Saturday, March 31, 2012


It's almost 9:00 pm and we are set up at the orphanage. I am typing my thoughts in the same room my daughter has just spent most of the last three months. Our two precious orphan girls sleep on their bunks barely three feet from where I sit in my little plastic chair, a fan blowing across the room brings a little reprieve from the hot day we have had to suffocate through. Our only oasis was at the few minutes apiece were we all we able the ride in the AC of Rob's Toyota, which we managed to get into the country last November. Did I say what a Godsend it has been! Although, I just got a call that it won't start. Oh well, it's Haiti. We'll cross that bridge when we get to the river. Today has been a day of much contemplation for me, as I ready to minister a message in the morning to a massive crowd of people, my thoughts have wandered the byways of the years of engagement in this country, of all the changes, and all the merry-go-rounds. As we hiked the mountain behind the church this morning, it seemed to me the rubble was worse this time. And yet it also seemed there were more homes. What is this terrible war between good and evil. Ethan mentioned corruption and evil in his earlier post today, he's right you know. There is no other way to really describe what you witness here. Evil in a very raw form. I am one to carress words, to soft speak the truth, always the truth, but the truth in love. With a doctor walking with me, even more of the raw waste and filth becomes apparent. My constitution is very strong, and while I observe and contemplate much, I can also swallow a lot. Years of hard, dirty outdoor labor, and in pastoring while fighting alongside fellow believers have conditioned me, calloused me in ways that perhaps border a bit on the uncivilized. War is that way, and I don't mind the skirmishes. As I have walked beside a doctor and fellow foot soldier the last few days in this land, it has been a bit on the sensational side to say the least. I have written much and often of the pestilence of this land, but it is brought into sharper focus with this new microscope trained on it! And eight brave souls have fought through all that dust, and dirt, and grime, and all out filth with me the last few days. We have lost a few battles, but we are winning the war! As we watched Germaine and Krystle teach the Bell Choir today, twelve children get to make a new kind of music in their homeland, and the expressions on their faces were pure gold. Germaine was brilliant! I am so grateful for his leadership and life change. He and his family have been so rock on this trip, it is hard to fathom for me where God has brought them from, and to where they are going! Therein in part lies my hope for Haiti, what God has done and is so powerfully doing in them, He is also doing here! Little by little we advance, and it seems now each step is getting easier. As I said earlier, I sit now in front of a strong sturdy high velocity fan, this did not exist years ago, I am going to sleep in a couple of hours in an orphanage, this did not exist two years ago. I am sending this blog up in a couple of minutes from right where I sit, this did not exist until four months ago. Today we fixed a well, and pumped about a thousand gallons of fresh water for a whole community who has been carrying water from long distances for six months. The air crackled with excitement as water was restored to the area! Evil beware...your future has been written...good will prevail! Allow me to take you back to the Chronicles of Narnia theme for a moment...there is melting, and dripping everywhere you turn now in Haiti, the cold of injustice still has many in its grip, but the breath of Aslan can be felt all over, and I know in a very deep place in my heart tonight that good will prevail! Of that fact I am most certain! Out with the sword I say, mount your steeds, the dawn comes, let's ride! And besides, I have a message to write yet! Blessings again tonight from your trusted band of warriors in Haiti, good-night to all!


I apologize for the redundancy of this post if you received this via email from Ethan, but for the rest of our followers i thought it provided different eyesight on the ground. Enjoy this post from Ethan simply titled Saturday. Good afternoon, my loved ones. Clearly the days are blurring a bit. Yes, yesterday was Friday despite the title to my email ;) What a beautiful ending to yesterday as we showed the movie "Courageous" at the church to close to 200 people using a computer and digital projector. I highly recommend this film for everyone including families. In it, real fatherhood is celebrated. Especially beautiful because Pastor Robinson, who shepherds this Haiti church, is a double orphan--abandoned by his parents, then again by his uncle. Now he is spiritually and practically a father to dozens of children, including our orphans, and to a couple hundred adults. This morning, I led devotions, reading from Colossians 2&3. I reinforced my previous comments on freedom (end Chapter 2). I encouraged the team to look for a common pattern in the New Testament letters: soaring passages of theology and doctrine, followed by the "so, therefore" of encouragement and admonitions. Faith coupled with deeds. Freedom with responsibility. Truth always translated through love. I encouraged them not to try to do (obey, reach out) to become, but to be who they are declared to be (orphans adopted through Christ) and go do. As always, we read the blog. "Ordinary" in the USA is indeed unimaginable here. After devotions, we hiked up the mountain through filthy alleys filled with trash and excrement, past the shacks that are homes here--dust flying everywhere. At the top, a pretty view and a breeze allowed us to dream a pleasant dream for a few moments. When I awoke, I thought: "Why is Haiti so barren and poor?" The answer is corruption and evil, especially in those who have led in this country. Untold money and supplies and more have poured into this country. Evil has wrecked it. Why are our hearts so barren and poor without Christ, even in the rich USA? Sin and evil. Pastor Robinson is the opposite: noble and true. He has carefully, diligently, and courageously used all of the help, money, and resources entrusted to him. He has used them well. He is bringing riches and life to this place. Today he told me about how is is training up the next generation of leadership for the future and "in case I die." He is a man of vision. I am privileged to count myself his brother and his ally. His picture is attached to this email. When we got back down, I inventoried my medical supplies and reviewed final tasks. Almost done. Tomorrow, church begins at 8am and runs 3 hours under the tent. These people are serious about their worship. What you are doing at home is essential--keep the emails, blog comments, and, above all, prayers coming. With tasks winding down, its easier to see the spiritual progress. My thoughts are beginning to turn to the future: to finishing , to saying goodbye, to regaining my luxuries, to reuniting with you all....but then....what? How will things change? How will I change? So many questions. My heart rests today in my Savior, my answer.

Friday, March 30, 2012


How much do we contemplate the ordinary? In the moment by moment passage of our lives we tend to disconnect, at least I do. Take for instance getting a glass of water. Of walking to the kitchen, opening the cupboard, pulling out a glass, opening the faucet, waiting as the water streams to turn cold, slipping the glass under the flow to extract clean, clear cold water, pressing the glass to your lips, feeling the cool rush as the hydrogen and oxygen mix reach your tongue, your palate responds, and you swallow. What were you thinking the last time that sequence happened? Were you staring with dull expression out the window, did your brain even fire, perhaps you don't remember. There is so much more I am working on not taking for granted. So many miracles in the ordinary moments of my life. We beg God for miracles, but we are surrounded by them! If we can't recognize the littlest, simplest ones, we will never believe the big ones even when they happen right in front of our eyes! I just described a miracle in Haiti. 99% of Haitians cannot do what I just described, but I do it so many times a day I lose track. I know, it's my life, I'm supposed to just accept that, it is what it is...but is it? Why is it we have to be stripped of things to finally get it? God bestows His glory throughout our lives, and we refuse to acknowledge it, until he takes it away. After this many trips into Haiti, I really don't want to lose what I have. We need to see the extrordinary in the ordinary. In this place it is so terribly apparent. Every move I make seems at times to frustrate my purpose. We woke up to the news this morning that the hospital is out of vaccinations. Ethan was deeply disappointed. But it will happen! In due time, Haiti time, God's time. So much is being done in our ordinary efforts here, lives being changed and transformed! As I watched DeVante mingle with the kids the last couple of days, I marveled at the connections and hope he sows even at his young age. He has gained much polish and seasoning over his journey's into Haiti, any friend of DeVante's will now be a much richer friend for having known him. Remember that through the days activities today, find the miracle's buried in the moments and be revived with hope and promise! I can tell you we are! We are being made too!!! We have movie night tonight, 'Courageous' will be showing at 6:00 pm. Feel free to join us, it will be in French, but if your French is rusty, it will be showing with English subtitles. Lol Should be an incredible night. Great life changing film, and needful in this culture as well as ours. Blessings all!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Here we are closing in on another day in Haiti. So many times in my life I find myself wandering through all the corridors of activity, looking on through soul eyes, trying to examine my motives, trying to measure accomplishments, even as they unfold before me. Marking time well also reveals the speed of my travels which returns me to my opening sentence, we approach the evening of our fourth night in Haiti already!  I used to have a much more twisting sensation when I entered Haiti, but these days seem different. Perhaps it is because so much is happening so fast. Special words of appreciation go out to Krystle tonight. She has been as bullish as her brother, just on a total different front. Her legwork has really paid big dividends on the ground for Ethan, and on so many levels the rest of us as well. Her work is mighty, and the path she paved before us has been a four lane highway. So much of the success of this trip for us with Ethan in tow, is due to her attention to detail on the ground. All the orphans were seen this morning in clinic, treatment plans are made, just a little follow through and we will have healthier children than ever before in their young lives. Ethan has forged a wonderful friendship with a local, amazing doctor who has approved the vaccination of the orphans, and that happens tomorrow morning. Pray for them, as no children like shots, and a couple of the kids are terribly frightened by them. Our kids day service was the smoothest to date! Not quite as big a crowd as at other times, but the children seemed so steady today. You can feel the force field of prayer behind our labor, and I send out another word of grateful thanks for all the support from home. Things are happening. The ebb and flow of our days has picked up a certain cadence. When you're in a place like Haiti, the culture of life is anti-dance, and so it's hard to get a flow. The people possess rhythm, but sometimes there is a difference in the way you dance to music and how you dance to life. Especially when the music of life is reckless, off beat, and with a staggered rhythm, how do you dance to that? So it is noteworthy that I could mention something like cadence here. People have shown up for their appointments, timing for most everything has worked. That is a lot to ask for in Haiti, but we are getting cooperation, and it is refreshing. After a very emotional and honest devotional time this morning where Germaine tanked us up on servant leadership, we have labored diligently through this day serving each other and these people. The full measure of our success will be shown over time, likely perhaps long after we are gone. But the tide is changing, the ground shakes beneath me with a new promise, I believe! Not in the work of man, but in the work of God through men! I hope, and refuse to cave to the darkness. Not my will but His be done, but to the best of my ability...His will WILL be done! If this team has it's way, His will WILL be done for this journey! No one slept well last night, so we are hoping for a reprieve tonight. We are off to settle in for the evening. We have had a nice dose of the orphans this evening. Now we will apply ourselves to rest! Blessings again tonight from St. Marc.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Day three opened with a heavenly breeze streaming through most of the morning! It was amazing. If you could deprive yourself of other sensory perceptions, and only feel the breeze, it would have bordered on the magical, but sight, smell, and sound crash through with strong objection, and you realize the breeze is a relief for only one of your senses! Oh well, in Haiti you take any break you can catch, because the truth is there aren't very many of them. We had a great sharing time to start our day, and the comments have been so encouraging. You learn to relish anything from home, you are stripped of so much so quickly you enter a place almost like shock, your system collapses on itself, and you question your own sanity for a moment! Literally! But you sweep your eyes and scan the faces, as I have said before, the eyes will tell, and you are reminded of the needs, of the delinquent hearts, of the terrible void this land has brought. When you calculate how destiny was decided, and you measure the goodness of your life, in a moment you are filled with such a profound sense of grace, how the great Creator decides, if the tables were turned, and in a few days hence it was someone else going home and I was left to stay behind...for this lifetime...I believe the less fortunate deserve a turn of our hand, and we owe it to ourselves to keep it real. The more happiness and love I have given away, exponentially more cascades and flows into my heart. I am beginning to realize this. You cannot outspend certain dividends in your life, you can't give away too much happiness, you cannot give away too much love! They are oceans, massive tidal waves that seek to be spent, because so much more of them flows to fill your life even more! Such a profound mystery! Such incredible wealth we possess, spend liberally, don't be misers on this one, it's like the manna of old, fresh every morning, meant to be all used up in that day, for a fresh supply arrives like the morning dew tomorrow. If your life should last the nighttime, you can count on that manna for tomorrow!  The day has been profound, and it is not yet over! The team is like a well oiled machine. It is a wonder to behold. The fabric of this trip has been tightly woven, and the fabric is so durable, and colorful, and resilient! Our doctor has been amazing. Hero's I believe are not born but made, he was a hero before I met him, but this trip is setting him in a frame all his own. He won't take credit, Hero's never do. But among these people he shines like a noonday sun. His way with humankind is stunning to behold, every patient of his, every friend, every family member, can be grateful for this incredible gift of creation, this life so rich, so kind, so full of grace. Imperfections perhaps lie in all of us, I'm a pastor and know this full well, but Ethan has a gift, and is a gift, and I am so grateful he conceded to join me on this journey, even if just for this once. My life, my families lives, that of the team, and so many Haitians are now so much more the richer for this sojourn together! May God continue to use him in mighty ways this week!  Beth and Niche are off teaching the women, this is going to be a very rewarding night for them, at the close of the service they are giving out 50 creole Bible's to the women.The rest of the team is hitting a YWAM service in a few, so off with the team I go for now! Will try to post up some pictures later this evening. Thanks again for all the warm  comments!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


 As we wait on lunch, here's a quick update. We had a fairly productive morning, although everyone feels the sting of a short nights rest following a couple of long days in the last minute rush to put the final pieces together for this expedition, we are surviving. That is kind of the mentality of the first couple of days on the ground here. It is a grind the first few hours. Mind over matter, willpower over flesh, for this country delivers a crippling blow upon your arrival, and no matter your seasoning, it will put you to the test. But attitudes are great, we are giving out lots of hugs. Ethan has already been hard at work, meetings, patients, scheduling, and wrestling through decisions. Ray, Germaine, and DeVante are hard at work painting our office complex getting ready for clinic days starting tomorrow. The girls have been out with Ethan, and now are unpacking and organizing suitcases. Kelly continues to drive ahead on his finishing projects. He wants all these little things wrapped up! He gets the award for being the most bullish! His drive to the finish is to be commended!  It is hot as usual here, but not so bad that you simply can't stand it. As we shared this morning, Niches' devotional reminded us of attitude and how important a good one is. Ethan said at one point he had seen a lot of good attitudes today! As I am in this country, and mingle with these people, and see their bright smiles in such adversity, sometimes I wonder how I could ever have a bad attitude. Self-pity is a complex foe, luring us in with tiny innuendos, we fall prey to its mastery attempts in our lives with very little fight! I want to be reflective of all the good that prevails in my life, the bad will always linger near! But we must focus on the right. Getting on the right path here can be tricky! But practicing perseverance to the end will land you well, and land you on your feet. So here's to landing on our feet tonight, to landing in bed early and resting well. To receiving infusions of fresh vigor and vitality, and pushing again tomorrow. Much to do, and as time will show, little time to get it done in. Onward we go, spurred on by the encouragement of our supporters, accountable to your trust, we labor to see as much change as our actions of love can garner. Keep us in your thoughts! Blessings to all! Pastor

Just us!

Starting at 2:45 this morning we pushed off from Detroit, via Miami we landed safetly in Port, about twenty minutes late, quite common to Haiti travel, at about 4:40 pm. It was an unlikely and smooth transition through the airport this time, no running back to retrieve a phone or coat my son had left on the plane! As we hit customs, they never asked a single question. He said to me, 'Go' as if on cue from an order to simply let us pass. This has never happened to me, all my worries about our precious cargo melted like a flood, tonight I sit here in the big tent about to fall asleep next to a dream answer to prayer, my doctor Ethan Van Til sleeps in a bug tent next to me, we have a doctor on board to try to help these people, and hopefully bring some reprieve from their suffering. Did I say how amazing it is what God can do with just a little faith!  As I was approaching the customs official I caught sight of a very friendly face waiting in the crowd just outside the door of baggage claim, Kelly's warm smile and happy wave sent another wave of emotion through my frame. Our reunion with the kids was deeply emotional and tonight we are grateful to be together again as a family! We talked all the very long journey to St. Marc, for they have many tales of tall adventures to share, but ironically enough, food kept coming up! They are very excited to get back to food Stateside in a few days. Though a little skinnier, neither are the worse for wear! When we reached Rob's house, we quickly set up and organized for our sleeping needs, Kelly cooked up delicious Hot Dogs, we loaded up the team, came and set up camp, and are trying to pack it in for the night. It's been a long hard day, the first always is, but now we will rest, and hit it tomorrow. I wanted to send out a note of thanks for all the prayer support for this mission, so many were answered today, and while weary tonight, we are delighted in our hearts. Today couldn't have turned out much better. Will report more tomorrow, but the kids have turned things upside down here, it's pretty amazing.  I was watching the Chronicles of Narnia for a few on the plane today, and at one point the children were confronted with the Professor's house maid at the train terminal, she looked at them and said, "well you don't have much, is this all there is?" And young Peter answers, "this is all there is, just us". We may not be here in Haiti tonight with much as the world counts much, but we come representing and loving on behalf of someone far bigger than "just us"! We look forward to impacting these folks this week. God speed as we forge ahead! Blessings from St. Marc. Pastor

Sunday, March 25, 2012


We are on our way again! We have arrived in Detroit, safe and sound, luggage safely stowed for the night, supper over, and in for a few hours of rest before the long day push tomorrow to move people and goods in to Haiti's desperate land. There is so much joy in this journey for us. We go to gather our children who have served tirelessly for three months. We go with a doctor, we go with experienced team members, we go with provisions, we go with love and much faith.  I have contemplated something deep and profound over the last few weeks. Our deepest joys are discovered at our moments of deepest sorrow. Joy and sorrow are inseparable companions. Link together, they take us on a life journey at once incredible and yet at moments incredibly disturbing. One wonders about this reality, scarred by evil and negligent choices, and yet rapture, inescapable and profound is all around us. We traveled quickly through the Michigan countryside today and the spring landscape was magnificent! Trees in bloom, green, green grass. As we raced along my emotions were firing, so many, so brilliantly, like fireworks of the soul. As we move toward this reunion with our kids though, something churns within me, happiness abounds on one hand and yet homecoming will bring it's own pain for them and us as well. New things have changed forever their young lives, they have been branded by poverty for they have lived among the least of these. They have seen the steady hands of people subdued by neglect, forsaken, and yet surviving. In this place among these people they have loved and sacrificed, and now they will pay the price for doing so. They will suffer loss, and desolation, they will feel the sting of sorrow, and their hearts will cry, torn between realities. I know this because of my own sorrows, because of my path, because I sensed it in Kelly's post last night.

And from this we run, don't we? Why sorrow, why pain? What is your answer. To addictions and affairs, to media, to all kinds of escapes we run. Often in panic. But wait a moment, what if we had this all wrong, what if sorrow was actually our friend, the friend who keeps it real, the friend who talks back to our insane ways, who rebukes our frivolous and ill spent time. The friend who is the only one who can introduce us to another remarkable friend, joy. And that friend, oh what stunning revelations that friend brings, such appreciation and wonder, and soul bliss. And so I am reminded tonight of these two companions of mine, we go to Haiti and both travel with us. I feel the presence of both tonight. I feel them often as I journey, for too long I have embraced the one while trying to bury the other. To somehow explain away it's purpose, like it has no place among us, but alas, there was a plan after all. The Divine Creator instituted a sense of loss within us lest we be forever lost to joy. I am beholden to my friend sorrow tonight, welcome you are at my door, for therein I discover the unending dimensions of another, for Joy comes with the morning, at breaking dawn sorrow steps aside for joys embrace. Pray for us this trip, for we will experience both in great measures. You cannot go to Haiti and not! That is what makes me proud of every team member who has ever gone with us, my family, and all who support us. To take this journey is to take a massive risk, and one from which when you return, you are forever changed! Pray for my kids, for this journey is not yet complete for them. We anticipate great joy in our reunion tomorrow evening, even now time slows it's margins, bends and warps with it's silly ways, and then we will rejoice! Perhaps this is not the most upbeat post I have written, and I have written a few, but it is real! So very real! My stomach is doing butterfly's, I tense like a cat about to spring, launch is upon us, and back to Haiti we go! Blessings to all tonight!

Home (Kelly)

Hey everyone, greetings from Haiti. I hope everyone is doing well back home! We've had a lot going this past week getting ready for the team's arrival. We went out and bought drinks, food, tanked up the truck, and got a group of people from church to come and help clean the church property today so it would be sanitized for Ethan when he goes to do his doctoring. So Ethan, your all set for OPEN HEART SURGERY!!! LOL. We spent this afternoon working on getting all packed, and are now all finished other then a few small things in the morning. Yesterday (Friday)we took the orphans out for ice cream, later in the afternoon we played octaball for a couple hours. They are all catching on really fast to this game. Afterwards Krystle and I went to the Deli Mart and bought chicken and french fries, then came back and had big party while watching 'Annie' the movie. We all had a lot of fun that day!!

I wanted to thank you all for praying over all the concrete work for George's room, God provided for the need. It was a great blessing for him. And now we find out this is going to be used as the office for Ethan to do all his clinic work. It's truly amazing how the Lord works. While I've been here in Haiti it has brought a whole new meaning to the scripture that says "ask anything in My name and the Father will give it to you". I've had to learn to truly lean on the Lord for stuff here. I can't just run off to work and make money to buy whatever I need or want to do, it doesn't work that way. In the past I've tried very hard to ask God for a really nice car and lots of money, but for some reason He still puts it on the back burner!

I'm getting really excited to see all of you soon. However, in a lot of ways I'm really sad to be leaving and coming home, I have developed deep friendships with quite a few people down here! I'm also struggling trying to figure out how to enter back into the American culture, maybe even a little fearful. For all of you life has gone on other then the fact that Krystle and I have disappeared off your radar scanner. As for Krystle and I, we are forever changed after this experience, there's no going back now, no rewinding the clock. I find myself even a little bitter with some of the big flaws in our American culture. Sure I know that every country has its flaws, but still we are so blessed it's not even funny. I've been pondering the question of what would happen if we lost it all. Our house's, jobs, money, maybe even family, what would we have left, would we be happy or devastated by what remains? Are you happy with the legacy that you've left so far, or do you want more? I can now relate to how the apostle's felt in the Bible! They got it, without Jesus what do we have? Nothing! When we lose it all without Jesus we have nothing in life, only time wasted in treasure that can disappear at any moment in time. I can also understand why these truly blessed and amazing people go to noon prayer everyday for hours praying to God to give them strength to continue on with their lives, as poor as some of these people are, they have found true riches, riches that most American's will never truly be able to comprehend. Till we lose it all!

Sorry you all have to deal with my feelings tonight, but what I speak is only the truth about what I feel. I ask that you all to continue to pray for Krystle and I as we are soon getting ready to leave and come back home. Pray that God will give us strength and courage to battle the culture shock that we have waiting for us at home! That Krystle and I will find peace with our newly transformed lives. That God will continue to bless the work in Haiti, and Haiti as a Country. Continue to pray for the team as they start their week long journey tomorrow afternoon. Blessings to all from Haiti. Kelly

Saturday, March 24, 2012

All Things New (Ethan VanTil)

As I sit here and write this, looking out my window, I see a spring landscape bursting with green and splashed with colorful blossoms. Recently we were in the grip of a devastating winter storm which knocked out power for tens of thousands of homes and brought down even large trees everywhere. Amazingly, not too long after, we had several glorious days of record warm temperatures into the eighties. What was once a cold, dark, snowy, and desolate landscape was transformed into a vibrant, bright, and beautiful place. A new place.

For some reason, the current team members have been drawn to C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia as sort of theme, an imaginary backdrop for this trip. In it, adventurous children journey from our world into a new one, Narnia. They find that Narnia is under a cold, perpetually wintry siege by an evil witch. The children join forces with friendly beasts, find their courage, and meet the Great Lion Aslan, the rightful King of Narnia, the Son of the Ruler Beyond the Sea. With His arrival spring comes to Narnia. However, because of one of the children’s treachery, Aslan must turn himself over to the witch to be killed, fulfilling the lawful demands of Narnia’s magic. All is apparently lost…until Aslan returns to life through the even greater power of His willing sacrifice. He leads the children and the beasts to victory against the witch and her forces. Along the way to triumph, He breathes on creatures turned to stone by the witch, bringing them back to life.

Of course, this is all just a story. Or is it? Our hearts, our world--Haiti included--ait-are under the cold dark curse of sin and evil. When we look inside and out, we see failures and suffering. We feel guilt and regret. We long for something better, Someone better, to be our Hero, our Aslan, our Savior, our King. Someone who can defeat evil and the death that comes with it. Someone who can make us, and all things, new.

I write to bring you good news—the best news. I have met this Someone, this Aslan, and His name is Jesus. He’s the reason I am going to Haiti. I’m Ethan, the latest Haiti team member, and I am so very grateful that the Pastor has invited me along on this adventure.   Through the highs and the lows, the successes and the disappointments, the laughter and the frustration, the Lord Jesus will carry us and will breathe life into hearts of stone. Hearts for now, as even our best efforts will never erase the suffering, but absolutely everything in the end. He will make all things new.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Refrigerator (Pastor)

As we chatted for a few with the kids tonight, we are all looking forward to the upcoming reuniting of our family in just 4 days. They are full of stories and insights, culture and characters, of victories and defeats. So much to say, but so little time. Beth has been cleaning and readying the house for their return. At one point she turned the camera on the little FaceTime app around to give them a glimpse of her work and the house. It was fun to listen to them revel in the rooms they have not seen for months. As she ended their little tour in the kitchen Kelly said, "hey, what's in the refrigerator?" Beth advised him that there wasn't much, we have had little in stock since they have been gone. But now Krystle chimed in and asked as well. We pulled the doors open for them and really, there wasn't much in the least from our perspective! Suddenly there were excited exchanges taking place between brother and sister. "Oh," says Krystle, "there's mustard!" Kelly says, "there's Ketchup!" "There's tomato's! There's eggs! There's hamburger!" And the delight on the other end of the phone was palpable, and the listing continued. I'm looking at an empty refrigerator for our house, but they see something different. As I close the doors, they both say, "open it back up!" I was struck once again by perspective. Stripped of a refrigerator for 3 months, keeping stuff cold only with ice in a cooler which has been pretty much drinks only, they could see what I could not, they appreciated what to me was nothing. It's going to be quite a change for my kids coming home, and quite a change again for me, I will get to breathe the fresh air of a different view of our culture and "stuff".  We are grateful our kids have been brave enough, strong enough, and loved these people enough to set themselves aside at this age in their lives to go and minister while separating from so many luxuries they didn't even realize they had. They are beginning to open up and share things that they couldn't really afford to talk about just to be able to survive from day to day. Sharing the shattering and devastation they felt as the team left and they stayed behind, of when their Grandpa came and once again left them behind. As we were finishing up, I said to them, imagine what it's like to be dropped at an orphanage at age six and never to return to the life you had known. Such was the dilemma of Robinson, our Haitian pastor, Orphanage director, and leader of all the ministries we are engaged in Haiti. They were both shaking their heads. I was too, because even I was receiving fresh perspective tonight through my kids. I am ungrateful! Not intentionally, not on purpose, but because I take it all for granted. We all do, until something is stripped away, we are prone not to see or appreciate it. Relationships, family, cars, homes, food, pets, stores, jobs,... the list is endless. For me on so many levels, as I have worked and sacrificed to help Robinson help his people, I often come away feeling like I'm the one who has been helped the most. A culture with nothing, through it's suffering and pain, rebukes me for taking all I have for granted. So the next time you grab that refrigerator door and pull it open, and groan and mutter about the lack of contents, remember this post, take a second look, get a new perspective, for in reality, you are looking at far more than most of the world. I'm working on being more grateful for less! After a few minutes with my kids tonight, a few thousand miles apart, I found out I still have a long ways to go! Blessings Always!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Greetings everyone! The past couple of days have been rough to say the least. I came down with a flu bug on Tuesday and then passed it off to Kelly Wednesday, so we have been a couple of very sick Americans! Lol! We have been laying low all week now and plan to do so through the weekend. It would be awful for someone from the team to come and get sick, so we want to make sure it is completely gone! One good thing is that even though Kelly and I have been out of it, the two projects at the church have been moving forward. I think the mason is finishing up the floor upstairs in the guard house and it should be dry enough to start moving stuff back up there tomorrow, it really looks nice now! The power is on today so the welder was over at the church putting the railing, grates for the windows and the big lock up gate in. The team will be surprised to see all the changes when they get here!

Kelly and I have been talking about how we are going to spend our last week here. There are lots of projects to do and some little things to get done for the team, but we both decided we are clearing our schedules of everything except what is most important. We want to spend this coming week making good memories with all the orphans, family and church people. I think we will go home sorry if we were just working like crazy to get "projects" done. When we go home it's not important to me if people remember who built the octaball court, I want them to remember all the fun times that we had together playing in it! So in ways, this coming week will be relaxed because it will not be physically draining, however, I know in some ways it will be worse because it will be emotionally draining. Even though we aren't leaving Haiti in just over a week things are going to change drastically when the team arrives. Pray specifically for the orphans because we have to tell them soon that we are going to leave next week to stay with the team, and this time we aren't staying here when they go home. I know it will be hard because they have experienced so much loss in their young lives, pray that instead of pulling away like the Haitian culture does, that instead they stay close to us and enjoy themselves with the time we have left to spend together! We love you all and you will continue to be in our prayers! Love always,


Monday, March 12, 2012

Happiness (Krystle)

Greetings from Haiti everyone! 15 days to go, but I feel like it might actually be possible to make everything happen before the team gets here! After breaking our backs getting things done last week I think everything is going to be much more manageable for the next while. We are very tired from working so hard, but I must say I think we feel pretty proud that we were able to do what we have done! Yesterday afternoon we literally just sat and watched movies on Kelly's iPad and read books all day! We even got to talk to a bunch of our family last evening! A very special treat! We are back to getting things done today but we aren't as pressed anymore.

I wanted to share a story from Saturday morning that really touched my heart! That was the day all the guys were working on the electrical work at the church. I was once again working on one of my lists and Robinson decided it was a good time to go and get something done I needed help with. So we went and did that, and when we got back to the church I remembered I needed to take Kelly's clothes for Sunday morning to the dry cleaners. I ran inside quick, got a little money from Kelly, then Rob and I went to take care of the dry cleaning. There is a little bakery between Robs house and the church that sells all kinds of little baked treats, often we will stop by and pick up something little for breakfast because it is usually inexpensive. The best thing though is that they got an ice cream machine right before Kelly and I got here, so our favorite thing to do is stop for a cup of ice cream! On the way back from the dry cleaners we stopped by the bakery to see if they had power, and if we could grab some ice cream! They did! We got three ice creams so I could take one back for Kelly. I was sitting in the car holding two melting ice creams and Rob was driving with one hand holding his ice cream! Lol! Then he handed me the leftover money to give to Kelly when we got back, needless to say, we had our hands full! When we got to the church I hopped right out of the car to get Kelly his ice cream because it was melting all over. A little street girl was standing there smiling and gave me a big hug as I was trying to make my way inside but I managed to not spill it all over! Lol! Kelly was happy so we took a break and sat down to eat it and talk for a couple of minutes. Rob came in a minute later after parking the car and he asked where the money was he had given me. I couldn't remember! He went outside to look and I was rummaging around in my purse because I have NEVER lost money while here in Haiti! He came in a couple of minutes later with the little girl from out in the street following behind him. He explained to me that I must have set the money on my lap and when I had gotten out it fell out onto the street. The little girl found it and when he came out looking for it she returned it to him saying what had happened. In the end it was not very much money, 250 Goudas which is just over 6 dollars American, but when I looked at this little malnourished girl with orange hair I realized how big of her it was to return this money that might have been her only hope for a meal that day. I gave her a big hug and had Rob translate how grateful I was that she had returned it, what a wonderful little girl I thought she was, and how blessings were going to come her way if she kept doing what she was supposed to. Then I asked Rob if we could give her the money or what we should do, so he took part of the money and bought her a whole armload of water, crackers and special treats!  She was SO happy and grateful! I felt bad that I had dropped the money in the first place but then I thought of how God had actually used my big mistake to bless this beautiful little girl. I am so thankful for such an awesome and all knowing God! If I had had my choice at that moment I wouldn't have dropped the money but then that little girl wouldn't have gotten that chance to make a good choice that will influence her life forever!
Now we will see what other great things God has in store for this week! Pray that we will get everything accomplished that needs to be! Keep the Haiti team in your prayers as the time is drawing near for them to leave, I know how the devil fights people getting ready to come on these trips! We love and miss you all, stay safe! Love and prayers being sent your way always! Krystle

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Overacheivers (Kelly)

Hey everyone, I know its been a while since I last wrote a blog, so please forgive me. I've been really busy working down here,  especialy when grandpa came. I've had many projects going on, been helping to quell many needs as they arise in the church and the orphanage, and helping Krystle with extracting the information that our Doctor is requesting to come down here and help treat people. That said, honestly Krystle has done most of that work. In fact I, without Krystle being down here there would be no lists, hardly any blogs as you can see, for I have not written much. She takes care of returning all the emails. If it involves mail, lists, taking notes, or blogging she's on it like fuzz on a peach, and on top of that, add private cook to the list! I like to refer to Krystle as my personal secretary, and not just any personal secretary, that award-winning poster dream-girl personal secretary!! AND SHE'S ALL MINE!!!!!!

Over the course of the past 2 weeks I've been working on building a storage lock up for tools, pipe and whatever else can handle the outdoor weather, Krystle and I have been working on building the octaball court, which I thought would be pretty simple to build... if you can buy enough screws to put it together! So far we've built 5 walls with 3 to go. As I said earlier, I've been helping Krystle with the lists for the doctor, been working on repairing the old sound system for the church via extreme air dusting and major cleaning. This weekend I'm doing a major electrical job at the church where I'll be roping Krystle in to help to (she won't know until she reads this post)! :-) Today we payed a welder to make up a railing for the church stairs, 2 window grates, and big gate for the lock up. We also bought a new cell phone for Pierre Paul, a young man who helps Rob with running errands, making deliveries of the orphans, and other miscellaneous needs for him and us. That's the raps on up, and what's been going on with all the projects in progress!

A little word of encouragement we received the other night I wanted to share with all our folks back home. When Krystle and I went to YWAM, they had a guest pastor there on a short term missions trip. He preached from Acts 3:1-26 and Acts 4:1-22. What stood out to me was Acts 3:1-10 about the cripple at the Beautiful gate when Peter and John came walking by. They told the man to look at them, so the man looked at them thinking that they were going to give him money. But Peter told the man, I have no silver or gold to give you, but I do have something else to give you. By the power of Jesus Christ stand up and walk! The lesson for me was this; we don't need lots of money, or big church buildings, or great pastors that give thunderous awe-inspiring, very moving messages Sunday after Sunday to help build the kingdom, though it can sure help a lot!! But what we do need is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and more Jesus. With Jesus in our life's and truly following and giving him 150% goes a lifetime. It doesn't matter how much money you have, or what you bring to the table as long as your ready to serve. God will provide all rest of the materials for building the kingdom, not you:) He's a Very Big God with Very Big Plans for Man Kind, so watch out. I hope this is an encouragement to you back home too, I know it was for me. Remember Jesus will change the world, not you!!

I would ask that you also keep Krystle and I in your prayers as the trip is rapidly coming to halt for us. It's been getting very crazy the closer it gets to the team coming. I feel at times that Krystle and I are getting to our wits end, so continue to pray that God gives us rest and strength to keep on giving our 150%. Honestly, there are days we wake up and feel like throwing in the towel. But by God's grace we find someway back and land on course! I would also ask you to join me in praying about some concrete and ceiling work in the guard house at the church that I feel needs to be finished up. God has really laid this on my heart so I would ask that you help me pray that He will help provide the needs in His perfect timing. Blessings to all from Haiti.  Kelly

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


It's another beautiful day in Haiti! You all probably just read that sentence in disgust considering all of Traverse City is buried under snow, but it really has been nice here the past couple of days, not so hot and humid like usual. We are officially back to the orphanage and having a great time, I must say, I didn't realize how much I missed everyone! Sunday afternoon might have been the best time Kelly and I have had in Haiti yet! Manius and I were going through the kids files to find out birth dates for these lists I have been making, and when I was writing down Kenley's information, imagine my surprise to see that his birthday was that day!!! Birthdays are not really celebrated here, at least not often. If you think about it though, there is no money to do anything, you don't have money for food, or a cake, or decorations. Kelly and I determined we were going to make sure Kenley got a party because it might be the only party he will ever get! While the kids were all busy, Kelly and I sneaked off to the Deli Mart to get some stuff. We ended up getting pizza, a ton of chicken wings, and a big birthday cake. When we got back and told Kenley we were having a party for him, he was SO excited! So we rounded up all of the kids, Junie, Manius, Catherine, and Boo-boo to start the evening with all the good food and some Beethoven (the movie). After dinner while the kids were still watching the movie we got all the young people into the kitchen, then paraded back out to the dining room with his cake singing happy birthday at the top of our lungs! Lol! It was the best, and only made better because it was the first time Boo-boo had ever had cake! You talk about hilarious! He was crawling all over the table trying to take the cake off everyone's plates and he was covered in it! We spent the rest of the evening watching movies and playing with balloons. I know it doesn't sound like much, but to these kids it was the most exciting party they have been to! I thank God for all these special moments He makes for us! I mean really, what are the chances of me going through the kid's files on Kenley's birthday and finding that out? It's a total God thing, and He is so great! I know I keep talking about how time is flying by and everyone's getting tired of hearing it, however, it seems like such a big part of this trip as crazy as that may sound! I thought three months was going to be a life time and it feels like that at times, but now that I look back realizing we have been here for over two months it doesn't feel long anymore. I have always felt how impermanent life is because of my battles with cancer early on, but even I start taking this time God has given me for granted. We have such a short time to get out there, live life and share God's wonderful news with all of the world and I never want to waste one second of it feeling sorry for myself, crying over things that don't even deserve a second thought, or anything else unimportant! So even though it's cold and snowy and a lot of you don't even have electricity, don't waste this time but reach out! You never know how you will speak to someone by helping shovel out their drive way or uncovering their car. Know that you are all in my prayers, stay safe and I can't wait to see everyone! Love and blessings always! Krystle

Monday, March 5, 2012

List-maker (Pastor)

I figured it was time to weigh in on my hero's. I have several, but a couple of my favorites that are on my mind are in Haiti tonight. My life has been blasting by at a supersonic rate since leaving my kids in Haiti two months ago. I have been sick twice, buried with all kinds of issues, working toward our next Haiti trip, pastoring, well drilling, and wondering what the empty nest syndrome might be like for Beth and I. With all that, we have been blessed to talk with the kids each day! As we ready for our March trip that will place us, along with a doctor in Haiti (a huge answer to prayer), the kids have been put to work gathering intelligence for medical purposes. Krystle is detail oriented and has been responding with her natural organizational abilities, making lists and checking them twice, rewriting them, gathering data, all in typical Krystle form. Certainly a chip off her mother's block! Today (Sunday) they accomplished much, but one of the tasks was gathering age and weight info of the children at the church. Turns out she had 99 children in class today! She worked her list and taught her lesson. Afterwords, she gathered all the young moms with children two and under for a general count, there were forty! In Haiti gathering info is a difficult challenge, made even more difficult by the fact that about the time you reach the end of the line, the line has somehow grown, and often exponentially! People will get in line without even knowing what the line is for. Hope is so bleak that a line of people is viewed as a potential for promise no matter what may be at the starting point. And patient, these folks can wait for hours. Not for a Black Friday sale item, but just an Advil, or a balloon, or a small bag of rice. But today I was struck again by what a list could mean. Krystle said Rob got calls all afternoon today from parents whose children were not at church today. They didn't know why Krystle was making a list, or what it might mean, but no matter, they wanted Rob to make sure their children got on that list. Here at home if I heard that there was a list of children being drawn up at church, I would likely pay no attention, matter of fact, I might even try to avoid having my kids on that list. Don't need anything added to my already loaded life! But then I witness parents buried in uncertainty, their children facing starvation and lives steeped in ignorance for lack of education, parents panicked that of all days they didn't get their kids to church, that some kind of opportunity might have happened and they missed it, and my heart breaks. I am reminded again of how blessed I am, how rich I am, that tonight my children are in Haiti spreading hope. That they willingly sacrificed money, food, opportunity, and time to spread love and learn these people. They are vaccinated, educated, healthy, and together as brother and sister! I'm not sure what the list may bring to these families, there are so many, but tonight the list has brought fresh reality to this humble father. There is another list-maker tonight who is gathering together names, and I want to be on that list. I want all these people and children to be on that list as well. I want to bring them hope, and help, and love. I will work these lines and these faces as long as I can to share hugs, and love and help in whatever way I can, because they deserve it. Because it points to a God who says they deserve it. All deserve hope, but these, the poorest of the poor, deserve a little extra push to bring them all we can! Count your blessings tonight, and pray for the suffering, if you have a little extra, consider sharing it with the less fortunate, it may seem nothing to you, but for those with nothing, something can be the world! The World is still changed not by the big things, but by the abundance and accumulation of all the little things. Remember, a little faith can move a mountian, a little of everything can change a whole nation, and a little love can change a whole heart! A little name on a little list may one day change a nation, it has happened before, it will happen again! "Little is much when God is in it" is a line in a song we used to sing, I believe that still today, and today that is what we are all about!  Let us journey on toward that goal! Blessing from a heart held captive by Hope tonight! Pastor

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bonswa (Krystle)

Bonswa!(Good Afternoon) It is March first which starts our third month here in Haiti! It is a good day and a sad day. We had to take Grandpa back to the airport this morning, he should be almost to Miami by now. The trip back to St. Marc went well until Robinson was in his first accident and hit a dog. No one else was hurt and the car is fine but he felt just terrible. It probably didn't help that earlier he had asked me what I would do if I hit a dog back in America to which I replied, cry..... But the most important thing is we are all safe! Kelly and I are back at the house now. We have both been a bit sad, it's hard trying to start over again and get back into the routine, but we will take a little time to rest up and get back to it!  Right now we are sitting out on the porch reading, or Kelly is, and I was! We each picked out a new book on our iPads, I being the frugal one downloaded a free one, but I'm surprised Kelly's reading at all! Lol! Robinson left for a little while, but when he gets back we will start the long job of moving back into the orphanage. I'm excited to be back with all my kids! On that note, I wanted to apologize in case anyone who has read my blogs lately thinks I'm being a bit morbid at times. Please do not misunderstand. I might just be the happiest person alive right now, this is what I have wanted to do for a very long time, and I am so blessed to be living my dream! Yes, it's true that there are very difficult times, overwhelming times, sad times and so on, but there are so many more happy times! I love these people, this country, and this culture, even if it is all so broken, it is still beautiful to me!

Kelly and I have been working on plans to help organize all of the stuff at the church. All of the well drilling supplies and tools that have been sent in over time have been being kept in a lock up there because that is where it is safest. If anyone has been in any kind of work shop, you know how messy it can get after a while! Today a concrete mason came and started working on an area under the stairs where we are making a new lock up to keep all of the tools. It's going to be so nice for them!

As the afternoon is going on I can feel us settling in. I pulled out some bead crafts to do with the two girls for a while, and had fun with them. Now I'm sitting here finishing writing this to all of you while munching on corn that is basically popcorn on the cob! Lol! Everything in Haiti is just a little over cooked but I have no complaints! Good night for now! Praying for sweet dreams for all in Haiti and back home! We love and miss you all!