Saturday, April 30, 2011


How does God transform people. Does he he simply make a motion with his hand and we are changed? Does he wait until we are sleeping, change us and when we wake up we are something different, into something he wants us to be. I believe he gives us free will for a reason, to have the ability to transform ourselves and to make choices that directly reflect how Jesus lived and served. Many people have asked how can God make people suffer the way they do, or why are the poor people poor? If God is almighty, why can't he just fix this all?

The answer to me is God is with the poor people, he is with the sick and needy children in Haiti and the rest of the world. He always has been. He talks about poor people in the Bible over any other group. He has blessed people like us to spread these blessings around to poor and needy. We are the ones that should step up.

I have had an amazing trip to Haiti, one in which that has blessed me when I was supposed to be the one serving. I have had God move farther in my heart than I have in a long time. I believed I had a strong faith before, and after seeing Haiti first hand my faith is even stronger. I have a new found hope and understanding for the life that God wants us to live. We are given an opportunity to do life our way, we can either ignore the world around us or we can step up and serve the way Jesus served. We can meet the poor where they are, whether they are in the United States or another country. We as Christians can help our neighbors wherever they may be.

God, thank you for bringing me to Haiti to witness lives transformed, faith renewed, to have my heart broken and to instill a new passion inside of me. Please help me to determine what steps are next for me and my family and how we can use this experience to further your glory.

I pray for our team and the teams before and after us to keep the passion you have given us by witnessing the people of Haiti.

Brian - Healing Haiti Team Member

Friday, April 29, 2011


T.G.I.F. Thank God it's Friday has taken on a whole new meaning. Thank God for this Friday. The H.H. crew started the morning like it has already become routine. Jeff did not need to yell "Make it happen!" We were already on it. Gabe and Fan Fan had already returned from the morning church service. Breakfast was another feast and we all ate hearty anticipating the day. It was the sound of a new horn today. We prayed together giving thanks for all that we have seen and shared this week so far and continued to ask for His protection and blessing as we ventured out on our stylish new white bus.

First stop was Titayen. There is a special child there named Jude Jean Paul that we were introduced to. Although he is not well enough to interact with us, he knew we were there. We broke out in song and you could feel the Holy Spirit fill not only the small room, but each one of our hearts. It was a solemn, tearful parting. The local children guided us hand in hand on our short walk from Ju Paul's to Yvons Orphange. It was there we met 40 more very special children who greeted us with hugs and song.

Next stop Arcahaie beach. We were taking the kids swimming. We "kenneled up" toting 40 children and 12 adults gently packed in the 24 passenger H.H. bus. A fairly long ride through the streets of Haiti with laps drooping full of children and yet, not one complaint. Eyes were wide and smiles and song were constant. It didn't seem to matter much to them that when we arrived at the beach gate, they were asked to wait an additional Haitian 10-15 minutes. Once we were cleared to go we parked the bus and walked to the beach in surprisingly orderly fashion. A quick change and toes hit the shoreline. After the initial splash there was a beautiful chaos of flayling arms, legs, giggles, an shreaks of pure joy. Adults and children alike. Water logged to the point of wrinkled fingers, we rinsed and gathered together in prayer for a buffet lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, snack chips, a chocolate cookie, and tampico for drink. There was a rare photo opp to catch shivering cold, wet Haitian kids. The bus ride home was a bit more uneventful and much quieter. We drove back to Titanyen satisfied with a truly magnificent day. The hugs and kisses line was bitter sweet. The bus ride back to the guest house felt too empty.

A glorious sunset closes the day. Our hearts our left raw and open.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Greetings from Haiti (again)

This morning we got up at 5:30 and attended a church service. The faith of the Haitian people was inspirational and they were on their feet most of the service. People were singing and praying and giving praise to God. It was an amazing experience.

Our first stop was Gertrude's orphanage for special needs children. The kids were full of joy. Brian fixed the swing set so we could push the kids. We played ball and the kids enjoyed being outside and the special attention. We had as much fun as the kids.

On our way to Guillaume's orphanage, we stopped at St. Christophe. This is a mass burial ground for over 100,000 people who perished in the earthquake. It was a beautiful location for so many who died.

Then we headed to Grace Village. Grace Village will be the new home for Healing Haiti. When all phases are completed, it will house an orphanage, clinic, church, school, tilapia farm, feeding center and guest house. It is a beautiful site overlooking the ocean. We all felt Alyn's presence as we spent time there. She continues to be a great inspiration to us all. We miss her dearly.

Finally we headed to Guillaume's. It was big fat fun! They greeted us with a welcome song. We handed out specially made cards from the girl scouts. They cherished the cards and collected them to give them out again tomorrow.

It was a great way to end the day, playing wiffle ball, face painting, jump roping and loving up the kids.

Jan, Jeannette, Barb
Healing Haiti Team Members

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Greetings from Haiti!

Greetings from Haiti!

We just finished day two of our experience here in Haiti.

Yesterday was really intense. It was very physical, hot, dirty and rewarding. We delivered water to three of the poorest shanty areas of Cite Soleil. As the truck pulled in, we honked the horn, people ran for their buckets and a line quickly formed. Imagine standing in line for water!

It was chaotic as people jockeyed for position to get water before we ran out. Many tried to sneak their buckets under the hose unseen skipping to the front of the line. As we saw this happen we had to send them to the back of the long line. Many were kids and seniors. It was disturbing to have to say no. But, we needed to create some sort of order.

Unsupervised kids were everywhere, clothed, no clothes, in sleeper pajamas that were three sizes too small and many without shoes; all wanting to be loved. Where were the parents?

At one of the locations we walked through garbage and sewage filled alleys to see the ocean. What we found was an ocean front unlike anything we have ever seen. This area was filled with human waste amidst the garbage. We had to be careful where we stepped. Pigs and goats were wandering everywhere eating whatever they could find.

It was heartbreaking.

Today we visited Mother Teresa’s home for sick and dying children. It was amazing to see the love and compassion shown to the kids by everyone.

The sickest kids were on the lower level. Many of them were babies. Most of them were crying and it was difficult to choose just one to pick up and love.

We fed them, changed their diapers, played with them, but most importantly, we loved them and they loved us back.

What a rewarding day!

Barb, Jan, Jeannette

Healing Haiti Team Members

On the first night I had one of the most profound experiences of my life. Jeff asked "who wants to go for a walk?" I thought we were going for a walk on the streets around the neighborhood...WRONG! Our "walk", which was after dark, was far from what I expected. We walked about 150 yards down the street from the house and walked through a large steel gate, which is a rather common thing here. On the other side was a tent city. The tents were constructed of tarps and scraps of wood and tin. I wasn't really scared, but I was certainly far outside my comfort zone. Jeff saw someone he knew right away and introduced us. All of the sudden small children surrounded me. They took me by the hand, embraced me, and wanted me to hold them. We ended up walking through the narrow corridors between the tents, stepping over the "mud" which was actually sewage. All the people were very friendly despite the fact that they were living in conditions that were hot, dirty, crowded and unsanitary for longer than a year. I couldn't believe the way the children flocked to us. I would never take two toddlers that I just met in minneapolis and take them by the hand and start walking around... I would get arrested! Where were their parents!?! Over the following 2 days I have come to learn that parents really don't seem to mind if some strange guy like me takes their children by the hand and walks off...

Gabriel Tschida
Healing Haiti Team Member

Jumping and Screaming

Driving a firetruck up to a school of excited and screaming kids is an amazing and wonderful feeling I have felt in my heart. I would hit the siren and honk the horn to see all the kids running and jumping with laughter on their faces. What an awesome sight.

I never thought there would be something that would impact me as it had on the first day in Haiti. Yesterday our team drove a water truck into the worst areas of Cite Soleil, "City of the Sun." As we drove hanging on the side of the truck I was awe struck at what I was seeing, the devastation, the garbage, the naked kids, the sick, the hungry, the ......everything you can think of. I just kept thinking how much more could I see that would affect me, how much more is there , until we slowed down and Maxime our driver honked the big air horn. At first I thought a car was in our way as I had heard hundreds of horns already. Then I heard a longer sustaining horn and noticed what was going on.

Kids from all sides started emerging from their tattered tents and rusted shacks, jumping and screaming in the same fashion as I had witnessed driving a fire truck. What came over my heart next shook me to my core. This was all happening because of water, it was then when I cried behind my sunglasses. This was such a basic need, something so simple yet these children of God had little to none. They continued running, screaming and smiling right at us and I kept trying to hide my eyes and smile back. From that moment on it went in a blur of mismatched emotions.

We filled hundreds of buckets of water, delivering them deep into row after row of crowded shacks, averaging in size by 8 feet by 8 feet filled with families. We would deliver water to shacks that had ocean front property completely overtaken by garbage, human waste and many other things that are simply unidentifiable. We walked by a woman in labor, children so crippled they could not move and countless mothers offering their children up for a better life with us in America.

As I said before, the day went by in a blur of mismatched of emotions. We all should be sad and full of despair, but that was not the case for them. Everyone we met smiled and greeted us with Bon Jou or "Good morning." Their lives are full of daily struggles for simple things I take for granted. Children sick and malnourished, but they are full of life and smiles. On a walk we took through the city we would sing Hallelujah and the children would sing it back with a smile and a laugh followed by Bondye, Creole for God.. Hallelujah to God. I am amazed these people we encountered have had everything taken away from them, yet all I hear is "Glory to God" and "Honor to God in the Highest."

We went to three separate places in Cite Soleil and left each one with children hanging on us, still smiling and all of us with breaking hearts.

Lord I am so thankful for my experiences here, your willingness to use me in any way you see how and for transforming me into something a new.

Brian McNeill - Healing Haiti Member

Cite Soleil

What an incredible day we had in Cite Soleil. We made three runs with the water truck and each stop was a little different. Seeing people run to get in line for water makes you realize how incredibly blessed we are in the U.S.

It is hard to describe the feeling of having to leave a child behind that says, "I want to come with you".

Andy Archer
Healing Haiti Team Member

Eight Words

Our first full day in Haiti resulted in the team coming up with separate power words that described the day. Simply put along with these words, the photos speak for themselves.