Saturday, March 10, 2018

Liberty Classical Academy: Day 5, Orphanage Visits

            First we visited the orphanage called For His Glory. Most of the kids were fairly young, and they seemed very well taken care of; they weren't overly clingy, and they were not fighting with each other. We played jump rope, played basketball, and blew bubbles with the kids. It was really fun to play basketball there, because the hoop was really low and it was really easy to dunk. The kids loved watching people (a.k.a. Ben) dunk on Neal. The kids loved jump rope also and most of them were better than us. We tried playing games like Ring Around the Rosie and Duck Duck Grey Duck with some of the little kids; some of them caught on, and some of them didn't. There was a kid there named Wilson, who had some disabilities and stayed in a wheelchair. An American lady, who visits often, told us that he doesn't get out of his room much and just lies in his bed most of the time. He really touched the hearts of many of us. When it was time to go he started crying and no one could get him to stop. It was really hard for many of us to see. Overall, it was a really calm and fun day, and we loved sharing the love of God with all the kids.
           The second orphanage we went to is called Dios. It is a orphanage for special needs children. There were kids of many different ages there. Most of the kids there had problems with their legs or feet; most were in wheelchairs. Almost all the older boys played soccer with Ty, Neal, Jacob, and Ben. Even a boy with crutches played too. The girls liked to play hand games and they liked it when we held their hands. We met a boy named Morris. From his knees down his legs and feet are unusable. We sat down with him and he wanted to get out of his wheel chair so we took him out. Then he went back and forth between our laps. He loved being tickled and laughed a lot. There was a railing that he used to help him walk. He liked to play this game where he would stack a bunch of our hands on top of each other and lightly hit the hand on the top. We had to try to take our hands out of the pile without him noticing. It was hard to leave, but as we were pulling out, we saw him laughing and waving goodbye to us. Overall, it was really fun to connect with all the kids and see how much joy they had even though they have so little.

Delia, Izzie, Ben, and Leanna

Friday, March 9, 2018

Liberty Classical Academy: Day 4, Water Truck and Fleri Farms

           Today we ventured into the heart of Cite Soleil to deliver water to the locals. It was wild and crazy, but we managed to persevere through the hardships. There were a lot of children, especially at the final stop. There was a little boy who took Jacob by the hand and walked him a long distance to set down a water bucket. He then proceeded to dump the water on Jacob, and made Jacob give him a piggy back ride the whole journey back. After Ty helped a woman bring a bucket of water back to her shanty, she took Ty's arm and wouldn't let go. Then, when a boy who needed help carrying a bucket of water tried to grab Ty's arm the woman punched the boy and they began to fight. When Ty was holding a little boy a mom continued to try and force him to put the boy down so Ty would hold her child.
          After the adventure in Cite Soleil, we took a side trip to Fleri Farms. There we took a hike deep into the coconut and mango forest. The group brought back some coconuts and mangos to munch on afterwards. The coconut water and meat were so fresh, clean, and sweet. The mangos had a very tangy taste. We saw some puppies and Ty was reunited with his little buddy for a short period of time prior to an emotional goodbye.
          Next, we came back to the guest house and hung out, washed up, watched some soccer, and ate dinner. Overall I think today was the day the most kids were held as almost everyone had a kid or two, or occasionally three, in their arms or on them while there was still plenty more kids.
       -Jacob and Ty

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Liberty Classical Academy - Day 3, Grace Village and Elder Visits

Today we visited the Mass Grave Site from the 2010 earthquake, Grace Village which is an orphanage/school, and a few elders that live in Titanyen. It was about a 45 minute drive from our guest house to the grave site. The grave site was set on a hill overlooking the ocean. The grave site was built in 2014, but before that it was just two crosses up on a hill with mass graves around them. The memorial was a beautiful garden full of flowers and plants. It is estimated that 300-400,000 people were buried near or at that memorial site along with an unknown amount of other deaths. After that, we drove a few miles down the road to Grace Village. This is a home for orphan children, a church, a bakery, a clinic, and a place that provides jobs for the people of Titanyen which means, "less than nothing". We got a tour of the village and the bakery. At the bakery, a man named Jake told us about the bakery, and its origin. The main goal of this bakery is to provide stable jobs for people so they might be able to provide for themselves. Grace Village consisted of many homes for the children, as well as a large school, a garden, and a medical clinic. The school there was from kindergarten to grade 13. The kids graduated around their mid 20's. After they graduated, the people of Grace Village helped them transition into life on their own and provided them with a job at the bakery, as well as some basic life skills.
       After visiting Grace Village, we went to visit some of the elders living in Titanyen. We were able to visit with two elders, Edmund, and Elitane. They were very sweet people, but they were very sick and were struggling to take care of themselves. The first elder we visited was a man named Edmund around the age of 80. He was very sick, blind, and partially deaf. He wasn't feeling well, and was having some mental issues, such as talking to himself, and thinking that someone was trying to harm him. We sang Glory to God with him, and were able to pray for him. This was a very emotional experience and was a time that God was able to open our eyes and hearts to the people of Haiti in a new way. Next, we visited a woman named Elitane. She wasn't as sick as Edmund, but her husband was very sick. We came in to her house and he was very skinny, all you could see was bone. We were able to wash his feet and give them some food. We sang 10,000 Reasons with them and Amazing Grace. This stop was much more emotional than the last one, and some of us were unable to visit with them due to our emotions. To sum up our day we're going to share a quote from a song called Jesus Friend of Sinners

- Delia & Abby

. "Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours." Jesus definitely broke our hearts today, and opened our eyes to see his beauty.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Liberty Classical Academy - Day 2, Water Truck Day

Our second day we visited Cite Soleil to deliver water to the Haitians. For me, this was one of the most heart-breaking days yet, I already know this will be my favorite day. Children were running down the streets and following the tap tap bus wherever we went. When I walked out the children ran up to me, grabbed my hand, and have me many hugs. One of my favorite moments from today was when I picked up a little girl. She had little to no clothes on and was covered in dirt yet, she was overjoyed just at the fact that I was holding her. She had noticed that I had some of my dirt on my face and that some strands of my hair had fallen out of my pony tail, but instead of being concerned for herself she was concerned for me. She tried to wipe the dirt off my face and pushed the hair behind my ear and on top of all of that she gave me a huge kiss and said, all better. All the kids here are such sweet and loving people.  The fact that many of them have almost nothing and still care only about us is honestly shocking to me. Haiti has already changed me in incredible ways. I am so thankful that I was given this opportunity. ~ Maddy

Today we went to Cite Soleil to give water to the people. It was emotionally and physically hard. We struggled to carry big buckets of water to the Haitian's homes, while the residents did it with ease.  There was a language barrier so it was difficult to communicate at first, but after a while we learned to use our hands to talk. The children were amazing. All they wanted was to be hugged and loved. At our last stop for the day, this little girl, I think about 6 or 7, wouldn't let me put her down. She started crying and clinging on to my legs, whenever I tried. At one point, I had 6 kids crowding around me waiting to be held. They all were trying to hold my hand and play games with me. The kids taught me some Haitian songs, games, and how to find joy, even in the darkest times. They barely had any clothes on and at one point were fighting over my bandAid. To see them it was somehow heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. We came to help and impact the people, but I have learned more in these last two days about joy and love than I have in a while. The Haitians are so extremely happy and thankful. They remind me to be the same.  - Alaya

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Liberty Classical Academy - Day 1, Orphanage Visits

Today was our first day in Haiti and it was very exiting. We went to a few orphanages but one thing that stuck out to me was the La Phere orphanage. Some people went to the Home for Sick & Dying Babies Orphanage but others went to the La Phere orphanage. When we went there, the kids ran right up to me smiling and hugged me. Almost the whole time I had a kid with me either sitting on my lap or on my back. And whenever I looked a a kid they would just smile at me, which was very heart warming. They just wanted to play with you and were all so joyful even though they have so little. It was cool to see how God was with them and was working with us to help them.

Our first full day in Haiti was wonderful and exciting. After a delicious breakfast made by Ulta and Phaunis, we loaded into the tap-tap and drove to Sweet Home, a school and orphanage. We mostly played with the littlest kids, who loved the bubbles we brought. We also had a few minutes with some of the older kids and got to play soccer and on the playground. On the way back to the guesthouse, we stopped at the gift shop Papillon and got a tour from Tricky of their production facility where they make beads, jewelry, tote bags, pottery, etc. After about an hour back at the guesthouse, we left again for another orphanage. Some of the group went to La Phere to play with the kids there, and the rest of us went to the Home for Sick and Dying Babies. There, we got to hold and play with these babies and young kids. Most of the two hours we were there I held and walked around with a sweet little girl. The moment I picked her up, she laid her head on my shoulder and wrapped her arms as far around me as they could go. From time to time she'd let go briefly to look around, then she'd look back at me, spread her arms out wide, and hug me again so tight. It was hard to set her down when it was time to go. We then headed to La Phere to pick up the rest of the group and got to see the church and play with the kids for a few minutes. When we left, a little girl clung to me tighter than I would have thought her possible of and I literally had to pry her off me. Did we have to leave? we were both asking. The day was made complete by Valery's expert tap-tap driving through the insane traffic of the streets of Haiti. While the day was hot and exhausting, I wouldn't have changed anything. I find myself wondering, aren't you supposed to help other people on missions trips? I loved cuddling these kids who need love so badly.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Audacious Faith

WOW, what a week! As I sit here and write this blog with my incredible, beautiful, inspiring, strong (the list goes on) mother beside me we are just in awe of God's handiwork and his perfect timing throughout this entire trip. As we did our morning devotional this morning, the reading from Steven Furtick's Sun Stand Still about audacious faith was a perfect summary of our week. Audacious faith is not passive and neither is audacious prayer. Every aspiration you have in prayer needs an accompanying action otherwise your not really praying. You do the natural, TRUST God to the supernatural. That is what we did this week. We stepped out with audacious faith into the streets of Haiti to deliver water in the poorest slum in the Western Hemisphere. We fed the love of Jesus to the children in the streets, in the orphanages, in the schools - and they fed us too. We worked together as a team to activate our faith and trust that God would give us His strength, both emotionally and physically, to serve the people of Haiti. In return we have received hundred fold blessings abound.  We were amazed by the impact of going into the homes of the elders of Titanyen - we washed their feet and massaged their aching bodies, sang to them, and most importantly prayed for them.  Their prayer requests were so beautiful - and so similar to our own - for their families, for financial support, for health, but always prayers of thanksgiving for the blessings the Lord Jesus has bestowed on them. We toured Grace Village, Fleri Bakery & Farm and danced in the courtyard of Hope School to kick off celebrating Carnival.  Audacious faith with accompanying action. WOW, what a week!

This morning we attended a local church which was filled with people from many different countries. The worship and message were in English. We received communion - it was so beautiful to share in the intimate celebration of breaking bread with so many others in the mission fields. We are called to be in communion with God's family on a daily basis, at home and here in Haiti. The pastor taught about calling on the Holy Spirit to be our 'Bodyguard', our protector.  The Holy Spirit is always available to us to help keep us following in Jesus's pathway but we must call on Him and ask for His guidance. How reassuring to think about always having my bodyguard with me - I just need to call His name and trust! We were all filled with so much joy and hope this morning as we worshiped the Lord freely with people from many nations. One body of Christ.

To close out our final blog post from this trip it feels fitting to share about the family that was created in our team this week. Each day after our serving activities we would come back to the guest house, share a meal with our team and unpack the events of the day. This time was so special. We had a lot of laughter, some tears and even more moments of encouragement and prayer. Our team became a family this week. Only 7 days ago we were strangers meeting each other in the airport and we will leave here tomorrow as brothers and sisters. We just cannot wait to see what God has planned for the future relationships that were formed this week, not only just within our team members but relationships with the people of Haiti as well. We are so humbled at the opportunity we have had to share Gods love and stretch ourselves to live with audacious faith!

Denise & Kathy

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Potters Hand

Another amazing day in Haiti with our awesome team! Our word of the day was "molding" and that is exactly what God is doing in our lives. We came to Haiti with no expectations and as a workable piece of clay. Throughout the entire week as we gave our hearts to the people of Haiti, sharing Christ's love and hope, God had our hearts on the potter's wheel molding and shaping our lives into something new. As we near the completion of our mission trip in Haiti we are not the same. We came to bless and serve and in return have been changed ourselves by the master's hand.

Today, we had the privilege of visiting the Haiti Deaf Academy. Driving from the guest house to the academy was crazy as usual with vehicles swerving and honking around our tap tap bus, the smell of burning garbage, the vendors on the street and the motorcycles zooming made our destination to the academy a definite noisy experience. The moment we entered the gates, we were met with such quiet joy and expectancy from the children. Our time with them was spent loving on them, making rubber band bracelets, necklaces, nail polish and crafts. We also took an instant photo of each child. They had so much fun looking at themselves and so proud that God created them perfectly...exactly as they are. Dorothy and I also performed our mime skit showing that when we receive Christ in our heart He makes everything good and that when our hearts get broken, he can renew our heart...and we can share the love of Jesus with others. As we did the mime skit, every child was watching with so much intent and upon the completion, were asked several questions and they "got it"!! We didn't need to know sign language to share the great news. We had lunch with them and went to the sports field to play jump rope, soccer, baseball, bike riding and of course bubbles!! As you can imagine  the field was strangely quiet, but you could see and almost hear the joy on their faces.

We left and drove a little farther down the coast and saw more of the beautiful countryside and stopped at a resort called Wahoo to have a drink and snack and to swim in the amazing Caribbean sea. It was nice to take a short break from all of our spiritual, emotional and physical work.  For supper we stopped in Titanyen at the bakery to support the ministry of  Fleri and eat pizza.  It is amazing seeing what God is doing here to help the locals in the City that means "Less Than Nothing". 

Driving home it was DARK! There is very little electricity in the homes and no street lights. It gave  us an erie feeling. In our evening discussion time we talked about how dark we saw Haiti, but in a dark world we were called to be a light to serve and be the light for Jesus in Haiti.

Dave & Dorothy Smith