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.