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, 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


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!!!!!!


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!


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.



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!


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.

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...


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.



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!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grace Village - An Exciting Look!

As our team prepares for our final week before departing for Haiti, it is exciting to see through video what we will see with our own eyes in the week to come: