Sunday, May 10, 2015


Today was a day of mixed emotions. The day started with the service at Grace Church in Titanyen. The music was lively and it was obvious that the people loved to sing. As I observed, I was amazed at how these people praised God, even though their lives are filled with so many hardships. Pastor Wesley preached from Acts 12:1-19. Though it was in Creole, I could tell he was passionate about God's Word.

After church, we visited 5 elders. We took them a hot meal, juice, water, applesauce, and some snacks. From the pictures, you can see what meager conditions they live in. The thing that touched me most was that we washed their feet and rubbed lotion on both their feet and hands. All five people were so grateful for what we brought and what we did for them. Though we might have thought we would be a blessing to them, the blessing they gave us was far greater.

Because it was Mother's Day today I thought a lot about my own mom. It made me more aware of all I have and how well my own mother and father-in-law are taken care of. We as Americans need to be more thankful! My prayer today is that these wonderful elders would have their prayer requests answered. Some of their requests were for basic needs like a roof to be repaired, food and money, health issues and a new pair of sandals. Jesus told his disciples to be servants. The spiritual life is all about service and having a servant's heart.

John 13:14
If I then your Lord and Master, have washed your feet ye also ought to wash one another's feet.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Fulfilling Day

Throughout the week as we have visited different places and done some very challenging things I sometimes wondered if the little things we have done really make much of a difference. I'm glad I didn't have to try to write this blog on several of those days because I'm not sure I could have found the right words to say. It's impossible to describe some of the things I have seen and experienced this week. I'm so happy that we had the opportunity to work in the Grace Village clinic the last couple days. Today Amy and I were able to see a couple more patients in the orthopedic clinic and the dental team had another busy day as well. It's easy to think, "what good have I done by helping so few people in a country so full of need?" but as each of the patients left from both the ortho and dental clinics you could see the appreciation and joy that our treatments brought to every single one.  I met a fifteen year old boy today who had never been to the dentist before.  It's hard for me to wrap my head around that since basic medical and dental care is something that we take for granted. There is so much more work to do here but today I saw a glimpse of hope.

Matthew 25:40 …….Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Highlights from Thursday and Friday

Our team has had a couple of very busy days!  Thursday we had the opportunity to experience water truck day.  We did a total of three stops.  We met the truck at the water filling station and waited while it made its way to the front of the line to be filled with clean water to deliver to areas of the city that have no access to clean water. 

The first stop was 17, where the church, school and feeding center are being built.  The line that formed when we arrived seemed to be never ending, as were the requests from the children to hold and give them attention.  The need for water was very evident as many rushed to the front of the line to get water.  There were some that stood where the hose connected to the truck to collect the drips of leaking water to fill small containers.  It seemed that the water lasted a very long time, however it did not last long enough to fill every bucket of every person that waited in line.  It was difficult to know that some returned to their tents without the desperately needed water. 

We then walked over to see the progress on the new church.  It was amazing to walk through the fenced off area to see the beginnings of the building on top of foot after foot of garbage.  This project brings so much hope to so many!  Many children followed us into the construction area in anticipation of singing a song with Jonas and Valery – a longstanding tradition with the children. 

            After stopping back at the water filling station, we were off to the next stop.  This stop not only needed water, they were in need of basic medical care.  Amy was able to clean and bandage a few wounds and apply ointment to an itchy rash.  All of which was greatly appreciated.  There were many more children to love on at this stop as well. 

            Our last water stop of the day was near Haitian Initiative (HI).  HI is an after school program for children to have the opportunity (if they stay in school and maintain high enough grades) to play soccer each day after school and they also receive a meal after practice.  Our team was able to serve one group their meal, Ray was able to perform some dental screens (to prioritize their dental needs) and Amy and Josh had the opportunity to perform some Orthopedic evaluations.
            After a quick shower at the guesthouse to clean up after a very hot and dirty day, we packed our bags and headed to Grace Village.  It was a very dusty ride up to Grace due to the lack of rain.  We arrived safely and settle in.  It was fun to spend some time with Grace Village kids.
            Today was an extremely busy day as part of our team worked in the dental clinic and a couple others performing an orthopedic clinic.  Many of us had some on the job training to become dental assistants and autoclave specialists!  It was a very fulfilling day.  Each Haitian that we were able to serve was so appreciative and that made it more than worth it!  We are looking forward to another busy day at Grace Village Clinic tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Unforgettable Day

It was an amazing experience today. We all headed down to the general hospital and the ride there was an experience in and of itself. When we arrived we handed out care packages and visited with the people.  We prepared the care packages before we left for Haiti.  One care package includes a bar of soap, wash cloth, toothbrush, toothpaste, hotel shampoo, snack, diaper, and a package of apple sauce.  At first it was a bit overwhelming distributing the care packages to one per crib/bed.  Most of the people would place them under their pillows and come back asking for another.  It was challenging to say no but we ended up having plenty left over to give everyone a second care package.  Once we finished giving the care packages we had the opportunity to visit with the children and the parents.  It was emotional seeing some children in pain wishing there was something we could do.  Comforting and holding the children was enough to show how much we cared.  I walked up to a mom who placed her little daughter in my arms. The little girl grasped around my body and eventually fell asleep in my arms.  It was a challenge to leave them behind. 

We then went to help feed and play with special needs kids at Gertrude's Orphanage. It was an amazing experience to walk in and see all the kids singing and happy.  We pushed their wheel chairs around and played with all the kids on the playground.  When it was time to eat we each fed a child with a hot bowl that contained rice, chicken, and gravy.  A little boy came to me in the beginning and I picked him up.  He fell asleep in my arms and I carried him around the majority of the time.  He did not want me to leave and was holding on to me until I walked out the door.  He was trying to escape with us. 

Marcia, Debbie, Josh and JoAnn went to help out at the wound clinic. They assisted with cleaning wounds and changing people's dressings. 

Back at the guesthouse Ray saw the neighbor boys for dental screenings.  They will get treatment on Saturday at Grace Village.

Over all today was an unforgettable experience that I will never forget.  I am so grateful and blessed for this opportunity. 


P.S. Here are some photos of our travels in Haiti. No cameras allowed in the places we visited today. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Colossians 3:12

Cloth yourself with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Col. 3:12

This was our verse this morning as we headed out to the Home for Sick and Dying Babies. Our anticipation was that it was going to be much harder than it actually was. We are sure that it was all the prayers, and we felt the Lord's presence with us the entire time. The babies were all so tiny for their age and they enjoyed being cuddled and held. We were trying to share our love for them for as long as we could. There was one young couple that stayed in the nursery the entire time with their sick little baby. The daddy was holding a picture of their other little child and said, "My children."You could see the desperation in his eyes and his love was evident for his child. It was a very tender and touching moment. A bell rang and all the parents that were there had to end their visit for the day.
(we were not allowed to take photos here)

Though it was difficult, "God's call will always take us beyond our comfort zone and into vast unexpected and explored reaches of His grace and mercy."

Then in contrast, in the afternoon we went to visit GraceVillage for a tour and witnessed many happy, healthy children. We enjoyed sitting at the family table with Elisa in one of the Grace family homes. The children who live at Grace no longer live in dormitories; they now live in family homes with a mama and papa. The home we visited has 10 boys who live there. While Elisa answered our questions the mama was preparing dinner for the family. Some of the boys hung out with us and told us their favorite thing about living at Grace. It was a blessing to see that these boys now have a family.

Our last stop was at a little orphanage where we played and did crafts with 11 children.

We had a great day together!

JoAnn and Debbie

P.S. Church Ladies…I named you all as I held and whispered in those babies ears!

Safe Arrival

We had a long but good day of travel today. After a short delay in Miami we made it to Haiti in the late afternoon. Marcia was a pro leading us through the airport process as quickly as Haitian time allows. It was so great to see the smiling faces of Valery and Jonas in the parking area and we took off for guest house 1.  After a quick drop off and partial settling in at our home for the week we took a brief tour of the guest house properties and went out to say hello to the neighbor boys in the lot next door. Seeing their smiling faces and getting big hugs is a wonderful welcome to a week in Haiti. We ate dinner with Gates while she filled us in on the rules for the week. The shepherd's pie, veggies and cold sodas hit the spot. After dinner clean up we had our first in person team meeting and word of the day. It was nice to all be in the same room for a discussion and we're looking forward to being a team of servants and learners this week. All of us are tired from a long day of travel and starting to adjust to the Haitian warmth so it's a low key and early bedtime night at the guest house tonight. We are so thankful for your prayers and for our safe travel today, and are looking forward to what God will do through us in Haiti!