Sunday, February 28, 2016

Healing Haiti-Alleluia Team Day 7

This blog is a cooperative effort, with various team members contributing thoughts, reflections, and lots of emotions. We are writing at the end of this day, after our final team meeting, so we are all pretty raw! The realization of ALL that we have experienced this past week together is overwhelming, very rich and meaningful, and deeply satisfying. As our team sat together in our guest house tonight, it was hard to believe we hadn't even met a week ago tonight! The love, the closeness, the easy camaraderie we feel for one another is palpable, and we are very sad that tomorrow our ONE Healing Haiti team will once again have to separate (at least physically) into Team MN and Team CA. As I sat in our circle and thought about what I will miss most when we fly out of Port-au-Prince   tomorrow, it will definitely be the children; holding and hugging and rocking and pouring every inch of love I can into every single one of these a little ones who live in such dire poverty in Cite Soleil. The joy that results - the smiles, the shrieks, the sounds of laughter, the comfort, the security, the brief respite that physical touch brings to these little lives...there is nothing like it this side of heaven. Because of the way things are in our American culture these days, this rich opportunity with kids does not exist anymore. And this breaks my heart. It's also an example of how Haiti has important things to teach America. This is Dan, signing off.

This is Mary Lou starting out by saying my word of the day "Hope". I think the word hope is very fitting, because we were fortunate enough to be here for the dedication & first mass of Healing Haiti's Hope church in Cite Soleil. Hope church was said to be impossible & within a short period of time & LOTS of hope, we got to witness something absolutely wonderful today. Knowing that the church will provide a place to worship & go to school gives me hope to believe light will come to this forgotten city, but will NEVER be forgotten in my heart!❤️Bondye Beniou-God Bless You!❤️

Manda here, I'm writing on the night before we leave this amazing country of Haiti. Each evening we  are asked by Carol and Marni (our beautiful and outstanding group leaders), to pick a word of the day. Tonight I shared the word "miraculous". I picked this word because I felt as if I witnessed a miracle today. The miracle was the opening of Hope Church. How could this be anything less than miraculous? It was a church built on a place that was a garbage dump. It was a church built by people from Haiti- one of the poorest countries in the world. It was a church built in one of the poorest areas in the whole entire world! God is so great. He is nothing less than spectacular to achieve the miracle of this place. I sat in awe as I watched the hundreds of Haitians pour into the doors. I watched in amazement as I saw their arms raise up to praise the Lord. These beautiful people now have a place to go to worship and to learn more about God. Today was simply miraculous! 🙏🏾⛪️

Hi this is Al and just finishing with what's on my mind right now. First is about our team, and all that needs saying is was all were fun to be around and we were great, as we functioned great as a team using our different gifts to serve those we were blessed to meet. Today, was a day I simply can't explain in any words that can do justice. We attended a service and dedication of Hope Church as was mentioned above and as the people piled in and the numbers were many hundreds, and some maybe had on one piece of clothing and some had nice dresses or pants and shirt, they were all there and all got to experience this miracle that God had brought to happen. Where there was once garbage, there arose the house of God and we all experienced The miracle today and His presence. Feel totally blessed and incapable of what I saw:( I'm amazed and in awe! Will totally miss my team and the Haitian people!

Hi, this is Christina from California and this was my first mission trip. Going to Haiti was amazing for me to go to. It made me see another part of the world and this trip changed my life. I hope to go on another mission trip in the future.

Hi, this is Hollie and it's been a phenomenal day here in Haiti! I got to see the opening of Hope Church which was a surreal experience. My time here has shown me so many parts of the world and myself I never existed. I will forever cherish all my time here and all the incredibly amazing people I've met and the friendships I've made.

From the West Coast Best Coast Meets Minnesota Nice Team

Day 6 ~ Grace Village, Elders and Mass Grave

I don't often get the opportunity to blog anymore.  As a leader, you begin to serve your team and humbly step aside and allow your fellow team members to step up to experience their first time serving in this capacity.  Knowing full well what they are experiencing is what your heart is longing for.  Well, today I got to serve again.  I got to serve one of the Elders and my heart exploded as soon as I was able to bend down and begin washing her hands and feet.  I was able to serve alongside my co-lead, and more importantly my friend, Carol.  It was a wonderful moment that I was so happy to share with her.

At Grace Village today Carol and I were able to see a very special friend of ours, someone we hope to see each time we are there.  This filled me up!

This evening we had a very special experience.  We feel so fortunate to spend tomorrow at Hope Church in Cite Soleil.  Tomorrow is the dedication for Hope Church.  A place they said a church couldn't be built.  It has been built...and tomorrow we will go!  Tonight we had a very special worship time with all those who have been working so incredible hard and have been praying for such a long time.  It was exactly what I needed.  Tears of joy and thanksgiving flowed while we sang and prayed....I can't wait for tomorrow!


Hi, it is my pleasure to add my thoughts from today. As we start the day, I wonder if others are starting to get that unhappy feeling of us only having one more day. That's one of the worst things of mission trips, as special as this has been, you have to leave these people who you have grown to love, the Haitians, and your team.

Today we traveled again, but the difference was it was a comparably comfortable route. As we left Port Au Prince we headed to what had been the first focus of Healing Haiti, Grace Village. We were accompanied by some other Healing Haiti staff and visitors, and all the donations and supplies brought from the states. Grace is an orphanage, which generally houses around 40 orphans who are housed in 4 homes there, with adults who function in roles as a parent would, so the kids can grow up learning the Haitian culture and can more easily acclimate once they transition out into Haitian society. In addition, they are currently temporarily housing orphans that needed to be moved from other orphanages, and that is around 26 children.

In addition to the orphanage, they run a school for the neighboring children of Titanyen, and the Grace Village kids. The kids are also fed a meal during school, and they average serving meals to nearly 450 children. There is also a medical clinic, which typically has a long line to get in each day, and also a dental facility. We saw the library and a room where they are planning a computer lab for the students. All but one of the staff are Haitian. Kiki provide us our excellent tour of the property.

Located just a short walk down the hill is Grace Church, which serves the whole neighborhood. And also next to that is an important new employment initiative, a bakery. It is expected they will sell breads and other bakery goods around the islands, in addition to the Titanyen community. The building is complete and they expect to employ dozens of Haitians as plans evolve. Happily too, is the front of the bakery will be a pizzeria, which should be open for our next trip down:)

As it always is at Grace, we have interaction with the precious children and we were all relieved to see them receiving such great care and that they are safe. It's hard to describe their desire to get close to us, as they just seem drawn to jump into our arms, or for sure hold your hand or have you put your arm around them. It's like they crave loving human touch, and our team was always ready to show them the love of Jesus. One cute anecdote, is one of the boys, likely about 12 or 13, was happy to try on Lori W's. hat and Christina's sunglasses and show off his new look. When we tried to get them back no one could catch him, and he thought it was a pretty fun game! Happily, Valeri, our super amazing driver and translator was able to retrieve them back to their rightful owners. Let me add that we all owe our lives to Valeri, as he is the best tap-tap driver on the island, in addition to becoming a true friend in Christ.

After our lunch break we visited with some of the elderly that Healing Haiti supports, and first met with Ofhane, right there at Grace Clinic, as he had just had his lower left leg amputated. He had suffered from leprosy as a younger man, and although now cured, has had trouble with both lower legs. The good news is there is a local agency that has fit him with a prosthetic lower leg, which we expect will provide him the ability to return to his goats very soon:) Ofhane was quite happy to see us and we washed his limbs and applied lotion on them and his back. Even though he is in a wheelchair, he is a great hugger! At this as well as the next 3 stops our youth pastor from CA, Patrick, played the guitar, while Emmanuel, our talented other interpretor, played a key board and we sang our favorite Christian songs to them. Honestly, I'm sure others got choked up, as I did. It was beautiful to be God's hands and feet!

We next went to visit Izna, who lives just down the hill. We think Izna is 93, and lives in a tiny hut that has a small mattress on what looked to be a wooden bed frame and a low small wooden chair on which she was sitting when we arrived. She wasn't feeling the best today, but was happy to have us wash her arms and legs and lotion them. She also received a hot meal from Healing Haiti, provided through the Feed My Starving Children foundation, as well as some every day essentials, as each of the elders we visited received. She was so precious, but frail, and am sure we all wished we could change the way she would spend her remaining time, but knew she would be spending eternity in paradise.

We then visited for a time with the oldest, most joyous person I've had the pleasure of meeting. Marie is believed to be 104, or maybe it's 106. She has the sweetest voice and I think she enjoyed the music more than anybody. We all marveled at her spirit and as with each of the elderly, spent time in prayer with her before we left.

Our last elderly visit was with Antoinette. It was nice to see she had many people around her, including her sister. Antoinette preferred to wash her own feet, but allowed us the honor of putting the lotion on them and her arms. Her sister, enjoyed the same loving treatment as well.

After visiting the elderly we swung back to pick up our other friends and went together to our next stop a memorial, which commemorates the tragic January 2010 earthquake. The sight is said to hold the bodies of likely over 200, 000 Haitians who tragically lost their lives. It is nearing completion, but we were all feeling blessed to have had the opportunity to spend time there and pray together.

After  a return ride home, some had a brief opportunity to shower before we went out for the traditional Saturday night pizza party. We ate outside, which was so welcomed, especially us Minnesotans,  and enjoyed the chance to come together and celebrate another memorable and meaningful day serving together in Haiti.

As Marni mentioned above, we ended the evening back at the Guest Houses with prayer and worship before tomorrows dedication of Hope Church. It's an understatement to say we are all excited to experience the initial service and dedication of this miracle Church, built by Healing Haiti in one of the most impoverished places in the world.

Thanks for following our special week, serving together, as we have truly been God's hands and feet. Special thanks to Carol and Marni, our amazing leaders on this trip, for being such terrific women of God, and super nice people too! To my teammates, I am feeling completely blessed to have met each one of you, and had this week serving these lovely Haitian people. Love to all.     Al

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Day 5 Friday Feb 26

We started the day off at Church On The Rock at 6:00 a.m., a short distance away from our Haiti guesthouse.  This was not like any other church we have been to before. It was a very large open steel building filled with chairs, pews & a large stage up front. The leader (or pastor) was loudly singing and shouting praises(all in Creole) to God while the band rocked the stage!  Haitian adults of all different ages were kneeling & praying silently or walking around with arms raised to God.  The people came & went throughout the hour service inspired and pumped before they began their day. 

We walked back through the neighborhood to our guesthouse for another wonderful breakfast & devotion. The devotion was Exodus 33:14; John 15:4-7 which reminded us that God prepares us for the day that stretches out before us.  God says " I know exactly what this day will contain, where as you have only vague ideas about it.  You would like to see a map, showing all the twists and turns of your journey.  You'd feel more prepared if you could somehow visualize what is on the road ahead.  However, there is a better way to be prepared for whatever you will encounter today; spend quality time with Me.  I will not show you what is on the road ahead, but I will thoroughly equip you for the journey.  My living presence is your companion each step of the way.  Stay in continual communications with me, whispering my name whenever you need to redirect your thoughts.  Thus, you can walk through this day with your focus on me.  My abiding presence is the best road map available." This was very fitting as our day ahead was to visit the h
Home for elderly sick and dying and General Hospital.  Most of us felt unqualified to comfort the needs of the sick and dying adults.  What would we say? we don't even speak their language.  Would they want to be touched? are they in too much pain?  What lies ahead of us??  

We hopped into the tap tap for an hour long hot and dusty ride to the home of the sick and dying adults. (Have we ever mentioned how great our driver is?) The men visited the men and the women visited the women.  Even though we were a little uncomfortable, it was amazing to see the team step up and show compassion through touch.  The patients allowed us into their personal space and it actually did not feel awkward!  They loved having their back, hands, arms, legs and feet rubbed with lotion on their tender skin. Some of the women even enjoyed having their nails painted.  Our beautiful and talented translator played guitar and sang.  We left knowing God was present!

We then got back in the tap tap to visit the Haitian Museum.  It was air conditioned!!  We learned interesting facts about the history of Haiti.  Did we say it was air conditioned?!!

Our last stop was at General Hospital Children's and Orthopedic units.  We brought donated diapers and fruit strips for each child.  We also purchased water outside of the hospital just before we went in to give to each patient and parent.  Clean water very precious since there is such little access to clean water.  How different from how we live.   The children in General Hospital need to have a parent present at all times, the parent must also provide the food and feed them and provide the bedding!   Again, how different from our hospitals back home!  One of our talented team members played guitar while we sang and tried to comfort the children and pray for them.  

We headed back to the guest house for our wonderful taco dinner - the cooks here are awesome!  Then we each shared our word of the day.  A few of the words were unexpected, awkward, unqualified, touch, healing, connection.  We all felt God's presence during this difficult but wonderful day!  

Mary Lou and Lori May

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Beauty is in Changing Lives- Day 4

This is Manda from the Minnesota Healing Haiti team.  We came as two groups, one from Minnesota, and another from California.  We were two groups that just met on Sunday, but on this day four of our trip here together in Haiti, we can no longer pretend that we are not on this mission from God as one whole group.  We are now one! We have formed a strong bond from our first meeting at the Miami airport to today. We have prayed together, we have cried together, we have seen the unimaginable together, and because of that, our hearts are bonded as one strong unit forever.

Today, God led us on a trip to see and to do things that help me to think that there is beauty here in Haiti in many forms.  Beauty can be seen in the laughter of the children, in the art created by their talented hands, in their long dark eyelashes and peaceful eyes and the hugs of their thin arms around your shoulders.

We started our day by visiting the Elder School in Cite Soleil.  It was very interesting to walk into this school and to see how it was set up.  The children were divided by grades.  Each grade was in their own room.  The preschoolers were in the first room and by the time we walked up the two stories, we were on the roof to see where the high schoolers studied.  We were informed that the children in this school almost always walked to school, were granted an uniform, and a lunch meal if a sponsor or family member helped to pay for their tuition.  We saw lunch cooking in a big pot.  The pot contained the familiar contents of the ingredients from the Feed The Starving Children mixture. The classrooms were rudimentary and full of 40 or more children.  They contained chalkboards and long, thin, wooden desks.  I did not see many books. The Elder School visit brought a lot of hope to my heart.  I witnessed a place where children who live in poverty can go and learn about language, math, history and the world.  Education can be powerful. I can imagine and hope that these talented and fortunate children who are getting the chance to go to school can and will go on to do powerful things with their education.  Perhaps they will start a business and increase job possibilities in their own neighborhoods?  This would be so wonderful in a country that has a 40% unemployment rate and is regarded at the poorest in the Americas. Perhaps they will go on to travel or be the next pastor or teacher to help inform their own children of the possibilities that exist in the world? This just hope!  I am proud to know that Healing Haiti supports several schools like Elder School by assisting with the teachers's salaries.

Next, we distributed water in Cite Soleil.  We had first been there on Tuesday and that day was shocking in so many ways for me.  I saw for the first time, the reality of life for many of the Haitians who live in the poorest area of this country. Children and women by the hundreds lined up with buckets of all sizes to have them filled up so that they could carry them back to their homes.  I had never seen homes like this before.  They were mostly rectangular shaped structures with flimsy roofs and most without any windows. The rocky streets were full of humans and animals.  Goats, pigs, chickens and stray cats and dogs roamed the streets freely.  The open gutters were full of sewage and garbage that flowed along the road.  I soon realized that due to the open gutters and pot holes, that I would have to be very careful about where I stepped. The smells of the city were different.  For me, the one that stood out the most was one that was similar to the one of something burning.  When we arrive at the stops, you are immediately inundated with the presence of beautiful children.  These children often are not fully dressed, and or not dressed at all.  They have hard callouses on their shoeless feet, and they often have a soft yellow hew around their eyes.  I know that they were probably all hungry and of course thirsty too as they were there to pick up water, but they were most obviously in the need for some love and attention and that is what my wonderful team members and I did, we showered as much love on them as possible! Many of them would outstretch their arms and we picked them up and hugged them tight.  We also tried to bring as many smiles and giggles as possible to them.  We popped bubbles with chewing gum, we played hand games, we sang songs, we helicoptered them around until they laughed aloud! Being in Cite Soleil and distributing the water almost seemed unreal for me.  I witnessed desperation that was felt from the clingy hugs of so many children and was

seen in the hurried placement of the buckets for the fast moving water from the large hose to fill.  It almost felt like I wasn't there.  For me, what I was seeing and smelling seemed unimaginable.  Could I really be here doing this?  Was I really witnessing this type of desperation for water that freely runs through my kitchen and bathroom sinks at home in unlimited amounts?  I left the water runs emotionally and physically drained.  Being there and helping to love on the people of Haiti was God's plan for me and the whole group.  I know that we all did our best there and thank you God for giving us the chance to make an impact there!

We also got to visit the most amazing place today called The Apparent Project.  The Apparent Project has a boutique that contains a lot of beautiful handmade items.  The items are made by Haitian moms and dads.  I was told that the organization was started by a women from the U.S. who wanted to go down to Haiti after the earthquake and adopt.  She realized when she got down here that a lot of Haitian children in the orphanages are actually just there because their moms and dads cannot afford to take care of them.  The Apparent Project gives them a place to work and the director today said that the employees receive a salary that is almost triple of what is usually received in a factory job within the city.  They get paid by each finished project.  The projects are all beautiful pieces of art.  Some are hand made pottery cups and plates, some are beaded necklaces and bracelets from handmade beads, and there's also t-shirts, bags and hand pounded metal items.  These items are all amazing and a lot of us purchased them for gifts to take back home to our friends and family.  I felt wonderful about these purchases.  I knew that by buying them, that I was helping to support a mom or dad that just wanted to keep their own child from living in an orphanage.  With their salaries, they are coming home at night to be with their own child.  I couldn't imagine a life without my children and/or the knowing that they could not be with me because I was unable to provide food and shelter for them.  I thank God for a such a wonderful place as The Apparent Project.

Signing off and heading to bed now.  We are going to go to church early in the morning and will be able to see the sunrise during our worship service.  How amazing!  Love, Manda

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Day Trois (Day Three)

Patrick and Tarynn here, two of the California team members.  We're saying what's up from Haiti!  It's been an eventful day, full of lots of God's love and emotion.  We were blessed with two batches of wonderful scrambled eggs this morning full of ingredients that made our mouths smile (none of which we knew)  to start the day off :) Due to the size of our group we had to split into two teams today.  We had the opportunity to go where we felt led, either The Home for Sick and Dying Babies, or Dary's Special Needs Orphanage.

Tarynn felt called to visit the Home for Sick and Dying Babies, while Patrick on the other hand, felt led to visit Dary's Special Needs Orphanage.  Each proved to be an eye opening and fulfilling experience.  Even though the children in both places weren't necessarily aware of what was going on, God's presence and grace was evident.  Whether they were sick and dying infants or children with disabilities you could see they were aware of God's love and grace.  That's something I think we forget about in the states because we have so much, always wanting more, and forgetting that God is there for EVERYONE in every situation.  

One story in particular, included Patrick and a young girl with limited abilities.  She suddenly started crying out, sitting in the corner with tears in her eyes, looking as if she were about explode in desperation.  Come to find out her only desire was a cup of water.  A simple cup of water.  It takes us back to our basic need of survival.  Water is life.  In the eyes of Patrick, he instinctually compared the situation with the water to the representation of water in the Bible.  As if when she drank the water down her parched throat she was cleansed and made new.  

Another story that stood out to Tarynn at the Home for Sick and Dying Babies included the basic instinct of comfort.  She was sitting on the floor surrounded by a minimum of 10 babies with one leaning against her leg, grabbing on for dear life.  Another sitting on her right side with her arms wrapped around her body, and an infant cradled in her left arm.  A clearly distraught mother had to leave her baby for the day due to visiting hours.  Tarynn watched the mother set her child down on the play area, the child instantly began screaming so the mother came back and picked up her precious little girl once more.  Then she brought her over to Tarynn and held the little girl by the arm next to her, wanting her to take her screaming baby.  Conveniently, the infant in her left arm was in a milk coma so Tarynn laid the baby down on the play mat and swooped up the screaming child.  After what seemed like forever of rocking the baby and soothing her with soft words she began to slow her cry.  She felt comforted because at this point she felt safe and had all she needed.  Tarynn was able to provide that for her in the same way that Jesus provides us with the comfort and feelings of security that we desire when we need it and seek this through prayer. 

Overall, there were so many powerful experiences of God's work throughout the day for all team members involved these are simply just a few examples.  We are blessed to have the opportunity to follow God's calling and do His work here in Haiti. 

Peace and Love,
"West Coast Best Coast"

Tarynn and Patrick 

First Water Truck Day

The day started with us (Hollie, Christina, and Courtney) waking up at 7:30. We got ready and walked out to a delicious homemade breakfast. We all gathered for a group picture before we headed to Cite Soleil, which is one of the poorest slums in the Western Hemisphere. Our first stop took us by surprise because it was so foreign and we weren't sure how to act. As the door of the tap-tap opened the kids flooded us with big smiles and love. We helped women and children fill, carry, and deliver their buckets of water. From there we gathered to tour the Hope Church that is being completed hopefully by Sunday.

Our second stop was just around the street. Even though it was just a street away their were many differences from the first stop. Such as, the atmosphere, people, and amount of kids. There was a bit of unease in the mood, but at the same time there was such happiness amongst the children. The mothers trusted us to hold their babies, so they could get water. Their was many of us holding more than one baby at a time.  Before our third stop we took a quick snack and water break.

Stop number three involved a lot more physical work for everyone. There was a clearer path so it was easier to spot team members when carrying the buckets. Christina held the water hose to fill all the buckets while Hollie and Courtney carried the buckets long distances to their homes. Compared to the previous stops we noticed less children and more teenagers and adults. This was the most tiring stop probably because their was a lot more heavy lifting to do. We finished with a refreshing walk to the pier.

We finished by going to the Haiti Initiative, which is a program that allows kids to receive a Feed My Starving Children meal and have soccer training everyday. We were able to help cook the Manna Pack.  Next stop we were able to experience and participate in the boys' soccer training. We were surprised by their resilience, even though they were playing on rubble and dirt. It was neat to see how talented, happy, and friendly the boys and coaches were. Carol and Marni were able to meet up with the kid, Venel (17), who they co-sponsor.

After our long day of work we took a picture of ourselves after a long days work. We enjoyed relaxing in the pool and talking with our team members. We enjoyed another home cooked meal, which was chicken yakisoba. Patrick and our hostess Grace started our group time with beautiful worship songs. We ended our day with a word of the day and a prayer. We are so excited to see what God has in store for us for the rest of our trip.

Monday, February 22, 2016

First Day!

We're here! The Healing Haiti Alleluia team met in the Miami airport this morning and had about two hours to hug "Hellos," get some food for lunch, and get ready for our flight to Port au Prince. We five from California were pretty beat from flying all night (arriving in Miami at 5:45 a.m. - which was 2:45 to our tired bodies!) but it was wonderful to meet our Minnesota team members, finally, face to face. Before we boarded our plane, we drafted a Haitian to take our first all-team photo. It felt really good to all be together.

It was a beautiful day for flying and we made it to Haiti in just 90 minutes. As we flew over the dry mountainous northern part of the island, then across the bay, circling around to land at the airport, I thought back on some of the experiences I had in 2013 during my first mission trip with Healing Haiti. I remembered the places we visited (Grace Village, Cite Soleil, the Mass Grave site), the staff at the guest house, the many children I had held and hugged (I still have them on my prayer list at home), and the wide range of emotions that each day had brought me as I handed out food, played with kids, encouraged the elderly, and just gave personal attention and love to both young and old wherever we stopped to minister. All of this reflection filled me with anticipation at what the Lord has for our team in the week ahead.

Our team navigated passport control and headed for the baggage claim area. The Minnesota team had donation suitcases full of supplies and contributions, one bag for each team member. They were mighty heavy! The California team had opted to solicit a monetary donation from our congregation. A door offering after worship one recent Sunday brought in over $4000! Which we simply mailed to Healing Haiti in Minnesota, and spared us having to lug more suitcases to Haiti. Once outside the terminal, we were greeted by Healing Haiti staff members, loaded everything in to two tap taps, and experienced our first bouncy ride to the guest house.

As we entered our accommodations for the week, there was the supper table, all ready for our first meal together: Shepherd's Pie! Our team got settled in our rooms, then had a beautiful time gathered together in a circle outside on our patio. Carol had us tie a continuous string around each of our wrists, symbolizing our connection to one another and serving as a reminder that we need to be connected to Jesus as we serve in His name this week. It was early, but because we were so fatigued from our long day of travel we opted to eat as senior citizens, sitting down to our delicious feast at 4:30! This gave us plenty more time to get acquainted and share laughter.

Following our meal, we met with our prayer partners to talk about how we were feeling, now that we're actually in Haiti, and to discuss various concerns and need for prayer. Patrick and I are very well acquainted from serving together in Hilmar, but Al is new to both of us. As we did the dinner dishes, we learned more about Al's journey and his huge heart for ministry, both at home in Duluth and around the world. Our Healing Haiti host, Grace, then gave us our group orientation, taking us through the myriad of details that go with living and serving at various locations here in Haiti. These were all helpful reminders that will make us even more effective as "the hands and feet of Christ" this week.

Now it's free time. People are unpacking, taking showers, chatting, getting ready for bed, and the guest house is cooling down and slowly quieting down. There is a rather reflective, pensive mood here as we all settle in for our first night in Haiti. Pray that we get a good night of rest so we will wake up refreshed and ready to hit the road in the morning, distributing water in the neighborhoods of Cite Soleil. We are eager to get started! Thank you, God, for calling together this team to minister this week in Haiti.