Monday, October 1, 2012

Dear Lord,

Forgive me...I did not know.

Thank You to the beautiful Haitian people for opening my eyes and my heart to the Glory of God!!

I feel so blessed to have been born in America, the land of abundance. Thank You to the Lord for all that we have been blessed with here. God gave us our strengths, talents and riches so we may comfort, share and help those who are less fortunate than us. Do not be greedy.
All that I have is yours Lord.

Do not ignore those who are in need standing before you. One person CAN make a difference. Love who is standing before you, as Jesus Loves You.

Please continue to bless and watch over the people of Haiti. They live for only you Lord.

I pray that you bless and watch over our wonderful team now that they have returned home and are struggling to find their way.

Glwa Po Bondye - Glory to God!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

See You Later, Tarantula.

We have returned home now. Safe in the comfort of our own homes. Most of us have probably taken a hot shower by now. I have not for the fact that I want to remember for as long as I can what Haiti smelt like. I want to remember for as long as I can what Haiti felt like. What it looked like. Not only the landscapes and buildings, but the emotions in the faces of ALL of the people I encountered. You do not need to speak the same language in order to know how a person is feeling. I think that is the greatest gift God has given to me this week. Learning to feel things deeper and more meaningful then to just hear.

As we have arrived back home, I feel so many different things. I think the one that is screaming out most is the heartache I am feeling. I know that no matter how much time will pass, a large part of my heart will always be in Haiti. Among all of the different places and people I had seen. There is a piece of my heart in the home for the sick and dying. Specifically in Oonay and Marqu the two older boys that I had so much fun with both of the times I visited. Seeing the pain in Oonay's eyes because all he wanted was to see his mother. And seeing the joy in Marqu's face when I taught him how to say the alphabet. And my heart belongs to the boys I played with in Grace Village. Junior, who made some amazing bracelets for the team, and Moyck, the boy that I was attached to all day. I can see the change that they will eventually make in their world. And part of my heart belongs to James. A boy who is being sponsored to go to school through Healing Haiti. What high hopes and dreams that young man will achieve if he just keeps believing in himself and what he can do. And a part of my heart belongs to Jean, for telling me all week that I was truly good at salsa, when really he could be on dancing with the stars, and the time that we shared together to form an awesome friendship that I know will continue on. And my heart belongs to my team. All of the struggles that we all went through made us not just a close knit group, but a family. A family who doesn't care what you wear because that's not what makes you who you are. A family that will listen no matter how stupid your problem is, like a broken statue (Thanks Kari). And even though we knew we had leaders of the group, we were ALL on the same level of respect, kindness, and integrity. And even though I did not enjoy this as much as all of my other adventures this week, my heart even lies with the largest and furriest tarantula I have ever seen. Rest in peace my friend! (;

So yes, as you can probably tell, my heart is breaking. But those broken pieces belong to very important people who I know will take great responsibility and care of those broken yet distinct pieces of my heart. And as I have returned back home, I am not sure what my future holds for me. But right now it feels good to cry. Knowing I have fourteen others who know how I am feeling. Who I can go to and say "Hey, are you feeling this, too?" Haiti was SO much more than just a mission trip. It was a life changing experience. I believe God has put us in the paths before to prepare us for the paths he puts us on in the future, such as Haiti.

Say goodbye to all of my new friends and family I knew was going to be a daunting task. I knew if I had said the "G" word, my eyes would have turned into waterfalls. Although on the ride home and even now they seem to be. So, I looked at today differently.

"I'll see you later, Haiti."

God Bless,
Love Always,
Shelby

Monday, August 20, 2012

Goodbye Haiti

As I sit here my last morning in Haiti I can't help but recall all that I have seen.  I sit here thinking about these people that live with so little but yet are so happy.  I wonder why, why are some of us so needy?  Why do we feel we have to have so much?  I grew up in a poor family, we didn't have much, at least that's what I thought until I came on this journey.  We all have so much more than what we see.  We just need to open our eyes and learn to appreciate more the people in our lives, and the things that we have.  Tobi said something last night that will forever be in my mind, "I will make more with less." 
After today I may no longer physically be in Haiti.but my journey to Haiti will continue. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Light of Christ

  It is our last night here in Haiti and our journey is almost finished. Or is it?   I have felt many emotions in various degrees of intensity through out the week. Obviously some good and some bad. Frustration, Inspiration, Compassion, Respect, Hope, Anger and Peace.  I may think of a few more words here in a minute but I am delirious with exhaustion.
  Some of us went back to the home for the sick and dying children yesterday.  We had an option of either going back or doing some other activity.  I felt called to go back one more time and I am glad I did, as it gave me a kind of closure and a feeling of relief.  I saw some of the children who were initially  quite ill looking, looking more alert and less lethargic in their crib. This time I saw more order than chaos and felt I was more able to be present for the little ones.  I held them in my arms and sang songs to them. Songs I have sung to my own children so many times before. It gave me some peace. I hope they felt that peace, love and comfort too.  I hope I will always remember that one little boy staring up at me so intently,  and then giving me that beautiful toothless smile that only a baby can do. It just touched my heart to the core.
  Then today, we headed back up to Grace Village for church. The service was beautiful. But it was a very long service..2 hours! I have to say it was a very religious experience for me as I was constantly thanking Jesus when I was able to sit down and then I would Thank Jesus when I got to stand because my A..um butt was so numb or my legs were so tired from standing..2 hours I tell ya! But seriously to hear all those children singing so loud and proud and with such passion I am pretty sure my friends were just as misty eyed as I was. It was a very moving experience. One I will  never forget.  
   I am filled up inside. Haiti is an amazing place with such beauty. But the poverty and the destruction that still exists 2 1/2 years after the Earthquake is shocking. I am hopeful for Haiti,the changes are there, albeit slow, but they are there.  The children up at Grace Village could be that change for the future. Great things are happening up there.   Its my hope that my family and I can come back in the future, having them experience a mission trip as well.  I would love to share this with them. But if not Haiti then maybe just helping out in our community to begin with.
    Thank you my fellow team members for sharing a part of yourselves with me. This was an unforgettable, incredible and awesome journey to have shared with you.  We will take back with us many memories and many questions.  Hopefully in time the answers will be given to us. But I know that I saw the light of Christ shinning so bright in each and every one of you and it was beautiful!

Peace,

Jennifer Keller Sirianni

A Great Week in Haiti

This week has been so amazing! I love it here. Today was one of my favorite days. We went to church at grace village this morning. Best service ever!!! You could feel the energy in the room. It was unlike any other service I've ever been to. The kids there were really nice as well. After the service we went shopping! It was one of the funnest things all week. I got some great deals. I got a painting for my room. I got a small wooden box. I also got asorted gifts for the family. I loved barganing for the things I wanted. We went up on top of the mountian for  the market. The view was astounding! I could see almost all of Haiti from there. Tomarow we come home. I'm excited, but im also sad to leave. Haiti,while devistating, is beautiful.
                                                 love always,
                                                                  Isaac
P.S.: I really want to come back in January. ( hint hint)

Leaving a piece of my heart

Going through my journey in Haiti my heart has been broken.  The children of Cite Soleil who struggle daily, that have so little but love so much.  The Elders, the children of Gertrudes, the children at the hospital for the sick and dying, so many thoughts go through my head....some good and some bad.  Their strong faith carries them through and keeps them happy.  I feel great joy when I think of the children at Grace Village and know they are being cared for and have their caregivers and each other to lean on.  I witnessed the love shown between these children and it warmed my heart.  Though my heart has broken it has also grown from this experience.  I know as I fly out of Haiti tomorrow I will be leaving a piece of my heart........          

May God Bless the people of Haiti and May God Bless this wonderful Alleluia team of August 2012.  

What A Journey

I cannot begin to describe this past week to those who have not encountered Haiti before!  As has been said many times throughout the week....nothing could have prepared me for what we would encounter here.  Its not that I couldn't imagine the poverty and the naked children who are so thin with their distended bellies....it is the feelings, the smells, and the emotions that go through you as each day you are able to live in their world.  Those cannot be described; they have to be FELT with your whole heart.  As most of us will tell you, my heart was completely broken to pieces early on in the week while I held those severely ill and dying babies, while I was carrying little girls and boys that only wanted a smile and a hug, while I was listening to the beautiful singing voices of the children at Grace Village as they thanked us for being here, and so many other times I can't even begin to mention.  As the week went on, I was able to experience God's healing in my heart in so many ways...while I was sitting in worship today and felt the Holy Spirit surround us (I shed so many tears for the beauty all around me), while holding the ill children for a second time and knowing that they have improved and are receiving the nourishment that their bodies so needed, while I look at each of my team members and know that they are now and will forever be family to me.  I know that my heart will forever be changed, but I also know that my journey is only beginning...both here in Haiti and at home.  I will continue to ask "What is God trying to teach me" whenever I can, so that I can remember that it is ultimately His plan that I want for my life.  Thank you Lord for this beautiful journey!

Written by Sara Mosher

Friday, August 17, 2012

True Happiness Lies Within a Smile

Today was a day of inspiration, love, and genuine compassion. As we progressed through our morning ritual of being blessed with an amazing breakfast and sharing laughs, the thought of embarking to Grace Village was flowing through our bodies. While riding in the tap tap, I thought about the children and what they would be like and how our amazing group could help make a positive difference in their lives. We were welcomed to Grace Village with open hearts and open arms from the children. Immediately the children saw us and with smiling faces, I knew today would be a memory we would never forget. The day at Grace Village began by meeting the children and getting to know them on personal levels. With each conversation, we opened our hearts to loving children who were looking for someone to play games with or just talk. As the day progressed, we became connected with the children and learned what amazing individuals they are. No matter their life situations, the children showed off their glowing smiles and opened their hearts to us. What truly struck me was the connection that I had with a boy that reminded me so much of how I grew up. The boy was shy, loving, and peaceful and always had a smile on his face. His unforgettable smile brought ultimate levels of joy and happiness to me. Even though few words were shared between him and I, he brought out the best in me and made me realize that life is precious and a simple smile can make all the difference in the world. After hours of playing, we made our way to the church/feeding building. It was amazing to see how a group of children got along so well and how each child was so peaceful enjoying their snack. What really inspired us today was how the children sang in such love, care, and passion towards God. No words can fully describe the tears shed and joy that our team felt seeing those children sing and the love that sprung up towards heaven. Our hearts stopped in those moments of seeing how amazing those children were and what made them so cheerful. Along with these amazing, inspirational children, came a host family who found the light and followed in the calling from God of mission in Haiti. The family showed such sincerity in what they were called to do and live on what God has in store for them. It was amazing to see how a family could come from our culture and see the best features of a struggling country and attempt to make a difference in the lives of Haiti. We learned of the vision of Grace Village and heard about the true love being put into action by people who desire to give those children more opportunities in bettering their lives. We were inspired and took away from this experience a sense to find true passion within our hearts to take every moment here and believe that God is guiding us down new paths in order to find our calling and shine our light through helping others. Seeing the smiles and genuine compassion illuminating in and around us, I knew that today was precious and memories were made that will last in our hearts forever. The underlying message is to always cherish the little things in life that make you smile and hold close to your heart those memories that bring you joy and happiness. Life is too short, be who you are destined to be and don't be afraid to open your heart to new things and find God's light in times of happiness and sadness.

Published by Kasey Buchheit

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Leaning leaning leaning on the ever lasting arms

Yesterday was a hard day for me.  We went to places where I thought I would have been of some kind of service. You know I am a nurse of course..(I say this with utter sarcasm) and then... felt completely useless and frustrated. At the home for the sick and dying children I held babies in my arms that actually looked like the pictures in the magazines of starving children!  Their skinny little arms and legs, the sunken eyes and hollow cheeks. I often found my self gravitating towards the most sickly and starved. Many of these babies were at various stages of malnutrition.  I felt so helpless and frustrated because I thought I should be able to do something, anything and I couldn't.  These nuns have so many children coming in and so little supplies to work with, it was maddening.  The only consolation for me that day was seeing a little one wobbling round drinking a bottle of Ensure that I know I had brought in that day for supplies.

 Today was a different day.  We went into the city Titanyen and meet up with a few of the elderly and brought in food and spent some time with them and listened and learned about their life. Many of them no longer have family living, some are taking care of their children's children because they have died. But, even through their amazing and unbelievable hardships, their faith is still strong and it clearly emanates from them. It reminds me of a song we sing often in church..Leaning, leaning leaning on the ever lasting arms.
 I was also mesmerized by my friends today. I witnessed such compassion and respect. Jack, I saw you...your going to get a sunburn from the inside out. you were glowing I tell you.

We also went to a mass grave site today. Right after the 2010 earthquake, so many people had been killed or died from injury, family's would have to lay their loved ones out on their street curb and wait for the dump trucks that would come by to pick them up and bring them to one of many mass grave sites. I keep thinking, How do you deal with that???Wrapping up your child,  husband, parent, sister, or brother, any or all of them, putting them on the side of the road, outside your house to wait for a dump truck to go take them away??How does one cope with that one???? Next time you hear me complaining about a bad day, just pinch me. Please.

Jennifer Keller Sirianni

Intruding?

Today not only did we visit the elders, but we also went  to the Mass gravesite where over 150,000 people were buried when they lost their lives in the January 2010 earthquake.  As we all jumped down from the tap-tap (this is the truck we are transported in daily) I noticed there were Haitian people there at the site.  I don't know why, but this struck a nerve for me.  I wondered what they thought of us being there.  Had they lost family members who were buried here and did they feel we were intruding on their sacred ground?  Once we had all gathered around the memorial we held hands and prayed.  The Haitian people there also joined our circle and prayed with us (we did have a interpretor there to translate our prayer).  I'm glad they prayed with us and understood our prayer, but I still question how did they feel about us being there? 

A visit with old friends

A visit with old friends is a blessing, an ease that you feel when you see them.  The familiarity of being with them, the memories of what you have seen and been through over the years.  That's comfort.  Today we had our elderly visits.  The beginning of our first visit definitely took me out of my comfort zone, but by the time we had finished I was looking forward to our next.  These people were so HAPPY to have our team there to visit with them, sing with them, comfort them and pray for them.  These elders are amazing people.  And like when leaving an old friend when the time came to leave you felt as if you were leaving a part of you behind.  A part of you that will never again belong to you alone, but will be a memory that will be shared  by all that witnessed.

Dear Lord, as their lives decline, and their energies decrease,
more than ever hold them by Your Power.

Give them strength to work in your service til the last day of their life.
At night keep them close to Your Heart;
and should they die before the morning breaks,
may they go rejoicing in that vision of Your entrancing beauty,
never to be separated from You.

Amen      

God's Calling

It seems so easy on paper but oh so much more difficult to carry out. Or is it? Catering and caring for the poor? The needy? The suffering? Most people have no idea what they are capable of or what they can accomplish, especially when you fired up inside for God. When you commit to a cause, work to raise funding, build a solid team, work, pray, work, pray. Today was started by a visit to one of two mass grave sites here in Haiti. A grave site where more than 200,000 Haitians lost their lives on January 12th, 2010. So sad to know the devastation and horrific chaos that must have rung out that today through a large portion of the rolling countryside of Port-Au-Prince. But there was a sense of peace, this day, as we stood on the hillside, astonished by the majestic beauty that God created as we looked out at the lucious green landscape of the land below..........uniquely accented by the crisp blue waters of the ocean in the distance.

Then we made our way to the first of several visits we had planned for the elderly. It was our calling and we were fired up for the chance to deliver the love and promises of God. We were united as one and relished the opportunity to step up to the plate and be the hands of feet of Jesus. We washed their hands and feet, lathered their porous sun dried skin with lotion, sang to them, prayed for them, laid hands on them and assured them that our God is a loving God and that as his people we have unconditional love and devotion for them. It was another great example of thirsting to serve his calling and drinking from his cup as our souls were quenched. I felt so blessed and moved spiritually to heed his calling and to feel like we made a difference in the lives of these beautiful human beings. The first gentleman was quoted as asking what he could in turn offer in prayer to us. What are our needs? I need Jesus and will spend the balance of my time on earth praying for direction from him of what he will call me to do. I'm listening..........
Jack Clemons

Afraid I'll Forget...

This has been quite the experience for me. Having never left the country before, there have been a lot of "firsts" for me on this trip.

It has been so overwhelming.
So much has happened already. And I am so afraid I will forget...

the beautiful sound of the tiny girl at the home for the sick and dying, that I made giggle.
the eyes of the elderly we visited light up as we came to bring them food and to rub their hands and feet with lotion.
the exhuberant voice of Wilson singing "God is so good" with the children in cite soleil, while standing on the pile of garbage, feces, and decomposed goat carcasses overlooking the beautiful blue ocean.
the constant honking of vehicles -  as this is their means of "traffic control"
the excited, silly kids at gertrudes that were swinging together so high (doing the spider) that they almost tipped over the swingset.
all of the kids without clothes and shoes.
all of the people whose only means of transportation is to WALK everywhere.
the strength of the woman here - to be able to lift and carry buckets of water on their head, while carrying another in their hand.
the beautiful view from the top of the mountain at the mass grave site from the january 2010 earthquake and feeling closer to God up there.
the "roads" which are basically just piles of rocks that have huge holes and streams running through them.
watching the compassion of my team members with all who we come in contact with.
There are so many more memories I could write down. The list is so long. I do NOT want to forget. We are so blessed in America for all that we have!!
Also, today we visited the elderly.
Surprisingly, this brought me great joy. At the 2nd stop I felt the holy spirit was present with us as Junior played guitar and we all sang "Glory to God" to an elderly woman in a tiny shack filled with flies and rubbed lotion on her hands and feet. It was a beautiful and moving experience!

I Thank God for opening my eyes and my heart on this trip.
I have not had much time to process how I will be changed (or what I will change) from this trip, but I look forward to Him revealing it to me!

My word for today was: Spiritual.
With Much Love,
Rachelle

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Haiti is Healing Me


As I think about my life back home and how many changes I can and can not see coming for me, I think about how do the peoples lives here in Haiti change because we come here.

In my perspective we live in a society that always looks down at people because we think we are better than they are. We must be better then they are because we have better clothes, a better house, a better family, a better education, a better, well, everything. That social standard that has been set in America is completely on the opposite spectrum here in Haiti. Yes, I am sure that Haiti has some form of "food chain" but it is not as obvious to me as it is in the states. We may be bringing down donated clothes and supplies that are needed here to survive and in that way I can physically see how we are helping. But when I go and interact with the Haitian population that I am able to make contact with I sometimes feel that we aren't making an emotional effort to invest our time in the beautiful Haitian people.

Even though I can see some of the difference we are making here in Haiti, I feel more of a change in myself. For the past couple of weeks I have been feeling empty, which I think I mentioned in my last blog, and I am finding that inside I am filling up, quite rapidly, with the love of Jesus and God and also with the love of the Haitian children. Their laughs and smiles are so contagious and even more so when they sing "God is so good, is so good, is so good," or when Wilson will sing "TohToh Boqee" and the children will reply back "A-ah, A-ah".

The major question everyone seems to be asking themselves is "what is God trying to teach me." Some can't put their fingers on it just yet, but I think I have figured out what God is trying to teach me in my own journey of faith: Sometimes PEOPLE are not in a need of a fix, but their THINGS do. And vise versa with me. I feel that I have parts of me that are broken and the beautiful people and experiences of Haiti are fixing me.

My biggest delight of the day that I felt filled me up most was teaching a young boy, Marqee, at the home for the sick and dying how to say the english alphabet. When he got it down he would not stop saying it with a grin a mile wide. What a blessing to see all of this happiness in a place full of doubt.

I hope everything is going well back home. (: God bless you and the Haitian people!

Shelby

A VISIT TO THE CHILDREN

This morning was the visit to the Hospital for sick and dying children.  I wasn't sure what I should expect going there.....but I do know what I saw was not what I expected.  I guess I was expecting a lot of chaos but that I did not see.  It seemed to me that Jesus was there watching over the children.  It was a very moving  experience.

Heavely Father,we ask that you wrap your healing loving arms around these children who are battling disease and sickness.  Provide them with strength to get through and become healthy again to return to their families.  Lord please place your hands on each and every one of them and provide your healing love and strength to them at this time.  We pray this all in Jesus name, AMEN

The boy and the starfish

  Our first outing today was bringing water into 3 districts in the Citi Soliel. I really didn't have any idea of what to expect but was eager for the adventure.  Through out the day I tried to ask myself .."What is God trying to teach me?"..for this day anyway, right?? ( We have this question posed to us in words on a large mirror in the living area.)  and frankly at this point I have absolutely no idea, except maybe to think about the story of the Boy and the Starfish.  Basically the boy is posed the question while walking down a beach by a man watching him. "Why are you throwing all those star fish washed up back into the sea, you can't possible save them all..and the boy picks up one of the starfish in his hand and looks at it and says to the man, I was able to help this one today and continued to throw starfish back into the sea. So I am hopeful that even though I or my fellow companions may be feeling rather "inept" (my word for the day) , I hope we all can be that boy..helping at least one of Gods beautiful brown eyed starfish if not today, than maybe another day.

Peace,
Jennifer Keller Sirianni
 


 


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A walk on the beach

A normal walk on the beach would probably find you looking for beautiful seashells to pick up and save.  You know, to have as a memory keepsake.  Well today we watched barefoot children walking through piles of seashells mixed with glass, garbage, human waste and many other things I couldn't even identify.  There were probably many beautiful seashells underneath the filth, but these children were my beautiful seashells.  I just wanted to pick them up and take them all away.  Take them away to where they were safe, where they could be fed, bathed, clothed and have a strong roof over there heads.  The amazing thing about this is that you look at these children and their attitude you would never know they live in such a place.  Their faith  is incredible.  They smile and you want to smile.  Every child you look at makes your heartbreak yet it makes your heart swell.  Jesus loves the children!  Today was watertruck day.  We will have another again Saturday.  I look forward to seeing, hugging and holding the children again. 

Jack made it to Haiti today!   He missed watertruck day but will have the chance to experince it when we make our Saturday rounds. 

God Bless you all. 

My word for the day is unbelievable - if you have experienced Haiti or if you ever do you will understand. 

Water truck day

The words I write simply could never explain today or even Haiti in general. We made 3 different stops with the water truck today. Each stop very much the same yet in the same breath completely different.  The first stop I was relaxed, enjoyed the kids. They are bright eyed and love Jesus! The second stop was difficult for me, a harder area maybe, not sure. There again the kids just want to be all over you, they love to touch our hair, my part on my head they kept running their finger along. The 3rd stop I helped to fill the water buckets. This last stop of the day is where they seemed to "have" the most,  they just seemed to want more. Strange how similar to Americans they are in that regard, we always want more. Hard concept to grasp, we REALLY do not need more. God does not ask about nor care about our things. I believe His biggest hope for us is to share His love and that is exactly what we did today.
I feel the light of Jesus shining through us all. Glory. Glory. Glory!

Jen T.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Its a Jungle Out There.

As I take in the smells of hecticness of Haiti, I reflect on our long journey to this unfamiliar place.

We began the day by waking up bright and early at the "normal human time" of 1:45 AM. As we packed up the van and picked up some of our fellow team members we drove to the airport and unloaded the van along with our 20 stuffed donated suitcases. Check in at the airport was going smoothly. Bags were being checked and passports and boarding passes were being distributed in a fashionable time. BUT, there was one slight bump in our "airport road". Jack's passport unfortunately was considered "denied" because it was accidentally put through the washing machine. Thankfully there was a solution. Jack has been issued a new passport and will be joining us tomorrow! WOO HOO! (: 

So as the other 14 of us continued our journey through the airport, all went well. When we landed in Miami we were on a "strick" time schedule as we only had so much time to stop and get a bite to eat and head off to our next flight. But as it turned out, our flight from Miami to Port-au-Prince was delayed, giving us just a little more time to sit down, eat, and relax a little. On the plane ride to Haiti we filled out our green cards and customs sheets, tucked them safely in our passports and were on our marry way. Of course that was very time consuming, so any hope of getting a quick hour nap in before landing in Haiti was taken away.

As we entered the customs building in Haiti, there was a small band of 5 guys standing off to the side playing their hearts out. It was interesting to hear their music compared to the music I listen to when I'm at home. It was very inviting and calmed my nerves quite a bit. Going through customs in Haiti wasn't too bad of an experience. There were a few "pushers and shovers", but that was okay to handle. As we finally were all through the line and got our bags all together we made it to the parking lot where we met Nick driving the tap-tap. Although we did have 12 people in the back with all of our checked bags, carry-ons, and backpacks, it actually was not too crammed. 

The tap-tap, for those who don't know what that is, is a like a truck with a secured room on the back where you can see through the gated walls and look at what Haitian life looks like. This is the vehicle we will be riding in all week! 

Arriving at the house now, we unloaded the tap-tap and separated our luggage. We then walked into our house and smelt a very welcoming smell of TACOS! They were very tasty. A little more tastier than my mom's I would have to say. Although I love her taco's too. :D We settled into our rooms and then ventured the house a little bit before dinner was done. It is a very nice house. There are even puppies here (: I think I am so excited about the dogs because one of them is named 'Bacon'. And bacon is my favorite food group! *I wish* 

And now as I blog, the team is sorting through our donation suitcases and separating everything out. It has been a very long day to say the least, but it looks like a bright and adventurous week is ahead of us. 

I would like to share the verse that has been heavy on my heart today. It is Samuel 16:7 (NIV) "But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does NOT look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." I think this week God has really called me to be here in Haiti to realize that the "things" I have will not make me worthy of his love. If I thought that, I know I would be a coward. But to see the Haitian people live on so little yet still be so full inside is what I want to inspire me. I know I have been feeling an "emptiness" inside of me for the last couple of weeks. And I know that the beautiful and amazing Haitian people will show and give to me exactly what I need to fill that "emptiness". It's ALL in God's glory that I have the privilege to be here. So to that I thank the Lord. 

I hope that all of the families at home are finding some comfort in knowing we have ALMOST all made it safely. Enjoy the blogging and don't hesitate to tell us what you think (: 

Glory to God. Glory to God. Glory to God FOREVER! 

God Bless,
Shelby

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Packing Party!!!

Here are our photos from the packing party :)
Only 2 days until we leave to go onto our adventure!





























Well, only a 2 more days left before I leave for Haiti. Leaving my house around 2:30 am Monday morning! Umm.. who planned this part??  But seriously, I go with excitement and anticipation of what this trip will bring. Fear of the unknown and sadness as I leave my family behind but, also Peace as I know that I am going to be doing something so worthwhile and memorable.
 
We have been preparing ourselves for these last 6 months, toward this goal of heading down to Haiti with hope that in our works and in our service to others while there, we also serve as the Hands and Feet of God. I am truely amazed at how this preperation has opened my eyes and..hopefully prepared my heart for this journey.  I hope each day will bring new enlilghtenment and the abileity to see the power of Gods Grace in action and have His light shine thew me to be of service to others as he wants and needs me to be.

As I and my fellow missionaries travel down this unique and inspiring road, I pray that maybe in someway we will also spark something in others. To find Gods Grace and Love and hopefully be inspired to share thier time, talent and gifts to those in need as well. For family, for friends, co-workers, charity's, your church, your community. For this I pray.

Peace,

Jennifer Keller Sirainni

"The first question which the priest and the levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?"..But ...the good Samaritan reversed the questions: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Prayer for Our Team

Yesterday I was working on our devotions from "Preparing Our Hearts" for Haiti and I came across a prayer in Ephesians that I thought was fitting for our group before we leave on Monday.  I decided not to post it last night, but when I went to bed, I was reading my daily devotion in my "Jesus Calling" book and there was the SAME passage from Ephesians!  So, I guess that was His way of saying I needed to post this prayer for the team!  Here it is...my prayer for all of us...

Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.

Sara Mosher

Friday, August 10, 2012

Are You Ready?

As I sit in my bedroom and look at all of my possessions, I'm wondering if I should just throw them all away and start fresh. I can honestly say that half the clothes in my closet and dresser I haven't worn in over a year. But when I sit on my bed and draw in my sketchpad I don't really think about all of my possessions. I think about the image I have in my brain and how I am going to portray it on the blank page in front of me.

Being an artsy person is fun. You get to be the "creative" one of the group. People will come to you and ask what you think about their drawings, style of clothes, hair style, make-up, poetry, anything really because you are the "creative and artsy" person. If you can't make it look unique, nobody can.

In less than three days, I will be getting on a plane and going to Haiti. Now you may be wondering why the two paragraphs before have any importance in this adventure I am about to take. Well let me explain. I can honestly say I don't NEED most of the things stored in my bedroom. Heck, I bet some things I just bought because my friends thought I would be cooler if I had it. I think that will be part of my Sunday "to-do's" and probably part of my "post Haiti trip". As far as my second paragraph, I think that if God can help me do his work, I am pretty "creative and unique" in his eyes and I think that is all that REALLY matters. He will always help me portray the exact image on the blank page, in my sketchpad and in my life.

Although some of my friends think I am out of my mind going on this trip, I think it is going to be a fantastic start to a year I will never EVER forget. While they are thinking about trying to get a boyfriend/girlfriend, job, money-- materialistic things-- I will be thinking about how I can better serve God and spread his word.

For the past couple days the only question that has been running through my 17 year old head is, "Am I really ready for this?" And with the courage and strength of God inside of me, I know I am. I just hope my friends, family, and teachers will be ready for the changes they will see in me throughout this next year.

 <---- Amen to that!

God Bless. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

We are down to 6 days before we leave for Haiti.  I keep telling people I am very excited, but also scared.  I'm scared of the disappointment, frustration, and helplessness that will build up in my heart, my core when I can't help all I see that are in need.  I will listen to one of our faithful leaders who told me "Help the person in front of you." and know this will be God's Grace.  While there will be sadness in my heart there will also be happiness and fulfillment in knowing that my hands have done God's work and that I have seen life through the eyes of God. 



You always stand beside me. You provide me with a future full of your love, blessings, and guidance. I know that, no matter how bad things get, you will always be by my side. I know I may not see you. I know I may not feel you, but I thank You for giving us Your Word that tells us you are here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

www.getoutthebox.org

1 week to Haiti.  I have no idea what will happen as we work our way through next week in Haiti.  However I trust that He is going to guide my steps and and I am going to see the path He has laid before me the very moment He wants me to see it. 
He is going to lead me on the adventure of a lifetime....just because I am is and He is mine...is exciting and so much more than I can imagine.

Friday, August 3, 2012

One more day closer to Haiti - 
Loving God, Father of all, you call me to abundance of life in you. This gift of life
and grace is accessed by faith: a free gift that you offer to everyone. By means of
it I can believe that Jesus is your Son, and that his Church is his Body. At the
beginning of this day I ask for an increase of this gift that you gave to me initially
at baptism. This gift of faith raises my natural gifts and abilities to the
supernatural level – to the level on which you and I can directly relate with one
another. I thank you for this gift. May its increase today cause great rejoicing in
my heart and lead me to acts of loving service to everyone, beginning with my
brother and sister fellow Christians.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

It's surprising to me how much just the thought of our trip to Haiti is already affecting me.  I know we still have over a week before leaving but it seems everything I see or do has me thinking "Is this something that we should bring to Haiti?  Is this something that could be used in Haiti?  Is this something that will help the people of Haiti?"  This is going to be a hard but extremely rewarding journey and I am looking forward to the opportunity to share in God's healling ways.  Thanks be to God for sending us all on this journey. 

1 John 4:7 Dear Friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I remember the first time I walked into the majestic church that for the first 6 years I lived here, seemed to tug at my heart each time I walked or drove by it. I knew it was God speaking to me. Encouraging me. Reminding me of his gifts and the promise he made that whoever believeth in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Although I was adrift and wandering through life, I've never forgotten these words and never lost faith in him. But there was a huge void in my life and I began to recognize the thirst for Christ that began to slowly resurrect itself within my soul. I needed to quench this thirst......

One day our beautiful daughter Becky, who had recently became engaged to a terrific guy named Jake, stopped by the house to tell us that they decided to get married in the historic church. She also announced her intention to get baptized and wanted her mother, Sue, to accompany her as well. Soon after we met Pastor Durk, we began attending service regularly at Alleluia! Lutheran Church and I immediately felt God's loving arms embracing me once again and we began to reaquaint ourselves.

Soon thereafter, we began to hear and learn of the Healing Haiti mission. It was very evident that Alleluia! was very committed and supportive of their cause. The team was literally leaving that first week we attended service and I remembered thinking how I wish we would have been able to go!! Approximately 6 weeks later I was diagnosed with a very serious heart condition which required 4-6 months to recover and to settle into a new life that would require me to learn to manage a condition that I will not ever fully recover from. The January trip was being planned and I knew once again that it just wasn't quite my time. But oh what a friend we have in Jesus!! He's been with me every step of the way and I am so blessed and grateful he has never left my side.

Fast forward to March of this year and we learned that the August trip was filling up fast, In fact, they announced one Sunday that they had three open positions remaining. I knew in my heart that it was God's will and he was calling me. But what about my wife, what was she feeling? The next day on the way home from work, she stated, "I would really like to go to Haiti". Are you kidding me?!?!?! I said, "Honey, let's go"!!!! We were overjoyed and the fire has beeen burning inside us ever since. We announced our decision to our son, Dominic and he asked if he could come too! WOW!!! And what an incredible team we have blessed to be a part of. We are preparing our hearts, minds and each other for this wonderful experience. I cannot wait to feel the overpowering sense of the heat and fatigue we are sure to endure but more importantly the refreshing quenching and fullfillment that God will bestow on us when he lays his hands on us and satisfies our thirst with his love and the plan he will have us carry out.

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.John 4:13-14

Jack Clemons
Today is Tuesday July 31st - on Monday August 13th I will step off a plane and take in my first breath of Haiti.  I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to take this trip and I am very excited to see what God has in store for me, for each of us individually, and for us as a team.  I feel somewhat nervous and know I will be overwhelmed with emotions, but I know that God will guide me through this journey and I believe I will learn more, give more, and receive more than I have in the 47 years that have already passed before me.  I look forward to sharing with you all the wisdom that will be passed on through our Lord, and through the beautiful people of Haiti.

Isaiah 40:31

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Love & Happiness


It has been 2 days since I stepped off the plane & I can't believe the love I feel for the people I was so blessed to meet. I went to Haiti to help anyway I could, hoping to bring some smiles & happiness to the people. I am truly amazed that I received much more happiness & love then I could ever give them.
I can't believe how much joy I get by just telling someone all the things we did & sharing the photos. I feel I have changed so much in just a week, I did things I never thought I would do. I keep singing God is so good.. We must have sang that song 50 times during the week. Now I just can't get it out of my head, which is a good thing.

Thanks be to God for sending us all on that wonderful Journey & allowing our hearts to be open & get filled up with love & joy from all the beautiful people we were in contact with.

God Bless all the people in Haiti.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our last day in Haiti

Today we went to a non-tradional Haitian church service. The message seemed to fit right into the past week we've shared. Encouagement. Sometimes our "battery becomes flat" and the only thing that can get us going again is "jumper cables." God calls us to encourage others and the Holy Spirit will take it from there. We have experienced many different emotions and sometimes were simply exhausted. With the help of God and encouraging each other, each of us was lifted.

We then went to Apparent Project which employees local people to make beads for jewlery, ornaments....sew hand bags. Each employee makes enough money to support themselves and family with food, medical, and school for their children.

We also went to the local markets and did some bargaining, drove up the mountain that overlooked Port au prince. Saw the capital destructed from the eartquake. The once beautiful cathedral destroyed.

Tomorrow we will be heading home. How will our lives be different? What does God have planned? What have I learned? How can I help these people here who have so little but so much love? What have I learned from them? Have we made a difference? A touch, a hug, a smile is something so small but so significant. We encourage each other with the simple gift of love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

God Bless you, Lori

Convicted

This morning, I sat in a worship service with missionaries and Haitians.  The music was moving and the prayers compelling...and, I sat convicted.

I was convicted when the Pastor prayed for the congregations generous giving before the offering collection.  They are currently giving 40% of their church budget to missions and they would like to increase their giving ABROAD to 50%.  This doesn't include the donations they give to the community HERE in Haiti.  The people here are giving 40% to sponsor Christians around the world! 

40% to help the world from the poorest
country in the Western Hemisphere

Am I giving even 10% of my personal income to help my own church or community?  What am I giving....I am convicted by the words of the Bible....I am convicted by the voice of God whispering to me.

What am I giving...and is it really enough?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

comfort zone

This week has been a week of stepping outside of what I call my norm. Too many times I have taken hold of my norm, held on to it with all my might and have been determined that no one was going to mess with it. I love comfort. I am a person that likes to have control of the environment in which I exist. I love black and white. I love schedules. They are safe and predicable. I planned when I was going to go to college, get married and even have children. I like planning. I like having things turn out the way 'I' planned them to go. Well, followers of the Healing Haiti Alleulia! blog site, things HAVE NOT turned out the way I planned.

This week I  thought I was going to spend a lot of time being extremely sad. I thought I was going to crumble when I went to visit the home of the sick and dying children. I thought I was going to sob when we went to go and deliver water to the poorest of the poor. (That was my plan) God had another plan for me this week. Don't get me wrong, I have cried, felt confused, and at times been angry. I have also found a lot of happiness here.  I have been with some of the most amazing people this week. There is so much good going on here in Haiti among so much pain and suffering. Wow! For example, the nuns are caring for the sick and dying children, handing out medication and treating the worst of the worst wounds. Wounds you couldn't imagine seeing. So much love is present. Through Healing Haiti, we visited the elderly that are still living in their own homes. We delivered food, water, touch, conversation and prayer. They truly appreciated it. I learned so much from them. We visited two orphanages. One was Healing Haiti's, Grace Village. What a place! What beautiful children who love God to the fullest. Talk about singing! (Careful Alleluia! I am going to be singing on Sunday morning) I challenge you to do the same.

This week, God humbled me when we visited the mass grave site where thousands of people have been laid to rest after the massive earthquake of January 2010. We formed a very large circle around the memorial. We invited some local people that were there to pray with us. They jumped at that opportunity. It was extremely moving. God was there! He was talking to us. I truly believe that. I was told that the people of Haiti try to build their homes up high onto the mountain to be closer to God. That made me question, what do I do to be closer to God daily?

I have held and loved so many children this week, too many to count. I have witnessed so many beautiful smiles. I have given and received thousands of hugs and even shared tears. I can't tell you how many times I have heard 'God bless you for helping my people and my country'. Among the despair, hurt, hunger and pain, the people of Haiti love God. They sing, 'God is so good, he is so good to me'. I wish you could hear these people sing and praise the Lord!! If the people of Haiti believe with all their heart that God is so good to them, why do we find ourselves questioning that now and then? We are more than blessed!! I am more than blessed!

When I return to Minnesota, I will be changed. That is fact! I will see the shallow side of our culture once again. I will find myself reflecting back to Haiti and wondering why there is a place like Haiti. I return home and will continue to try to do my best to make a difference in my community, my church, my family, with my friends and continue to help this country (Haiti) that so many love and hold dear to their hearts. There I go, planning....well, maybe somethings may never change, but one thing is for sure, deep down in my core I have changed! How can one not?

God bless and remember always......GOD IS SO GOOD, HE IS SO GOOD TO ME AND YOU!!!!!!

Rachel~

Stripped Away

We have come to Haiti as
  • mothers
  • fathers
  • bosses/ employees
  • sisters
  • brothers
  • coaches
  • volunteers
  • home owners
  • licenced drivers
We can all describe ourselves by the roles we play, the jobs we do, the places we live and the home we own.  Our t-shirts speak to the things we value or activities in which we participate. 

In Haiti, these are stripped away...

Here we can identify what it is that really makes us "tick."  When you take away all those titles, I am left with the knowledge that I am a person
  • who is willing to serve outside of my comfort zone 
  • who can give love regardless of color, health or location
  • who is comfortable being dirty and sweaty in exchange for the smile of a child
  • who will move beyond my own feelings of nausea or dizziness so I won't miss out on a moment at the orphanage
  • who desires nothing more than to serve God fully and completely
In two days, I will fly home and return to my roles and titles.  But, at my core, I know who I am.  I know what I will do.  And, I know Whom I serve.

Friday, January 27, 2012

What is God trying to Teach me?

Today as we visited the Elderly I often wondered what God was trying to teach me with this trip he has called me to go on? I see the conditions that some people are living in & I wonder why? Why do they have so little & we have so much? We take so much for granted that they do not have everyday access to. Water, plenty of food, adequate shelter, in some cases family to be with & take care of them
This Journey has been amazing, joyful, and full of love, laughter, smiles & at times sadness. I have learned so much about the people of Haiti. They have an awesome Faith in God, to hear them sing God's Praises & to hear them pray to him is something you would have to see to fully understand. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to have come on this trip & step out of my box. Thanks to my awesome team for helping me along the way try new things & holding my hand when I needed a little pull to keep going. I am still searching for What God is trying to teach me? I am sure he will guide me along the way & put people in my life to keep holding my hand when I need it & keep me out of the box that I finally have stepped out of.
God Bless all the Beautiful people of Haiti, My Team & all the supporters who helped us get here to share this wonderful week together.

A roller coaster of a day...



Today was a very emotional day for us. After we get back from our day we shower, then eat dinner, then share stories from the day starting with "word of the day" that each person shares. Here's some of the words that people came up with: Broken, Why, Hope, Roller coaster, Care, Sun, Songs, Music, Awesome God, Sad. That pretty much describes the emotions of the day. From the joy of listening to the kids at Grace Village sing their songs to us with SUCH enthusiasm and LOUD - it was SO awesome, to meeting the loving elderly woman who one of our words was "Life" because she at age 103 had as much life as the youngsters we come across in the streets who come running & hugging us because they just crave the human contact, to the elderly lady who is seen in this picture has 2 grandchildren she's caring for, living pretty much out in the middle of no where, one sitting beside her with no clothes, looking up so sad, to the other just wearing a t-shirt. The emotions were incredible as we stood there praying with them giving them what little we could give today & not knowing when they'd be able to eat again. Another emotion overcame us as we were standing there. Tobi & Brian asked where the little girl was that they saw when they visited them 6 months ago was. We learned she passed away. Initially, of course, we were very sad, but then, really should we be sad for a little 2 year old with who knows what kind of life on earth she would have versus the beautiful life she'd have up in Heaven? How horrific is it that we feel a sweet little 2 year old girl is better off in heaven? It's not fair, we question why, why can this happen to these people who didn't choose this, they aren't lazy, they aren't mentally challenged, they work harder for 1 bucket of water per week than most of us do in a year, so why God? Here's how we ended the discussion, which is what the founder of Healing Haiti wants us to ask ourselves "What is GOD trying to Teach me?" So, as I finish this Blog now I am still in tears and still wondering, "What was it I was supposed to learn today and what am I supposed to do with it?" I will pray and hope you all do as well for the WONDERFUL people of Haiti and tonight in particular that little elderly lady with the 2 grandchildren, may they be safe tonight, comfortable and tomorrow have food and water provided to them, Amen.

Pictures at last!

Several people have been asking us for more pictures so we created a quick slide show on YouTube. Sorry it doesn't have audio yet but we'll get there eventually :).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New dresses...and many smiles

Yesterday was the first day that we got to hand out some of the dresses our Alleluia Faith Girls made for the girls of Haiti. There was such joy on the faces of these children as they received their colorful and cute dresses! They beamed with excitement at being able to have something so pretty and new. My only regret is that my Faith Girls weren't here to give them to my Haitian Girls! What a blessing to be able to give such a cherished and valuable gift!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Walking in God's Hands

It's only been a few days and already I'm amazed by the love I see everywhere we go. Despite the poverty, the disease and the still devastating effects from the earth quake I see God all around. I see God in the joyous children that run to us and beg to be held, in the face of the elderly woman that is so grateful for the simple act of carrying a bucket of water to her home and the little girl's hand I hold as she radiates a sense of joy despite her physical challenges. I came here expecting to serve as God's hands - but instead I find more often that it is me who is holding on to God's hand as I walk with a child who I have never met but feel like I've known for a lifetime.
Thank you God!

...Jesus loves the Children...

We started out our day at the Home for the Sick and Dying. As we entered, we were greeted with smiling children that wanted to be held. This seems like how we are greeted at most places we enter here in Haiti! ... JESUS LOVES THE CHILDREN... I went into a room with about 16 cribs and crying babes wanting to be held! I spent the next hour trying to love as many little children that I could. There was a very giggly little boy that made many of us smile many times.... JESUS LOVES THE CHILDREN... At first I was a bit tentative on how to change a baby, as the diaper is not the same kind of diaper that I have used, but with a little assistance from one of the nannies, I was on a diaper changing roll! There was little baby girl that was so quiet and reserved, that I was drawn to her, as I wanted to make her smile. I smiled and played with her, held her, poked and tickled her and tried all my "laugh little baby" tricks. But still didn't see a smile from this adorable little girl. It was finally peek-a-boo with her dress that brought that first smile to me. My heart just melted.... JESUS LOVES THE CHILDREN... After much peek-a-boo and smiling and loving, I moved downstairs to spend some time with the children that are even sicker. And I thought that some of the children upstairs looked malnourished. These children were so much more frail and thinner. I wasn't able to spend much time downstairs as it was nap time and we needed to go. I was able to hold and love a few children.







We went to Gertrude's Orphanage next and spent a few hours helping feed and play with the children. This is where I gave the first baby one of my taggie blankets! We also gave some girls the dresses that the Faith Girls help make. They loved them. The kids also had fun with the toys and soccer balls that we brought them. ... JESUS LOVES THE CHILDREN...



The group split into 2 groups and some went to the wound clinic to help there, and the rest of us went back to the Home for Sick and Dying. I had to go back and see my babies!! They were much fussier, so I got busy changing diapers and loving them. The nannies and nuns were busy getting their food ready. I helped feed a few. (Although not nearly as efficient or as neatly as the nannies did!) After a few more diapers, giggles and holding, I noticed that little Stephanie had woke up and when I looked over to her, she was holding her dress over her head wanting to play peek-a-boo!!! My heart was instantly filled, and I thought it was already full! ... JESUS LOVES THE CHILDREN... I gave the rest of the taggie blankets to the children in this room. They seemed to really enjoy playing with the tags and looking at the colors! I wish that I had brought more. These hours flew by. I think I changed 13 diapers (I think I might have a new sewing project in my future :) -diapers) and gave out and received so many cuddles and smiles, too many to count!


...JESUS LOVES THE LITTLE CHILDREN...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Setting our sails.



Embarking on this trip to Haiti was a big step for me and several members of our team. It made me remember that we are to set our sails and let God guide the boat. We set our sails today in Citie Soleil delivering water to one of the poorest sections of Port-Au-Prince. Although delivering water was the main physical goal of today, a secondary and possibly bigger purpose was to interact with and show love towards these people.

As soon as we got off the truck we were approached by children wanting to be held. It was great to see God lead our team in different directions doing various things. Throughout the day we filled and helped deliver water buckets and also played with and held the children. There was no set agenda and at times we were delivering water for one group and this would lead to a conversation or game or holding more children.

At one point during the day I was helping to carry a bucket of water back to a young girl's house. When we got to her house I was motioned over by a member of her family. This man wanted to show me a boy that had recently died. It was very sad to see this small 4 year old boy. I asked the man if he would say a prayer with me. I prayed and he listened. Although he couldn't understand the words I was saying, I believe he knew the content.

One of our water stops was near the shore so we took some time at the end of our stop to go out to the dock and see the people fishing. A few of the men were pulling in a rope attached to a net that was several hundred feet out into the ocean. The process was slow so our team decided to help out. All of us took hold of the rope and began to pull in the net. This lead to several locals jumping in to help as well while some of the other locals watched on and chuckeled as our group was having a lot of fun with this new challenge. As we worked together I was reminded of Mark 1:17 "Come Follow Me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." Our group was reeling in the net but perhaps we were also reeling in some people through our actions.

We set our sails this morning and God guided us through the day. Can't wait to see what He has in store for us tomorrow.

water truck day!

What a day! What an AWESOME day! I am exhausted! We caught the water truck around 9:30am at what seemed like a random spot. Tobi and Brian asked if anyone wanted to ride on the water truck and of course I was one of the first ones that raised my hand to go. Always up to experience something new. What an experence! At first, I thought, this can't be very safe riding outside a truck in general, let alone riding on the outside of a truck while going over very deep potholes. Needless to say, I SURVIVED! whew!

After what seemed to be a relatively short ride, we arrived to a small village deep inside Cite Soleil. You could tell that this was a 'not so safe' area. As soon as we hopped off the truck, children ran up to us wanting to be held. They wanted to be loved and played with. That was the easy part. There were times I had one child on my back, while holding two more in my arms. I couldn't say no to any of the children. I was able to play the 'this little piggy' game with the children. They LOVED it!! They kept placing their little toes on my leg asking me to do it again. They sure taught me to enjoy the little things in life. I was enjoying every moment!

We also had an opportunity to help go and bring water to people's houses. It felt awesome to help! We sometimes even walked the water inside their homes. It was sad to see the conditions that these people have to live in. I felt so conflicted with the way I felt. It is such a contrast to how we all live back in the U.S. While carrying buckets of water to the people's homes, I was offered children. This was very hard for me. I often thought, as a mother myself, I couldn't imagine offering my precious children to some stranger. These people must feel so helpless. Of course, I had to say 'no thank you'.

This day was a good day! It was humbling, sad at times, exhausting and happy! I truly know that these beautiful people and their conditions are here on this Earth to teach each and everyone of us lessons. God has a plan! I love that, but hate that I don't always know what His plan is. I hate that there are conditions like this for people to live in.

Please be thankful for all you have no matter how little, no matter how small. We all back home have WAY more than we need.

Blessings,

Rachel


Monday, January 23, 2012


January 23, 2012

                Today as we flew into Port-au-Prince my mind was filled with so many emotions at one time. As we landed I had the biggest smile on my face as I felt I was at home again. Seeing all the people here again and smelling the Haitian air and feeling the Haitian heat was amazing. I feel it has been WAY to long since I have come back. The people here are so welcoming and happy that we are here! Hearing “Hey You!” just made the night so much better as we saw the cute little faces on those beautiful kids’ faces. The airport was not as crazy as it normally is, and it was nice to see that progress is being made to improve this country. A lot of the garbage was also picked up off the streets which makes me feel so great not having to see those little kids walking in bare feet on all that garbage. I am so grateful to be apart of this trip and I am looking forward to becoming closer with all the team members!
-kenzi

WE'RE HERE!!

God is Good! 
It all started by this morning by leaving our homes by 3:30 am to depart to this wonderful country, Haiti!  A BIG Thank You goes out to our drivers:  Carol Langager, Mike DeRoo and Jerry Larson, who got us to the airport safely.  I was reprimanded by 4:30 by the other team members because I went through security without the others knowledge and apparently they were waiting for me to come out of the bathroom.  I was told "the stray sheep gets eaten by the wolves".  I have now been given the unfortunate nickname of "Waldo" as in Where's Waldo..thank you very much.
We all arrived in Haiti a little after 4:30 in the afternoon and were picked put by Jean who brought us to the guest house.  On the way, we drove by several tent cities where we could see the living conditions and need for infrastructure that is beyond belief.  Once we made our way to the guest house, we were greeted by extremely nice people and a great meal. 
We are now preparing and are excited for a big day, tomorrow, where we will be delivering water to the people of Cite Soliel.
God is Good.
Mark

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Almost time!

As the day continues we get closer and closer to our time to leave. I am so excited and looking forward to this trip with all these great people! As I was packing today it hit me that I'm actually heading back to Haiti for a third time in less than 24 hours. Its crazy how fast time went by over the past month. I cant wait to be the hands and feet of our Lord once again. Im so excited to love on those kids!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Packing Party

It's almost time and I'm getting excited! Tonight we had our packing party and it was amazing to see all the donations that were so generously provided for us to take with to Haiti - thank you everybody! It was great to have the kids participate too. I'm' sure others will have better photos but here are a couple I snapped with my phone...

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Stepping out of the boat

As I sit here looking at my bags all packed ready to leave for Haiti in less then 2 days, I wonder how I will feel when I get there? Will I be as overwhelmed & scared as I feel right now? Will I want to hop on the next flight back home? How will I deal with being away from my family for a whole week & being in a strange place? I keep praying & asking God to help me & give me strength to do what he wants me to do. I know he will, I have faith & I know I can do all things through Christ.

I am thankful for the wonderful team I will be going with. I am thankful for all the love & support I have received from my family & friends. It was amazing to see all the donations given to our team to bring to help the people of Haiti., It will be a wonderful eye opening experience & I will have to get out of "my boat" & "my comfort zone" I know this is where God wants me to be. I will trust in him & listen to my heart & keep an open mind.

God Bless you all & keep our team in your prayers.

Kathy



 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Getting prepared for this journey!

It's packing day! Our team is getting all of our supplies that we are donating sorted and packed today. All of our families are going to have some bonding time as well. It will be fun to see the kids getting into helping get everything in it's place. It is very exciting to see all that has been donated to help the beautiful people of Haiti. I am excited to hand our 'pillow case' dresses to the children of Haiti. They turned out beautiful! I am thinking we should've made some for ourselves to wear down there when we go to church! (Maybe next time). :) I am also excited to teach the children of Haiti how to care for their mouths. We have lots of fun things in store for them.

As I have been trying to prepare myself for this journey that I am about to take, I have been doing a lot of self reflecting. I have been reflecting on how much I personally take for granted in my day to day life. I try not to be that kind of person, but I know that our society has created that in us innately. More is better, bigger is better..etc. As I have been reading the Healing Haiti site and learning more about Haiti, I wonder how is it that a country can be so poor and have such little resources. Did you know in colonial times, Haiti was a richer country than the USA? Strange, huh? I sometimes wonder why God allows poverty. I also wonder how God allows such greed. The contrast is puzzling to me. I know deep down it is to teach his people lessons about how to live a more God like life. To be thankful for the things you have (big or small). Still, it's not fair!

I can say that at first, I was SO excited to take this journey. I got super caught up and excited in collecting items and raising money. Now that the time is getting closer, I am fearful!! I am fearful of stepping outside my 'box'. I am worried about, what if I get sick, what if something terrible happens to me or our team, what if I can't stomach the food, how am I going to change and see the world on a much different level and finally, how am I going to let go of my control issues and let God truly work through me? My answer, I HAVE FAITH!! I have to have faith that God is going to allow me to do his work in the way that he feels fit. I know he won't place before me anything that he doesn't see fit for us to see or experience. I know that he is going to give me the strength to hold those sick and dying babies and love them up the best I am able to. I know he will see all of us through. He is so great!

So, as our awesome team prepares to depart, please keep us in your prayers daily. Please know that prayer is so incredibly powerful! With all the people I have in my life that love and care for me, I know I am blessed. Thank you! God bless you all!