Thursday, February 27, 2014

Glwa Pou Bondye

Glwa Pou Bondye.  Glory to God! Take my life and let it be all for you and for your glory.  Take my life and let it be yours.  These were the sweet words we sang today while washing the hands and feet of several elders in the eldercare program sponsored by Healing Haiti.  Not only did we wash their feet, but we fed them a hot meal, which is hard to come by.  I especially was impacted by one very special 103 year old woman named Marie.   I was astounded when we arrived  and she was sitting on the concrete floor of her home and was able to still get up.  Amazing! Her concrete home was approximately 8ftX8ft and included a bed, table, and one chair.  The light of Jesus truly shown in this woman's eyes.  She hugged each one of us with a gentle touch revealing her loving spirit.  Marie explained to us that she had prayed all day long yesterday that we would visit her today.  Because, as you see the elders depend on others for assistance and food. With the average life expectancy of 52, Marie has most certainly out lived her children.  The cool thing, however, is she wasn't originally on our list of elders to visit and because one of them was gone, our leaders chose to visit Marie.  God is Good!  The similarities in humanity were revealed as we encountered these elders.  The women were worried about thier homes and began tidying up and the gentleman we visited was ashamed he did not have chairs for us to sit on.  Bless them! 

Carnival!!  We hosted a mini carnival for the children at Isaiah's orphanage, where this gentle giant of a man  took in 17 orphans after the earthquake in 2010.  Healing Haiti supports this orphanage and after seeing what Isaiah does for these children I can see why.  He teaches them, loves them, and is Jesus to them.  We enjoyed painting faces and nails, cup ping pong, making balloon animals, arts and crafts, and mostly just spending time with these kids.  Ruby did an excellent job of sharing the gospel with the children using the evangecubes and the children seemed to already understand this message yet were intrigued by the picture of Jesus on the cross.  We ended our time there with joyous singing and left with our "buckets" full.

Cadet, our guide today, was incredible.  This man has a heart for the Lord and for people.  He took us to the mass burial site of approximately 500,000 Haitians that died in the earthquake.  This was very special to him and to us as he shared how these people were buried and that a memorial site is being constructed in their memory.  A place where family can be remembered.

Several of the women's word of the day was HOPE.  After feeling completely heartbroken, helpless, and totally impoverished from the last couple of days the Lord showed us a new HOPE in Him today.  He taught us that he is not impoverished, but is the Almighty.  We experienced hope at Grace Village.  It was an oasis in the desert!  Healing Haiti's Grace Village is home to 52 children.  It is beautiful with a cafeteria, school, chapel,  hydroponic garden, and medical and dental facility.  Seven full time missionaries live there including Shane and Jenn Imsland and their family of three children.  Shane gave us a fantastic tour of the Village and his eyes shone with passion for this project.  It was great to see that there are great things happening here in Haiti and not all is lost.  

My word of the day was LOVE.  This morning when I awoke I prayed that God would show me a verse to help me understand what it is that we can possibly do to help these people.  The task and amount of poverty seemed so overwhelming after the first 2 days of serving.  This is what I turned my Bible to this morning:  Galations 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command:  "Love your neighbor as yourself."  Our team did exactly that today...we loved on our neighbors.

Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely, and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.  Mother Teresa

Love, Shannon

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Healing Haiti-Friends: Healing Haiti-Friends: Healing Haiti-Friends-..


This was my "word of the day" at our group devotion tonight. Although the day did not start out that way. We started off the morning at 5:45- loaded up in the top top and headed to tent Church. They have this every morning at 6:00. We started off a little out of sorts- grumpy to be up and moving so early! This quickly faded and the tears began to flow as we watched how faithful and compassionate these Hatians were. Praying, praising, singing, dancing, one lady came over and squeezed her way down our row hugging and blessing every one of us. What a way to start out the day! 

Our next stop was to a hospice home. We were truly the hands and feet of Jesus as we massaged their frail bodies. They were so grateful. It was humbling to see the ladies in our group at work and to see the satisfied looks on their faces when we were finished. 

Our last stop of the day- and this is where the word BROKEN comes into play- General Hospital. Nothing could have prepared me for this stop. As we anxiously pulled up in the top top, ready to go with our donation bags we had packed this morning, I looked back and forth, up and down the road. Where is this "hospital"?? We hopped off the truck and followed our translator Jonas just around the corner and through the door. There we were- but this is no hospital. Where are the windows? Where are the doors? Fresh blankets? Fresh water? Pictures? Supplies? There were none. It was devastating. They allowed us to come in, passing our bags out to the families that were there. They allowed us to talk with them, pray with them, hold their sick babies. From one end to the other we walked, greeting proud "ma-ma's". But as we got to one end there was no proud ma-ma, there was no proud pa-pa. There was no one there for these little ones. No family. No one to hold them, to kiss them, to sing to them, and THIS broke my heart. We were unable to hold these kids for reasons I cannot share, but we were able to talk, sing, and feed them. And boy were they hungry!! But before long it was time for us to go, to move on to another section of the hospital. We were unable to take pictures at these places, but I am positive that I will never forget the things that I saw today. 

I think it is safe to say we all walked away today completely broken. The 30 minute drive back to the guesthouse was complete silence. We felt helpless. Our donation bags we so proudly packed were looking pretty small right about now. What COULD we do to help? Absolutely nothing. Or was there something I was forgetting? I most definitely was. And that's why I thank God for my good friend Ruby who reminded us all tonight that there IS something, the most important thing of all- prayer. No we can't supply food to all these babies, we can't get them medicine, WE can't heal them- but God can, and if He wills it, it WILL be done. And if not- we can rest in the fact there will be no more pain, suffering, or tears in Heaven, when these babies meet Jesus face to face. 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Healing Haiti-Friends: Healing Haiti-Friends: Day 2

Hey you!! These words are a reminder to me of our day today. Today my group went to deliver water to the people of Cite Soleil. This is a very unique opportunity because Cite Solei is the poorest city in Haiti and possibly the world. Cite Soleil is run by gangs which is why not many people are able to come and deliver water there. However Healing Haiti has a relationship with the people there and that is why we are able to come help.

The minute we stepped out of the tap-tap (a tap-tap is similar to a really small bus that fits lots of people) there were little Haitian children there wanting to be picked up. I held this little girl the whole time. She was so content to just be in my arms. She was probably only around 2-3 years old, which was crazy because she did not have anyone to really look after her. I held her where and walked to a place where Healing Haiti will be building a church. The building spot is covered with trash and it is so amazing to me that God is allowing a church to be built there. After the water ran out (it took about 45 minutes) we went to the water place to wait for the water truck to be refilled. We went out again and did the same thing and made a total of three stops with the water truck. Each stop was a little different but the purpose was always the same: give the Haitian people the water they need to survive and give the little kids the attention they want, simply by holding them and smiling. Everywhere we went the little kids would constantly yell, "Hey you!" Those words were just simple way of saying hi and almost everyone would smile and wave. It was incredible to see everyone so happy and friendly among all of the poverty.

While out on all of these trips today one thing really stuck out to me. There was trash everywhere! The sides of the street are full of trash and even sewage. It is hard to put into words exactly what I saw. There was a constant smell of burning trash in the air. Besides the lack of clothes, the lack of water, and the lack of food, what impacted me the most was the conditions in which they were living. These people living in Cite Soleil have nothing. These Haitian people are EXTREMELY thankful that we are bringing them clean water to drink, whereas in America we take for granted the ability to have clean water come out of the facet when we turn it on! Today has really made me realize that the "struggles" that I experience are absolutely nothing compared to the struggle here. These people are constantly struggling to survive, when I think I might die when I do not get full after lunch. Today in Haiti has really made me grateful for everything I have in the United States, and it makes me realize that I should really be grateful for the "struggles" I do have because there are others that would love to live like I do. God has to been so good to all of us here and a big thank you goes out to everyone who has been praying for us! Below are some pictures from today!


Allyson :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Healing Haiti-Friends: Healing Haiti-Friends: Day One Haiti

Leaving Iowa I was excited to start a new adventure. I might be new saying this, but missions is not out of my comfort zone. Although I don't plan on being a missionary I feel comfortable in new areas, seeing new people. I met a man on the plane that sat right by me. I am not very good at talking to people for the first time, so this was sort of uncomfortable. For those of you who know me, you know I talk all the time and you would be surprised by me saying this. I started by asking if he was from Haiti and that started a great conversation. We ended up talking about religion and what I believe in. I was trying to describe why I want to go to heaven, and being unprepared I said, "I don't like being hot." To this, the man would not stop laughing, so I awkwardly laughed along. I felt good about what we talked about, I just wish I was more prepared. 

When I arrived at the airport still on the plane, I was not awfully nervous to my surprise. Charlie and Steve (our leaders) led us through the entire process at the airport and we were ready to go. When we got out of the airport we were greeted by the smell of Haiti and people constantly coming up to take the bags. This is when I started to get nervous. Then I saw the healing Haiti shirts and for some reason felt safe just by seeing that. We started to throw our bags in the tap tap and finally jumped up into the bus looking vehicle, that is brightly colored and would probably be considered illegal in the states. We started to drive in streets without stop signs, potholes everywhere, people walking everywhere, and a crowded space barely big enough to breathe. I just started to smile, thinking that I would have never been here if God wouldn't have given me this opportunity. All the negative things just went away after that. 

We arrived at the guest house and inside it just instantly felt like home. The colors inside are beautiful and everything is so bright. We ended our night by going swimming down the street in our tap tap. When we got there we found out that we would have to walk back. I instantly got nervous because everything is dark, people hide in the shadows, and the roads are anything but smooth. We had a haitian walk with us so we weren't totally on our own, but it was still scary. When we got back I was more than grateful. Not only this, we were greeted by the cutest haitian children. This was a definite cap of to a horrible, wonderful day. 

P.S.-Special shout out to all the people who donated and supported this trip. And an extra shout out to the SH band. I hope they are all reading this and smile when they see the special shout out. And here are a few pictures :)

Love, Maddie

Healing Haiti-Friends: First Day Haiti

We have all arrived safely with the teams meeting in Miami 

We were served with excellence from the Healing Haiti staff waiting for our arrival and then were treated with a great tasting dinner.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Preparing to Leave

As I prepare to leave for Haiti in 6 short days I want to mention how thankful I am for all of you who have supported me through prayer and monetary support.  God has richly blessed me on my journey to this point.  

I am very excited to see what the Lord will do in and through my life as I surrender to His will.  I know we have talked as a group and with individuals how frightening it is to say "God your will be done in my life: because we know not where that will lead us and what God will demand of us.  But, I am trusting that He only wants the best for me and where I fail physically or in speaking HE will fill in those areas with HIS power and not mine.

I would be lying if I said I feel prepared and ready. But, I am willing. In my devotions today God told me that my relationship with Him is meant to be vibrant and challenging, as he invades more and more areas of my life.  He tells me not to fear change for He wants to work through me and continue to refine me.  When we cling to old ways and sameness, I resist His work within me. He wants me to embrace all that He is doing in my life, finding my security in Him alone.  I pray for that peace and allowing Him to work in and through me.

So, I end with a verse that my daughter, Lindsay gave me the other day.  Is. 6:8  Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said "Here am I send Me!" This verse just gives me goosebumps as I prepare to go to Haiti. 

Take Time For Jesus

Psalm 27:4, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire (or meditate) in His temple".

Shannon and I were talking last night about the business of the week ahead of us and all we had to do in preparation for our trip this coming week to Haiti.  We both agreed that in the midst of all the "things" that need to be put in place and accomplished, we both just desired to get our hearts prepared to do His work.  We both agreed that the biggest priority needs to be that we carve out time each day this week, no matter how busy, time to spend with Jesus.
Funny how God works as I arise this morning and this is what my devotions are on.  King David, a king, a soldier, and a great leader says, in the verse above, that His greatest desire is to dwell in the house of the Lord and to behold His beauty.  It is not to devise battle plans, lead men into victory, build a stronger fortress, etc., but to dwell in the presence of the Lord.  THIS is what made him great.  He loved Jesus and he spent time with Him.  "If the one thing that is needful is desired and sought, everything else will fall into it's proper function".
Let's make it our goal this week to put Jesus first.  Let us rise up in the morning and commune with Him, know Him more, and seek HIS face.  I am confident that this is the best thing we can do to prepare ourselves before we embark on this great adventure.  Preparing food for our families we are leaving behind, cleaning our house, and making our lists and checking them twice do matter, but they can be secondary and WILL happen if we choose to place Jesus first.  What He desire of us is for us to know Him more intimately and to love Him more deeply. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Kindness is what God asks of us

In my devotions today I was reading about kindness and love.  Something we will be showing to those we meet in Haiti.  It tells of the time someone was walking down the street and a beggar asked for some money and he reached into his pocket and said "I'm sorry, my brother, but I have nothing to give.  The beggar brightened and said, "You have given me more than I asked for--- you have called me brother."

To the loved, a word of affection is a morsel, but to the love-starved, a word of affection can be a feast.

I thought this fitting for what we are about to embark on in Haiti.  My sisters and brothers in Christ I have been praying that God would love so much through each and everyone of us that He would touch the hearts of all we come in contact with.  And that our hearts would be over flowing with all He has to offer those in need.

I'm praying the Lord would use each and everyone of us in this trip.  I have no fear that He will be with us every step of the way.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no cmmandment great than these.  Mark 12: 30-31

Saturday, February 8, 2014

An Offering

I read Oswald Chambers last night before bed and it seemed to be just for me and just for this trip in 2 weeks to Haiti.  The title was, "Are you ready to be offered?" and the verse was 2 Timothy 4:6, "for I am already being poured out as a drink offering...".  In the Message it says, " life: an offering on God's altar", and in the NLT, " life has already been poured out as an offering to God".

I want my life to be an offering to Him.  I want to lay myself at His feet and offer my will, my agenda, my skills, and my abilities to Him and see what He will do.  I feel small and like there is no way I can make a difference in a week in the kingdom or for the kingdom of God, but I am willing to offer.  Chambers says, "tell God you are ready to be offered, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be".

 This offering, Chambers says, is a transaction of will, not of sentiment.  When we surrender our will to Him, it is in this crisis that we open ourselves up to whatever HE choses to do, not what WE chose to do.  I'm scared, but I will bind my sacrifice on God's altar and let Him purify what I have to offer.  I'm praying that He will use what is there for His glory, not mine, and He will take whatever is left and use it for His kingdom.

"Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven"  Matt. 6:10