Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Strong, Strong Faith...

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

m a r k   1 2 : 3 0

Today I attended the most powerful church service.  Powerful, yet so simple...  Just a large tent. Metal folding chairs or wooden benches to hold hundreds of people. A stage area for an electronic keyboard, a couple guitars powered by generators. No fancy sanctuary. No hymnals to read from.  Just enormous speakers to spread the Word of God to all people from a variety of Haitians speaking to them. To us. To me.  But not the typical church service.  The congregation wasn't sitting in rows.  Or standing at certain times or sitting when they should.  This congregation was praising God in every possible way that may shock some and awe others.  They were doing what they felt in their heart to do.  Praying. Praising. Singing. Simply worshiping.  All while standing up, walking around, sitting down, kneeling on the ground with their spot as their own alter and/or lifting their hands up to God.  But what I thought was the greatest thing about it was how powerful it was.  They are so fierce and strong in their faith. It didn't matter who you were, where you live, what you do, how much money you have or don't have.  It was about loving God.  Because today is Thursday and just a bit after 6 am.  You can come to church any day of the week from 6-11 am.

Every single person was there because they wanted to be there.  Not because society, friends, neighbors or even family dictates they should be there....but because each of them, that's not right...I think they needed to be there.  Even though the entire service was in Creole and the only words I understood was Hallelujah and didn't matter, because God was speaking to me in my heart. Speaking to us in our hearts.  Giving everyone time to just pray.

I don't think I have ever felt closer to God, or had God so much in my heart.  It was the most powerful church service. And I will never forget it.


Visits to the elderly

As Gods chosen people, holy and dearly loved,clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,humility, gentleness and patience.  Colossians 3:12

I found this verse appropriate for our day today.  We went for visits to four elderly people.  We went to homes that were not as nice as a chicken coop.  Most of them had dirt floors, partial cement walls with sticks on the ceiling with tattered tarps over the sticks.  Our purpose was to visit with them, sing to them, pray with them and bring them food.  We brought them a peanut butter sandwich, a banana and a bottle of water.  They were so appreciative for both our visit and the food.  We also washed their arms and legs and then rubbed lotion on them.  This was completely outside of my comfort zone yet thinking back to the days when my parents spent their last days in nursing homes compelled me to want to pamper these people.  These are people that are watched over by Healing Haiti and will eventually be taken into Grace Village and given a home.  These people have no one to watch over them which is why they were chosen by Healing Haiti.  Imagine your parent laying on a thin mattress on a dirt floor with no one to watch over them?

Our first visit was to Maricia.  She was so happy to see us!!  She hugged us and smiled so brightly!  We cleaned her up and put lotion and powder on her.  She being  sung to and being pampered.  When we asked her what we could pray about for her she replied, "God knows all my needs."  Can you believe it?  She lives like this and asks for no more????  There is a message for us all in that visit to Maricia.

Our second visit was Edmond.  He was blind and wanted us to pray for him to get healthy.  He also asked for a locked suitcase because people keep stealing his stuff.

The next visit was Charitable.  Her prayer was for health.  She seemed to enjoy us washing her up and rubbing lotion on her arms and legs.  She was in the marketplace and people gathered around us as we sang to her.

The last visit was Elie.  He laid on a mattress on the floor of his dirt hut.  He wanted us to pray for him to be able to walk again.  He asked us to get him water from the well down the road.  Part of our team and went and filled five buckets of water for him and then we walked down a little rocky, dirt path and put them in his home.  He was very appreciative.

It was a great day and I felt like we had really done God's work.

God Bless these special people who did as much for me as I did for them.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 year ago... then today...

January 2012, when on this same trip with Healing Haiti, on this same day, I felt a calling to make diapers for little beautiful brown Haitian babies.  After going to Home for Sick and Dying, we saw the need to make diapers for the babies, since the diaper situation was bleak.  Last year with the help of a team of great women, we made 140 diapers and sent them to Haiti.  Then this year, this week, we brought 150 diapers with us. Today is the day that we were able to share them; that I was able to deliver these diapers that have been such a big part of my last year, and now will be a great asset to these children and their caregivers.

Beautiful Diapered Bottoms!!!

...One year ago, I brought a tag blanket to Gertrude's Orphanage. 
This lucky baby got to cuddle with it!
Then one year later, the same baby is wearing one of our diapers!  

January 2012  

  January 2013

What a year, what a day, what amazing things that can happen with God's help!


Beautiful faces. Eyes smiling, precious babies reaching up to be held. Part of our day was spent at the Home for the Sick and Dying. It was heart wrenching to not have enough arms to hold more than two children at one time. Our team members who have been there before inform us of great improvements to the condition of the home and arrangements for the kids. They have a little playground, a clean, brightly colored room and better cloth diapers than just thin flannel previously. We simply provided love. A lot of love, hugs, games and diaper changes. We also went to Gertrude's and played with the children there. Again it was a theme of improvement over the previous trips, a new playground including a wheelchair accessible swing! The people of Haiti are beautiful. Their eyes tell the story and the beautiful faces are unforgettable. -Darcy

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day 2 in this beautiful land Haiti!   I'm so excited to be here again doing my favorite thing: delivering water in Cite Soleil.  Cite Soleil is where the poorest people in the poorest county in the western hemisphere live.    We delivered approximately 25,000 gallons of water today to people that have no running water. We helped fill countless buckets, hugged many many children, helped lots of women lift the buckets onto their heads, played games with the children, danced and sang and LOVED. These people have so little, but have HUGE hearts and BIG smiles.  We walked out to the pier and saw lots of fisherman proud of their catch, fishing boats, people cleaning fish and repairing their nets.  These amazing Haitian people touch my heart.

Monday, January 28, 2013

To my wonderful brothers and sisters:

I am writing you to assure you that your family in Christ are praying mightily for a safe and fulfilling journey to Haiti. Many of you are returning while a few of you are experiencing the Haitian people in all their beauty for the first time. I've been reminiscing of all the wonderful experiences I had during our trip last August and giving thanks to God for the opportunity he graciously bestowed upon me. Our provider, redeemer and the one who nourishes our souls beyond comprehension.
I truly enjoyed being with those of you in attendance for the 10:30 service Sunday and found myself fixated on the powerful light of our precious Lord and saviour radiating from your eyes. You were ready for your journey and I have an inner peace that God's love and protecting arms are embracing each and everyone of you. I pray that you acknowledge his presence as he guides you through your week long journey and that your experiences draw you closer to him.

Wishing you peace and praying your hearts are overwhelmed in the power of God and his precious Haitian people.

Your brother in Christ,
Jack Clemons
Bonswa!  Haitian-Creole for Good Evening.

A couple of long(ish) flights today have born tremendous fruit.  We are so thankful to have arrived without any sort of issue, especially due to the snow that we left in Minneapolis.  So far, God is trying to teach me to be patient as I'm very excited to get out into the city and see what awaits us.  Not unlike a number of stories of past visitors that I've talked to, there is not a lot significant to report on the first night.  Great food, Great company, really excited to see what path has been laid before me.

From what previous visitors have told me, the airport is in really great shape.  It truly felt like other airports in the Caribbean that are more "touristy".  I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to travel to a number of places already in my life.  This already feels so different.  I love experiencing different cultures.  Haiti is very unique, simply due to the level of poverty.  But, more that we are simply coming to experience.  Rachel was here last January, as well, and have often talked with her about the unique spirit of the Haitian people, in spite of what would seem a disparate situation.  It speaks to the cliche of "needs" vs. "wants".  I truly feel that the I can act as the embodiment of a true appreciation of what it means to truly give.....of ourselves, our time and our talents.

Ephesians 6:17 - Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.

Dear Lord, as this group goes to serve you, please keep their relationship strong. I ask that you remind them that they are very special to one another, especially while they are serving you in this manner. Please also protect and provide for the family and friends that they have left behind. Help them to look forward to the next time they are able to see one another. Remind them to pray too because You love to hear from Your children.

During this time when our dear brothers and sisters are away from us we pray that you grant them the time that they need to spend with You. Give them their time each day to meditate upon Your word so that their relationship with You continually grows. I pray that as they move along in this mission they keep Your word in their heart and as they need it to be recalled to their memory that Holy Spirit prompts them at just the right time.
Dear Lord, I pray this  in the precious name of your Son and my Savior, Jesus.

our bags are checked and we're ready to go!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 2013 - The moment is almost here!

Just over 5 hours until our ride arrives to take us to the airport and I'm filled with all sorts of emotions...

  • Excitement: I'm excited to return to Haiti to see the beautiful smiles on all the kids.  I'm excited have my wife join this time to share in all the amazing experiences.  I'm excited to get away from the cold weather! I'm excited to get to know a great group of friends even better.
  • Optimism: I'm optimistic that God will allow our group to carry out his will and be his hands.  I'm optimistic that our travels will go smooth and that nobody will get stuck in Miami (thanks Jack for the word of advice to make sure our passports don't have any tears or folds :) ).  I'm optimistic that everybody will remain healthy and grow stronger in faith.
  • Nervousness: I'm nervous to see how I'll handle all the emotions of a second journey.  I'm nervous how much I'll miss my kids.  
  • Gratefulness: I'm grateful for so many supportive friends and family.  We had so many people wishing us well and saying they will pray for us.  We had a wonderful send off at church this morning with so many people showing their amazing support.  I'm grateful for Darcy's sister, Devon, and her husband Joe that have so graciously offered to take care of our kids for 8 days.  Grateful for all the phone calls from my parents, friends and family wishing us well.  Grateful for Darcy's dad Norm that is getting up at 2:30 am to give us a ride to the airport... This one could go on forever, but since the clock is ticking I better turn in for the night.
Thank you everybody for all your support!
-Tyson Burke