Monday, January 30, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
I'm so sorry I haven't gotten around to writing these past few days. I do have a pretty good excuse however, I have been under the weather and just trying to rest and get my strength up. So because of that the weekend was pretty laid back and everyone has been spoiling me! Junie has been making sure the kids don't bother me in the morning so I can sleep in a bit, but even then I was up at 7:30. When the sun rises in Haiti so do you! People have been just as sweet as they can be making my bed, getting me drinks and medicine and just making sure I'm doing okay. Kelly has been the best brother anyone could ever ask for! He has been making sure I don't have to cook whether he goes out and gets something or he makes it himself. Yesterday he even surprised me with a meal fit for a king! Hotdogs(no buns), Cheetos, cold Pepsi and we even had ketchup and mustard!!!! Aren't you all so jealous?! Just kidding but seriously it was a really great lunch! Naromie's mother made us a rice cake to share, it is completely impossible to describe what it is or how it tastes but it is seriously one of the best things I have ever eaten! I came out to the job site with Robinson, Arson and Kelly this morning. I wanted to get out of the house for a little break from the kids and all the hustle and bustle there at the orphanage. There is little to no privacy with five kids, Junie, Manius, Natasha, Kelly and I plus there is always traffic coming in and out. Still I love it and we are getting more and more settled all the time. We have a Haiti cell phone now so we can get a hold of people down here. I have it worked out for a young lady to come do our laundry on Saturdays. I figured it would be better to give someone who knows what they are doing some money then to try and do it in my inexperience! She is very happy to have the job but at first she refused to take our money! She said she was doing it because she loves us and wants to help but Rob explained that we wanted to do it to help her as well and express our gratitude for her hard work. On Friday night Manius, Kelly and I were having a movie party on the porch. We were watching the movie "The Blind Side". Every few minutes we had to pause the movie and explain something to him like what a Quarterback is and what his "blind side" is. At a certain part of the movie it was Thanksgiving and the family was sitting around the table saying a prayer and getting ready to eat. Well Manius wanted to know what Thanksgiving is and so Kelly and I explained the whole story Pilgrims and Indians included! Even though it's not Thanksgiving, telling the story helped me put everything into perspective. I am so thankful to be surrounded by people who love and care about me, especially this past weekend! The Hatians are the poorest people I have ever seen and they work so hard all the time to just exist yet they seem to keep finding ways to present us with gifts or acts of kindness. They are truly an amazing people. Blessings and love from Haiti!
Keep everyone down here in your prayers, it's going to be a really busy week for everyone, Robinson has a funeral and 2 to 3 weddings to do this week, I'm going to try and start drilling this week along with a couple other projects, and pray that Krystle starts to feel better really quick. Blessings to all from Haiti. Kelly
Friday, January 20, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Greetings from Haiti. I not very sure where to start writing at the moment normally it's my dad that does all the writing when we are in Haiti, my how the tides have changed on me. I guess I will start with waking up this morning with a good nights sleep from having a large comfortable pillow and mattress that was on the bunk-bed. When I woke up and was laying there in bed it struck me that today was the day that mom and dad and the team where leaving and I was staying behind with Krystle. Up till this point all week I was so excited I could hardly wait to ship everyone off, turns out I was wrong, I found myself trying not to dwell on it to much so I would not break down crying, after all I had to be strong for Krystle. We finished helping pack up the team over at the orphanage, we then All drove over to Robinson's house to check and make sure no one had forgotten anything. You could feel the somberness in the air as we drove, everyone was sad, but for me I was starting to understand what it was like to be on the other side of the fence that the Haitians are on, to know how it feels to see Rob and all the Americans pull out and leave knowing well that we would not see them for three months. Like I said earlier, it was very sad as Krystle and I gave everyone hugs and told them how much we would miss them. I broke down as I gave my father his last hug for three months. And for the record he did to;). We waved good bye as they all set out on their long journey back to Traverse City, Michigan. After they left I realized we had just crossed another bridge in our family life toward being independent adults in life. After the team left Naromie came over and gave Krystle and I big hugs to try and comfort us, we went inside and took a few minutes to collect ourselves. I realized it was time to move forward, I grabbed some tools and helped Krystle get some waters out of the cooler to take to the orphanage. Chedson and Varnell and Peterson helped us carry and walk stuff over to the orphanage. On the way I wanted to stop at the church to pick up the electrical tester in the American bathroom. As I walk in looking for George and calling his name because he had the key to unlock the bathroom, some women at the church told us that George had gone to work for the day. It was a little bit of a shock to me because the whole week we are there every trip George is at the church pretty much 24/7. When we finally got back to the orphanage I got to work, we still had some stuff to get done from moving in yesterday. Krystle helped me refasten and oil up all the hinges on all the doors in the orphanage today, Franz helped get the shower rod up in the bathroom today and an extra clothes rod hanger in the girls closet, I think for Krystle. I told Manius last night that this was kinda going to be a day to rest up from the whirlwind of last week, so much for that. We did however watch a little TV, and hang out and worked on our Creole this afternoon. When Rob got back we went down to the store this evening and bought a trash bin, some small tubs for Krystle to wash dishes in, and hurried back to make supper before we went to Y-WAM for their service. Robinson also this evening had a meeting at 6:00 and did not make it back to the orphanage till 7:00 to pick us up:). The service tonight was very good, Krystle and I enjoyed it and are looking forward to coming back next week, we were greeted very warmly tonight from everyone, they also told us to feel free to come over anytime to go swimming, they offered us phone numbers in case we needed anything, I told them that at the moment Krystle and I did not have cell phones yet, they told that if we need help getting some cell phones that they would take us down and help us get two for Krystle and I.
We got to talk to Jennie tonight and she told us that she had decided to sign a 6 month commitment instead of a two year commitment. I also found out tonight dad that YWAM just got a well rig at their base and there are drillers coming in to drill on February 7 for ten days and offered for me to come out and see what their doing. Well I guess I'm heading off for bed tonight to get some sleep. Pray for us that God will show Krystle and I what His will is from day to day, that He will bless our hands at whatever we go to do. Blessing to all from Haiti. Kelly
This post is delivered via Krystle:
Hey! I hope you guys have had a great trip. I have tried texting you guys but must be I caught you with no wifi:) today has been good:) I think Kelly has had an easier time of it today then I have. He got to spend some time with Manius and he kept plenty busy around the house fixing all the doors. I finished cleaning up our stuff, passing out the stuff we brought specifically for the orphanage, had a Creole lesson with Ched and another lesson with Manius. Rob had said earlier he would come pick me up so I could get a few things I needed at the grocery store. I was concerned about the timing because of the meeting at YWAM. I was right.... After we got back from the store we had about thirty minutes to make dinner and be ready to go. Then Rob told us he had a meeting and he would be here to pick us up at 6:45 at the latest. Well we scarfed down our food and we were ready but Rob wasn't here. So he showed up at 7 and I was completely overwhelmed and ready just to skip the whole thing but I knew that you wanted us to go. We pulled up and he goes oops it's 7:15, I must have been late! Lol! The guard let us in but then said we couldn't go anywhere cause no one had told him we were coming..... So we waited for a bit and Christian finally came and got us.:) Jenny came to sit by me and it was a REALLY nice service and everyone was so sweet to us. We got several offers to come to the pool, all kinds of numbers and someone even offered to take us and get phones (they didnt know we had someone like Rob to help us). Jenny's doing great. She only signed a 6 month contract and then she will be headed back to Cape Haitia. We are going to plan to meet up on a weekend to hang out whether it is at YWAM or here. So I'm doing good tonight, I feel like I have a friend:D It's funny how you can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely! I'm hoping as I learn more of the language some of that will go better:) Kelly put one of the extra mats underneath my other mattress and I'm pretty sure this bed is more comfy then my own! I'm exhausted tonight so I will go get some sleep! I think your on the plane right now so you can just email me tomorrow or whenever it's convenient. Rob and Kelly are going to Renalds in the morning so I will go to Rob and Naromie's unless Junie and Manius stay here. Dina is not doing good at all. I think it has spread to the other eye. She was doing okay earlier but tonight I can tell she's in alot of pain. Hopefully we can get her to a doctor in the morning. Love you and mom lots:) get some sleep!
This was Krystle's email from today.
We are in the air, our kids are on the ground behind us. I knew this day was coming, but it is still a difficult day when your kids hit adulthood, and claim their independence. As we prepared to go this morning I gathered the team around the kitchen table at the orphanage, as we had stayed there last night after getting Kelly and Kryslte settled in. I read my post from last night and the comments that had been written by our followers. It was a rather difficult endeavor as the gravity of it all came down. We prayed together as a team for the final time of this trip and then rode over to Rob's house where we said our final good-byes through teary eyes. Kelly stayed his tears, but Krystle did not. At one point she said 'I'll be fine once you go!' As I hugged her one final time I said in her ear, Independence Day is not it's all cracked up to be! Freedom always carries a price. We forget that often in our celebrations, we are prone to forget that stepping out on our own brings a significant weight of responsibility. You are now responsible for your protection and care, your choices and your actions. It was a somber day those brave Americans many years ago declared their independence from England, it was extraordinarily costly on many levels. The same can be said for our spiritual freedom as well. An extravagant price was paid for our souls, for all souls everywhere. We often cringe at reflecting on that, but when we don't freedom's fair complexion suffers scaring and her purpose becomes maligned, liberty loses, and it's enemy gains a score. So while the morning brought its own kind of pain, it also brings rejoicing, freedom still rings, two Americans chose to stay in Haiti's wounded land to love it's suffering hearts, to share the good news of freedom for the heart, to carry on the noble work of hope. As we drove away from the house Kelly's white arm stuck out through the fence waving good bye, it is that hand extended that I am proud of today, for I know over the course of the next three months, lives are going to be changed, and harvesting will happen, God will do what only God can do, but it becomes less limited because faith has been grasped, and that frees the Almighty in more ways than we can conceive. As we worked our way out of town, Robinson asked me if I remembered the old man who had sat beside me Sunday morning up were the podium was. I did, for he has sat there as long as I can remember, he then told me had died yesterday. They took him by ambulance to the hospital, but he passed away before getting there. It happens that I witnessed the ambulance yesterday, as it is a uncommon sight in Haiti, not knowing in it was my friend. It's funny because Beth and I both were lead to give him a big hug Sunday, and now he is gone. Life feels more fragile in Haiti, perhaps it's the devastation, but the truth is life is fragile, all life. A fine thread binds us to life, and certain moments in our lives we are made to feel just how fragile and thin it truly is. Such a day is today for us. But days like today are also good for us, they help us to cherish the real in life. And in our culture, we need this like never before. We are grateful today that the separation from us and our children is only spacial, many suffer the separation of heart, that is the saddest of all. And so we journey towards home, but of all our trips, today was the most difficult to leave Haiti, of this you can be sure! Blessings upon blessings!
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
So ends our last full day in Haiti, six venture home tomorrow, while two stay behind. It has been a very busy last day, we walked up the mountain this morning and had some very special moments with the mountain community right up behind the church. You never know how your life will intersect with someone, how personalities just click, and bonds are formed. Deloris is just like a mother to these kids, she speaks English and yet they seem to understand her like it was their native tongue! I burst out laughing a couple of times. She marshals them like a mother hen. Up towards the top of the mountain, as we were beginning our decent, we came across a little boy who was very afraid of us ‘white folks,’ but he kept his eye on Neil. He had a little can that he had been playing with, without warning he came over and dropped it at Neil’s feet looking him right in the eye as if to say ‘I like you’, Neil kicked the can to him and he kicked it back, some form of ‘can’ soccer. As he turned to leave, Neil bent down and gave the little boy a hug, fear had vanished before the rays of love, and hope locked two hearts a world apart! These moments are perhaps Haiti’s finest for our team, physical accomplishments are always nice, but they are finite, love, faith, hope, these are infinite, and the works of these three will never fade. I sit here on the front porch of Rob’s house, perhaps tapping out my final post in country, and feel grateful, changed, weary, but proud. Proud of this team, proud of Robinson’s leadership, proud of my support friends and family that have brought something so incredible to pass through the guidance of a loving and faithful God. In a few hours, after a little slumber, we will head north by south, and bid our children farewell for a few weeks. My heart beats steady with the pulse of faith, I wonder what mighty thing God has wrought in their hearts that they would stay, surging out of my protection, to indulge this culture with the force of love they possess for it. Never doubt the power of God to change your life, nor that He still renders miracles in the hearts of those who will believe. I have born witness to His power and grace, and tonight I rest confident in His plan for the lives of my children, my expectations have long been tempered by the call of God on their lives, and we are ready for this day, for He has prepared us every step of this journey called life. There is a reason for every trial, a season for all growth, and a settling occurs, the waves calm, and you feel the mighty hand of God whisper to the storm “Peace, be still!” So amidst everything else accomplished today, we got the kids all unpacked and their new home for three months set in order. They are as ready as can be, everyone helped and now we rest and prepare to go! We end this post with gratefulness and joy, another magnificent moment in our lives turns with the clock, and to all a good night! Blessings!
Monday, January 16, 2012
Who gets to choose? As we traveled to the mountain and then on to Desdunes today we passed out candy along the roads, and at certain points we stopped. We traveled a little differently than in the past, having the new Toyota on this trip has been a blessing, our budget has run tight, and it allowed us to save money to spend elsewhere. So many needs, so few dollars. I rode on a special deck we built for the Toyota, so I was in the open air all day, while the team rode in air conditioning! But don't feel bad, I have had a cold and determined to spare as many as I could my plight! So I was there by choice. It gave me opportunity to see the country from yet another perspective, and as we dropped candy off and I contemplated my surroundings and so many stark contrasts with my reality, it staggered me at the thought of the magnitude of the work of God in this world. I have studied theology, and have spent my life in ministry, and yet today the complexity of God staggers me. We say 'practice random acts of kindness', and if we controlled the universe, that is the way it would be. But with God there are no random acts. A piece of candy dropping from my hand along a random road, to a random child, in a random country is ordained by a loving God. But isn't that our gripe, our rub with Deity, if you are so loving, why does this suffering and chaos even exist. My great grandfather often repeated the saying: "A God comprehended is no God at all." I often have thought about this across the years of my life, and today, I am profoundly and deeply moved at how God created a being called 'human' and endowed him with choice, unleashed him on this planet knowing we would choose the worse, and still be able to work His grand design. I have listened to theologians wax eloquent, and heard wisdom extolled, but I have yet to hear God fully defined! It cannot be done, we cannot do His job, we are not qualified, for we are finite flesh, none of us can will our days or extend our breath beyond what He declares, and only as we exercise our faith will we be able to function in this amazing world He has created. So every piece of falling candy, every bag of clothes, every yoyo bag passed out today to each of these children served a purpose that I cannot fully fathom, but that God planted in these lives He formed before the world was framed, these who serve a purpose for being here and in so doing have rewritten whole chapters of my life and the lives of all we are allowed to touch! I am so grateful, so very grateful for this journey, for this point of impact today. Hope traveled the countryside today, and hope from the countryside flowed back, the ebb and flow of the tide of life, profound beyond words, continues to point out a incredible, massive, loving God who still chooses to work through feeble man to accomplish His purpose and grand design. While I may not fathom, I beleive! For in the eyes of the weary, the impoverished, and those forsaken by man, I see a loving God unwilling to quit, unwilling to let the least of these go without feeling the touch of His hand. The song says; 'Oh to be His hand extended' and today we were! Amazing! Blessings once again.
It's time for you to meet our newest orphan we took in a few months back. I have shared via a post earlier about her journey to us, but I didn't know Dina except via a couple chance encounters on our trip to Desdunes and through a photo I had shot of her. She was in possession of the most tragic set of eyes I think I have witnessed, and when I learned of her predicament, we started the effort to collect her, and mend what was left of a family back together again. I can report tonight that it is an extraordinary joy to see her and her brother together again. But I also think it is only fair to report that these kids come to us maimed and hurting so deeply that their path to healing is long and arduous at best, and the truth is some aspects of them will never recover. When we started our movie night at the property tonight, the orphans hadn't arrived, so as we settled in and were watching I was pleasantly surprised when they suddenly showed up and promptly perched on the floor in front of us. Mind you we have been so busy with projects that up until now I have not had much time with the kids this trip in. So as they settled in I began to watch Dina, our newest orphan. She has developed an infection in one of her eyes, it showed up over the weekend and we are sending her to a doctor in the morning. As I watched, I noticed a tear running down her cheek, and at first I thought it was her eye, turns out some of it was, but she was unbelievably moved by the movie. Within a few minutes I realized Dina was interacting with the film on a whole different level than the rest of the crowd. As I said earlier, we were watching 'Soul Surfer' and the interaction of the family, and especially the mother and father were deeply moving her. So I bent down and scooped her into my arms, her small frame melted onto my lap, and I held her while weeping in my heart. So much injustice in life, so much pain, how did she survive, and how will she heal. There isn't much compassion in Haiti, the callouses of poverty and starvation have crippled this culture in it's ability to tend to it 's wounded. You search far and wide to find hearts willing and ready to take the high risk of caring. We have been blessed at our orphanage to have some incredible hearts a part of it, and create this loving environment for these kids. But that can never replace the home, the real mothers embrace, the protection and guidance of the father, nor was it meant to. We are just attempting to embrace them for a season with the love of God, pray grace does what only grace can do, and give them a future. Often we are called mom and dad by the orphans, and one is left pondering the capacity of love. And so it is the tenderest of our children is also our newest. Bringing a flavor all her own, she is an incredible little girl. She is quiet, and gentle, but possesses a brilliant spirit. we are so grateful to have put brother and sister back together again! As I was entering the tent tonight, the sky was brilliant with stars, the sky is incomparable to back home, the darkness of Haiti shows off the sky in majestic fashion. And in our orphanage, in the darkness of this culture these children also shine brightly and we get to witness it! Thank you for being a part! Blessings to all!
Where do I start? So much to report, but so little time and space to report in. We had another amazing service this morning. The tent and surrounding space was full. God is on the move in Haiti. He is on the move in our church! With Robinson and the men he is garnering around him through the help of God an amazing ministry is forming. We have witnessed the birth of a profound work. Casting vision is a difficult thing, we have so many dreams and aspirations, and many years ago when we started this journey with God through sets of circumstances in our lives, I had a sense that God was up to something big, that there was a profound potential for something great. But following the vision and pursuing it, that was a uniquely different path than what I had expected. To cast a vision is not to fully know how God will bring everything to pass, but it is to see through eyes of faith what it is God intends to do. On this trip I am casting another part of that vision, not knowing fully how it will come to pass, however, I now know it will. As we viewed the congregation this morning, we were witness to the profound impact of the gospel to change lives, to the tune of hundreds, maybe now approaching thousands. We can’t help but rejoice that all those years ago God set two men from different cultures and totally different walks of life together in the way only God can. Crossing our paths was to reshape and re-frame both of our lives. For those of you who know me, aside from my conversion at 16, my first major life change came when my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the second was when I met an orphaned boy turned man, Robinson Louis. Until that point I had my life on a certain track, but God derailed me through my faith in Him and today we marvel at His goodness and incredible methods. Today this work in Haiti is surging stronger than I have ever witnessed, as we were going through the service this morning the visitors are all called to the front to introduce themselves, there were 18 to my count! And a really good sign was that there were as many men as women! For the first time since our work began in Haiti, I had the front rows with men in them. Hope blossoms in glorious fashion for these people. We have commenced a plan for outreach ministry beyond St. Marc, and we now have personnel to bring it to pass. I confess I am not fully sure how God means to bring it to pass, but as sure as I am penning this post, I am confidant it is coming. The team has spent the afternoon at ease, catching our wind from the hurricane of activity poured into the last four days. We will head to the church property in a few to show the movie “Soul Surfer” which should be very inspirational. As I sat ready to speak this morning, God changed my message 30 minutes prior to my standing up, with no notes to guide me, I shared from I Peter 2 and the response was moving. Not only did I come to Haiti with a ruptured disk this trip, but I also came down sick my second day here, we are grateful to report that it has not slowed down the list of accomplishments. They are too numerous to name right now, but we want to report that vision is coming to pass, and we are all a part! What an amazing life it is, God never disappoints! Blessings all!
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Another great day today in Haiti. The entire orphanage received a fresh coat of paint, minus the ceilings. The floor was scrubbed and the tile sparkles fresh. The fumes were a little intense, painting in Haiti as I have said before is a very different experience. We used an oil based paint so that the walls could be tended with soap and water more effectively. Everyone pulled together and it is done! An amazing accomplishment, and even though the orphanage was nice before, it's fantastic now! We are so pleased with Robinson's leadership and his ability as on orphan himself to be able to give back to his culture this way today in his life. It is nothing short of a miracle. We have a couple more projects we are hoping to finalize, but the pressure is now easing. We have some organization to do for our kids in readiness for them to stay behind in country for 3 months, but they are already settling in and moving with the culture, it's a father's proud day that his children rise to the call of God, and put themselves out in such a fashion. Pray for the success of their journey. We ran into a young girl in her 20's on our way down who was headed for YWAM, we saw her through the airport and got her through the airport routine which can be a fright alone. She was coming for a 2 year commitment, suddenly 3 months seemed a very short time for our kids to be here after all! I love the way God brings perspective in our lives, He must get some really good chuckles in at our expense. I shared with the team this morning a story from yesterday. As we were out getting supplies, we came across a man with a baby in his arms. Robinson addressed him for a few moments and then walked away. As he walked he shook his head, and clicked his teeth. I asked what was wrong, he shared with me a very sad story about this man who had been in his church, who had incredible musical talent, and could play many instruments. He shared how he ministered in a powerful way to the people, and could bring them to dancing with his musical abilities. He shared with me how then the man has left his wife for another woman, had made her pregnant, and then that she had left the baby with him. I was struck with the circumstances, and then Rob told me he had spoken with the man when he first started his wrong behavior, had told him these words, "It seems you can make people dance, but you cannot dance." How true that is, in the entertainment world we have musicians who can sell millions of albums and die in solitude. But even more sad, is that the church has people who week in and out can bring such joy to a crowd, but fail to experience the deep joy of God themselves. I myself have been guilty of this at moments, and the statement gave me pause, the turbulence of our hectic and demanding lifestyles suffers from lack of good spiritual reflection and feeding, we turn on a false demeanor and continue to awe the crowd with a fake face, all the time we are dying inside. Tomorrow I ready to go to the pulpit, and I want to go dancing in my heart, no false pretense. Much of Haiti to me at times is God rooting around my cultural habitual way of doing things, of uprooting shallow behavior, exposing my weakness and giving me a chance to grow with these people even as I lay my hand to the plow to raise up hope and joy for the people of God. I love it when they dance, when you dance, but I want to find myself on the dance floor before God with you. And I don't mean like "So You Thing You can Dance", for I would never even get a number! But the dance of the soul before it's creator, were unbidden before God we relish the joy of His creation and redemption of the heart he has created in you and me! Dance well my friends! The picture here is one I named "Eyes", there are oceans of times and culture and suffering represented, what do you see? Blessings again!
P.S. Please excuse the grammar and punctuation flaws, I have already seen quite a few, but writing through bleary eyes, and ones that are beginning to fail with time shows up in my posting here, I try to go back and correct as much as I can upon my return, but in the interim, you will have to bear with my humanity, as I am too weary to rework things now! :-)
Friday, January 13, 2012
Darkness falls with uncanny speed here. It seems one moment it's light, the next it's dark. And so ends the day. You can't set up lights and keep pounding out the projects. When darkness comes, so does the end of your labor. Well, most labor anyway. Tonight Ray gave the girls a bit of a break by cooking our supper. It was good. You always seem ready to eat something by a meal time. You burn through the calories in trying to stay cool while you work, but you don't stay cool. Paint got purchased for the orphanage, and we are painting it tomorrow. The walls got washed down by four girls, who did a wonderful job for us. The bathroom facility is almost completely wired, it will be finished tomorrow. There will be lights in every one of the rooms, and that will be a huge blessing. The guys did cabinets for the kids for storing their clothes and personal items. We had a great children's service, right at our 500 kids again, such a joy to work with these kids. so many things are happening, but at such slow speeds you wondering for a moment what is being accomplished, but the end of day tally reveals significant gains. Tonight as I take stock, I wish we had more time, but I guess that creates more trips. The other success I can report is that more and more tasks are being taken over by the people, they are so willing to help and work. They still lack skills set with our tools, so there is still a massive equation to solve, but little by little we chisel away at the talent impediments, which in turn sows more hope. As we drove along in the Toyota we just managed to get into Haiti, I was riding in the back on a special hitch hauler and marveled as we transported 14 people in one vehicle! What great things God continue to bring forth! We had such a great time with the orphans today as well. How good it is to report to you they are eating so healthy, well dressed, clean, loved, and growing so well. They have all healed so much, and are so well taken care of, would we could bring this to every child! But God has granted us this much and so we forge ahead, trusting Him for greater and greater things. I posted up some pictures on Facebook tonight, check out the news ticker or my news feed. How much a single little program has changed the world! We have had to deal with some sadness from our homes this trip, and that has dampened spirits a little, but then a child smiles, or a hug is given, and fresh courage emerges. Strength is infused and your journey continues. For those hurting hearts back home tonight we send our love and prayers, even as we feel yours toward us. Of for a refreshing shower and some rest. Blessings from St. Marc.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
One particular and unique part of our Haiti journey is all of the wonderful people we have been blessed to labor alongside of in this quest to bring light into darkness. Both here and those who have travelled with us into this country. The complexity this land brings against all you have grown accustomed too and know is at once staggering and sensational. It will try the core of a man or woman. It will make you know your soul. Parts you will find wanting. Your amour will show tainted, the challenge is presented no matter your place in life, prepare to be exposed! And with all who have come, we have been blessed to witness courage, wisdom, insight, and unexpected delights as people discover their unique ability to interconnect with these amazing Haitians. Everyone possesses skill sets to touch people in our lives, but we often become constrained by insecurities and failed attempts. In Haiti it seems you don't have to worry about failed attempts, because the people keep coming back for more of you. Neil has been another such blessing on this trip. He is non stop joy, his view of life is an amazing rainbow reflecting off rippling waters, and you never quite know what color may show up in any given moment, but it often brings a joyous humor and comic relief at the most opportune times. He has grown more temperate on this journey, has adapted like a chameleon, and has been a champion of being there just when I need him. A real Godsend, and unrelenting in his service to the team, our projects, and making Haitian friends. Because of his life, he is a person who enters this arena ready in a way few are, and I feel deeply he has a choice whether or not to let this journey affect him, more so than perhaps anyone else I have ever brought. He has risen to this occasion with incredible ease, has gained a steadying balance and been a real blessing to our team. I shot a photo of him today with a welder who has done many projects for us here, and who has never had a welding helmet. As we contracted him today for building us another door at the property, Neil presented him with a brand new helmet. It was a priceless moment. As I looked into the eyes of the welder, I could see the damage inflicted by years of exposure to the burning rays. I have watched this man weld holding a broken piece of welding glass, and often seen him weld with nothing for his eyes. Neil cannot fathom on the same level as I the way he change a man's life today, but he did, for in those burned eyes something else showed through today, gracefulness. Uncharted by human hands, unexpected grace at an uncharacteristic moment brought about by a willing heart with a simple vision, to touch a few welders with an incredible gift in this country, a welding helmet. We are grateful for Neil and the addition he is bringing to our team. We will look forward to any trip he decides to join us on, God uses people to touch people, and know tonight that includes you as you read this blog! Take a risk, take a chance, reach out to someone who needs a little hope, they aren't just in foreign countries, they are often right next door. Grab a Neil moment, step out and step up! Be counted, it's not always easy or even immediately rewarding, but your heart will be gratified every time you do God's bidding no matter the outcomes, for you will know deep down you did what was right! Thank God for the Neil's of this world, otherwise it could be a rather boring place! Thanks for all the encouraging comments, the team has been encouraged and moved by your words of affirmation and assurance of your prayers. Blessings once again tonight.
Rain came in a downpour last night as we were about to go lights out. We quickly closed down the tent sidewalls to keep the water from getting us wet as it splashed down from the tent top, we moved our beds away from the edge a little and enjoyed the pounding of the rain on the tent top. A few hours later as I paced unable to sleep, the air was purged for a moment of the despair that is Haiti, and it could have passed for one of the fantastic Caribbean Islands, but the dawn broke with the sun, and it burned up the purity of the rainfall in just a couple of hours. I spoke with a man today who came to Haiti to try the fishing business and he shared with me how the devastation that is Haiti has ruined any chance for a fishing industry off it's coast. The amount of garbage that has flowed into the ocean and the coating of dirt from the mountain erosion has destroyed the prospects for the fishing industry for a very long time. The rain last night while something of a refreshment for us was a curse to the ocean life as it was delivered another cargo of debris from a nation that cannot yet account for it's sanitation. My heart wept as we drove past the beautiful water today that bore fresh scaring from the night. I am unable to see the volume of information that flowed today via world wide broadcasts as Haiti remorsefully remembers the horror of this day 2 years ago, but I can tell you from the ground tonight that the pain and scarring are fading, people are adjusting to a new normal, and the struggle to survive continues. I sense gratefulness around me. Last night I was approached by a single mother who came to thank me and our church family back home for providing a roof over her house this summer, my heart soared as I witnessed the deepest level of gratitude in her eyes. I was reminded that the least of these things turns out to be huge to those who have so little, a little metal roof, and children gained safety from nature, a mother gains peace, and hope is born anew! This is a journey into the unknown on so many levels, and I confess severe moments of uncertainty, but doors continue to open, and I have an open door policy with God, if He opens the door, I am to walk through it never knowing quite what may be on the other side except one thing, He (God) is on the other side, no reason to lag behind, for He is on the move, and I want to be where God is moving. He is moving in Haiti tonight, so here we are, trusting, believing, walking His path, enjoying His mercy, practicing our faith in the way He has asked us too! What a ride! The guys finished mending the rest of the benches today less a couple, and almost all have received a new coat of varnish. It will add to their longevity. We keep feeding the crowds, touching the needy, sharing the load, and watching these people grow even as they help us grow too! In the picture above the orphans helped us stuff bags for the children's service and Vladimir just continues to enchant us all in his own unique ways. Blessings always.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
We are in St. Marc tonight. Traveling today was very smooth. My team, now that was a little different matter. As fate would have it Ray misplaced his keys this morning and after a frantic search, managed to locate them in his fanny pack! That was our disturbing beginning, the airport transaction was the smoothest to date, I seriously feel with the AA bankruptcy that their staff has finally been set to etiquette school. We have never been treated with greater respect. So we made it to PAP and have loaded onto the bus to the baggage terminal when a disturbance starts, it's my son, he has left his iPhone on the plane. So the 300 yard dash commences, father chasing son, security giving us warning looks, but again, God watched over his unnerving mistake, and the plane staff came off the plane with his phone! At 21 he is still adding grey hair to my head. But all that aside, i had some intriguing discussions with folks today. One statement that stirred my deeply was when one man said, "face it, Haiti is old news". He's right you know, we are a culture that demands the sensational, who jump to disaster at fevered pitches, but then the dust settles, and a strange boredom sets in, steady commitment can have lackluster moments, and we jump to 'greener' pastures. The truth is Haiti is not 'old news'. What happens to people here every day is real, tantamount, tragic, and savage, just a mere 2 hours off our blissful shoreline via jet aircraft lies a suffering nation trying to heal, get better, survive, find hope and help. We are grateful in our coming here to be reminded again of the reality 'that is' for these people. As we arrived in the dark, peering out at us were smiles and warmth and love. Callouses melt before the onslaught of embraces, reality comes streaming into pinpoint focus, and 'old news' it turns out isn't so old after all. Generosity finds a foot hold, hope finds a key, and heart doors swing wide open. Mercy flows, grace restores, and we apply our resources and change continues at a steady pace. Let us not forsake our duty! Let us see this journey through, take heart, i come with fresh news! Hope is in the air, new life blossoms and blooms, and in a place of fierce darkness, light fractures and pierces the night through the lives God is changing. Behold, I sit tonight blogging from Robinson's kitchen with a wireless card, I am blown away! I feel the pulse of change, God is moving, He will prevail, I want to be a part of that journey for this nation and these people. They deserve no less! Blessings from St. Marc.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Who would have guessed. We ended up after a struggling start, having the best first day heading to Haiti ever! After Kelly's very special birthday party last week, someone picked up on the fact that he used to LOVE Barney. Many nights we sang the Barney song as we transported him to bed. With some very intense effort, Barney showed up at the Texas Roadhouse for a surprise visit tonight at 7:00pm! You can see from the photo some very delighted and smiling faces. As it turns out, Barney is a chick magnet. As I entered the restaurant I caught one of the young waitresses whispering to another that Barney had just showed up. They invited him in and there must have been every waitress to the tune of about 24 girls between 18-25 standing in the big lobby entrance vying for pictures with Barney! I turned to Kelly and said, now you know how to get a bunch of young ladies together for a selection of dates! lol! Then a entertainer came to the table and told stories while he produced balloon animals and a balloon hat for the new 21 year old (Kelly) at the table. We laughed and ate and were renewed in a most unlikely way. The weight of leaving our kids behind this trip and them realizing this is coming to pass weighs a tad over everything we are dong, and tonight God leveraged some amazing people and circumstances for us! Doing God's work is not easy many times, and has ways of trying us on deep levels in our lives. As I watched Neil and Lauren sharing parting hugs and tears, I was reminded of this again. Nothing in life is certain except the moment you are in. Be in that moment and relish it, recognize God's hand and trust His ways and the blessings will flow! I am grateful tonight as we have all arrived safely in Detroit, enjoying the luxury of the States one more evening before we are assaulted with a very different reality tomorrow. Ray, Deloris, Bob, Neil, Beth, Kelly, Krystle, and myself, 8 people representing a host of caring compassionate God fearing people who seek to send us to make a difference. We thank you for believing in us, for trusting us to go on your behalf, without your support we wouldn't have anything to offer, for while we each have covered our costs for this trip, you have all given us the goods, money, and prayer support to touch these people on the ground in their country, in the midst of their circumstances. We are honored and blessed beyond what mind can conceive! 3:00 am speeds at me so time to rest the keys and hit the sack, morning comes swiftly, and sleep will prove illusive, so off we go. Blessings tonight!