Wednesday, May 23, 2018

FBC Huntingdon, TN - Day Two - May 23, 2018

Blog Day 2


Today was our first full day in Haiti. We started our day with breakfast and fellowship, and Ann read us some verses from Mother Theresa’s book about Jesus saying “Let the children come to me.” It was supposed to get us ready for all the children that would approach us, but you can’t really prepare for something like that. At our first stop in Cité Soleil, there were already so many people waiting for the water truck when we got there. Mothers, teens, and naked children were all running around, grabbing buckets and yelling “Hey you!” to get our attention (I can’t tell you how many times we heard those words today). We carried water to their houses and held and loved on all the children we could.

We went to the Healing Haiti farm and sat through even more thick traffic, so we had a little bit of a mental break before our second stop. This stop was much more extreme. There was way more people, children especially. At one point I had one little girl in my arms and about four others hanging on to my shirt and pulling me in all different directions, all saying “Hey you! Hey you!” One young boy named Jeff stuck around me the whole time, leading me around and helping me carry around buckets of water.  It broke my heart to see all of these children wanting love and attention, and not being able to tell them I would hold them next, because of the language barrier. When we finally left the neighborhood, I had to hug Jeff and tell him goodbye, and he followed me all the way to the truck and waved as we drove away.

Tonight we shared our words of the day, and mine was just “wow.” It was hard to comprehend all the poverty I was seeing and realize everything we take for granted every single day (i.e. running water, electricity, clean clothes and even shoes.). These people have to sit and wait for a truck every week just to get their water, and we sit in pools for hours on end and don’t even think about it. Clay and Laura’s words were “chaos” and “peace,” respectively, and those were two very important feelings I experienced all day long. To see everything going on by the trucks was overwhelming, but I was also at peace knowing God was there with us, working through us for these people. We decided our theme song for the week is “This is Amazing Grace” by Phil Wickham because that’s exactly what we see every minute in this beautiful, but broken country: God’s amazing grace and unfailing love.

Please keep us in your prayers as we go through the rest of our week!
With love,

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

FBC Huntingdon, TN - Day One - May 22, 2018

We finally made it to Haiti and enjoyed our first day here!!  We have had an eventful 2 days traveling   First, our bags got checked at the gate and sent all the way to Haiti, but we had to spend the night in the hotel in Miami without them.  So we all slept in and wore the same clothes for 2 days.  Then Angela got a phone call in the airport from Abby and Cayley saying they had somehow managed to get themselves stuck back on the other side of security…without a passport.  It was a tense few minutes…but it all worked out.   Once arriving in Haiti, we spent some time delayed in traffic and experienced 2 minor fender benders on the way home.  But apparently that’s just another day in Haiti.

After resting and settling in to our guesthouse, we spent the afternoon at The Home for Sick and Dying Babies.  We fed babies, changed diapers, rocked and held babies, played with toddlers, and showed love any and every way we could.   At our team time tonight we each gave a word to describe our day…Over-whelming, Hectic, Eye-Opening, Humbled, Relieved, Grateful, Love, Inspiring, Different, Open, Insufficient, Complete.  

Today was a day of new things for all of us, a day of different experiences, a day of hard things and beautiful things.  We learned that “Love is a fruit in season all the time”.  Jesus tells us in John 13:35 that we will be known by how well we love.   Tomorrow we will be spreading more love and water…Pray for a restful night and endurance as we carry water to the people of Cite Soleil tomorrow.

Angela & Abby

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Karen and Kara (Water Truck--Day 2)

Today was water truck day. We started out the day with a wonderful breakfast of eggs, oatmeal, fresh fruit, and pancakes that our amazing cooks made for us. After breakfast we had a little more time than we planned on to get ready for the water truck because the water truck got a flat tire. After singing a few songs, we got on the Tap Tap and headed over to Hope church and school while we waited for the water truck. The kids there were young because the kindergarteners and first graders had school in the morning while the higher grades are in the afternoon. They were super excited to see us, and we were a huge distraction to their learning. To try to be less of a distraction we went to an empty room and one of our guides, Emanuel, explained the history of Hope church. It was built on top of a site that had 40 feet of garbage dumped on it. People used the site as a bathroom and a place to burry their dead as well as to dump their garbage. When they started building the church everyone thought that they were crazy for wanting to build a church in such a desolate location. Eventually the church was completed and it is now a beautiful location where people gather to worship and learn. This just goes to show that God can do amazing things. After hanging out at Hope church for a while, the water truck was ready to go and we headed out to Cite Solei to deliver water. The houses that these people were living in were mostly tin sheds and home made shelters. There were lots of kids who were partially and completely naked. Among all of this was so much joy. The kids ran towards us begging to be carried and loved. We spread as much love as we could using our limited Creole and charade-like sign language. Everyone was smiling and laughing. The adults and older children lined up behind the truck with buckets to fill with water as we split up the tasks of holding the hose, helping carry water back to homes, and playing with the children. Everyone was super nice and lots of the Haitians practiced their English on us which we were glad to hear because it allowed us to get over the language barrier and better connect. We repeated this process in three different parts of the city before returning to the guest house sweaty and dirty. After arriving at the guest house we had a little free time before dinner. Some of us went over to hang out with the neighborhood boys where they were playing soccer while others of us took the time to relax and recap on the day. Next we ate some delicious mac and cheese that had been prepared for us and had a team meeting. We talked about the day, prayed, and sang some songs. By this time we were all completely exhausted from the day so we took some time to wind down as some of us traced and cut out sea animals in preparation for the vacation bible school craft on Saturday. Today was an amazing day filled with memories and we cant wait to share more of them with you guys when we get back!
Philippians 4:13
"For I can do anything through Christ, who gives me strength."

Monday, May 14, 2018

Karen and Kara (Traveling day--Day 1)

This morning started off nice and early, as we met at the airport at 3am. People were tired, desiring food and coffee, and were ready to sleep on the plane. After finding out that Delta now stops you for food in your bag, going through security was smooth but we had a couple of people who ended up having to get their bags checked. But no worries, because then we all made sure to wait in the line at Caribou for a little under a half an hour till it opened at 4:30am and we all got our caffeine. Flights to Atlanta and to Haiti were both on time and very efficient!! And NO-ONE WAS LEFT BEHIND; I'm blessed to say all of your kids, sisters, brothers, parents, etc have all made it safely. Once we got to Haiti we got to not only experience driving down here which includes ZERO stop lights but we all got to ride in a "tap tap". If you don't know what that is, it's for sure something different and very memorable (ask your loved ones about it). Tonight we all arrived to the house and got assigned our rooms. As some of us explored the area a little, dinner was being prepared by our wonderful cooks Ulta and Phaunis. For dinner we had walking tacos and boy oh boy was everyone excited to eat. As dinner came to a close we had the honor of having our missionary come and speak to us about the culture and some rules while we are here. Now the REAL fun stuff happens!! When everything was cleaned up we were set to go meet the boys and girls next-door. A few of us journeyedK over there and tried to play soccer with some of the boys... They were all way too good for us, but hey.. we tried!! We also communicate with them in Creole, we danced around, listened to their music, and just dove right in. Haiti is such an incredible culture and we are all so thankful to get to spend this time with one another. The wrap up of the night was sharing a word of the day and worshiping with one another. The word of the day is something that is said EVERYDAY and at the end of the day we go around and share our 'word for the day' and then explain why we chose that. The words for tonight were: Patience, Long, Excited, Eager, Open, Transformation, Joy, Power, Still, Hope, Present, Play, Family, Breath-taking, here, and Play. Worship was led by no one other than Jon: Worship was very powerful. Everyone was completely surrendering to the Lord tonight. God is so good. The song that we ended everything with was "So will I". PLEASE PLEASE search it and listen to the lyrics. Today was just a traveling day but you can already tell that this group is starting to become a family. We may all be of different ages and backgrounds but we have all come to connect with one another through the love of God. Stay tuned for Water truck day tomorrow (:
John 17:22-23: "I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one--I in them and you in me--so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Christ's Family Church May 12th

"Let Your unfailing love surround us, Lord.  For our hope is in You alone." -Psalm 33:22

This verse echoes what we witnessed today in our visits.  First, we honored and remembered those who were fallen during the 12 January 2010 earthquake that took nearly 300,000 lives.  The site was a mass grave, with walls of memorials surrounding it, hillsides with countless graves.  The stone/quarry paths upon which we walked also bore many lost lives under them.  It was incredibly somber.  Our team members reflected sadly on that day:  where we were, when we heard it on the news. and our first thoughts were "what can we do to help?"  We even spoke with a Haitian member of our Healing Haiti team who described the horror he felt when he realized what was really happening.  He ran safely out of the cafe in which he was studying to find his friends and family, who came out of this tragedy alive and safe.  

We then stopped at a little town called Titanyen, a word meaning "less than".  We first toured the Healing Haiti Fleri (which means "to flourish") Bakery and Restaurant.  We were warmly greeted by Jake, who oversees the bakery and restaurant operations. It employs approximately 26 Haitian employees, who have been properly trained in all aspects of the bakery and restaurant.  The smells that lingered out of the bakery were less than heavenly, as smells of cinnamon, fresh-baked bread and cinnamons rolls had our mouths watering and made our nostrils very happy. The bread, we learned, is baked and sold to area hotels, restaurants, the Healing Haiti Guest Houses and 25-30 smaller vendors who sell throughout the community.  This bakery provides a trade to benefit the transitional young adults, who have finished all their schooling and transitioning to independent living off of Grace Village.  

The visits with the elders were beyond words and quite humbling.  The word "humbling" has probably been used often in these blogs, but it is highly encouraged to study its meaning and how it reflects serving others.  As we entered a brick encompassed home, we set our eyes on blind a 83-year old gentlemen.  He was given a cold, refreshing 7-Up, a gentle foot washing, a foot massage and had lotion applied to his feet, arms and hands, which nearly put him into napping mode. He was humming as we were gently providing comfort care for him.  We serenaded songs to him and prayed over him for his prayer requests, which was to have his vision restored so he could see his visitors.  

Our next visit brought us to a shady area and a gentleman sitting at the base of tree on a small, handcrafted chair. We sang a song with him, washed his tender feet and applied lotion to his arms, hands, legs and feet.  He was graciously accepting of this service to him.  His prayer for us was that he be granted into Eternal Life.  He shared with us that he's been baptized and has accepted Christ.  We look forward to seeing him with Jesus in all his glory.  

Up the road was a grandmother of four grandchildren who sat and watched intently as we prayed, washed her life-worn feet and comforted her with a gentle lotion massage.  She was peaceful and gracious.  She asked us to pray that her family would all follow Jesus and followed up the prayer with the song "How Great Is Our God".  Such an appropriate ending to this very poignant visit.  

Out final elder visit was with a newly married, 64-year-old couple., who lived with a child and four grandchildren in a single room home.  They had just received an outdoor bathroom and steps that lead into their yard/home, steps up into their home and a gate that secured their premises.  The man was jolly, happy and shared his love of the Lord through his laughter.  This we all found to be quite contagious. He was carefree and so accepting of our services.  Each received a foot washing, caressing of the feet and lotion on the wife's back for healing.  His prayer request was for us to return tomorrow.  Her request was to let us know her appreciation for all she's received from Healing Haiti.

Don, who is a long-term missionary at Grace Village, provided us a grand tour of their facilities, the classrooms, the clinic and the learning environment and rich history surrounding it.  The views at times were stunning of the mountainous terrain and the indescribable blue Caribbean Sea beneath them.  

If you're in the market for the best pizza and french fries in the world, the place to go is Fleri Restaurant. We were served the most appealing and tantalizing pizzas we've ever eaten and they were served by the talented (and patient) transitional student from Grace Village.  The fries were hot, crispy and the garlic aioli was creamy and well-balanced with the spicy Haitian ketchup for our appetizers.  

With all the poverty, the obvious desperation, the destruction that is still evident from a trembling earthquake seven years ago has left us feeling saddened and wondering, "why Lord"?  But as we have served the Haitian people all week, we are reminded that God looks in their eyes as He does in our own eyes.  He sees what needs to be accomplished and has chosen us for this trip to help with those tasks.  He's never in a hurry, so we must live according to His timetable, His plan and for His glory.  We were reminded this evening to not worry about Cite Solé, because there is also progress there and God is moving and He is not finished with His people here in Haiti.  We are grateful and hopeful for this promise that He will do what He says He will do.  

As Moses so eloquently said to the Israelites:  "The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still" -Exodus 14:14.  

Katie and Tracy

Friday, May 11, 2018

Christ's Family May 10th and 11th

The last two days were filled with amazing experiences.

Yesterday, our first visit was to Peace Cycle. A beautiful woman of God, Rose, welcomed us to her facility.  We were introduced to her employees to whom she is teaching job skills; turning used plastic materials into a variety of resellable goods. The employees are so happy and thankful for their jobs.
We visited another orphanage where we read the bible story of the one lost sheep and made a craft. We continued to play with the children. They were happy singing songs and making wonderful artistic sidewalk chalk pictures.

We made a planned stop at Papillion. This business was started by to help the orphanage crisis here in Haiti.  She started with very few employees and now has over 25 people working for her. One woman was homeless with her children and recently was able to buy a house for her family! She is strengthening families through job creation.  At the restaurant, they had furniture that was made out of pallets. We ate pizzas and drank smoothies.

Today, we went to a 6 AM church service at Church On The Rock. We joined with our Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ, in praising and worshipping our great God.  Jesus is alive everywhere, even with the language barrier.

We did another water truck run in Cite Soleil where we filled hundreds of buckets of water and aided in delivering them to their homes. This provided us with another opportunity to hold and love on the children.

Immediately after delivering the water, we went to the Hope school and served lunch to the children who are so adorable. They were excited to see us again.
In the afternoon, we went shopping to pick up some snacks and ice cream seemed to be the favorite snack to buy in this hot, humid weather.
Our last stop today was at another orphanage. We were welcomed by the children singing to us. They had a 2-year-old boy as the choir leader (We have pictures to prove it.) We played with the children, hugged them, held them and laughed and sang with them.  On this particular visit, Healing Haiti provided 23 brand new mattresses. The children will be sleeping in new beds, bought in Haiti, from Haitians, for Haitians, this is why local sourcing is so important.  This was a huge blessing for this orphanage. The children were overjoyed and helped us put sheets on the beds. Our visit ended with singing and waving goodbye.

                                       God is stretching and challenging us as we continue to serve Him.

Barb Anger and Phyl Pepper

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Christ's Family Church May 9th

Today was our second full day here in Haiti, and one of the most rewarding days of my life. Our team spent most of the day bringing water to families in Cite Soleil, one of the poorest parts of the country.  I felt overwhelmed and sad as we drove through the neighborhoods and saw so many people with so little, but as time passed I came to realize these Haitian have what really matters. They have a love for everyone they are with and everything they have.  We went to stop 17
first where we were greeted by children excited and
ready for the water.

Once the water started flowing from the truck people of all ages were rushing towards it, and it was organized chaos. The team was able to carry buckets and tubs of water to the people's homes and see where and how they live. To feel the presence of the holy spirit when holding the children and watching so many people smile and laugh was the greatest gift.

After two stops we toured Hope school in Cite Soleil and we spent time with a group of three-year-olds. We brought them lunch and gave many high fives. The name of the school is perfect because it is a place that gives hope to the children, teachers, and families. Along with the school, we toured a farm that is owned by Healing Haiti called Fl

eri Farm. We were able to hear about the agriculture of the land, the future plans for more crops, and the benefits it will bring to the community.

At the end of each day, we spend time processing what happened and relating it to Gods word. Tonight the conversation was about friendship and how in the U.S there is so much judgment and vanity in everyday life, but here there is inner peace and selflessness.

An example of friendship I was apart of today was at the second water stop. A girl only two or three years old took me by the hand and walked me towards the houses. I was confused because I wasn't carrying any water for her family. When we got to the house there was a very old woman sitting inside with empty buckets. After filling them and bringing them back I assumed the little girl lived with her. Instead, I saw the little girl run into a house with other children and start to carry their buckets out.  When she could have gotten her own water or bathed she saw the need of someone else and meet that need.

I went into the day fearful that I would have nothing to offer the Haitian who need so much. I reminded myself of the Mother Theresa quote "Not all can do great things, but all can do things with great love." I kept this in mind with a goal to serve and ended the day wanting nothing more than to do it all over again.