Saturday, August 19, 2017

KCC Teen Team - Day 3

God blessed us with another amazing day in Haiti.  We started off by eating a yummy Haitian breakfast.  Then we went to an orphanage where we played soccer with the children and some girls on our team got their hair done by the sweetest Haitian girls who love to play with our hair. We spent a lot of time hanging out with them.  They were so full of life and it's so amazing to see how God used the team to brighten the lives of those orphans.

We visited the metal market on our way home to see where and how many artisans make their living. This place was absolutely stunning. The men showed a tremendous amount of passion toward their metal creations. The team had a great time looking in the shops and buying neat things to bring home.

This has been an amazing week and we can't wait to see what else God has in store for us!

Friday, August 18, 2017

KCC Teen Team - Day 2

Water Truck Day.

So many experiences. Yet no words to describe it.  Healing Haiti delivers water 6 days a week to the people of City Soleil, the poorest slum in the western hemisphere. They are the only ones that give the water for free. When the water truck and the tap tap pull into their district, they come running with their buckets.  The kids come running, shouting, "Hey you! Hey you!" They love for us to hold them and play with them and take photos with them.  It makes you wonder what their lives are like because they want strangers to love them so badly. For most of the people in City Soleil, this water is the only water they will receive unless they collect rain water or travel outside of their city to get more. It's for drinking, cleaning, bathing, everything. It's the worst place I've ever been, and the poorest environment I've ever seen. There are child slaves and it is a very real thing. You can't help but hug them and tell them that they are loved and wave goodbye, wondering when they will be hugged again. It was an overwhelming, tiring, and awesome day.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

KCC Teen Team - Day 1

Today began with an amazing meal made by the Haitian cooks, A short hour later we all loaded into the Tap Tap and headed to our first serving destination...the Sweet Home Orphanage. It was an awesome experience being able to play and bond with the kids there. The most touching moment of the day was when a little boy named Zachary fell asleep on Dori. Our day ended with a little shopping at a place called Apparent Project and Papillon. Their business is dedicated to orphan prevention and job creation. We bought handmade things and ordered special smoothies. We look forward to another serving day tomorrow!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Hope for Tomorrow New Life in Christ Day 7

I have been involved in Global Outreach for more than 20 years and I am still amazed at what an honor it is to follow Christ's commandments to "Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations BAPTIZING them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

Being one of the leaders of this Journey of Faith 2017 Healing Haiti team has truly been an honor and a joy.  Even though this team has many A personalities on it Christ took those leaders and molded them into a well oiled cohesive serving machine.  It has been amazing to see this team overcome adversity and pick up and support fellow team members.

We front loaded many physical and emotionally stressful service opportunities at the start of the week and then added a time of relaxation and reflection at the end.  Today we began the day in Grace Church.  It was a joy to sit with some of the elders we served this week as well as some of the kids from Grace Village.  It is amazing to see how Healing Haiti is now creating businesses which are already creating jobs and job training for many Haitians with Fleri Bakery, Fleri Resto, and now Fleri Farms.  Not only is this creating an income source for their families but it is also teaching them how to work as a family and to stay as a family unit thereby decreasing the number of orphans and increasing self respect.

Next, we did some shopping for those essentials and then up to the Observatory Restaurant.  As we looked from the top of the mountain down into the valley of Port Au Prince and Citi Soleil where we have been serving all week.  From this lofty perch the cool wind blew and eased our aching, tired bodies and all seemed alright but we knew all was not alright down in Citi Soleil and the valley below.  Quiet reflection again reminded us how Christ is using Healing Haiti and teams every week to ease their thirst, plant a light house (Hope Church) in the center of the poorest slum in the Western Hemisphere on 18' of garbage, teach their children about Christ, and create jobs in a country with a 70% unemployment rate.  This is Hope for Tomorrow!

Today, two of my team members Chloe Basmajian and Brook Magpiong came to me, and asked me to baptize them.  They both stated that it was important that they were baptized in Haiti as God had been speaking to their hearts all week and they wanted to do it in Haiti.  We talked throughout the day and as a team we decided to do it.  As an Ordained Chaplain I decided to do it in the pool at the hotel where we had been swimming in the evenings.  We arrived and a DJ was playing and we asked if he could turn the music down while we conducted our baptism.  He complied and it was a very special time for our entire team as well as the guests in the hotel to witness.  I know the angels in heaven were just as joyful as Brook, Chloe and our entire team. After the baptism, all of a sudden the DJ began to play the song Celebrate and the entire team sang and danced around the pool in celebration of the new life beginning of two amazing young ladies which truly reflect our week, "Hope For Tomorrow, New Life in Christ."

Saturday, August 12, 2017

PEACE | Adaptable | Togetherness

Day 6 in Haiti...

Where did the time go? As I write today's post, I find myself wondering this. The week has flown by!

We started our day with a devotion about PEACE; not only is our God the great peacemaker, but we are also called to be peacemakers. This can be quite a task, here in Haiti AND back home. Our tendency as humans is to react with conflict, focusing on our differences. This is evident every day at home, in relationships, at work, with politics, religion, and all around the world. What I experienced today was nothing but PEACE.

Our first stop was the La Phare orphanage. The kids were incredible; positive, happy, kind, respectful. The environment was a little disorganized but I observed a team of individuals (with Sandy's leadership) quickly adapt, full of the Holy Spirit, and fill the time with these sons of daughters of our Lord! Becky even felt lead to assist one of the female workers with the laundry (this blessed me personally). This place was full of love, hope, and PEACE from Jesus, our great peacemaker.

Our second stop was the beach! We enjoyed a time of togetherness, fellowship, stillness, and above all... PEACEPEACE in God's timing, God's hope, God's perfect story that we are all a part of, and God's beautiful world He created for us.

Our third stop was Fleri Resto. WOW, what an inspiring mission of Healing Haiti, with God as their leader, guide, and provider. We ate the most delicious pizza, served by the kindest server, at a restaurant in Titanyen built for the purpose of strengthening families, creating jobs, and sustainability. Talk about PEACE!!!

Lastly, something very special happened right before I started writing this blog. Our team was offered the opportunity to split up and ride in two Tap Tap vehicles tomorrow to provide extra comfort. Everyone agreed... no thank you! It was a beautiful display of sacrifice, togetherness, and camaraderie. What a blessing to join a group of strangers, and because of the connection through our Lord Jesus, are forever bonded and would chose to stay together in lieu of comfort. The PEACE I feel being a part of this team, serving the great peacemaker and His sons and daughters (our brothers and sisters) in Haiti, has been an honor and privilege.

In the name of loving and PEACEful Lord Jesus,


Friday, August 11, 2017

There Will Come a Day

Sixteen of us crowd together on the disheveled, upholstered benches of the Tap Tap, bouncing into each other as we travel over pitted, unpaved and trash strewn streets. With anticipation and some apprehension, we enter Cite Soleil for the 2nd time today. As we come to a stop the metal door opens and we step out into the throngs of children, eager faces upward; arms reaching towards us. There is an unspoken awareness between the children and ourselves...that we must choose...and as we reach for one (a few of us for two, straddling each on a separate hip), we experience a pang of guilt at the disappointment we imagine the other children might feel. I reach for the little girl at my feet with cornrows in her hair, and hoist her onto my left hip.

The buckets line up and as the water begins to flow I observe that the line is, once again, filled predominantly with women and younger girls, each alert to the edging up of buckets, as the front buckets are filled quickly. Chiriya and Vicky are at the helm, filling the buckets with the gushing water.  The men and several women on our team, sweating profusely and with tired hands now, carry the full buckets to different homes, children running up to them, patting their backs and yelling "hey you," pointing to the full bucket and beckoning their help.  There is an effort to ensure that no one cuts in line but this is unsuccessful today as after nearly 30 minutes, chaos breaks out, several people shoving their way to the front without waiting their turn.  The water is turned off so order can be obtained. It seems unfairness is a concept to be reckoned with here as it is at home.  As the water runs out, we are called back to the Tap Tap. Gently, we put the children down, bid our farewells as we leave them behind in trash strewn streets and the murky gutter water from last night's rain.  We are exhausted now, emotionally and physically, and admit as much when informed that this will be our final water stop.

As we debrief at the end of the day a wealth of complexities overwhelm us.  Annie shares a song by Faith Hill that enables us to feel strength and hope as we know that for all of us, the children and people of Cite Soleil, "There Will Come a Day."

 Leyla Magpiong

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Day 4

Today, we drove along the busy streets of downtown with the many cars, people and horns honking. As the team chatted on the tap tap, we noticed the landscape change to rolling hills, with shacks overlooking the beautiful Caribbean.

Our first stop was the mass grave for the hundreds of thousands of people that died in the devastating  earthquake  of 2010. To have to face that kind of tragedy, you really have no choice except to keep moving. You cant help but feel the strength of the people, who had to overcome this travesty and forge forward. In fact, strength seemed to be the undercurrent that continues to sweep through the country and in the veins of the people.
As we left the grave, we came to a quaint town called Tintanyen, there we were welcomed by the big smiles, hugs, and kisses of the elderly men and women who lived in their small cement block homes.
 at each home, we sat and pampered these Haitian elders. How humble they were, as they sat allowing complete strangers to wash their hands and feet, and massage their arms and legs. How vulnerable they must have felt, and yet they sat there, honored and loved by people that were their brothers and sisters in Christ.
At the end of each visit with each person, you couldn't help but feel the peacefulness of the surroundings. The cool breeze, the big shady trees, and the many butterflies that floated around the homes of concrete. Each person had a joy and calmness about them. Through our translator, we were able to hear the word that emanated from each one..a common denominator that came through to pierce each of our hearts. The word was Jesus. He gave them strength..He gave them joy..He gave them peace..He gave them hope..and He gave them beauty from their ashes.