Thursday, November 18, 2010


When I am back Stateside, the crunch of time assaults my life, and it seems increasingly difficult to maneuver my mouse over the blogger dashboard. We just lost a precious Parishioner here at our church yesterday, and my comments about the fragility of life mentioned in one of my recent blogs takes on new meaning. I was sharing with Robinson tonight on the phone and he remembered this person well. Death in any culture brings the same reaction, the same isolation, the same grief. A life lost creates a vacuum, a space of emptiness, a void of loneliness. As Rob and I shared, I had to reflect on God's goodness to protect him in the midst of the circumstance of his life. I try not to take things for granted, but I found out this week I still do on some levels. There is a propensity for bitterness to set in when God crashes down those walls. But time has increased my awareness and understanding of His Sovereignty, and in these seasons of challenge and difficulty, we need to seek even more His leadership, His wisdom, and His comfort. My Haitian family is far more adept at this than I. As I listen to them pray for three hours each day at noon prayer, it makes me choke on my own indifference to my reliance on God. We all need Him far more than we think, our materialism blinds us to our needs. I would not be so bold as to ask God to take it all away that I may better concentrate and focus on Him, but I desire to rebuke my fixation on such trivial pursuits and guard myself more forcefully from harboring to much confidence and a false sense of security that comes with depending on what I can see, touch, or feel, as opposed to what I can grasp hold of through faith! So much was accomplished in Haiti this trip, but we cannot take credit for it. We are hands extended, God's hands. He added to the fruits of our labor a wonderful increase, and Robinson confirmed that tonight. I am grateful for life, love, and for hope. May these increase as we fulfill the destiny created for us, as we reach out and touch others may we remember only what's done for Christ will last! Blessings.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Ever wonder why there are littering laws. What's up with throwing out a little trash, nature will take care of itself, no harm in a tossing a little wrapper. Right? Wrong! It is a disregard and a disrespect of the incredible goodness and greatness that surrounds us. There is a massive difference between Haiti and the Dominican. Two countries that exist on the same island. As people lose their sense of value, they also begin to devalue things around them. Our value as a mighty creation is often overlooked in our everyday living. As I was readying for church Sunday morning, I picked up my dress shoes that I had worn in Haiti last Sunday morning. I turned them over and one shoe in particular had a good sized chunk of Haitian dirt affixed to it. I carried it downstairs and beat it off out on the front porch, where the Haitian dirt will now mix with the Michigan dirt. I don't believe that little amount of dirt from Haiti will ever hurt anything at all, but it reminded me of the differences between the dirt outside my home and the dirt in Haiti. Ours is a rather clean soil compared to theirs. As you will see in the picture, most trash is just thrown where people are finished with it. The sewage runs down the city streets or lays in puddles unable to escape to the river. It is a horrific mess, and the only way to clean it up is for everyone to take responsibility for their own space. But in this land of destitution, that is a big thing to ask, when you yourself feel like the biggest piece of litter. I worked hard at improving the personal sense of value while I was there this time. We worked with the leadership, but it is a slow process, and the restoration of balance will take time. As you properly value yourself before God, you will also value His creation properly. The next time you are tempted to let that small piece of trash slip through your fingers, think of this photo, remember where that steers your thinking about yourself, and the God who created you. There is a fine line fixed between us and total irrational thinking and actions. If you ask the Haitians how they arrived at this juncture, they can't tell you, it happened slowly over the course of time, letting go little by little, one piece of trash at a time, and a nation is ravaged and plundered by the simple scheme of the devaluing of themselves and their land. Let us not be blind to this plight. Every time my fingers touch my front yard again, I will be reminded of the mixing of the soils, and the danger that resides in a tainted heart and tainted actions. Keep a clean life and a clean yard. Tend your space with high regard for the gifts however small that God has given you. Blessings.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


This is a special poem that came through the comments the other day and I asked Autumn Reyhl if I could put it up on my regular post so more people could see it. She kindly obliged so here it is for you to enjoy. The Reyhl family went with us on our first group trip and have continued to be an inspiration and encouragement to us in our labors in Haiti.

I Long to be Near

The simplicity of water to one,

Is the matter of life or death to another.

Not even a world apart from here to the sun,

Yet we care, love, and pray for each other.

Dirt stained feet, calloused and unbearably oh so sore,

Never to experience life's ordinary pleasures;

Only partially represent the rich-hearted poor,

Who are full of the worlds non-material treasures.

Thankful for all of God's many blessings,

Never ending smiles and everlasting strength.

Though they don't view their lives as depressing,

Their precious lives are tragically shortened in length.

Even though my mortal being is here,

I long to have my Haitian family near.

Thank you Autumn for this wonderful contribution. Blessings.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Every time I arrive back home from one of these trips, things happen. I awoke this morning to discover my driver's license, bank card and credit card were all missing. After looking for two hours, I finally left for work, on my way I canceled both the cards and made preparation to go get a new drivers license. I'm still fighting a terrible cold and weariness. I never ask God why, it's never been a practice of mine. At this stage of my life I also know that when we reach out as God's hand, we are picking a good fight. Normally I feel pretty prepared, but today I was whipped. But then a blessing came along, a gas station down state had found my cards and had called our home to leave a message. I called them and my stuff is on it's way via mail. I didn't feel like posting tonight even though I knew I should. And this will be short, but I felt it important to let everyone know we were back, we were safe, and God is providing in the midst of our circumstances here just like He does in Haiti. I never want people to feel they have to go 2000 miles from home, into desolation and starvation to see the handiwork of God, He works in mighty ways right in the everyday place of our lives. Like He did in protecting my ID yesterday and today. You can't get that kind of insurance anywhere! Please continue to pray for the Cholera outbreak in Haiti, we didn't see anything to alarm us while we were there, and to a point I am glad, we didn't need that as we are not doctors and nurses, but the outbreak continues to spread, and people are dying. Matter of fact, one of the places I was trying to take Julie was Haute St. Marc, I found out tonight that 60 have died there in the last couple of days, thankfully we were turned away from there and now I know why. Robinson said tonight that there are so many in the hospitals now that people are being turned away. I told him to run our well and give out as much water as possible. When there is electricity, that is no problem, when there is not, we have a generator, but that takes gas to run, so they are only able to run it when there is adequate money for fuel. This is another provision I am working on as well. I told him to get the people fresh water, to get everyone in our area coming for drinking water from our well. While we were there last week I figure we gave away enough water to furnish between 164,000-175,000 cups of water. (It passed the coliform test perfectly again!) It is simply amazing what God has brought to pass the last year! So tonight rejoice in your life, God's life in you, take heart, He moves! All is not lost! Behold, we are found! Blessings.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


These posts often stay pretty serious, I try to thread in some humor, but there is a pretty steady flow of personal trauma going on. I ran into a nurse yesterday and there are 500 hundred cases of Cholera in the main St. Marc hospital. I don’t know the full report, there is a pretty good cover-up going on leading up to the elections on the 28th of this month. Many of the medical staff is reporting that the Cholera is not under control at all. Robinson is doing a training seminar in his hometown in the countryside this weekend. He was planning to do it last weekend, but the hurricane made him cancel his plans. He is concerned for the country people. They lack knowledge and proper understanding to help them fend off the risk of getting the disease. A pastors wife died in the mountains last week, the Cholera dumps your fluids so fast, that often they cannot get to the hospital fast enough. Apparently there are pretty decent supplies at this moment, but if you are too far away from the help, it does you no good. She was dead in a 24-hour period. That said, there are also many great belly-rolling moments. The other night Rob and I had stopped by the house late, and as I stood in the kitchen and big rat ran along the wall and into the room where several of the Haitian girls sleep. I told him, and he said I know. I said are you going to kill it, he said don’t worry about it! So last night Beth and I were finishing up cleaning up in the bathroom and heard a terrible shriek, we could tell it was Naromie. The house erupted and I knew the rat had been spotted. Those crazy Haitians went after that rat with a vengeance. Meckson showed up with a plastic bat and they finally cornered the critter and he killed him with that bat! It was hilarious to watch. Rob had been lying on the couch and never moved until the rat was finished off. Then he quietly got up and walked around behind his wife, reached down and pinched her leg as she was previewing the dead rat. She jumped and the house fell apart again. She got right after him! It was hilarious! We had a good laugh at her expense, but she took it with a good sense of humor. It’s nice to have breaks from the seemingly unending drama that floods the lives of these people. In the midst of all the bad, God’s grace freely flows and even the difficult things are often laced with goodness and a bit of a reprieve from the constancy of the struggle. God is good all the time, while we fail, He never does! Blessings always. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Plugged In

We are now nestled safely in a room in Detroit. I fired up my machine and the frustration and difficulty of the past week in Haiti trying to post up melted away at the blazing speed of electricity. No wires to connect, no fees to pay, lights are on, the magic of our techno world begs my fingertips to caress the keys, to travel time and space, to explore and move swiftly through information lost in the transition of the last week. It's like I have re-entered the matrix, I have been unplugged, exposed to the true reality of life and now the digital age beckons me back to its alluring sights and sounds. Already it suffocates memories, stifles significance, and suppresses reality. Luxury, ease, relief, back from the edge, forward in time, the transition is almost too easy! Should there not be some fear here? Some trepidation, how can one live like this when others are perishing, staggering along though broken corridors of time. The visage of their lives shattered, pulverized, annihilated by circumstances beyond their control. Let me not be so weak as to fail to understand the pull, the luring of my soul to sleep, the nodding of my head before the intoxicating drug of our age. Do not rest my soul, but persevere. Lives are counting on our ability to sustain the actions taken against our beings, to avoid the imprisoning of our hearts and minds, the paralyzation of our wills. We as a team have truly been unplugged this week, we have experienced life outside our box, our matrix of understanding and perception. Would to God we not lose our focus, or sacrifice our hearts. May the hurt, the sadness, the hunger, the tears, the love in these eyes let us not forget our true place, our true purpose in life. As we plug in, may we cautiously remember our lot in life, our true purpose, our real goals. And may we all be reminded by this journey that we are above all most blessed. Blessings from Fairfield Inn.


It never is a dull life when you reach out and risk a little, when you push the boundaries of your faith, and trust God. Traveling in and out of Haiti the last few years is an amazing experience in and of itself. I mean literally the traveling to and from Haiti. It would stun people to know just how many individuals there are collectively and independently who go in to labor in this place of insufferable need. Since the earthquake, it seems the efforts have redoubled, and I for one am grateful. It seems with all the money that has flowed into Haiti from the governments of the world, there should be absolutely no problem in this country of just 9,000,000. But that is what a broken infrastructure will produce, nothing. I am not sure where the money goes, but as I travel the country I see things that peak my interest. Especially along the ocean front behind great privacy walls. Corruption at the highest levels will often result in neglect of the people. And to be truthful, that is occurring in Haiti, to one degree or another. That is why I am such a big fan of private sector involvement, where volunteers carry the help or deliver it directly to the need base, most often at their own expense and sacrifice. I will say that once you have been to Haiti you better understand sacrifice, and you quickly learn your sacrifice is always minor compared to theirs. Gratefully Haiti as a democratic country is open to this kind of ministry and aid. My blessing has been meeting many of these wonderful people and hearing the great stories of God’s deliverance and the miracles taking place as we reach out to the helpless and distressed of this land. Today has been another day of connecting with some very key people in moving our own mission forward. When we do what God asks, He then often obligates Himself to do what we cannot. I have it on my heart to see to construction of a church facility now. Over the past few years God has blessed us with property, and we have labored alongside of our leadership to put up tent facilities, restroom facilities, thanks to Ray and Bob we have furnished the tents with pews, and many other supplies. The church has grown to around 600 people moving out of a little 18 x 30 house, they are now distributing free fresh water, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, taking care of the widows, the homeless, and the orphans. It is incredible as I take stock with what has come to pass as we have just taken one single faith step after another. Having said that, my heart has a fire growing to give these people a more permanent facility. I was doing some calculations and entertaining these thoughts this week. Who do you think God placed me beside for the flight out of PAP today, a man who has built two churches, a hospital, a school, some boarding buildings, and has some key connections with builders on the ground in Haiti who will gladly assist and provide us with structural engineering, labor force, and material for a 32 x 70 foot building. He told me we could get a building up and fully functional for $26,000 dollars, labor and material! They are doing a steel structured building instead of the concrete supported ones common to Haiti. This has been a very big concern of mine for several years, the concrete in Haiti is frail at best, and while it will withstand hurricanes fairly well, it’s a deadly weapon when the earth shakes! The composition of this building style is cutting edge for Haiti, and I see the hand of God in my connection made today. I don’t have the answers as to how this will all come to pass, but I have no doubt that He who is faithful will provide. I remain in awe of what God can do, of what He has done, and what together we can do in this incredible journey to rescue lives, shine hope into darkness, and drive back despair with love. Upward, onward, forward, be not weary in well doing, for in due season you will reap if you faint not! Blessings from 30,000 feet!


Here I sit, two thousand miles from home. A stunning sky above me, I see patterns I am familiar with on my own back porch. It is simply mind blowing to me that while the earth seems on one hand so big, on another, it seems so small. The same sky staring down at me tonight, stares at a very bleak picture. Should the smell alone of this land make it’s way heavenward, perhaps the sky itself would revolt. It’s view of my home, of my country is something far different should the lay of the land and the countenance of the hillsides mean anything at all. What saddens me tonight is the state of the human heart. I am afraid at each location, the same erosion has occurred. The erosion of the heart. And I am not speaking of all hearts, while I believe we all suffer the same plight, I am speaking of mine specifically. I seek to avoid the barrenness of soul that I have experienced in the past and if not careful can be engulfed in again. There is such a fragile and delicate balance to life, if we are not careful we trespass against our very existence and suddenly the landscape of our lives is affected, vegetation dies quickly in a drought, and then the torrential rains of life pour down, my existence is not prepared and I lose my life to mudslides all because I failed to properly tend the garden of my heart as instructed by God Himself. I don’t mean to get too theological tonight, but my heart weeps for this country. Changes, restoration need to come, will come I believe, but the rapidness of the change will depend on the people, it always does. When we fight for our way of existence instead of God’s way, we disturb the balance and harmony of life, and in due course set ourselves on a path to destruction. As I sit here and write, the team is asleep, the power is on so I wanted to refill the water tanks. I want to help restore balance to this community, to this country. I know I alone cannot do that. But I also know that imbalance in my life will alter the course of events here. We are all connected this way. We are dependent on one another in ways we cannot imagine. Take heed to this tonight, remember your place, find your place, tend your place. Get healing for the broken parts, throw away false pretenses, live in wholeness as God has created us to live, let the healing begin, not just in Haiti, but throughout the whole world tonight. It’s a big sky up there tonight, I can see that plainly, but an even bigger God rules the universe, turns on the light on those stars, it’s massive energy, power, sustenance that we can’t even imagine. That power can heal Haiti, can heal every broken heart, abandoned child, ruined countryside, or damaged family. It seems like only such small things in our lives that God uses, but He blesses them and increases them, and suddenly a cup of cold water becomes thousands of cups of cold water, one life saved turns into multitudes. And then a nation is changed! Let us go forth and be healed! Let Haiti be healed, let every heart everywhere be healed, and may that power light the world! Blessings always!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Proper Instruction

Julie has made a pretty good joke of how some things were not given proper instruction. Take for instance riding a motorcycle for the first time in a dress! Some explanation would have been helpful in light of how skirts are prone to catch air! She has provided great humor through our entire stay. After our session with the school children doing thank you cards tonight it was time to start doing the hardest part of the journey to Haiti, saying goodbye and leaving. Placing our last tender kisses on the orphan children, hugging them tight, feeling their love, and reassuring them of our support. Telling the people who have labored long and hard with us this week goodbye, giving final hugs, sharing many tears. So many special and loving people are here. Fighting through the day-to-day struggle to simply survive, yet doing it with joy. It will almost tear your heart in two. When we arrived back to the house tonight, I caught Julie in a more somber moment, and playing on her lighthearted comments from earlier, I said; “sorry Julie, I probably didn’t properly prepare you for this either.” We both chuckled as we wiped moist eyes. There is a great sadness in saying goodbye here; there are so many unknowns, so many harsh realities. You can say “I will see you next trip,” but it doesn’t mean that it will be. We have the grace of this moment only, so finite, so defined, so raw. Herein is another great lesson from this country. Live today only, revel in its reality, be joyful in each breath. We have don’t have the promise of the next breath, just this one that we are currently taking in. So as we share our last moments, as I ponder the laughter and the joy in the living room as we pass out the softball team tee shirts from this summers softball season, I soak in the journey of the past few days, I rejoice in the solitude of my heart, giving thanks to God for His faithfulness in this trip, praying for all the lives we have touched, that the miracle of grace will continue to flow through God’s labor of love here in St. Marc and all of Haiti. Rejoice with us, sorrow with us, soak in this season of life and be glad. Lord willing tomorrow we take to the skies to return home. This will be my last post from St. Marc. We will do more blogging on the way home, and over the next few days we will get up pictures and more thoughts. Thanks for following the blog, please stay in touch, we labor on in faith and all of you are part of the journey! Blessings from our hearts tonight!

Marrying Young

Today most plans have been able to be fulfilled. We are waiting right now to go over to the church and meet with the school children that we are putting though school. We had a very exciting trip to the mountain this morning. Our motorcycle ride was fraught with danger, breakdowns, fall downs. We came around one corner and I saw a bike upside down, I looked and it was Robinson! His motorcycle has need of some mechanical work, and he is going to get it fixed after we leave. It stalled at a very strategic moment going up hill and he couldn’t stop the backward motion. He was fine and we got it running, and made it to the top. We also visited a couple of schools today, and those were very enlightening moment. The mountain school we visited has 118 children. They are struggling to pay the teachers who make $64.00 a month. They even had to let one of their teacher’s go because they could not afford it. I asked if it cost money to attend and was told the cost was $100.00 for the year, then the magical question, how many students had paid? The answer was nine! Talk about a budget crisis. They were so thankful that we stopped by and visited them, they said it would bring a lot of hope to the community just that we had come, and that if they had money they would pay us for having taken the time to stop by. I was so touched by their humility and the appreciation. It took me by surprise. They have so many needs, but didn’t ask us for a thing. We are going to see what we might be able to do. I always consider the fact that these appointments are divine in my life, that there is a reason why we are at certain places at certain times. Perhaps my thinking may be a bit on the grand side, but in a mission work like this, I try to keep my eyes open for opportunities, somewhere buried in the details are lives God is raising up to impact a country, a city, a community, a village. A life He means to use mightily, and in doing so He empowers us to be His hand extended. When we were on our way back to town we stopped to get everyone back together, a man approached Robinson’s bike where Krystle was his passenger. Some debate took place, and I could tell it was a little intense. He stood about 6’6” tall without a shirt on his back. Turns out he was a witch doctor and wanted to marry my daughter! Can you guess my answer? Well, suffice it to say, there was no wedding and my daughter is still single like she will be for at least 20 more years. We made it back to town and everyone seemed to have an enlightening time! Blessings until later.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Here we are at the end of a complicated and busy day with lots of stand around time. You say what? How can you be busy and have stand around time. It's Haiti. The truck broke down several times today, I think it is about time for a new vehicle for Robinson. We normally don't depend on his vehicle to get around, but Ray's back surgery and the torn up road that we usually take to the church cost time, money, and undo aggravation. But I believe it was Jim Gallo who said in one of our missions meetings at the church one Sunday, if your going to go to Haiti, leave yourself at home. It will try every bit of your intestinal fortitude, and some you didn't think you had. A simple switch, that I have installed twice down here myself took us 3 hours! I think we finally discovered the problem and it had nothing to do with what we did. Some of our plans for the day went terribly astray, but we ended the evening at the Deli Mart downtown eating pizza. It was kind of a treat, we have not done this with a team yet. And it wasn't without it's own little sideshow. Apparently the ladies bathroom had in its attendance a person of the male agenda. What a riot that turned out to be. Robinson said it seems sometimes people have an 'education problem', I'm not sure that's what this fellow had, but he sure provided for some interesting table conversation. It was supposed to be air-conditioned at the Deli Mart, and some part of me wanted to believe it was, but when I walked out onto the street, I think it was as cool there as it was inside. We had some good laughs together, made a few plans for the morning that I hope won't get shot down, and then Jim drove Alisa home on the motorcycle while Beth and I tried out the very rear of Rob's Toyota, (because we were also carrying Bob, Julie, Ray, and Maura) in case your wondering, no there are no seats there, and no doors there, no seat belts, just a crash bar and lots of Haitian dirt! Rob’s car is a two door five person vehicle. It was quite a ride. But I had to make sure Jim had the full on motorcycle experience here. You don't see any Harley's, and any group riding is just taxi drivers in the same vicinity of one another delivering their human cargo. I'm afraid a Harley wouldn't cut it here, first of all the owners pride would be crushed because they couldn't even keep it clean, by the time the first spit-polishing was concluded at the rear of the bike, it would be time to start over at the front just because of the dust and dirt in the air, let alone taking the thing out for a spin where it would probably get a ding or a scratch on these rugged and unforgiving roads. Jim and I both witnessed different accidents right in front of us today. Well enough of the motorcycle talk. I just came out of another productive leadership meeting, and am confident in the direction the church is going. The orphanage is running superb, and our team there is doing great things. We got the pictures up on the wall today and got some photos of them to put up on the blog and website. Bob and Ray are like a finely oiled machine; you can tell they have been working together in Haiti for a few trips now! They continued to roll on their own production plan today. We gave out several hundreds of gallons of fresh water today, the children especially race for the fresh water, they are so thirsty here, it's profound to watch what a difference cold clear water makes in a community. And the expressions of thanks is a never ending tide of warm fuzzies! Much hard work and gracious giving has made this possible, it is amazing to watch the fulfilling of this dream. May many more follow, would to God that no more Haitian children should have to die of thirst! We are into our final day on the ground tomorrow, pray it goes smoothly. Sorry there is only one post today. Will try to write a little more for tomorrow. Thanks again for all the comments, the team loves them. Blessings!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Here are more images of the love of these children and how it captures you heart!


Today has been a good day. We were graced with a little cooler weather, church was 3 1/2 hours long, so we got lots of church in today. Jim did a little project at the house this afternoon, Ray's back flared up a little so we had to get him to the house a little early, and I spent the afternoon in meetings with leadership. We made some tremendous headway, one of the the many aspects of a growing church is the load it places on leadership. We have an amazing team on the ground here in St. Marc, but they are also human. We were able to unpack some frustrations and give some guidance for growth in the future. This work is amazing that is happening right now, and the most incredible part is that people's lives are being changed. You want to move into harms way, try interfering in the vicious cycle that destroys peoples lives. It's hard to believe we are moving into the last two days of our trip, at least our on the ground time here. Tonight the projector failed me when we tried to show a movie to the church, we pulled out plan "B" and it works. However, it took around 45 minutes. In our country, I would have been booed out of the facility. Here, They took to singing and praying, and it was simply moving. Another great reminder of how out of balance material things can make us. With the advancement of technology, something has happened to break apart our understanding and appreciation of the needful things in life. Our wants become needs and our needs go unmet because we simply neglect them. It's a travesty of who we really are, and what we are meant to do. Listening to them sing tonight stirred something deep within me, and my frustration at the projector melted with the onslaught of their appeal to the deeper things of life. Of worship, of relationship, of common sharing of the heart. Let go of the frustration tonight driven by 'things', focus on the deep seated needs of your heart and those you are meant to touch, worship God, love supremely, live deeply. The shallow pool of materialism will dry up and run out, if you live in that pool, prepare to thirst long and often. As for me, I'm headed to the deep oceans, I'll risk my chances in the deep, where God's storehouse of love will never run dry! Be blessed this Sunday evening.

Bragging Rights

Day five is closing in. Preparations for Sunday are well under way. We had a good day. So much happens, but s-l-o-w-l-y. When you do the calculations at days end, you realize just how much you have accomplished, and then there is the stuff you cannot see or measure. Today was extraordinarily hot! The humidity was through the roof, literally. I need to take a moment to brag on Bob and Ray; they have worked hard and steady. Besides the benches being done tonight, they have four specially constructed shelving units ready for varnish. For their break we put them in the line after children’s service to pass out the craft albeit in chairs! We had right at 500 today. It can be a bit rowdy at moments, but these kids are delighted with the smallest things. The girls have the food thing flowing like a river now, through all the twists and turns of the day they have been wonderfully efficient. The new stove and cooking pan we brought in this time have been a big plus. Tomorrow we will pause, it’s Sunday, and we will try to get our second wind. This trip has been a first for me; I have fought against an irritating and draining cold. It has really been tail whipping me. Jim has been more than my right hand man, steady and diligent and untiring, I would have been in Dutch without him. It has allowed me to work on some other things though this time. And I hope to spend an encouragement session with the leadership of the church in the next couple of days. In times past my attention has been required fully on projects, limiting my interaction with the leadership. This has been able to change some this trip. I have also been able to start to fully construct an orphanage budget, and see the working dynamics in action. Being placed there the last two nights because of the storm has actually been a blessing in disguise. (We’ll be glad to get back to the cooler sleeping in the tent tomorrow night.) By now news has covered the fact that Tomas was directed around Haiti for the most part. We are thankful, but to tell you the truth there are so many more dire circumstances here, it was hard to be overly focused on the Hurricane, or whatever it turned out to be. Today was business as usual; the waters abated over night, and except for the raging humidity, you can’t even tell a storm came through. We are grateful for all the prayers all the same. While I am bragging on team members, I finally wanted to say what a joy our first timer has proven to be. Julie has fit our team like a glove and brought added brightness to our journey. She is practical minded, consistent, and uplifting to be around. Her family can be proud of her! She is leaving a very clear mark here among these people. Beth, Alisa, Maura and Krystle, all rather old hands at these trips have been incredible. We are grateful for how God always orchestrates these teams; it is great to be a part of such a wonderful work and ministry. We appreciate the love and support that allows us to be your hands and feet on the ground here in Haiti! Blessings from our hearts to yours!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I put Jim through his paces so far! Here are more pics.

Diet Coke

Here are a few misc. pics. I managed to stumble across Diet Coke finally! Had some very excited team members.


I have been fighting a cold this trip, well at least for a couple of days. Last night was a bit of a long one, our mattress is not holding air, and the night was very, very still. I felt rather that I was roasting like a pig on a stick, except I did not turn over and over! So when the dawn was crawling up on the horizon, I found myself awake. I dressed and headed to the top of the orphanage three stories in the air. Would anyone care for an ocean view? A big ship is heading away from the port against the gray early morning sky. A lone palm tree silhouettes itself against the greenish haze of the ocean water. I am a half of a mile from the ocean, yet this is not an ocean view I would ever want to claim. Littered flat rooftops, gray concrete in composition, chase along between the shoreline and me. Muddy, rough streets, a stench the rain did not wash away last night greets my plugged nose, and the knowledge that last nights rain flooded the river to the bottom of the bridge means that the trash of the last few weeks has just emptied itself into this ocean make me cringe inside. No, its not the ocean that beckons me back to this city, nor it’s sometimes spectacular views. It’s the desperate people that live here who shine the brightest for me. The view from the rooftop that is most cherished by me this morning are two boys sitting on a water tank. They sit on top of the tank facing each other, no doubt enjoying their perch, although not as high as mine. Another four boys draining a rooftop. They did this yesterday morning as well, their house sits below the roadway, so they have to force the water out a long pipe and over the concrete fence in front of their house to drain. Their yard around the home is filled with water; if the roof had emptied in this space it would have flooded the house. I would judge from the ankle deep water they are walking in we got about 3 inches of rain yesterday and into the evening. The city is waking up, the threat of the storm is over, they have been hunkered down for two days, and you can feel their energy. They play in the streets, dancing around the mud puddles. We would be calling the city road commission to come clean up their mess! Here there is no commission to call, so you just make the best out of the worst. Would to God I could learn some of these simple lessons from them. Every one of these trips sets my resolve a little deeper, to not take life events quite so seriously, to enjoy more what I have right in front of me, to cherish my relationships in life, and to share more of what I have with those who don’t’ have anything. So as I bring hope through Christ to them, they share deep lessons of life right back, their humility begs studious review. Granted they are not all this way, but the majority of these people are amazing, and would to God I could be as much as they are if I were placed in their circumstances. So it’s not the ocean view that brings me back, it’s the people, people for whom I pray for this morning, that fresh hope and courage rise with the dawn, that the coming days of their lives will be better. For the children in our new orphanage, this is surely the case, it may be a small dent in a very large problem, but it is change, God change. And I know that change can rock our world. So on to our next day we have been given to share here, may it be extraordinary and blessed, and may yours be as well! Blessings from a rooftop, Google earth can you see me now? I surely know God can!


Dashing raindrops, we are surviving on the ground. Amidst the rain, we were able to still get more work done today. It delivered setbacks, but everything in God’s time. The team had some good conversation, and a small blessing for us in the storm has been a bit of cooler weather, although the humidity has tempered our gains with regard to temperature. I am not sure I am going to be able to post up tonight. Everything has closed down today. We can’t buy anything; we will see what tomorrow brings. Bob and Ray got a couple of shelves built, and Jim and I were able to get a bunch of plumbing work done at the orphanage. Just a couple of small things to touch off, and it will be in good shape for consistent water for our children. The church people went in and set up 9 rows of benches this afternoon. They are very excited, and Ray’s dream of several months has come true! It was quite a vision he undertook, and it has been a great run! And to be able to see the end result of an undertaking like this has got to be very rewarding. All services were cancelled today, including the children’s service. At one point when we stopped by at 1:30, it was not raining and they were lined up in the street for the 3:00 p.m. service. You hate to have to cancel, but something that will keep these people inside is rain. We had a great time watching a movie with the family tonight; Kelly and Jim went and bought our one luxury on these trips, pizza! We have had a great night, it has rained pretty good on and off, nothing very serious. Some pretty good thunder, and lightening reminded me of home. All is fairly calm here. Off to bed at the orphanage again. Blessings from St. Marc.

Orphan Eyes

The following poem was the fruit of a night spent with the orphan’s. I cannot tell you the rare joy it was to have these bundles of brokenness crawl into our arms this morning. A surge of love so rare came crashing across the canvas of my life. I have thought long and hard today, and recalling the stories, watching Robinson, soaking in their pain, the words worked out something like this:

I am hungry, can’t you see,
I wonder who will care for me,
I stare and stare, it is my plight,
To lift my eyes reveals no light.
I can’t cry, and I can’t feel,
My sadness grows against my will.
Day and night, they are the same,
A never-ending circle of pain.
I dare not hope, for hope is dashed,
Every dream I have is always crashed.
Who can hear my wailing heart,
Who can mend the fracture parts?
To look at me is to see disdain,
To care for me, you can’t stop the rain.
Torrent’s come, I am drowning now,
I fight for breath, but fail somehow.
Yet I live on, it is my curse,
Depending on the Samaritan’s purse.
I beg and beg, my pride has fled,
It vanished with the arriving of my dread.
Pure fear, pure pain,
Pure sorrow, what is my name?
To who do I belong this day,
Where is my justice in life’s way?
It is my lot to carry this burden,
I am strong , though heavy laden.
Through my eyes, the world is different,
I see much deeper than the affluent.
I see past charades, I see past your pride,
I can see your heart through your eyes.
You may not like me, but it true,
If it were different, you would be me,
And I could be you.
Only through my orphan eyes,
Only through my silent cries.
Hold me if you dare to see,
The only difference is who we’re born to be.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


The end of another day is upon us. And it was a great one. So much accomplished today. The benches are all made, and just 10 need their final coat of finish. The rain has stayed long enough for them all to be coated at least once. We didn’t know if we were going to make it. The plumbing work is done and we gave out over 1600 gallons of water today. It was a rush, filling buckets, setting them on the girls heads and watching the children rush up the hill with their precious cargo. It was a steady stream. The girls did extraordinary at the children’s service, in the neighborhood of 440 attended. The kids had the day off school because they don’t know what is going to happen with the impending storm. We are hunkering down at the orphanage tonight, as nobody knows quite what to expect. St. Marc is a very protected town from inclement weather and earthquakes. Many people have moved here since the earthquake. It is astounding to see all the construction happening here since our spring trip. We had a blast with orphan children today. Many hugs and love to share and receive. Otelson (one of our orphan’s) does not know it, the family does not want him to know, but his father just died in Desdunes from the cholera outbreak. It breaks your heart to watch these people in their suffering. The dilemma of the world, of all humanity, the problem of pain and suffering. So many things are explainable, but this, this is an equation we don’t yet have an answer for outside of God. Fortunately, God has a plan in the midst of pain, and His love often shines the brightest there. I can attest to that as sit here in Haiti tonight. We make our breaks with reality, we hide behind a TV screen, the delights of material things, we fill our minds with trivial thoughts, but here, you deal straight up with the insufferable reality of what life delivers, and without the grace of God, you can’t make heads or tails of it all. But we are blessed, and thankful as we share this week with them, to be a ray of hope, a thread of help, a small glimmer of mercy. Pray God continues to bless our efforts, to protect us, and to make a continuing source of encouragement through our time here. Pray tonight God protects this country from this impending storm! Blessings from grateful hearts!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Will Power

For the slow start we had to our day, we mopped up on the rest. Right equipment, small blessings, will-power; and the guys have ten benches ready for varnish, (they still have to be mounted to frames), the new pump is in at the property, the new distribution line is run to maximize how fast we can give the water away, the tank is freshly cleaned, the new fill valve is installed, and the system has been filled, run out, chlorinated, and will be refilled before bed. The girls got the suitcases organized, the new clothes tried on for the kids at the orphanage, two meals served, the medicine organized ( a huge project!) and now everyone is readying for bed while a movie plays for the family. It is such a joy to soak in the laughter, to see the smiles, to relish their relief from their daunting plight. Internet service has been spotty and challenging this time. We are sitting down town with Alisa and Beth, getting off my earlier blog that I wrote while sleeping, (at least that’s what the team says, they apparently have photo’s to prove their point, whoever posts them will never travel with me again!) and getting up tonight’s quick note. Overall, a very great day! We are working hard and are well spent this evening. So off to finish our final tasks, and deliver the team to our sleeping quarters. We are grateful for all the comments and prayers, we press on! Blessings again!


We finally settled in after some excitement at the church last night, it’s always a bit of a job getting the sleeping arrangement, mattresses, and bed sheets around. So as we are finally getting laid down, Julie looked totally relaxed (I always watch our first-timers). The breeze was pushing the cool air around, and I said to her, you look comfortable. She said, “It’s the Hilton.” I had to laugh. I said maybe if we started telling people that we would get many more to come with us! The reality is that circumstances are what you make of them. If you fight against the current of events, you will rue your existence. But if you can bend with the tide, you can glean much from the journey! We went to the bank this morning, as we stepped through the door, a line in the building greeted me that I couldn’t see the end of. Rob put me in a corner, and disappeared. He told me he would return in a few minutes. I was thinking to myself, well I’ll see you in a few hours! Shortly he returned, and we left. I asked him if the lines were always this long at the bank, and he said yes, sometimes longer. I found out later he had sent someone to stand in line for him, and call him when they got close to the counter. I’m not sure how many of us Americans have close enough family and friends who would go stand in line for us anywhere, for anything, to help save us some time! The wonderful person who took his place must have waited for at least an hour or two, the next time you get impatient standing in line at the store behind a couple of people, and gripe because your not next in line, be reminded again of how blessed you are to be next in a very short line. We have flexed our schedule already, several little changes. Who would have thought I had to go to five motor stores before I could find 10W30 motor oil for the new generator for the orphanage! It’s a never-ending process. Change happens slowly, and by the time the change comes, something else has broken, and now you are back to where you started. At times it does seem a bit futile. But then you get another hug, you see a child going to school that you are sending, you see a life transformed by the power of God, and new life surges through your heart, fresh passion washes away indignation, and energy is born for another day. What a wonderful life! Blessings always.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Righteous Anger

We are safely on the ground in St. Marc. All went rather well. Although the team got to see some righteous anger out of their pastor and leader today. I was hoodwinked just a little at the airport this evening, and when I was done, there were blue shirts staring open mouthed. It reminded me of how furious God must get when we try our little stunts on Him, the difference is He is never hoodwinked! This is another story for another day though. We are in a hurry to get the team to the property and get bedded down for the night. Everyone is well, and we have actually been greeted with cool breezes tonight. We set up the new stove and the girls went to work, we fed the house, managed our luggage a bit, and now we settle in for the evening. Getting around this time promises to be a little more difficult as our main road to the church is torn up now, but we will endure this minor hardship realizing our inconvenience is but for eight days, and these people don't get a reprieve. Thanks for all the prayers, the plane engine not starting in Miami gave a start, but must have just been a small issue. The flight was smooth and we landed without a hiccup. Have a blessed night, we will blog again tomorrow! Blessings with thanksgiving from St. Marc

100 lbs.

What is in a 100 lb suitcase? The older I get and the more trips I make, these become a quandary for me. My back complains when my eyes register the size and weight, the wisdom of the years beckons and pleads with me to revise and reduce. So we get to the ticket counter this morning and the bag registers exactly 100 lbs. The ticket lady says if it registers 100 lbs, they cannot take it. What is up with that? So the magic number is 99.5? I guess so, and of course we have packed carefully. Time for an adjustment, she says what’s in the bag? I open the side of the suitcase and a mound of candy sticks peers out at us. Okay, now human nature kicks in, what child is going to be denied a piece of candy? We can’t take that out. Verses for the children’s classes on strips of paper are the next thing I set my eyes on, what child will be denied their verses? We took a handful and Jim says; “That will go with me!”
The bag now registers 99.5 lbs. The ticket lady was happy, she didn’t want to be the person to disqualify a 100 lb bag to touch all those children. So what is in a 100 lb suitcase, as much as possible to meet as many needs as possible, to spread as much hope as possible. We pack every bag with the same criteria, everything we can get in will meet some need for some desperate struggling life at a very critical moment. So regardless of the wisdom of my mind, I look to the strength still in my bones and say; “Lift!” As long as we can go and make a difference, as long as the way is paved, we will carry on. Thank you to all who continue to labor along with us, who carry the torch either by contributing or by going. Together we are making a difference. Thankfully God measures success far differently than we! We are safely on the ground in Miami. Over halfway to our destination. Rob and the bus are on their way, it is nice being able to text back and forth now, technology is amazing in it’s ablity to connect us when were worlds apart! Julie has now joined us safely, came in through the gate we all go out on! Miracles never cease, and these journey’s always remind me of how so intricately God goes before us! Never fear! Blessings until later.

Monday, November 1, 2010


This is the earliest I have been to Detroit with a team. The luggage is stored behind the front desk, most are bedded down, and it's time for lights out. A new record! These trips always come with hindrances, aggravations, frustrations, and your above average challenges. They are not for the feeble, they are tests of raw courage, of faith, and of love. I am always grateful to be in such company. While we are tested often, and sometimes without reprieve, there is much good accomplished even in the midst of our struggle. Pray we are successful to the point we get done what we are meant to, not necessarily our expectations, Haiti as a country is quite humiliating when it comes to expectations. Especially American expectations! Tonight we are settled in comfortable beds, temperature controlled rooms, warm food in our bellies, we have had our temperature controlled showers, slipped into our machine washed bed clothes, and fluffed our pillows to suit our bodies demands. That will change drastically tomorrow! We will be reminded in a moment that all we think of as necessary, even deserved, are actually luxuries. We are still a very blessed nation, with enormous responsibility to do our best to aid the defenseless, impoverished peoples of the world, to think a little less of ourselves and a little more of others. Sleep well tonight, enjoy that bed, fancy that pillow, for thousands of Haitian's will sleep on the dirt or the concrete, with no sheets or blankets to fend off the cold nor the hardness of the surface they will try to rest on tonight. Be glad again for the little things, take nothing for granted. Give thanks in all things, for you are blessed! Blessings!