Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1st 2016- Heather and Lisa

Today was another busy, fun and emotional day serving our Lord! We started our morning with a hour drive from Delamas, where the guest house is located, into Titanyen, Haiti. Titanyen is a village high in the mountains, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The drive was an adventure all on its own! Traffic rules in the congested village aren't quite what we experience in the US! The bravest goes first around here!

We first toured Grace Village, built entirely by Healing Haiti, in a place that was once nothing but a mountain top. The beauty of the sweeping mountain and sea views ALMOST match the happiness and hope you feel when you encounter anyone that works or lives there! Grace Village has a school that educates over 400 children from around the area, they also operate an orphanage with unique homes that offer the children an environment to live with a mother and father in individual homes. We were excited to learn that they work to place children living in orphanages all over Haiti in homes with blood relatives. They recently have reunited over 30 children with relatives that could provide homes for them. They also run a medical clinic that is a one stop shop for doctor visits, bloodwork, x-ray, and pharmacy! A primary mission for the village is to create jobs, and at this time they are fully operated by Haitians! There is also a new bakery on site, and a cafĂ© is coming soon! Our team toured the bakery, and bought some cookies before we left!

We then traveled to visit 4 elders supported by Healing Haiti living in the remote villages near Titanyen. Felicie, Lindor, Ophane, and Viergelie were expecting our visits today! Each visit was different, their personalities are infectious! Members of our team washed their feet, trimmed their nails, and gave them massages with lotion while they sat in the shade. We asked lots of questions to learn about them, and our Haitian translator helped us! Mary, a member of our team works with Elders in Minnesota. They wanted to be a part of her mission and she shared the information about each elder we would visit today. Each chose an elder in Haiti to pray for daily. Mary brought photos so that they had a keepsake of who was praying for them back in Minnesota! They were very touched and thankful! We asked them for their prayer requests- Felicie asked that some of her children find salvation, Lindor asked for eternal life, Ophane asked for his life and health and to stay firm in his faith, and Viergelie wanted prayers that she find a home to live in. Mike played the guitar and we sang with them! Before leaving we prayed over them, and thanked them for allowing us to visit. We were touched by their hope, given the adversity and circumstances in which they live. Each elder has a strong faith, and understands God love. The photo below is the team with Lindor, he was full of spirit, love, and happiness! He kissed the photo of Cheryl that is praying for him in MN, and was brought to tears to learn of her prayers! He asked us to hang her photo above his bed so that he could see her and pray for her too!

Our last stop of the day was the Mass Grave and Memorial for those that lost their lives in the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti in January, 2010.  It was a moving and heartbreaking moment for us to experience. Jonas, our guide shared his own experience living through that earthquake.

John 1 vs 13: 13-17~

13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

Today's blog was written by Susan Parsons

November 30, 2016 - Heather/Lisa

Our second serving day in Haiti was emotionally draining, which is why this blog post is being written a little late:  We were wiped out last night.  But now the roosters are crowing, the coffee is brewing, the sun is up and we begin again. 

We arrived at the Home for Sick and Dying Children yesterday and were greeted warmly by the nuns and staff.  Our role was evident:  To do whatever we could to help them serve the needs of the dozens of little ones left in their care who are too sick to be cared for by their parents.  Kids who could walk immediately latched onto legs and arms, and begged to be taken outside to a sweet little playground, but then mostly just wanted to be held, to be loved.  I spent the entire three hours of our visit in the baby room, going from one precious child to the next -- holding them, rocking them, singing to them; wiping noses and changing their cloth diapers and giving even the smallest of them little sips of milk from plastic cups.  Putting one child down to pick up another was heartbreaking as their contentment turned to sobs.  And I couldn't help but think of the parents who love their babies as much as I love mine, and the heartbreak they must go through each time a visit ends, some of them knowing that each visit could be their last.  After feeding the kids their lunch of rice and a vegetable gravy, we left, all of us with our hearts still there. 

We went to the Apparent Project, a organization that helps parents learn how to provide a stable income for their families. This is one of the most uplifting and innovate initiatives we've seen in Haiti So they created that provides jobs for 160 Haitian parents and on-site daycare for their children. We toured the production shop of the parent company "Papillion," and got to see how everything is made, from clay beads for jewelry, beautiful hand made coffee mugs and bowls, to screen printed t shirts...they even use recycled cereal boxes to make the most beautiful colorful beads! We then were able to shop in their store, and bought handmade gifts produced by those employees and treats from their rooftop coffee shop.

And we ended our day at Gertrude's -- a home for special needs children.  I didn't want to go.  Three years ago, my visit there broke me.  The needs of the children, many of whom had been abandoned, were overwhelming as they were understaffed and under-resourced.  But things have gotten so much better.  The children were clean and joy-filled and clearly well cared for.  Two team members and Sam (the long-term missionary at Healing Haiti) played the guitar, and we sang worship songs with the children.  We were surprised at how many of the songs the kids knew, with "Glwa pou Bondye" (Glory to God) and "Jezi Remmen Ou" (Jesus Loves Me) tied for first place.

It was a good day.  My devotional this morning reminded me of why that is so:  'The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not defeated it" (John 1:5).

Mary Midthun