Saturday, August 15, 2009

My body left Haiti but my heart stayed behind.

It's Thurday night and I go home tomorrow.

How can I leave this place.

Did I do enough?

Did I understand the people?

What do I do now?

Will life ever be the same?

This was a mission trip for me but as I get ready to leave I think Haiti was on a mission trip for me. I learned more from the people of Haiti than they could ever learn from me.

I don't want to leave but what happens if I stay?

Will it be too much?

Will I always have in the back of my mind that I can leave this place?

What about them - longing to leave and knowing they cant.

Could I listen to the kids cry day after day at Mother Theresa's orphanage?

Could I handle seeing people in desperate need everyday for water, food, money, medical attention?

Could I watch the pain of parents who can't even send their kids to school?

Would I ever become de-sensitized to it all if I stayed?

I don't want to stay but what happens if I leave?

Will it be too much?

Will I get tired of seeing the waste in the U.S.?

Will I get tired of having everything I need?

My family is alive, healthy, happy, and functioning well. Do they really need me here?

How do I explain to people in the U.S. what I saw, felt, heard, smelled?'

Would people really listen to me and respond to the needs of the Haitian people?

Where would I do the most good for the people?

It's Friday

My body left Haiti but my heart stayed behind.

Saturday morning

I'm feeling a little numb and confused about being home so I went to church.

Before mass started I was asking God what it is that He wants from me and praying for help to open my mind to be able to listen.

Well he heard me and I heard Him loud and clear.

The homily reading for the day was Luke chapter 9 verses 57-62

The Cost of Following Jesus
57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."

58Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

59He said to another man, "Follow me."
But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."

60Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

61 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."

62Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

So now I say to you Jeff & Alyn - The cherry bomb has just exploded!

God Bless Haiti



The word of the day was: soiled. My black shirt was completely discolored by the end of the three hour trip to Reiser Heights. I rode in the back of the truck the whole way – and my shirt was brown by the end of the night! The countryside was breathtaking. The sights, sounds, and smells completely different from the city of Port-au-Prince. Culture seems to shift once we are in the country. The mountains were amazing!

Everyone seemed relieved to step off of the toptop or truck and into the school of Reiser Heights. The kids were energetic and overjoyed to see us. We blowed bubbles, passed out bracelets, tootsie rolls – and made jokes with the kids. We also were able to feed them and watch the kids glow with laughter.

I visited Reiser Heights two and a half years ago and the change was enormous. The foundations were only there – and this time when we visited, the whole school was constructed and very much in use. Kids were packed inside – and it was the summer! I can only imagine the school year. We were given a tour and I can’t wait to see how kids’ lives are changed and molded by this school.

We stopped halfway on the way back at the Baptist Mission... with an American style restaurant– what a treat!! We ate food ranging from chicken fingers to hot dogs, and some of us enjoyed ice cream (besides David). At the end of the day we drove around Port-Au-Prince and were able to see the Palace and street markets.

All in all it was a wonderful day. It was a sad conclusion to an amazing trip. Tonight as we sit around the table we are going to say our goodbyes – but it is not the end of what God is doing. It is just the beginning. I know we all hate to leave Haiti but we cannot wait to see how God’s work will advance through this trip, not only in the work in Haiti but in our individual lives. We all feel the conviction, fire, and passion of the Lord. This light will be visible when we return to our homes. Our everyday life may go back to “normal”, but I know each one of us will never be the same.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Missionaries of Charity

Today we went to visit Mother Teresa's Orphanage. What a moving, overwhelming experience. So many precious children with so many physical, emotional and spiritual needs. My word that I picked to describe the day was "unfair." Why have my children been so blessed? I guess they just happened to be born on the right side of the hemisphere...?

I pray I do not ever forget the sight, the smells and the desperation of the babies I held. I so want to make a difference -

I thank God for this incredible experience. I know with the experience, comes an incredible accountability. God, help me to be a faithful servant, one that will make you proud.

Our good friend FanFan holds the 2 boys that Carol Plamann from Minnesota is adopting from Mother Theresa's

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Grace Village Orphanage

This is my first Blog ever but here it goes! Tuesday, was our trip to see Grace Village, it was quite a drive up the to Titanyen. The drives are alway such a cultural lesson and an "eye opening" experience. We arrived at the beautiful land that Jeff and Alyn have purchased... it was a lovely spot with an ocean view and cactus on the property. The area is so dusty, and it was a hike up to see where they were breaking ground and literally breaking the ground and getting it ready for the Foundation with a Sledge Hammer. The task looked insurmountable, honestly, to see the men trying to break up the ground was hard to watch but they will do anything to make a living here, no jack hammers, just blood, sweat and tears.

While we were there, we stopped in to see Marie Alice's new home that Jeff and Alyn had built for her. We peeked in the door but she wasn't home. We were able to see the her Prayer House and admire the faith of a woman who lost everything in the hurricane last including her family and was left with nothing but the love of her Heavenly Father and in her misery. She turned to God and created a place to come and pray and heal. I would have loved to meet such a true follower of Christ.

From there we walked to the local market, it was unlike any outdoor market that most have or will ever see. It was crowded and hot, people every where. We were there to buy goats to give to families in need. We ended up at the market way longer than anyone had intended, I am sure, we Blanc's made "making a deal" almost impossible... our presence just drove the price up!

After much negotiation, and a bottle of the most wonderful tasting pop (we were all parched, sticky and dirtier than I have ever been) we purchased our goats...16 of them. We were given "Certificates of Ownership" for each one and we headed to go to Yvon's Orphanage.

We arrived at the orphanage and heard the children pray and sing. We heard these Children, all pray out loud, at the same time, their own, different prayers and watched as they poured out their hearts to the Lord... it was precious. These Children had nothing, Jeff and Alyn have done so much for them but the needs are still so many and so constant. We did another "Spa Day" for the children. We set up stations, painted nails, massaged their little Arms with Lotion and rubbed oil into their dry curly hair... the girls got cute little barrettes. The children were given Tootsie rolls, stickers and candy bags. We had some paper and markers and supplies for them too. Those who weren't doing the "Spa Day" played with the kids and they just had a great time.

Today was a humbling day for me. As I finished a girls nails, she gifted me by taking out my Pony Tail and combing my hair and making Haitian Braids! Well, that's just not a good look for an old "White Girl", yikes!! It was hard to sit there, and just let her do it but she did it with love and compassion, she even pointed out that I had a dirty neck and she wiped it for me... what love for a stranger. She really touched my heart. I am not sure exactly why she did it. She did ask me for the fingernail polish that I had but either way, it was done with care and love.

It is getting late and I can't blog much more, but after we presented our goats with their certificates of title, we headed for Visa Lodge and all showered and scrubbed. I think it was the best shower yet.

Another wonderful, heart wrenching day in Haiti, so unlike home, so filled with needs but we got to see God at work in those who have nothing but Him! Oh, to be like them.............
Darcy Ciatti AKA - Pippy!

Cite Soleil

In the baking heat with no shade, we entered the area called Cite of Soleil.
I'd heard about this place, most Haitians won't even come into the area because it was too dangerous. Riding in a local tap-tap vehicle, you could see the news spread from one home to the next about our arrival. Perhaps that's easy to do through shanti homes which are all connected together with sticks, tin and rock.

We watched people run to line up as far as we could see. Each one guarding their space in line with a 5-gallon bucket. Utter Desperation. You see mothers with ragged clothing and some with shoes. Kids, some with clothing, and some with none, which was acceptable as well. Shoes are mere remnants, if they have them at all. The kids range from being thin to having bloated bellies and several have huge belly buttons that protrude 1-2 inches from their stomachs~ we were told that these belly-buttons are from home-job ambilical cord cutting at birth. Yet, when they smile, it warms you on the inside. They are the most loving, affectionate kids, and were so glad to see us.
Near the truck, the fire-engine type hose pours out water with such speed that the line keeps moving. 10 at a time are allowed to set their buckets near the hose in single-file order. Of course, there are the people who come forward and break into line causing a little chaos within the somewhat organized area. You gotta be tough and organized or else real chaos could errupt near the water truck. Smaller containers would sometimes appear when I was holding the hose; usually these were for a little rinse water for someone's bucket while they stood in line.

Just as I was starting to get the hang of working the hose, a little cup appeared from behind me and I looked down to see. It was a little boy who had grabbed onto my leg and began to balance himself on me while he stretched his whole body to fill his cup. Perhaps I broke the rules when I let this little guy dip one cup of water from a bucket, but he didn't know that I saw him, so it seemed okay. From the corner of my eye, I watched his next moves. I thought he'd drink it but instead he took that little cup of water and poured it onto his chest and then scrubbed himself as if it were his shower. A minute later, he was back for another cup. I knew that one cup couldn't wash him, so I allowed another cup for him. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him again pour that cup,but not on himself, instead he poured it on a smaller boy standing naked next to him. That smaller guy was so serious and focused as he scrubbed his body that the scene overwelmed me;

Unbelievable. One cup. That was it, his shower for the day! For the week? The month? Only God knows.

After the water ran out: We walked down the main street where we caught a view of their living area, visited a few homes, and learned of the different unending needs. Jeff and Alyn have developed relationships with those familiar with the area who can help them discern all the requests. They've helped with medical treatments and paid for local workers to repair hazzardous living conditions. The stories were countless... and I'm overwelmed.
Barb Knutson