Monday, July 28, 2014

Day 8: Headed Home

The Journey of Faith (JOF) team is at the Haitian airport, soon to catch the flight to Miami and then California. As I sit in the empty guest house I am reflecting on the uplifting week. What started out as 15 strangers from California has evolved into my extended family. I was blessed to watch each Cali team members shine, and struggle, during a week full of new experiences. There was heartbreak, sadness, sometimes anger, laughter, and getting to the point of exhaustion that leaves us punchy and just cray cray (crazy)...last night as Evan went to bed, he made the mistake of charging his phone in the hallway and a few of the girls stayed up and filled his phone with random Haitian photos. :-) This has been a fun team and the laughter helps offset the sadness.

Haiti is not easy, it can be a difficult week that pushes us beyond our comfort and forces us to look at ourself and ask "What is God trying to teach me in this moment"? To watch some team mates break down with sadness is hard, but God is breaking our heart so we can help those in need. 

I will always remember each person on the JOF team for their unique personalities. I am already sad to have them gone, but I know I will see them again soon! 

Glwa Pou Bondye!! Bridget

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Day 7: Last Day Reflection

Tonight is our last night at the Healing Haiti house and the thought of leaving tomorrow has brought about many mixed feelings. The trip as a whole has been an eye opening experience that I will not soon forget. From delivering water to the slums of Site Soleil to relaxing on the sandy shores of Wahoo Beach, it has been an emotional rollercoaster. I would need more than a few pages to fully illustrate my experience with the team but what has burned in my mind the most was the first day at the Home for the Sick and Dying Babies. The rooms were filled with cribs of Hatian babies starved for attention. I had never held a baby before this day. With the help of my exceptional teammates I quickly got over my hesitation and was able to make several of them smile and laugh. It was extremely gratifying to see which made it incredibly difficult to leave at the end of the visit.  Unlike the other group members, I was blessed with sharing my experiences with my Dad and Brother. I was impressed at how they handled each situation since it isn't every day we are presented with such tasks. Overall I am sad to leave but it was a humbling adventure that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
- Simon Schermerhorn

Healing Haiti has opened my eyes in so many ways.  I have seen the worst kinds of living conditions here in Haiti.  While I head back to Califorina I realize the privileged life I've lived.  Although there are orphanages that treat kids a lot better then some of the conditions in the Cite Soleil.  I was lucky enough to meet and live with a new young friend for a couple of days.  He was such a funny kid and made the trip such a blast not only for me but for the whole team.  We connected the first moment we met and started making nicknames for him "Christmas" and myself "Bacon" by the end of our stay everyone had a nickname on our team.  He would be the reason I would come back to Haiti to catch up with him and make sure he is having the life that God wants for him.  
- Evan "Bacon" Schermerhorn

It took so much for me to be sitting where I am right now.  To be honest walking into the first meeting with a bunch of adults I didn't know was terrifying.  I am so so glad I did.  This trip has brought me so much joy, heartbreak, and memories.  Honestly, I don't want to go home. 

One of the most memorable experiences of mine was at the water truck stops.  As we arrived on the first day, I saw this little girl that was about two years old standing by a pole all alone.  Because she was absolutely adorable, of course I decided to pick her up.  At the previous water truck stops I did my best to make every child that I came in contact with smile.  It wasn't the same with this little girl. She wouldn't talk, or even look me in the eye.  As I talked to one of the older Haitian girls who could speak English, she told me that she didn't have any parents.  I was sad at this, but I knew that's how it was for many of the kids there.  I just brushed it off.  We went to the same water stop a day later, and there she was again, same spot.  As I held her again it sunk in that this was her life, waiting at a pole for someone to come and love her.  Among the chaos surrounding us, she fell asleep in my arms.  Before I knew it there was this lady who took her from me so quickly.  She didn't even wake up to say goodbye.  As I still don't know her name, someone suggested that I should call her Grace.  To me Hope is a better fit.  During church this Sunday morning it hurt my heart to think of her being all alone, and that there was no guarantee that her life was going to be okay.  With the help of some friends, they reminded me that although she may not have much, she still has hope.  A hope for a better life.  A hope for a family.  A hope for an eternity spent with God.  Although I know that she has hope, she will forever hold a special place in my heart.  It gives me peace to know that God is watching down on her. 

Okay okay enough of the sad stuff. Overall, I am so glad that I took that leap of faith that one meeting to go on this trip.  All of the ladies on the team especially have all taken me under their wing in one way or another, and I am so thankful for them.  I am honored to have these Godly women as role models in my life. (Also the guys were all just super funny) Haiti, thanks for the memories, I look forward to the day I get to come back.
-Rebekah Ruther

The Jonas Brothers

Street Kids by the Guest House

On the mountain top

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Day 6: Beach Day

Today we went to Wahoo Bay to enjoy the beach and to see the beauty of Haiti. We drove at least and hour and a half in the tap tap from Port-au-Prince through towns still very poor but we notice less and less destruction from the earthquake. Wahoo Bay is in stark contrast to the slums of Cite Soleil. The water is turquoise and it's like most Caribbean beaches. We are happy to be here and we have some fun, but we all know the struggle we have seen this past week. Today the theme was happiness and beauty and I pray that all the Haitians we have met could be just as blessed.  

Andrea Rupp
_ _ _ _ _

Today had many wonderful and fun aspects.  The beach we visited was gorgeous and our group played together wonderfully in temperatures that were ideal in and out of the water.  I'm experiencing an undercurrent of "stuff" both good and bad from the week, though.  As one of the oldest in the group I've noted how hard my heart is in some respects.  I see a lot of things others may miss, but I miss a lot of the emotional responses they describe.  The devotionals help me at least see that some of my questions and even irritations are based in my own inability to follow the example Jesus provided us all.  As I watch my two sons Simon and Evan respond to these situations, which I brought them into with very limited preparation, I am filled with pride, gratified to socialize and play with them as young adults (which we rarely if ever have done). I'm grateful to have a character model in Jesus that I can point to as the kind of person I'd like to be have modeled for them. I now have a more complete picture of their personalities than the limited overlaps of our lives to date gave me, and I've heard them sum up days with thoughts like questioning why we have it so good while so many here have it so bad, and how swimming in the ocean today reminded one of how connected all the people of the world are symbolized by us at our beaches near home and people here swimming in connected waters. While I am making more progress opening my mind than my heart, we each respond with the gifts we can offer within the limitations we have built around ourselves. 

Roy Schermerhorn 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Day 5, part one: So Many Things...

The more time I spend in Haiti, the more my heart yearns to do more for this country. I find myself quickly falling in love with this beautiful place. Today was another full day. Full physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We started our day going back to Cite Soleil to deliver water at two water trucks. Even though this was our second day amongst the poverty of this city, the sights and sounds were still overwhelming. Children running naked in the streets; men, women, and children physically clawing and climbing over each other for a place in line to fill up their beat up bucket with water; and the gang members standing in the distance, watching it all. Chaos is the only word that comes to mind when trying to describe the scene of distributing water at Cite Soleil today, absolute chaos. The children still clung to each of us as if we were the key to their salvation. I held one little girl the majority of the time at our second water truck stop, she couldn't have been older than two, she clung to me as if she had never been held before. Her beautiful big brown eyes, torn red shirt, huge smile, and the way she so willingly opened her arms to me and latched herself on to me will stay in my heart forever. Right before we left the second stop, one of my team members brought a teenage boy up to me who had been asking if there was a hospital close by. The boy had apparently fallen off his bike, and had a small piece of metal shrapnel lodged in the upper portion of his back. Luckily, we had some medical supplies on the tap tap, and I was able remove the piece of metal and quickly clean his wound- it felt good being able to use my nursing skills outside of my typical hospital setting. 
Later in the day, we had the opportunity to visit the pediatric emergency room/ ward at the general hospital not far from where we are staying in Port Au Prince. At the hospital, we handed out water to the parents as well potato packets from Feed My Starving Children for the kids. Having the opportunity to get a glimpse of the healthcare system in Haiti was such a precious moment for me since I work as an ER nurse back in Los Angeles. Being in a hospital setting and not getting straight to work treating patients was definitely an odd feeling, since that comprises so much of who I am back in the US. The hospital was nothing glamorous or special, it was simply two dome structures with metal walls connected with doorways. Patient privacy and extra comfort measures are simply non-existent in Haiti, and it was evident that those we interacted with today didn't care, they were simply content having a roof over their heads and to be receiving medical care for their children. Each dome held approximately thirty children, all different ages with various medical complaints. In one of the domes there was a premature baby that had recently been born and was simply fighting to stay alive, meanwhile the patient in the neighboring bed was an approximate two year old that was receiving the rest of his blood transfusion. So many patients with so many complex medical complaints, and I only counted four nurses while we were there, I so desperately wanted to jump in and help relieve some of the work load that I knew each of them were feeling. Even amongst the heaviness of the two domes, every person we came in contact with seemed to have an incredible amount of peace. In addition to handing out the food and water, we also had the opportunity to pray with the parents and children. I don't usually have the opportunity to pray with the patients that I care for back in the US, so it was such a unique opportunity to be in a setting that I am so comfortable with, the hospital, and share the love of Christ with others. The parents and children didn't care that we weren't speaking in Creole as we prayed, they were simply grateful. I had been having thoughts all week of possibly wanting to come back to Haiti to do more medical based work, and after visiting the hospital this afternoon, my thoughts were reaffirmed. Haiti has such a huge need, not only for medical personnel, but for others to come and simply show them the love of Christ. I look forward to the day when I have the opportunity to come back to this beautiful country and share both medicine and the love of Christ with the people of Haiti.

Erin Minnick

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Day 4: On the Road to a Healed Heart

I'm sitting at the Guest House dinner table trying to put into words what I saw today. The first word that comes to mind is heartbroken. I am completely heartbroken for the elders that we had the privilege of visiting today. I have never in my life seen a man in so much need for human touch and love. While we sat in Edmond's hut he didn't ask for money, food, or any materialistic good. He wanted to be loved. It felt unreal to be given the opportunity to sit next to him on his small bed to massage his arms and back with lotion. While we all huddled into his hut we sang songs and asked some questions. When asked how many children he had, he said one son. I thought to myself "Well hey at least he isn't alone." I couldn't have been more wrong. He said he didn't know where his son was and that he never came to visit him. At that exact moment I felt my heart break into a million pieces. I could not wrap my mind around the fact that this man would be receiving loving touch only a couple times a week. What an awful way to live the last years of your life. I found myself not wanting to leave him, all alone in his extremely small hut without a single soul to accompany him. As we drove in the tap tap to the next elder's hut all I could think about was how unfair it all was. Why is it that during this trip I get to be surrounded by a team of 16 amazing human beings for 24 hours a day and this man only receives about 30 minutes of attention every couple of days. I sat there and cried begging God to show me what the purpose of it all was; why me and not this man. In the stillness of my broken heart God made it clear to me that the purpose was for me to be changed. At home I am a part of the care ministry at church and have the privilege of visiting the elderly as often as I want. God used Edmond to validate that He is calling me to continue my work with the care ministry. I know I shouldn't gripe about it or take it lightly because it's about doing His work and not my own. That's what all of this is about, Jesus, not me. What is Jesus doing in and through me to show the world that His love is so great and for everyone to experience. He breaks us to show us the work that He wants done, but does not leave us broken. He heals every single wound and hears every cry. It is through the power of Christ alone that tonight when I lay my head down I can have peace knowing that one day soon things will change. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Day 3: Water Truck Day: Two Views of Cite Soleil

Today was an incredibly difficult and challenging day yet so rewarding on so many levels. Our day began with us arriving in Cite Soleil greeted by an overjoyed group of kids shouting "Hey you!" as they eagerly awaited the arrival of our water trucks.  As we stepped off the Tap-Tap these kids literally jumped and climbed on us desperately seeking to be hugged and held just so starved for affection. Some of us held up to two kids at a time while others carried as many as four.  A lot of these kids weren't even wearing underpants and the poor children are filthy and none of us speak Creole but love transcends through all languages and all we could think about is reciprocating the warmth and affection that these children so freely gave.  We also all took turns manning the water hose that distributes the water to individual families as they all impatiently lined up to have their buckets filled.  It was astounding to see most of the children and women do all the work as they all carried the unbelievably heavy buckets.  Overall it's hard to get past the images that will be forever ingrained in my mind from of all the unfathomable sounds, sights and smells to the look in the child's eye that's desperately yearning for love and attention and the sight of children immersing themselves inside the water basins as if it were the best thing in the world.  What I experienced today was completely heartbreaking and left me with an incredible sense of overwhelming sadness, guilt and anxiety.  However I am also completely humbled at the thought of how privileged we really are and how most of us take the simplest of things for granted.  
Daisy Taylor

Cite Soleil revealed more layers of complexity to me with each of our three stops today. The first stop was on the edge of the community, probably a newer, less established part, and the social order was pretty basic with the needs for survival and emotional health right up front. The small children wanted attention and some needed help getting water their homes, but their comfort with the routine and enjoyment of the help and attention were apparent. At the second stop I saw more social structure appear, with teen boys passing by with no concern for helping, more people in more established structures physically and socially, a longer line with some irritations, and small children playing with the water while older ones were more on task, some girls at a younger age. The third stop seemed to have a much more established social order with a full range of community you'd see in any ethnically uniform neighborhood. The physical and social structures were even more clearly defined with much older women coming for water along with others. Older young men breaking into the line revealing a power structure, others asking for help getting water at all which I later realized may have been because they weren't allowed even in line. And the small children still wanted attention and affection, but some played established water games together instead, and some really young ones needed help getting water home further down the street than we'd ventured at the other sites. So more slave children were in play, revealing economic as well as social structure within what we view as just all poor people. Their lives are complete with family and community relations, differing challenges at the detail level among individuals and families, and dreams and hopes, but not the same ones we'd hope for them. This all leaves the question of how we can elevate their hopes and encourage them to work together to align the community to common good without undermining the good things they have, some which could be as good or better than we have in terms of community already at some levels. The answers are no less complex than the situation.
Roy Schermerhorn

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Care giving pulls at the heart strings

Day 2, after hearty breakfast, 10 team members journeyed to The Home for the Sick and Dying Babies/Children and 6 team members ventured to Gertrude's (orphanage for special needs children). The Home for the Sick and Dying Babies/Children left us with mixed emotions. It is sad to see some children so sick they wouldn't even cry, yet we were moved by team members who had a special gift interacting with children. Simon, in particular, had never previously held a baby in his life and God clearly shined his light as he comforted several babies with care and nurturing words. Gertrude's arrival was greeted by many familiar faces not the least "Shirtman". The new team members immediately jumped in and began to make the kids feel loved. Evan jumped into action was very moved by the experience. He showed great compassion and love for these outcast children with special needs. It's truly amazing to see God shine his light on those who are doing his will. Another highlight, Gertrude showed us the water well that Healing Haiti and Journey of Faith put in for the children. It was a joyous time for the team and the children. In the afternoon we learned an important lesson on how Christ wanted to stretch our faith and shuffle the schedule. Our first faith lesson was expected to be later in the week, but due to adjusted scheduling...which is common in Haiti, we moved into Lapherre to teach bible stories. Without preparation and totally relying on the Holy Spirit, Mady dazzled the audience with strength from above. God is moving in this team and we are excited to see what tomorrow brings. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Travel Day for Journey of Faith CA

The team left Sunday for Miami after a minor scare with a couple missing passports. A relaxing evening was spent at Miami Hilton Hotel with a team bonding dinner and a refreshing dip in the pool. We are thankful for Erin, the nurse on the team, because she was utilized twice already after little competition in the pool, and at the airport after having to prove the luggage would fit the size requirements. All 16 members were united This afternoon!! A minor delay due to rain/lightening and we were off, a short 90 minute flight and we landed safely in Haiti. We pushed our carts through the Haitian baggage hustlers with elbows high and "no merci" repeated. We arrived at the Healing Haiti guest house with a suprise VIP welcoming from the famous Jeff Gacek, Michael Stoebner (click click) Julie, Jean, Elisa, and Gracie. To make the night even better, the spaghetti dinner is back on the menu!! Mosquito netting is up, deet is on,  AC is on and we ready to turn in for the night. We are excited about this team and how God will work in our lives. 

Sunday Reflections

Our last full day in Haiti!  

We started the day with Sunday service at the Grace Church in Titanyen.   It was remarkable for this group of reserved Minnesotans to watch unrestrained worship.    The nearly two hour service was filled with special moments, from the little boy who embraced Jay, to the babies with Mary and Alyssa, to the wound fix by Brophy, to the little boy who wormed his way to Jackie and immediately laid his head in her lap.   But two things stand out:   Rick delivered an amazing message to the church in his 2nd-ever preaching event.    Very brave, and well done!   He gave all credit to his Creator.   :)       And, near the end of the service Pastor Gary exhorted the congregation to come to the front if they were ready to accept Jesus into their life.  A gentleman was inching his way towards the front, answering the call, and was a bit nervous.   He missed his chance and the service ended, but afterwards he approached and said he was ready to accept Jesus into his life.   They prayed together, and this man's face was radiating pure joy.  

After saying good-bye to the kids (not easy!), we headed back through Port-au-Prince and went up into the mountains.   Did some shopping along the way, and took in the breathtaking view.

The word of the day describing this was perspective (thanks Joe!).   Perspective fits in so many ways....
- Physical: We were looking at this beautiful panoramic - Cite Soleil is right on the coast - and remembering all we have seen over the past few days.
- Material: The richest country in the western hemisphere, a 90 minute plane ride from the poorest (Thanks Jeff  G!).
- Spiritual: This week we've seen love between strangers, prayers answered, joy amidst desolation.  Spirituality on steroids, and a stark contrast to the whirlwinds of daily life.
- Relationship: Our perspectives on each other.......we wished for a video of our first meeting a few months laugh and compare to the family we have become!  

This past week has brought us all so many memories that we'll treasure forever. Gratitude was another word of the day this evening, the blessings were abundant.  Glory to God!


Sunday, July 20, 2014


Today like everyday has been packed full of events worthy of sharing.  However, sharing how God was at work through our group this week can be summarized in one word... Toothpaste.

Let me explain...

When we started gathering donations for the trip, one item on our list of items to collect was toothpaste.  At first we were short toothpaste and then a call went out for more toothpaste.  However, when it came time to pack we had so much toothpaste we wondered what we would do with all of it.  We trusted that God had a plan for our team.

Earlier this week, we had the privilege of delivering Manna Packs to a small orphanage called Shalom House.  This orphanage has not been on the scheduled rotation for Healing Haiti, but they were in need of food so this special stop was added.   Our team made a quick stop and had the chance to meet these children.  After leaving the orphanage, we all wished we had a chance to spend more time in this peaceful place.

Fast forward to today...

As is typical when serving in Haiti, plans are always changing.   One orphanage was not able to receive us so we were redirected to present our VBS skit to the kids at Shalom House.  We were able to deliver many of the supplies we had gathered that had been intended for another orphanage.  We had a wonderful time with the kids and the entire team was united and engaged as we did crafts with these children of God.  When we went to leave, the house mother prayed for the time that we had spent with them.  During her prayer, she lifted up to the Lord thanksgiving for many things.  In her prayer she revealed that the night before she had prayed for the supply they had run out of... toothpaste.

Our day ended with Jeff Gacek sharing about God's work though Healing Haiti.  Jeff also talked about how once you take action to follow God's plan he will open and close doors to make small miracles happen.  Our team was amazed to see God's glorious plan at work through a few tubes of toothpaste.


Steve and Deb

Friday, July 18, 2014

A day in the life of a missionary...

Friday: A day split into very distinct experiences, each beautiful in its own way.   So much happens here every day.   How often do you wake up and spend the entire day working towards serving others?   
 - Attending a daily service at Church on the Rock:  6:00 AM departure for this service...and well worth the early rising!    The church is built in the construction style of a pole barn, inside are rows upon rows of seats, areas with benches, and a 2nd level around the outer portion.  In total, seating for 5000, and we were told later that it fills on Sundays.    In the center of one wall, a big stage with a drum set, two guitars, an electric keyboard and the pastor on the microphone.   And what a pastor!   Pastor Gary was leading an incredible worship session.    Words cannot adequately describe what it was like to see the congregation moving, walking, chanting, crying..all immersed in their Christian faith.     Moving to say the least.  
- VBS Story and Soccer with the neighbor kids:  This was the result of a late change to our schedule, another rewarding twist to the week!  HH put the call out to their neighbors that we were available to spend some time with a group of kids, and soon we had ~25 boys between the ages of 12 and 18 gathered.   They enjoyed a stirring rendition of David and Goliath (complete with a spaghetti pot helmet) and making cross necklaces with us, and then provided us with a free soccer lesson.    We learned that Alyssa can play soccer barefoot, Rick is brave enough to play goal, Jay can score on his own goal, and as always that Mark can bond with a youngster instantly.   Following soccer the boys had sandwiches and pop. Then we closed with a song led by Dickinson and a prayer.  An amazing group of boys, and a beacon of hope for the future of Haiti.   A special kudos to Dickinson, for being a natural leader of the group; that young man carried himself with an incredible amount of grace.   He wasn't the biggest, the oldest, the loudest....he was simply the leader.
- Apparent Project: After lunch we loaded up the trucks with suitcases full of donations (the suitcases were destined to be donations themselves; sorry Bergs!) and headed out.  The Apparent Project was started four years ago and is currently providing employment to ~300 Haitians and helping to keep young families together.   They sell a variety of creative things built onsite, often from recycled materials.    Very cool.  And they had fruit smoothies.
- General Hospital: The hospital was our last stop, and is located in downtown Port-au-Prince.   We got to see a good portion of the city, with a variety of sights and smells, and offer "Bon Swa" to many of those we met. So fun to see the smiles in return.    This was a hard, uncomfortable stop for many of us.   We visited the baby ward - 3 rooms full of sick babies and (for most) their families.   The people we met were very appreciative, but was very hard to see these innocent souls enduring such hardship.  As was stated earlier.....moving to say the least.

Following another fabulous dinner at the HH house, more great discussion with the group.    So much laughter today!    And the variety of experiences was reflected in the "Words of the Day":    Joy, Love (thank YOU Ronaldo), Hope, Processing, Stretching, Beauty, Moments, Comfort. 

And it was shown to me that sometimes, maybe a person's only role is to stand outside and wait for someone to hug. 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pick up trucks and Crazy turns

Stardate: Wednesday, July 17, 2014.

Today started off finding out we had a different vehicle which led to our first word of the day: pick-up... as in the actual vehicle and the extra supplies needed for an additional orphanage stop. Overall, today was a day to learn patience in ourselves, and to trust in God's timing and plan for the day. With that, today ended with a special serving opportunity at Gertrude's orphanage for the disabled.

Our first stop was Isaiah's orphanage to teach the David and Goliath VBS lesson, and to connect with the kids through a series of arts and crafts. Might add that we brought with us a mighty mean looking Goliath (Mark), but David (Scott Brophy) brought down the mighty giant with the children's applause and laughter.  We then made cross necklaces while coloring and painting with the kids.  A great stop!

Next, we took a pit stop by the Sea (amazing view  by the way), which is where our day took a hard right turn as God's plan for us changed.  This change had half the team take a special trip to Grace Village to pick up MannaPacks from FMSC to deliver to a new orphanage called Shalom.  With most of the team making the food drop,  A couple of us stayed with the truck and hung out with the local boys of the neighborhood.  

Carrying MannaPacks

After this God stop, we were on our final stop of the day to Gertrude's orphanage for the disabled. Here, we find it truly amazing that in a country lacking significant resources to meet the daily needs of many people, one amazing lady (Gertrude) has been able cobble together the resources to develop a home and a place of belonging for what may be the most forgotten of children. A most touching and glorious moment was how Rick was able to light up the day of a boy named Forlan. Sometimes God speaks softly, but this time was clear for all of the team to witness sacrifice and the joy in serving others.  

As we decompress from a long and draining day, we are off to bed for another early day in the mission field.

Scott B - Squared

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Grace Village and the Elders

After having a restful night of sleep we all woke up this morning with great anticipation. 

Our morning devotion topic was focused around hope and trust.  Our Hope to surrender ourselves to His will and let Him lead us.  Trusting that God would work through us today with the orphans at Grace Village and the Elders of Titanyen.

We packed ourselves in the "Tap-Tap", loaded up our supplies and headed out to start our day at Grace Village.  Some of us had been there before and some were newbies, but there were many amazing changes seen by all.  Immediately the kids were there to greet us and welcome us to their home.  It was exciting for us to see the joy the children were experiencing playing with the basketballs and soccer balls that were donated.  Pastor Wesley lead the kids in worship and singing.  He is such an enthusiastic man with such passion and love for God.   Our group then put on a skit for the kids discussing placing our Hope in Christ. The skit involved David and Goliath and talked about David's Trust in the Lord to defeat Goliath.  After, we played soccer and basketball with some while others were involved in crafts.  Playing, interacting and loving them was the highlight of our time there.  We finished up our time touring the facility including the new family style housing and medical/dental clinic. 

Again, we packed ourselves into the "Tap Tap" and headed out into the dust and heat.  We picked up two additional travelers, Renaldo and Gerno would be translating for us during our visit with the elders. Renaldo and Gerno are apart of the transitional program at Grace Village.  This part of our trip pushed many of us out of our comfort zones to truly trust God.  For some of us it was washing and putting lotion on their feet;  for others it was praying with them and their families.   The Haitian elders exemplified such love and passion for Christ and His importance in their everyday lives. 

On our way home we stopped by the mass grave site of Titanyen.  We were able to reflect back upon the devastation of the 2010 earthquake and pray for those who lost their lives and for their loved ones.

The day ended with a devotional at the Palm Hotel.  Thru the devotional we were able to talk about the experiences we had that day and how God moved us.  It was awesome to see how this  team continues to gel and grow together in Christ.....The day was a success!

Jason and Alyssa

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Water Truck Day!

After a wonderful breakfast (feast!) the team packed up and headed to the water fill station.    We had 3 stops on the schedule today, with about 45 minutes at each to fill buckets and interact with the kids (big and small), and a break between each to refill the tanker.   It was an amazing day - so many hearts touched, and so many smiles.  Why is this such a powerful experience?    Life is about connecting with each other at a truly human level. Jesus gave us the perfect example for doing so, and it is made real when a toddler "chooses" you and can't wait to give and receive your love.  

These were some of the words we shared at the end of the day: joy, love, pray, struggle, continuation, faith, and gratitude.   And, of course, WATER!   

This evening we watched a slideshow of the pictures from the day, and the living conditions were striking.   It was also amazing that while you are there, you see the people not their surroundings.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Bonswa! back home, it's been a long day of traveling.  The flight from Minneapolis to Miami was uneventful, all 25 of our donation bags made it onto the plane with no issues!  The layover in Miami was longer than intended, due to the weather.  The flight to Port-au-Prince was uneventful, if you were lucky enough to sit on the right side of the plane you were able to see the mountain's as we were coming in.  Beautiful, green, rolling hills.  Landed, and collected all 25 of our bags (Praise God!)  Loaded all the bags (over 40, including carry-on's) and everyone (15 people) on the tap tap (yes it was a little cramped!) and headed to the guest house.  A wonderful spaghetti dinner was waiting for us when we arrived.  We had devotional time, and free time.  Tomorrow we are scheduled to do 3 water truck stops in Cite Soleil.  This being my 3rd time here I'm still just as excited as the first time I was here to see all the kiddos and getting hold and love them.  I know that the team is very excited for tomorrow as well.    Jacki

First impressions from a newbie....
 - Of the group coming together.  One word of the day which was greeted with many nodded heads: Fellowship. Much laughter, and cooperation!
 - Of anticipation, in the days ahead and the opportunity to serve.     "Hearts will break, but the Lord will not leave them broken."       The doubts creep in; the anxiety can creep close to the surface, but the positive emotion and this team overwhelms them.
 - Of excitement.....what feels better than true service to others?      I feel that I am on this trip for selfish reasons, and pray that I am able to open my heart and make this trip about God, serving with humility, and living in the moment with compassion, and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.   Mike