Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Serenity Village Community Church - Wednesday 01/17/18

Water Truck Day - Before (right) & After (left)! Note we don't look that dirty "after" as there was a water party at the water filling station, so first round of dirt washed off!



Today was packed and we're spent! We made three successful trips to Cite Soleil with the water truck; thank God! We also visited Hope church/school in Cite Soleil.

To learn more about Hope Church: http://donate.healinghaiti.org/projects/support-hope-church-cite-soliel
To sponsor a child: http://donate.healinghaiti.org/sponsorships?sponsorship_type=school-children

We delivered 10,500 gallons of water today! In short, one of two themes for the day is "when in doubt smile" - as it is the universal language.  We worked in tandem with women and children by carrying 5 gallon water buckets to their homes. We communicated with hand gestures, body language and most importantly a smile. The women and children were receptive and appreciative of our presence. Another theme for the day is "community" because we were given little instruction about Water Truck Day however we worked like a well oiled machine. Specifically, all hands were on deck: we played with children, carried buckets of water, held the hose on the water truck and prayed with people. Since we were all "present in the moment", God worked through us all day.

Let's talk about emotions... they are/were all over the place! We saw and felt so much excitement, joy and love from the Haitians while delivering water. Alternatively, we were somewhat saddened by the poverty and their daily fight for survival - we will never understand it. However, their joy and strength ultimately gave us strength to do what God intended us to do today. We cannot wait to deliver water again!

Mary & Raechell





Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Serenity Village Community Church - Tuesday 1/16/18



Day Two.

Today was our first full day of ministering to the Haitians. We started out our day with an awesome breakfast prepared by two wonderful Haitian ladies.

After breakfast, we headed out to No Place Like Home, which is an orphanage. While we were there we loved on some babies and were able to spend sometime with the older kids once they were on break from classes. We spent time blowing bubbles, jump roping, coloring and playing with cars. We also got a tour of the orphanage and were able to see where the kids stay, their classrooms, and the new building that allows for 50 more kids. Check out their website at www.nplhome.org.

Our next stop was at the Apparent Project/Papillon, to eat lunch and to take a tour of their operation. It’s crazy to think it all started when an American lady came to Haiti to adopt a child. However, the family didn’t want to give up their child simply because they couldn’t provide for them. Instead, the lady came up with a plan to train and employ those in need so they are able to provide for their own families. We were also able to see the kiln that Serenity Village Community Church blessed them Apparent Project/Papillon. You can visit their website and purchase items at www.papillon-enterprise.com.

We did a quick stop back at the guesthouse and then we were off again to split up into two teams to visit two different orphanages. One was the home for sick and dying babies the other was for children with special needs. Both places impacted many of our team members in different ways. One of our team members mentioned as they held the babies close to their heart, they calmed down. It’s undeniable, the connection that transcends through our hearts when we are listening to God’s heart. If we are close to Him, we will experience His peace and love like nothing before.

Although we are only here for a week, we are making an impact for a lifetime. We believe we are a small portion of the big picture.

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. ~Mother Teresa

Good Night from Haiti!

Robin & T


Monday, January 15, 2018

Serenity Village Community Church 01-15-2018



Today was a travel day, we met at 3:30am at MSP and Pastor Jed came to send us off with hugs and a prayer (plus a fun selfie)! Thanks Pastor Jed! Overall our travels were uneventful and we arrived with hugs from Long Term Missionary - Birthday Girl Grace!

After unpacking and settling in, we ate an amazing dinner then surprised Grace with a birthday cake and decorations (thanks Jess for picking us up a surprise cake)!

Our team time tonight was great team bonding time asking the "curious get to know you" questions.  Here are the words of the day we had for our first day in Haiti:

Becci - Happy-Place
Bill - Anxious
Emma - Open-Heart
Erik - Grateful
James - Open-Minded
Jordan - Intrigued
Justin - Destination
Mary - Blessed
Raechell - Excited
Robin - Champions
Theresa - Thankful
Tim - Rejoice

We cannot wait to see what God has in store for this group this week! God is good!

Tomorrow we are heading to a couple orphanages, Papillon, and home for sick & dying babies. Stay tuned....  

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Haiti Day 4 - The Last Leg

Today was our last service day here in Haiti.  We opened the day with Abbie trying to make us a great breakfast for our last day which ended up becoming burnt, but we love her for trying.  Next, we loaded up the Tap Tap and we bounced to City Soleil for our last two water truck stops. Today was our first true sunny day.  With the sun, the mosquitos came out and they were about as big as the kids.  We have the bites to prove it! It was great to go back to our previous stops and see all the amazing friends that we made on Thursday.  

After a quick bite to eat, we made our last stop.  This time we were able to carry the buckets and help the boys and girls bring the water back to their homes.  It was eye opening to see the homes that these people live in and how they live their daily lives.  We really had a blast doing these water truck days and making relations with the young kids.  After the water truck stops, we got to go back to our rooms and shower (which felt amazing!).  

Later on in the day, we went to Gertrude’s.  It is an orphanage for mentally and physically disabled children.  We got to swing, blow bubbles, and have wheel chair races while we were there.  We even got to see a pet chicken!  

Once we left, we got on our swimsuits and went to the hotel pool a couple blocks down the road.  We got our pops and went for a swim.  It felt so good to cool off and relax from our hard day of work.  

Today was our last day here in Haiti and I don’t think anyone in our group is ready for this trip to end. We all would like to go a couple more days. We are so grateful that we got the opportunity to come here to Haiti and help out.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

Haiti Day 3 - Flourish

Today began with a trip to the memorial from the earthquake in 2010. It was especially special yet somber because today, January 12, marks the 8 year anniversary of the earthquake. There were close to 100 Haitians in and around the memorial. Within minutes of our arrival, several cars came up the hill and parked in front of the gate of the memorial. A Haitian mayor accompanied by several security guards came by with flowers to pay his respects. The memorial marks the mass gravesite where hundreds of thousands of Haitians were buried after the earthquake. It was saddening to gain more of an understanding of the devastation the earthquake caused.
            
The next part of our day took a different tone. We were able to visit several of the elders known by the Healing Haiti community. This was such a special and humbling experience because we got to wash their feet, give a few treats, sing songs, and pray over them.

MarieDeloude was the first person we were able to visit. She had several children and grandchildren who were glad to have their fingernails painted – each finger a different color, of course. MarieDeloude also wanted to have her nails painted after having her feet washed. Singing songs with her and her family brought so much joy to all of us.
            
Our second stop was at the home of a woman named Charite. She has a few children and one granddaughter living with her. After having her feet washed and massaged, we asked what her favorite song was so we could sing it. She decided to sing to us instead. She knew all the words by heart and it was beautiful to hear her sing. The English translation of the chorus was “trust and obey.” This seemed to be an anthem for her life.
            
Our third and final stop was at the home of Pierre and Lauremise. Although they have been together for longer, they were recently married at Grace Church. When we first arrived, only Pierre was home, as Lauremise had gone to the market. Pierre’s personality was unforgettable. His joy came through effortlessly with his humor and smile. Accompanied by upbeat guitar music, he danced and sang and clapped with us. This was the favorite part of the day for many of us. Luckily, before we left, Lauremise came back and we were able to serve and pray for her before getting back on the tap tap.
            
After our elder visits, we rode to Fleri bakery/restaurant. Fleri in creole means “flourish.” Throughout the tour, it was clear that God has been helping Fleri to flourish since its recent beginning. The stories of those who have impacted and been impacted by Fleri are inspiring.
            
Grace Village was yet another amazing place to tour and be inspired by. The church, schoolhouse, garden, houses, and clinic make up the grounds. The impact that Grace Village has had on the community in Titanyen has been amazing. Hundreds of children have received access to education, food, and a family environment that they otherwise would not have received. They then graduate and transition to working or college to be able to support themselves.

            
Our night ended with dinner at Fleri restaurant. The food was delicious. Some of the foods we tried include pizza, chicken wings, salsa with plantain chips, and french fries. Dessert was even better. We tried banana beignets, mango crème brule, and cookies with ice cream. The service was excellent. It was a great close to the day as we shared laughs and stories.

Charity and Moriah

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Haiti Day 2 - Living Water

The second day did not start as early as the first, but we ended the day just as tired! After a wonderful breakfast of pancakes and eggs made by the Healing Haiti staff, we hopped into the tap tap (vehicle) and headed off to work. Our first stop was the water distribution center. This is where the trucks were filled with water to be delivered to different parts of the city. When the Healing Haiti truck was full, we went to our first stop of the day. Each stop that we distributed water at was in City Seoul. This is the poorest area of Haiti. The water poured out of a hose connected to the truck. We had team members handling the hose and other members passed buckets down the line. Others helped people carry buckets to their homes and played with the kids. It was a busy, chaotic day, but was not short of any love. Between stops, we had lunch at Hope Church while the water truck refilled. This is a new church where children sponsored through Healing Haiti attend school. While we were eating our lunch, a few kids (who were most likely supposed to be in class) came over say hello. They were a little shy at first, but within ten minutes were sitting on our laps and showing off their school workbooks. We then toured the area around Hope Church. During our second and third stops we went to Fleri Farms. This is farm ground was recently purchased by Healing Haiti that will provide jobs, produce, and opportunity for the Haitians. Crops grown there include mangos, coconuts, sugarcane, and plantains (just slightly different from in the U.S.!). Then we hopped back into the tap tap and went to our third and final stop. This location was on a pier along the ocean.

We were able to distribute water to people in the neighborhood at each stop. Approximately 3,000 gallons were delivered at each stop. Even though we were busy filling water buckets, we were able to spend time with all the kids and splash around in all the water.  All with the focus of showing Christ’s love to these kids and giving them a fun-filled break from their daily routine.


Fun team pic at the pier near stop 26



Dave Nelson and Abbie Nelson

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Haiti Day 1 - The Adventure Begins


Our journey to Haiti started bright and early at 4 am. We hopped a Lyft to the Miami airport and arrived in Port-au-Prince shortly after 9am local time. The itinerary we originally had was to head right to Sweet Home Orphanage from the airport, but in true Haitian style, our plans changed at the last minute. Long-term in-country resident Grace, calls this type of daily challenge “dégagé,” which translates to “make it work”! And so we did!

With the change of plans, we went to the Healing Haiti guesthouse to get settled and explore the grounds before heading to Papillon. It was started by a woman who came to Haiti with plans to adopt a child but when she discovered the child had a family, her focus shifted to helping families stay together. And so Papillon was born with the main goal of orphan prevention through job creation. Starting with four employees, Papillon now employs over 300 local Haitians. We got a personal tour of the production areas, including hand-made jewelry, pottery, sewing, and print screening. 
Afterwards we were given the opportunity to shop at their marketplace for these hand-made goods, which directly helps support these local artists. (Check them out at www.papillonmarketplace.com.)


We went from one extreme to the other, departing the success story of Papillon and walking into the hardships and struggles at the Home for Sick and Dying Babies. Our whole team knew ahead of time that this was probably going to be the hardest part of the trip. A main goal for all of us while there was to not have an emotional breakdown. In our short two hours, we were able to love on kids who are sick and need love. Even with a language barrier, we were able to play and laugh with them. We were even given the opportunity to feed them. Leaving them was heartbreaking because they were crying and reaching their arms up for us even as we were walking out the door. 

At the end of the day, we returned to the guesthouse for a family-style dinner, devotions, fellowship, and reflections on our first day in Haiti. We can’t wait to see what the rest of our trip holds! Thank you for praying!


-Jessica and Sarah