Sunday, November 14, 2010


Word of the day: Strong

I wish everyone I know could have seen life in Haiti this week, even for a day. Writing, the pictures, the stories to be brought back will not do justice to capture both the worst of the worst seen down here, nor truly show the goodness of God, His good works, His ability to bless and keep and do all things, His beauty and creative hand.... and how his heart must ache for the people of Haiti.

I was part of the breakfast making again... Eggs with onion and peppers, Jean boiled "sweet potatoes" (not like ours back home we'll be having at Thanksgiving) and plantains together, we always have fresh avocado (the ones here are HUGE compared to those at home and are really good), bananas, and bread. Karen shared a passage from a book she's reading about how in order for your light to shine the brightest, it may mean going into real darkness. The writer told a story of how she bought her daughter her first flashlight and when they got home and put the batteries in, turned it on, the girl looked at her mom and said, "let's go find some darkness". When you compare the light of a flashlight to that of the Holy Spirit at work and the light Christ instructed us to be, knowing there are some very dark places in this world, the flashlight in pitch blackness doesn't compare really. Karen is a blessing to us all and has such a compassionate heart. The love of God just beams out of the woman and I am so very blessed to call her friend.

As we were finishing up breakfast, the top-top came to pick us up. Top top= taxi but a truck like a chevy s-10, but toyota style with metal bars welded to the box, and a topper box bolted on top of that. There are benches across each side. We feel crammed and squished with 12 back there- I promise you some of the Haitian filled top tops of the same size hold 20 people or more. We met our water truck guys at the water station... with Rachael finding herself with the difficult task once again to tell these men who had known Alyn with all of her trips down here, that she had passed. I just pray that her heart would be wrapped in God for her pain and grief that she has set aside to finish out this calling. We continue to encounter Alyn's favorite child or many other things that were specific to her as the week has gone by. Perhaps with Rachael's love for the Haitians, and in turn their love for her and Alyn was exactly how God wanted to begin the grieving process for her.

Our first stop was a village with guards from the UN there. They monitor and patrol the streets, as more of a peacekeeping mission. They have been everywhere actually as the elections are coming up and seem to be rather passionate here. With the passion comes the threat of violence though. I can't do an adequate job describing politics here, however I can say it is very corrupt. As we delivered water, I planted myself on a rock with a whole bunch of chldren, playing a hand slapping game, as well as just loving up on them. The toddlers could be my favorite- they just climb up onto your lap and snuggle in. The line went through very quickly it seemed- I was rather oblivious to the goings on of the water trucks this time. I saw children bathing with the water though- dumping it on their heads. I am not sure how many white people these children had seen as I found myself somewhat of an experiment as the kids squeezed my fingers to see if they were white, pressed on the spots that were tan/ a little pink to see what would happen, lifted the back of my shirt or pulled it down to the side to see if I was white everywhere- including my scalp...

As we made our way to our second stop, we found ourselves with a flat on both wheels on the water truck. We switched which stop we went to- it is not possible to fix a tire with a full tank of water, so we just needed to get to a place to fix the tire. Our top top driver, Junior, put on some music and we found ourselves having a dance party in the back of a top top. I spent much more time on the water truck this time, holding the hose as well as directing the hose to each individual bucket. I found a little girl who needed help lifting her bucket onto her head, so instead of lifting it onto hers, I put it on mine, and followed her back to her home. I have watched some of the other women in our group do this the first day, and thought the perspective would be good. It was just a large stock pot, but man did it have the possibliity of cranking on a person's neck. Her family spoke a little English, so I was able to have a little conversation with them- with them saying over and over "we are so glad to see you". I tried a full 5 gallon bucket when I got back, but didn't make it the whole way- it wasn't a smooth bottomed bucket and it just hurt. FanFan and Maxim were always around to make sure we came back out from delivering the water. Walking anywhere, I'd feel safe with Maxim. Bucket after bucket was carried, and as the water truck was emptied out, the tire was fixed up so it was driveable, and we found ourselves with a water fight of sorts- the buckets came first as they trickled in at the end, but we all got soaked. What has amazed me is that the children feel so badly when we get hurt or wet or dirty or... though we are there to serve them. I had a little girl wringing out my shirt.

We went back to the water station, and were able to get the other water truck and make the thrid run of the day. It felt like this moment when we said, "Take THAT Satan! A flat can't deter or stop or frustrate or impact the work of God here! You have no place here, with this team, with God's work, or what we can do through Him." We filled up and found ourselves back at one of the same stops we had made on Tuesday. As we got out of the top top, we had some of the children remembering our names, ready with hugs and smiles. Many children clammored up into the back of the top top. And then with a "Hey You!", I joined them holding a toddler in my arms with hair that was turning light like blonde from malnourishment, with a runny nose, and I could feel his fever as I held him. In the back of the top top, there was an entire group of girls who were again, poking and prodding to see how white I really am. They started to pet my hair... and as I caught Junior's eye, I gave him my glasses, visor, and took my pony tail down and let the girls do what they would. I still have the little braids in the front of my hair along the edge of my hair line. I had a picture taken with the girls who did my hair, holding a now sleeping infant. I pray that little boy will make it. He still has weight, but the blonde shows he's lacking, and a runny nose and fever make a mother's heart ache.

I made supper for the team and all our water boys... Rach asked me if it was ok, and I looked at her and said this is just what I do. I have gone through my list of don'ts this week and have seemingly broken all of them since I went without make up yesterday as well. But my "this is what I do" was a way to minister to the team. Water truck days are not for the faint of heart, body, or mind. What those men do each day is hard work for very little return. I am hoping all will work to have the opportunity to cook for the famly at the holidays now- having a new appreciation for food really.

Strong came from several different things. The stong hand of God covering us with protection. The strength only God could have blessed this team with. Our armor, our fence has no cracks or places God can enter in. The women in each of those villages is exceptionally strong to carry the number of buckets they do. The Haitians are strong- we saw one man pulling a cart that we would see strapped onto a pack mule, another man with a literal CAR he was pulling behind him. Their resiliancy is indescribable. Strong came in the team having the courage to face all the things we encountered and yet continue to press on and do God's work. Strong courage to break out of what we don't do and focus on what God is teaching us here. Boundaries were broken for everyone it seems. Strong in heart, body and mind that aside from one person, we have been blessed with health each day- and the one person was able to bounce back in 24 hours. To God be the glory for what He has done in each of us, for us, around us, and in the people we've served this week.

As a final note, today, this day, I long for my babies. I have seen their faces everywhere with all the children we've come in contact with. 48 or so hours to holding them.... I miss my kids. God alone has made the ache less through the constant nightmares of the week. I thank you all for your prayers for this week.

Glory to God for all He is able to do.

Love to you all.


Healing Haiti Team Member


Word of the Day: Hands

Technical difficulties= no post yesterday and now trying to repost all that happened with another day's memories to catalogue. I have found each day here, and each place we go, feels like a collection of days instead of just one...

Yesterday started with breakfast by Lisa and Heather... the Express Breakfast, or een the build your own omelette at work has nothing on what we've been having here. We had a morning of preparing and packing for the day: making cards for the orphans, cutting for the friendship bracelets, snack packing, and a little yoga to get everyone stretched out from riding in the truck. I've found yoga and I can be good friends... :) Jen has been a blessing with her instruction to help us all focus for the day ahead.

We first went to the Christian School sponsored by Healing Haiti. The children were let out a bit early for the Christian party they were having later on in the afternoon. Healing Haiti in sponsoring the school, pays the teacher salaries, among the other expenses of the building upkeep and so forth. I held the hands of two little boys as they showed off their school here. Their excitement and dancing of the children was priceless.

Our next stop was the marketplace for goats. Goats have the ability to provide milk as well as other food source, so we have the opportunity through Healing Haiti to make a way for a family in need to get a goat. Our team has over 20 goats to purchase, however, we are restricted by the availability of the goats, but know they will make it to the families soon. As we were walking through the market, I was struck by a couple of things... first- my friend Paul had "warned" me about a market saying I will/ may be overwhelmed because of my panic of unorganized and chaotic spaces. Honestly, he was a little right. It was hard for me to imagine buying food- onions, potatoes, watermelon, papaya, mango, let alone a goat or other food stuff in an open area like that and off the ground. It was a bit of a culture shock just because I had never been to such a marketplace - in the states or abroad. My second thought was of the children again. We teach our children at home to not talk to strangers and stay close by... the children of Haiti do the exact opposite. With a word Bonswa or Bonjour (spelling may be off here... ) and a smile, you've made an instant friend out of a child and they will wander and go where ever you are for as long as they can. Holding hands witha complete stranger's child has been such an experience for me here.

The third stop was just beautiful. We drove through the mountain areas and along the coast of the Caribbean to Grace Village. I'll get pictures when we return home, however, they will not do the actual scenery justice. Haiti is beautiful. God's creative hand did not skip over this country though much of the world pretends it does not exist. The mountains, the shoreline views, the vegetation as you head from Port au Prince to Titanyen is beautiful. (Dad- a CORN field. Seriously.) Grace Village will be the new home of Guilliane's and Yvonne's orphanages, as well as have a feeding center for the people of the area. There will be a soccer field and a basketball court (possibly on that one). What it will have is an organization and people who have a heart for these things like the hungry and orphaned. Hands come in the form of God's hand on the ministry of Healing Haiti and the impact here. In just a few years, with obedience and faithfulness, God has blessed this ministry. The design and look of the buildings will forever have Alyn's stamp on them though she will never physically see them. The hands of the masons and other people who have worked to build. The hand of the child who followed us up the hill and both walked with me and sat on my lap for a little snuggle in. I remember a song by the group First Call that says ..."everywhere there's evidence of God". It is no less true in Haiti though much may be working against God here. Chloe and I talked before coming down here, and she was concerned and fearful about things, and I asked her who was in charge- she said "God". So if God is in charge, the devil can't "win"... who does win? "God." We have to trust that God will protect and keep us while we're apart and throughout the day. "Right." With that though, also comes the affirmation that God can and will continue to work here. I am so anxious to see all that God will continue to accomplish here and through the work of Healing Haiti.

Our last stop was at Yvonne's orphanage. This trip has been one of a kind in that the children, the workers, everyone knew who Alyn was that we have interacted with. God does not do anything by accident, so being here has meant being able to share first hand the news of Alyn's death, but at the same time offer hope and comfort for that as well in our mission work. The children at Yvonne's were older, so many of them had more of a recollection of Alyn and were upset by the news. When we arrived, there was a group from Samaritan's purse there- doing rebuilding from North Carolina. Nothing with God is an accident. Who knows what may come of that one interaction with this group. Before the children sang for us, they went through a conversation of both us informing them of Alyn's passing, but also being able to have Yvonne say the children were upset about that, but so thankful to have us there. They sang a couple of songs, but one in particular "wrecked" a few of us. They sang "What the Lord has Done in Me" with tears streaming down their faces, and hands lifted in worship to God. The boys prayed and then the girls all prayed out loud- they were so pure, innocent, and very heart felt in their prayers- almost to the point of a shout as they prayed for Jeff and Alyn. Hands lifted to God. We handed out some treats, the cards we made, and then split the children to do friendship bracelets or cards for Jeff, and then switch afterward... moving on to bubbles with Brother Derek as Tom likes to call him. I have been so blessed by how our team has really worked together without pretense or upset- everyone just does what is needed, both in the field and at the house.

As I reflect on the day, it was as if there was evidence of the hand of God everywhere we went. God only knows how the rest of the trip may affect our team, and how things may go.

Be blessed.



Healing Haiti Team Member

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Her love for those the rest of the world ignores...

Alyn Shannon, one of the founders of Healing Haiti wrote in her journal on one of her trips down here...." What is God trying to teach me" with several examples of all that you see here. Yesterday was such a day for those questions.

We woke up to breakfast ala Chalyne and me- eggs were a farmer's daughter meets a Creole Haitian. :) I want to find or bring home some of the spice they have here. It just makes everything better. :) Then it was off to deliver water.

The water deliveries were in City Soleil- Haiti's "projects" if you will, though our "project" communities have a life that is far better than these. Stop one was to city 21- a neighborhood that is always visited by the Healing Haiti groups. These people literally live surrounded by the garbage dump. As I got off the truck, I found this little boy waiting for me- as I knelt to say Bonjour to him, he pulled me close gave me a hug and kissed my cheek. What is God trying to teach me? We delivered water- a more appropriate way of saying this would be the rest delivered water, I played with children with a few other people from my group. We walked out along a path to see the homes in this village. Nothing more than tin and tarp, some made with small trees interlaced with upright "posts", but all is surrounded by garbage. The pigs go through the same garbage the children forage through. What is God trying to teach me? My little buddy stayed with me through the walk and it was heartbreaking to put him down. As we traveled to the water station, I was reminded of how my mom had said their sermon Sunday was on how God knows everyone's name.... this little boy may not have one, or just doesn't know his. He is not insignificant to God though- no matter where his life may lead...

The second stop was again filled with children- I found myself surrounded by a whole group of them- and jumped, played, simon says, the children showed me "limbo" and "gai pai"... You'd have to be here. :) I helped with the water truck next- it was literally crazy to experience. It was less crazy when I saw just how many buckets these women had with them, knowing this was all they would get for almost a week.... maybe longer. The desperation for clean buckets of water makes watering our lawn, or water balloons hard to handle. We have how many bathrooms in our homes, how many sinks, and even having one is more than these people will ever have or know. I found another "special" child"- a little girl this time about 4-5 who snuggled in and fell asleep.

The last stop was in the area literally called the project here. There was a parted out remnant of a car, and these little tin/ concrete/tarp combinations of homes, with sewer running along each side open for slipping into (when a Haitian says ..." ooh... " like EW you know it's bad!) I played with some older kids and helped hold the hose for the water truck... as well as took a few buckets to the homes to help carry. I found a 12 year old boy who proudly professed he was a gangster. What kind of life will he have in front of him? What does a gangster look like in Haiti?

As we returned to the house, Rach and I made dinner and after some down time, received a call from Jeff, Alyn's husband. Alyn has been battling cancer for the past 2 years, and the word from Jeff last night was that she was no longer responsive. Perhaps it is not about what God is directly trying to teach me, but rather what God is showing and teaching through this woman I've never met. Her faithfulness, her willingness to be obedient... her love for those the rest of the world ignores. I told Tom, Jeff's brother, this morning that the song Thank You has just randomly been in my head for the past two years- I can only imagine that is the welcome Alyn will be receiving. God is calling her home- as I imagine her being called His good and faithful servant. Her quilt of life may be tattered, but I can only imagine hers has the face of Christ shining through the holes. God has blessed me through her story. Please pray for her and Jeff in these final days.

Ke Bondye Beni'ou.

Love you all.


Healing Haiti Team Member

Friday, November 12, 2010

No Boundaries

Word of the day: No Boundaries (really having difficulty with this single word concept).

The boys took to the kitchen this morning serving up eggs, pancakes, and toast with shaudek juice ala Jean. Shaudek= part of the citrus fruit family and it's just good. Trust me. I was up early and had the opportunity to see the video on YouTube with Tom showing the prayer house near the grounds of the under construction Grace Village. We also looked at a video on 100x$25 to supply cribs for orphans. (I'll direct you to for more information on that exactly and how you can get involved. Also- side bar- thank you for some of your questions about donating additionally down here. I'll send out a list as there will be more people to come down in December/ early next year.) The videos of the faith of the Haitian woman as well as God's provision was.... no surprise.... but still brought tears to my eyes.

After a slower morning, we packed up and headed out to Elder's school- the school Healing Haiti supports and will move to Grace Village when completed. We toured the school, seeing all of the children in their uniforms. I have found that children are identified as to their school and grade based on their uniforms. We went to the rooftop level and found ourselves in the middle of the upper level classes. Derek and I looked at the boards and talked if it was geometry or perhaps analytic geometry/ trigonometry the children were learning. Tom asked what we were talking about and we said we were just trying to decide what they were learning... "looks like math" Tom said. Derek and I just laughed a little and said "that's just Tom". The man has a heart of gold, and a passion for the Haitians. His energy is contagious and he just has made the trip more memorable as we've gone along. He's quick to point out how Americans are different in how they view things, but also even quicker with a word of encouragement or an acceptance of grace that people just don't know any differently. The passion and focus of the family is amazing to me. Tom is the brother in law of Alyn, Rachael the surrogate daughter of Jeff and Alyn's, but yet the choice is that the mission continues with the honor and glory to God, but with the blessing of Alyn who would have wanted things to continue this week and next. Focusing back to the school the thought of no boundaries came in realizing that the school has no boundaries- endless possibilities in how God may bless it and the ministry of Healing Haiti. In just a few short years, they have come so far in the mission here- I can only imagine what God alone is able to do in the years to come. No boundaries.

Our second stop today is that of Gertrude's. Gertrude was a nun who worked with Mother Theresa and moved on to start her own orphanage. What I've been told is that the Haitians do not take home with them any babies born with birth defects. Gertrude began this home as a means of rescuing and caring for them. Most of the children there have some sort of special need. This was tough for me- it is a stretch and a challenge to work with children with special needs because it has not been part of my experience. I found myself ignoring all boundaries....The first little boy I held had a few infections in his fingers from ingrown fingernails but had a smile to melt your heart. The second child was in a stroller and I fed him lunch... as we finished, he sat and cried, so I unsnapped him and realized he was wet, however, the women there have a very specific means of doing things to create order as well. It wasn't time yet for him to be changed. I worked with one of the women as I held him to administer his medicine. There was an accident with one of the other children, and after cleaning things up, they came back to take my little buddy for a change. We had a time of worship as well- singing to calm and connect with the children- and ended up connecting with the women working there as well. It was here I found my other buddy. I am guessing him to be about Chase's age, however, appeared to be autistic with the moving back and forth and inability to focus, lack of ability to verbally communicate. He also ended up being wet and landed himself in my lap, and asked to be held. No boundaries, right?

Our last stop of the day was Guillaune's orphanage. This is an orphanage/ school area supported by Healing Haiti and will too become a part of Grace Village. The children there were like walking into an outdoor school in the States until you realized they didn't have anywhere to go home to. I tried my hand at soccer-- yeah. Not so cool for a 30 year old chick to try to play with 10 year old boys who have soccer as a major language. After a picture and a few more kicks of the ball, a few of the boys just stopped and looked at me. I asked them if I should go do the women things and they just smiled, laughed... and then nodded. :) As I made my way back to the area with the crafts and so forth, I did a few tatoos, a few faces painted, and then suddenly found myself being painted... only to have a little girl want to comb/ do my hair. I don't let people touch my hair. I literally get clammy about the whole process, outside my children, and even then sometimes it doesn't go so well. My mom cuts my hair most of the time. So having a child much less another person touching my hair was WAY outside my boundaries. I even made the comment to my team that I can handle most things, but not having someone mess with my hair. So.... the little girl. I was told that from across the yard, Chalyne just watched as I went from tense to surrendering to this little girl. No boundaries. This little girl needed and really deserved every piece of me- no matter how uncomfortable I was. As I looked around, I saw the same things happening over and over again- the same instances. Jen getting her literal whole arm painted by a four year old. Chalyne getting her hair done. Lisa with her hair done. Heather with "painted" nails. The men doing puppets and crafts and soccer. The team lost themselves. No boundaries.

My recurring theme has been what is God trying to teach me? Yesterday I wrote that I was all in. Today I lost a contact and got bit by something that made my arm red. [Mom- I am fine. Really. I don't feel sick, I don't have a fever, my stomach isn't upset.] But this morning I read a blog about a woman who had her contacts here and literally couldn't see for half of her trip. I looked out of one eye all day. Just as much as I surrender to God, will this be the very thing that satan uses to pull me back or doubt or.... It's just a contact and it's just a little bite. not such a big deal right? God instructs us, through Paul, to put on the armor each day. Satan will look for a crack, no matter where we all are at to catch us in a weak moment and create unbelief. It would make him thrilled to see one part of the little inconveniences of life define this trip, this day, this moment.

This team and this trip have been the picture of my words for the day and the others around the table. Love. No boundaries. Blessed. Proud. Even Pensive as we have found ourselves continually analyzing and processing as best we can before going home, each seemingly trying to determine how we can make this better. I couldn't have asked for a better team. Trip. God... and perhaps a little something from an angel named Alyn... has been so present in this team. No boundaries. All in. Glory to God for how HE has worked and blessed the people of Haiti thus far.

Love to you all.


Healing Haiti Team Member

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Not enough...

As I reflect upon day 3 here, I could only come up with "not enough"....

Alyn went Home today. Though having not met her, she left this footprint for the rest of us to try to fill. I keep having this conviction that God is trying to show me in very small and significant ways that NOTHING is a surprise to Him. There is no doubt in my mind. The timing of God bringing Alyn home is not a surprise, nor out of His perfect plan. This was the beginning of the "not enough". More time with Alyn here- so that she could continue as she had started here. More time for us to have the opportunity to all meet her- anyone who comes down to our oasis amidst the backdrop of a third world country.

Our trip today took us to Mother Theresa's House of Charity. (Started with breakfast ala Karen and Jenn- love those ladies!! The men have some stiff expectations to meet!) As we approached the gate, I really wondered what it would be like exactly. We walked through the grounds, past the building destroyed by the earthquake, and into the new main building. The first room we walked into had pieces of fabric and two old sewing machines, being run by the pedals instead of electricity. We have one at home... displayed as an antique. As we walked around up and down stairs, they had the beds split by means of truly orphaned or those who were there to get medical treatment, with the possibility of being signed over to be adopted.

The first few beds had babies hooked up to IV's into their heads I would suppose to keep them from ripping them out? I had no idea. Perhaps my whole life I've stayed ignorant on purpose. Unknowing what it would feel like to have your baby in intensive care or in need of serious medical services. Perhaps I've stayed away from knowing because I wouldn't have a means of fixing something that would ruin me if I did expose myself to it.... Losing myself in the downstairs of an orphanage is not where I expected to be wrecked by God on this trip. The babies just cry because they have care, but they don't get the same hugs, kisses, care that our babies do. I get upset when Chase gets an asthma attack or an excema outbreak or an allergy attack... And while this still matters because it's my son and my baby and someone I would give my life for.... he's never been close to losing his life. Again, what is God teaching me here?

Honestly, we just held babies. I fed one, baby Sonia. She is 2-1/2 but the size of maybe a one year old in my family. A six year old the size of a three year old. A five year old the size of Ali-papa. We walked back to the house during the midday, and returned around 3. I held a baby who was the size of a premie or small baby at five months.

As the afternoon went on, after a time downstairs with the toddlers (the children there for the purpose of care rather than orphaned), I found myself upstairs where there was crying that just wouldn't seem to end. It was in this nursery room I found all the babies from earlier, with half of a room that fits around 18 cribs, crying. There is not enough. I had two children in my arms, or a child and holding the hand of another, but that still left many without comfort. There isn't enough. There weren't enough arms. Enough hugs. Enough laps. Maybe the lesson for today is finding when these children have enough.

God's blessings.

Love you.


Healing Haiti Team Member

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Matt 6:22 “The light of the body is the eye...”

I rely on my contact lenses every single day for the ability to see. Without them, everything is a blur and I am unable to focus on anything other than what is directly in front of me. With them, I am able to see clearly, notice details, and observe far into the distance. I have never had a problem with eye infections or ever experienced any type of pain in my eyes. Never have I needed glasses because my eyes have adapted well to contact lenses. I’ve never had a problem until Haiti.

My first morning in Haiti I woke up and sensed that my eyes felt different. The instant I touched a contact lens to my eye, a burning sensation overcame my entire eyeball, causing me to fall onto the floor in agony. I have never experienced anything like it in my entire life. Both eyes felt this same way, as if they were on fire. I tried everything to relieve this sensation- flushed my eyes with water, with eye wash, rested them for a couple of hours before re-attempting to put them in and prayed for immediate healing. I tried to blame it on something- maybe the contact solution or the possibility of getting something in my eye, such as hand sanitizer or the imperfect water that Haiti is rumored to have. I was annoyed, frustrated and worried because I knew my experience would be completely different if I wasn’t able to see. I hoped and prayed this would only last for the day and by tomorrow my eyes would feel like new and I could go on as planned. However, it didn’t take me long to identify the problem and label what was actually happening: Spiritual Warfare. I had heard about it, been warned about it, researched it, read books about it, but never had a true understanding of the reality of it until now. After some prayer and thought, I felt at peace accepting the challenge and surrendering myself to God. I came to realize that my eyes almost certainly weren’t going to be the same until I returned home. Ironically, my prayer for Haiti had been for God to help me “see through a different lens” and I was willing to do this is more ways than one.

My blurred eyesight definitely had an immense impact on my week and my overall Haiti experience. Although I had already accepted it and decided that it wasn’t going to ruin my week, I couldn’t help but notice all day long, especially when group members pointed out distant sightings or when I tried to make eye contact with children from a distance. This was a constant reminder of how difficult life in Haiti would be. It really softened my heart and helped me to continually feel for these people. Everything in Haiti is a challenge. Besides the obvious lack of food and clean water, the people of Haiti do not have the luxury of wearing glasses or contacts to correct their vision. So for this week, why should I? I was completely surrendering by giving up what I cherish most, my eyes, and letting Him have his way with me in all ways. And although it was a struggle, instead of letting Satan win, I turned to God to help me to see what he wanted me to see and open my heart by helping me feel empathy and compassion to His people who have the least.

This morning, I woke up in the comfort of my own bed for the first time in over a week. I cautiously attempted to put my contacts in, and sure enough, the burning sensation was completely gone! I have personally experienced real spiritual warfare in action. I have been blessed with being able to see every day of my life and feel thankful to have had the opportunity to see though a different lens while serving in Haiti.

Today I paid my Target credit card online, thankful for being blessed with enough money to purchase more than just the things I need. I went for a long run on streets that are paved along a lake with pure water, breathing in clean, refreshing air every step of the way and wearing a pair of supportive, comfortable shoes on my feet. I opened up the fridge and poured myself a glass of uncontaminated water before taking a hot, refreshing shower and putting on clean clothes. I pray that I will never take these everyday blessings for granted. Haiti has truly opened my eyes, in more ways than I can grasp. I may not have seen the big picture and I certainly didn’t see everything, but I did see each individual child that I touched, each pair of eyes that I looked into my own and each heart that longed for hope and love.

Cassandra Bjork

Healing Haiti Team Member

Monday, November 8, 2010

What a wonderful and heartbreaking day!

What a wonderful and heartbreaking day! We spent the entire day distributing water from the Healing Haiti watertrucks. It was an was an experience that will forever stay with me. Our team worked as a well-oiled machine as we all fell into our place and found our spots either on the water line, manning the hose, moving buckets forward or simply, and it sounds simple but it isn't, play and engage with the people we were serving. It's incredible how something as simple as water can mean so much for people who don't have it readily available. We had a steady rain the day before and all through the night and that caused a few problems for those trying to get around the city. I couldn't even imagine what the devastation would be like if Hurricane Tomas had touched down on this land that has seen so much suffering during the last year.

Christ has been with the people of Haiti throughout their ordeals and I feel priviledged to be able to, in a very small measure, be of assistance in doing HIS work.

We are coming to the end of our stay and as I reflect on our trip, I can't help but think...what else can we do to help the people of Haiti help themselves? People adapt to their circumstances no matter where you live in the world; however, in Haiti, that takes an extra dose of perseverance and courage.

As we start our last day in Haiti I can only hope and pray that the plight for help from the people of Haiti is heard around the world and that the local government realizes that much work work needs to be done.

Healing Haiti has done an incredible job providing for those who have nothing and humbled by their dedication, stamina and determination.

God Bless

Andrés A. Parra

Healing Haiti Team Member

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Heavenly Father I am still struggling with this, please help me to understand more…

Journal Entry #2 (November 2, 2010)

Word of the Day- Overwhelmed

Today we served the Haitian people in City Soleil. The poorest of the poor. The sights of children with no shoes, walking on glass, seashells, and rocks. Children with no clothes- sent out to beg for a “dolla.” Children carrying 30-40lbs buckets of water from the daily water truck because they don’t even have clean running water. What kind of life is this??? Where you can’t take a step without stepping on trash, or where a trip to the bathroom means walking to the ocean amidst piles of trash, feces, and hogs. All to contribute to the already horrific living conditions. What kind of life is this??? Where despite the previously mentioned, children still smile with happy, bright eyes, speak of how good Jesus is, and walk bare-footed over anything without falling behind you one step…all to ensure you don’t let go of their hand.

Where your eyes engaging with someone, makes them smile. It is not things that make these people smile, just our love; reflected after Jesus himself. A simple acknowledgement.

Of everything I have seen, why is it so hard to understand??? The educated answer: perspective. When you look at Haiti through a “first world” lens, there is nothing that will compare or make sense. Looking through a third world lens- what these people know is only that of how they live. God’s Answer: Matthew 6:25-34. It states,

“…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…your heavenly Father knows you need them…but seek first his kingdom & righteousness and all these things will be given to you…”

So is me being here how God is providing for the Haitians? It’s overwhelming to think about how to fix something that is so broken, requires so much, and doesn’t seem fair. Through God’s eyes however, they have what they need (Jesus as their savior, observed through their conversations and little children singing of God’s goodness)

Perhaps I am wrong- How can you fix something that isn’t broken???

…Heavenly Father I am still struggling with this, please help me to understand more…

Journal Entry #3 (November 3, 2010)

Word of the Day- Listened

I woke up today unsure of the next 12 hours. I still was struggling with the whole concept of “where to start” in order to “fix” Haiti…I felt like the Haitians are right when they rely on God and trust God, but no one should live like this… I also woke up not feeling well. My stomach was not settled, but what can I do but give it to God (like the Haitians), as the people of Haiti face greater challenges each day. We left for Grace Village. It was a beautiful location with the ocean on one side and picturesque mountains on the other.

Perhaps I can contribute to Grace Village to make an impact??? I didn’t know if that was my final answer.

Our next stop, Jean Garry’s Christian school (a school funded by Healing Haiti). This school had 225 students in six classrooms. After touring the first set of classrooms, we stopped at that main entrance to the older children’s classrooms. The director of the school stated, “only 10 will continue to the university.” How can this be fair?!?! I thought I was beginning to make sense of this…At that moment of questioning, the director pulled a table away from a newly painted wall. It read, “CEFCIN Christian School.” Underneath, “the first way of success is education,” was freshly painted on.

It was at this moment that Lord, you spoke to me and let me know you listened to my struggles. It was through Andres acknowledging our previous conversation from yesterday that I was able to listen to you. I’m so thankful that I was listening. What a blessing it is to be on a missions trip whole-heartedly. If it were not for a clear mind, and the willingness to be used by God, I may still be trying to “fix” the problem.

…Through this experience with Healing Haiti, I was not only able to serve God, but God revealed himself to me; drawing me closer than I have ever been, and teaching me more about myself at the same time…

Ron Jarvi Jr.

Healing Haiti Team Member

November 2010