate need of medical attention. The baby was brought to the Lifeline clinic by his 17 year old mother and all our team members wanted to reach out and help instantly. At 7:30 in the morning our team ran to the clinic to do everything we could possibly do to save this baby. It's extremely difficult to put into words how our hearts just ached seeing the baby in a terrible medical state, but our minds went into medical mode and we did what we needed to do. The baby had kwashiorkor, which is a protein deficiency causing extreme dehydration. The baby was lethargic and could barely move for us. We provided care and oral fluids and were trying to find a way to start an IV on this baby (he was very dehydrated and we could not find a vein).  At that moment we began praying for God to move and show us what to do next. About 2 minutes after our short prayers, they were answered.  The doctor that runs the clinic arrived and made the decision to send the baby to a nearby hospital. When our team left the baby we knew that we had done everything we could do.  Unfortunately about an hour and a half after the baby arrived at the hospital, he passed away.  During this difficult time, our team was there for each other and there was so much support and love among the members.

The baby that passed away was very close in age to my first child. Carter will be 2 in February and this baby was 20 months. When I heard that the baby had passed away I was heartbroken and a little mad. All I could think about was "What if we had done this or what if we had done that" and I was then reminded that God had a plan for that child's life and the plan was fulfilled. I think that it is so hard for us as Americans to accept this because we have gotten in the mindset that we are the ones that are in control, when in reality we are not. I believe that there was a reason that Woodson was brought to us- for me at least, it was to break my heart so that I would never forget this experience. So that I would not forget that God's people are everywhere- not just in America. God tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us and will walk with us daily and I find comfort in that in times like this. Maybe people think that coming to Haiti will change the people of Haiti and to a certain degree, that is true. But, for me coming to Haiti has changed me. I see these people that have nothing and they are thankful to God. They praise His name and thank Him and give Him all the glory. This is how I will live my life now- I believe that we all have something to learn from the people that live in Haiti and I am eager to continue learning from these people and to see what else God has in store for us this week. My heart has been set on fire and I know that without a shadow of a doubt- I will be back to this country. - Shelby Bond

As I entered the country of Haiti, I had heard many stories about a group of people who fight through adversity on a daily basis to try and provide a living for their families. I can honestly say, after being here for the last five days, these stories were not exaggerated. But the point I want to emphasize the most in regard to this situation is the humility and positive outlook that they show on a daily basis despite their insurmountable odds. The kids that we have seen in the mission, outside in the orphanages, and even in the hospital, have a light in them that shines right through their smiling faces. You cannot help from being touched by their loving personalities as you hold and spend time with them.

On the other hand, it is very difficult to think that many of these young children are going to be hard pressed to achieve a normal lifestyle in the coming days, but you wake up each day and go give them your heart and know that they are better off after the time you spend with them. I also want to point out the remarkable group that I am sharing these experiences with. These individuals have a genuine love for people and dedicate their lives to serving others. The time we share in the mission field and back at the house in the evening is truly special and the memories will remain with me for many days to come. So after caring for the kids and their families, playing with them in various settings, and spending time with my mission team, this experience has truly been rewarding and I look forward to seeing how the rest of the trip will unfold. By the way, meeting one of my adopted Haitian children was awesome this morning. Guelson's smile lit up the front porch, and it is memories like this that show me I am in the right place and that the Lord is good and has his plan for us in Haiti! God Bless! - Michael Estep

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11.

Randy, Mary Jane, Miranda, MaKenna, Katrina, Jim, Michael, Kyle, Coty, Jayme, Shelby, Jill, Morgan, and Kurt