Thursday, August 22, 2019

Team Lighthouse Christian Church/Kremer Day #3

       Today we visited kids at Laphare orphanage and saw Papillon, a place where parents find employment and daycare help. They build things from like bracelets, necklaces, purses, metal signs, pottery, and ornaments plus more. They sew, make the pottery from dirt and fire it in their own kilns. Also some jewelry is made of cereal boxes, but is polished and hardened and sold. Together with a quality restaurant. It was started to help employ parents and help the economy, by allowing parents to keep their children with the steady income provided through Papillon. It is a very admirable and courageous thing, from all aspects. We all purchased a lot there in support of what they’re doing.
       I should introduce my team too; Wayne who’s been here several times knows everyone and this year is an observer, but also is the cool collected wiseguy. Ellie is a leader who’s fun and has many ideas as we go from place to place and puts up with with our banter at her expense. Kalli, the other leader, makes sure things run smooth behind the scenes. Dave the other experienced one who cracks jokes on me and everyone at our expense and sometimes his, but still is a good source of knowledge. The rest of us are newbies-Hannah a bold up front, but very caring girl with the kids, Lily a very caring independent girl with a gentle heart to touch each child, Noah the kid that wants to do all right by the kids, but yet sees the big picture of helping the parents and economy to improve conditions in Haiti and Cite Soleil. Kyle (Noah’s dad) The one who asks probing questions and shows deep love on each child. India who loves on each child and actually helps behind the scenes with caring for us and our needs. She also has a personality to light us up and takes the jabs sent her way in stride. We love her. Andy I’ve known the longest, but someways not as well as I thought. He really can be funny and stranger than I thought, but he also really loves on the kids.
       A very good group that gets closer each day! Love them all!
      Now back to the kids at Laphare. We played hard right off the the Tap Tap (our transportation to orphanages, hospitals, shops and water truck runs. It’s a rattly, bumpy ride to help those in need of love hope and someone to hold on to and with and if even for a short hour or 2)
      Ok we get off tap and the kids between 2 and 12 years old grab us and we play soccer, jump rope, color, dance, shoot through holes in the wall with the balls, and paint. Just anything for fun and make them feel precious love and hope from our Godly group. While their love and laughter rings in our hearts and gives them sweet dreams of the next visitors from the next team. Spreading more and more hope, joy, and future dreams. All for now! 
      Love you family friends and all. 


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Team Lighthouse Church/Kremer - Day 2

Day 2 - 

Today was day two of Haiti. With our hearts fully open from serving the prior day we headed out to three places. Our first stop, Artisan Vendors. There, we were able to buy all sorts of beautiful things from metal art to bracelets or paintings. At first thought this may not seem like serving. How are we serving others when we are buying things for ourselves? If you thought this, I am right there with you. However, being able to buy from the Haitian vendors allowed them to provide for themselves. This is how they make a living and they are proud of the work that they do. These are individuals who work effortlessly to make beautiful art in all forms. It was truly a blessing to be able to see all of the wonderful things they created and sow into their work.

Second stop, Dios. This by far will be a moment I will always keep close in my heart. At Dios we were able to spend time and show love to children with special needs. As I look around I am both in awe and wonder of all the beautiful children who at first glance may seem at a disadvantage or not happy because of their circumstances, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Each child full of joy and happiness from just being played with. It was so amazing to be able to look around and see each of my group members fully present and engaged with every child that was there. Halfway through we turned on some music and had a dance party. There was one special girl who had all the moves down. Every beat, every lyric, every sound she was right with it. It was an incredible sight. There is a verse in the Bible that says “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these…” Mark 10:14. I always wondered about this verse. What did it mean? Today I believe I saw what Jesus meant. These children rejoiced and danced for Jesus today. To see their laughs and how happy and joyous they were. They didn’t let their circumstance overcome them. That is what we should strive to be everyday. Like these amazing children who despite everything that they may be facing still rejoice in Jesus. Because he is good. Glory to God. It may be hard to take this in now. But there is a God above who cares and despite whatever you may be going through, he is good. 

Last stop, Home of the Sick and Dying. Before I go on, I want to say whatever I say will not do this place proper justice to how amazing and impactful the care and love that is in this place. Here we were able to hold and show love to babies and toddlers who are sick and parents cannot take care of them. The nuns who serve day and night to help take care of each and every baby, infant or child that lives with them. Their role is so pertinent to the lives of these children. Some children are severely ill while others parents just cannot afford to take care of them. So while there, we do all that we can to show love and care. There was a special moment where this little boy grabbed my hand and walked me outside to play. Him and I played for a little bit before I had to go. As I was leaving he slapped my hands and began to laugh. My heart both broke and was overjoyed. How can it be that you can feel so many things by just one moment? I was sad to be leaving him. I wanted so desperately to do more, love harder, play longer. But I couldn’t, it was time to go. As I walked away feeling heart wrecked I am reminded that these are God children whom he loves and takes care of. I am not leaving him in a place where no one cares. And if it's not me that is loving on him, playing with him or serving him in some way, someone else is. That is enough. It will have to be until I can come back and see him again. Today was a great day does lack in what today really was. I guess the only world I can describe for just a today is awe. Thank you Jesus for another day to be more like you and less of ourselves.


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Team Lighthouse Christian Church/Kremer -- Day 1

Today was our first day of service as we spent yesterday getting here. It was Water Truck day!

Much of Haiti gets their water delivered via water tank trucks. We delivered water to Cité Soleil (“Sun City”), an area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Cité Soleil is the poorest area in the western hemisphere. It is home to an estimated 300,000.

The first stop was at a location that Healing Haiti frequents, so the families were waiting for us, with the children chanting “Hey You!” as we approached. Before the door to the Tap Tap (the truck-like vehicle we are transported in) even opened we saw many raised arms — kiddos asking to be held. For some, the brief time we hold them may be all the love they experienced today. Knowing that makes it all the more fulfilling to hold and play with them.

(On a personal note, I was thrilled to get my baby fix by holding a couple very small children for a while. One little girl named Dufla (not sure of spelling, but pronounced “dew-FLAH”) was just six months old. What a tiny, precious gift from God!)

At each water stop, a large hose is used to quickly dispense water into whatever container the families have brought, from small buckets to 5-gallon buckets to what amount to small wading pools (tricky to carry!). A couple people are on hose duty, others of us help carry the buckets back to peoples’ homes (or nearby anyway, as we don’t go down small alleyways or wander too far from the truck), and others show love to the children. And we switch up duties as well. It is hard work, especially in the hot sun (today’s heat index was 102℉), but so enlightening and fulfilling, providing such a basic necessity to those who may not have it otherwise.

Water truck delivery

The kids take this time to wash off as well, pouring buckets of water over their heads and laughing and splashing!

After the truck was emptied, we were treated to a tour of the Innovation Lab and Sewing Pod. These are converted 40’ shipping containers (complete with climate control) and are ministries of Hope School, run by Healing Haiti. The Innovation Lab is a classroom outfitted with iPads and large LED monitors, where the vision is to give some kids from Cité Soleil an education in technology, including coding. The goal is to show them a potential future for themselves by providing an opportunity. Typically, life for these kids in Cité Soleil is devoid of opportunities and filled with messages that they don’t matter and won’t amount to anything. 😢

Inside of Innovation Pod

Next was a second water truck stop, where we dispensed about half the water (there were fewer people in line) and then visited a nearby pier in the Caribbean with some new zanmis (friends) in tow. We made a final water truck stop several blocks away and then headed to SAKALA.

On the pier


SAKALA is a youth community center with which Healing Haiti partners. It is an acronym for “Sant Kominote Altènatif Ak Lapè,” which translates from Creole as “The Community Center for Peaceful Alternatives.” As a word, sakala roughly translates to “approved by the community.” It is an after-school, safe place centered around sports, providing an alternative to getting involved in gangs for pre-teens and teens.

After that it was time for much-needed showers and a delicious dinner of Haitian lasagne! Thank you, Healing Haiti kitchen staff!!!

What an incredible day God provided to both us as volunteers as well as the people of Cité Soleil, to whom we strove to be His hands and feet. Thank you all for your prayers and support!

Bondye beni ou (God bless you)!

Orevwa (goodbye),

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Alleluia Youth Team - Day 7 - Relaxation, Relationships, and Rejuvenation!

Mesi Jezi! (Thank you, Jesus!)

    What a week it has been! We all can't believe that it is coming to an end already.

    Our final full day in Haiti was full of relaxation, relationships and rejuvenation! After starting the day at Rendezvous Church worshiping, we traveled out to the country side to Wahoo Bay Resort. We were overjoyed when we walked down and saw the stunning view of sandy beach and mountain view. We were able to cool off in the water and have some fun on the water trampolines. All of the youth decided to venture out on a small boat and do some Haitian snorkeling as well! For lunch, we ordered some burgers, fries and sandwiches and got to enjoy some cold, refreshing frozen drinks. We all enjoyed a nice day on the beach and spending time all together as a team.

As we prepare to leave this beautiful place we have all fallen in love with, we ask for your prayers for safe travels as we return home to our missed loved ones. 

Bondye beni ou! (God bless you!)

Abbi and Jen 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Alleluia Youth Team - Day 6 - Elder Day!

Sak Pase Zanmi yo (what's up friends),

     We started our day with a wonderful breakfast made by our Haitian staff, Abbi and Hailey. Then we loaded the Tap Tap to go to Grace Village. We then received a tour from our leaders around Grace Village. Grace Village is located in Titanyen, which translates to "less then nothing". At this village kids in the community get to attend school, it houses orphans in family-style housing, and it allows kids in transitional housing a place to stay. They also have a clinic that is affordable for people in the community to use. They have created a space that makes this community more then nothing. This picture below is taken on the deck outside of the clinic.

     After touring Grace Village we went to spend the morning with elders from the community. They met us at Fleri (the Healing Haiti restaurant). We got the opportunity to wash their feet, moisturize  their bodies, massage their shoulders, and pray over them. It was an amazing opportunity to hear the stories of the elders and feed them a good meal before we left. Here is a picture of some of us praying over Madam Monique.  

     Then, we took a short break and traveled over to Rosie's to have some ice cream and do a little shopping. We then returned back to Fleri for a tour of the bakery by Peterson who passionately told use the story of how the bakery came to be. We also picked up some goodies to eat for breakfast Sunday morning. Here is a picture from our tour.

     Lastly, we had some pizza and appetizers at Fleri. The long-term missionary Katie and Ash from the Innovation lab had dinner with us. It was very cool to hear how they got were they are now with Healing Haiti. After pizza we headed back to the guest house to enjoy some group and pray partner time. Here is a picture of our group at Fleri!

Words of the Day
Hailey - Holy Spirit 
Madi - Undescribable 
Abby - Confusing 
Emily - Hard 
Tori - Decades 
Abbi- Connected 
Nate - Age 
Chris - Conversations 
Jordan - Guided 
Kari - Pray 
Jen - Passion 
Carol - Prayer 

Bondye beni ou (God bless you), 

Madi and Hailey 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Day 5 - Alleluia Youth Team - Glwa Pou Bondye

Today we had an early start. Our alarms went off at 5:30 to head to morning service at Church on The Rock. It was a very interesting but spirit-filled experience, it was very different from the way we worship at home. Instead of everyone packing in towards the front, and sitting down to wait for service to start, worshiping began the second you walk in the doors. Everyone was walking around praising God with open arms, letting the Holy Spirit fill them. The whole service was a moving experience and something no one will forget.

After the service we had our second water truck day. We only had time for two water truck stops today, but both moved us in its own way. The first stop, N'ap Boule, was a rebuilt neighborhood after a fire burned down a portion of the area. There are small apartment buildings in place of the shanties. Our second stop was near Hope Church, it was the second time we did the stop this week. This stop  was a lot more chaotic, because there were so many kids that wanted attention. At both stops everyone was able to make more connections with the residents of Cite Soleil.

Our evening consisted of dinner with our friend Germain and his family.  Germain has been an employee of Healing Haiti for five years and was very excited to get to meet us, we were also very excited to meet him and his family. On the Tap Tap ride there, we invented a new game called "Tap Tap Soccer," which consists of playing soccer, while sitting down, on a tap tap! At Germain's, we were given a tour of his house, which we prayed in, over his family. After we prayed, we went outside and ate pizza and chicken. Towards the end of the meal it started to rain so we all ran into a small building on their property. While we were in the building, we started singing as one of Germain's kids played the guitar. Before we left we made sure to take plenty of pictures with them. The day was filled with moving, and eye-opening experiences, which filled our souls and will never be erased from our memories. 

Jordan and Nathan 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Day 4 - Alleluia Youth Team - Shopping!!

Hello Friends!

Today was a pretty laid back day. The trip is officially halfway over :(  After a pancake breakfast we went to the Delmas 31 artisan group market. We had to bargain with the artisans for their items. It was pretty hot, but we stayed a while and bought a lot of stuff.

Then we went to the Croatian Orphanage. When we walked in, all the kids sang a song in Creole to us! We performed our VBS skit for them and sang the Hippopotamus Song. Wet tg played our partner animal game, and the kids had a blast. We all just hung out for about an hour playing soccer and basketball. There were some kids playing with frisbees too. A few kids had some chalk or bubbles. Emily got a "sad face out of ten" for her flower chalk drawing, and Tori got 2/10. Some kids played with a rainbow parachute too. After a while we tried a craft and made animal visors. 

We went to a boutique/cafe called Papillon. We bought some more Haitian market items. Abby finally got her Creole tea cup/mug! After shopping we got some tropical smoothies. We took an "ice cream" picture for Pastor Jackie because you can't have a youth trip without an ice cream stop and smoothies are the closest thing to ice cream that we will get in Haiti. Emily finally got her chicken nuggets she wanted too!

The traffic today was pretty long, so our conversations were pretty interesting. We created the official TapTap Evacuation Guide in the case of a tropical storm or if we tipped over. We took a pit stop at a grocery store and bought some goodies. We came home to a hot authentic Haitian meal. We had fried chicken with rice and beans. After dinner, some of us went to the pool to cool off after the long hot day outside. Then we came back for team time. We're all super excited for our water truck day tomorrow!

Emily and Abby