Thursday, April 5, 2012


I was just watching a few minutes of the Chronicles of Narnia in the sky high above the states as we soar toward Detroit and home. The scene that intrigued me was where Lucy entered Tumnus little house for tea. A little exchange takes place about winter, two very different views emerge, one sees what can be, what should be. One sees what is, the way things are. Haiti is a land steeped in a cold relentless winter. While the exterior of the land is hot...and I do mean HOT, the climate for the body is frigid. A cold curse of evil hangs everywhere. Broken down concrete structures, unfinished dreams scatter every neighborhood. You can't seem to find anything finished. And when it is it bears the mark of terrible imperfections. The landscape is wracked with erosion, barrenness is everywhere, pockmarked with litter. Everywhere you turn you see things spent, and spent again. It is at once fairly terrifying. You wonder how change can come, if change can come. Against that stark backdrop you get to witness the power of the human spirit to overcome, to rise above pestilence. In the midst of desolation, the spark of human determination flares a bright and sparkling light. I see this every time I enter this land, the inescapable beauty of the human heart. Great veils of evil do their best to bury, to hide, to nullify that spirit, that goodness, that profound gift of a mighty Creator, and on some fronts it succeeds. We are susceptible to it's wily ways, and so are these dear souls, and the temptation field is such a much more primal foe. It tempts not for pleasure so much as just for a loaf of bread to feed a hungry family. What do I know of such temptation and the power to resist when and where the very essence of life is threatened? To look into the face of your starving child with nothing to feed them, how righteously will you behave. But many do, and many resist, and for that they get my applause, my allegiance, my trust. There are so many stories of courage and grace under fire I witnessed this week, I don't want to re-enter the zone of indifference ever again in my life, to take all the gifts that surround me in my life for granted. I don't want to lose Christmas, or Birthday's, or any of the other ways the extravagance of love is expressed. I believe in Father Christmas! In our materialistic culture, I know in these things we can go overboard, but let us seize the real meaning, and never let go. Surrender not to the Ice Queen of the soul, with all her strange and treacherous delights, I have been to a land that has, and the cold of that wintry grasp has frozen a culture in a stony grip from which it's only deliverance will be the breath of Aslan. We go on His belief, caring the tidings of His return! With hope and help we travail in the darkness with the bright light of love! We will soon descend from the lofty and mighty skies of the universe, a universe that constantly reminds me of my smallness, and reminds us that out there is a power greater than that of any man. Narnia echo's of greatness, of the divine touch of a master builder who will restore it's beauty once more, we must not give up hope! Aslan comes! Blessings from Detroit!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


The morning is behind us. We completed several more tasks this am. We actually left late, had to bring an extra bag and made it to the gate ten minutes before boarding. Way too close for my comfort. Sweeping back across the countryside my thoughts wandered in a blur. Exhaustion overcame me once and I drifted off for a moment. We stopped a couple of times for drinks and a special peanut candy the kids have come to like. The passage back through to my civilized world was rough and ragged. But we made it through, and boarded the plane. I sit here tapping away on my iPhone, I really didn't use it much this week. I was able to use my iPad for most of my writing efforts. In a couple of hours it will rejoin it's network and be happy. So will I. The network that supports our efforts on the ground here has been incredible, and in the daunting moments words of affirmation and encouragement meant the world. Soon we will sit with the kids in a restaurant, their first time for REAL American food in three months. Haiti has changed my family. We have sacrificed a lot over the last few years in pursuit of the kingdom here. But I rejoice today that we are together again, that my kids are serious about their faith, that they are learning to love deeply, to exercise great faith, and experience the reward of that journey. We live in a selfish world. We must always war against it's ways. The dividends of the fight are matchless, the rewards constantly amaze me. As we shared our good byes this morning, I reflected on how much these dear people have given me, not of money, or beautifully wrapped packages, but of things much deeper. Gifts of the heart, noble gifts, tender gifts. Possessions are laid out for what they truly are in Haiti. And Haiti reminds me of what possessions will soon be. Just so much discarded rubble. Everyone who knows me knows I am a techno geek, I enjoy the electronic world, not for games, but it's powerful connectivity. But one of the very real things about technology is that what you buy today is outdated tomorrow! However I am finding that true about most things now. Time races along, so inconsiderate of anything or anyone. It never waits its turn, it is always next in line. Taking life, giving it, without question or delay. The last three months while my kids have been in Haiti, the time has flown by. Gone are the days of waiting for them to grow up. Gone are the days of childhood play. I feel all the more pressed to redeem the time, for the days are vanishing like the wind. The pang of good bye rings the alarm bell once more, take heed of Father Time, do what you can today, do what you must! It is what you have, your greatest luxury you cannot buy, but to you has been freely given. We have made the most of every day we were in Haiti. I am delighted with the success of this trip. I can only pray there are many more, that the tide and current of the force of good continues to rise in this land, and that of my own country. Thank you to our wonderful team. Your service of love is commended on the highest level! To our Narnian followers, we tumble back through the wardrobe today, spinning and turning, delight and confusion. Back we come, glad we went, sorry to have to leave, but somehow knowing now we are all connected in some spectacular way! There is something so incredible about this life, and I want to be locked down on it! I want to keep it real, I want to face my Creator one day and hear those mighty words, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!' Onward bound, outward bound, upward bound we go! Blessings to all.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The first part of the team is on their way home. Everyone seemed to sleep a little better last night, but it was late when we were finally able to bed down. When dawn broke, we pushed through getting ready, had a final devotional thought, came to Rob's, loaded up the suitcases and packs, shared a warm and teary good-bye. With a last wave they were off, and we are still here. It will be a long day of travel for them, they will catch the reprieve of much better food than they have had for over a week, but weariness of body and the separation of the team will probably be overriding factors in their return. I can only hope and pray that their travel is smooth and uneventful. I can tell you, they will all sink into their mattresses tonight, clean from nice hot showers, dry via clean white regular towels, teeth brushed over a normal sink, fresh sheets to envelope their weary flesh, in a controlled atmosphere rid of sweating while just sitting, and they will be grateful! Haiti is rugged on the human body adept at it's climate and life, for us American's it's plain ruthless, malicious, and unrelenting. We have been debriefing with the kids for a couple of hours now, and their insight into the culture, their awareness of their surroundings, and their insights into people have been fascinating! A word to the wise, young people watch! They have so many positive things to say about their stay here, the team that was here with us, and how each person brought deep meaning and joy to their final days in Haiti. A special word of thanks to our departing team members, you counted in ways you cannot fully know, you were here for such a time as this...words from a grateful father. We have a host of administrative wrap up work to do when Robinson gets back, pray all goes well to that end. We will close up shop later this afternoon, the girls have to make final decisions on leftover food from the kids, and then we will try to catch a snooze before we head back to the States tomorrow. So much has been accomplished and things went so well for us this trip, the bar just went up even higher for our return, whenever that may be. Hopefully it will be part of a new adventure, the raising of a new tent over twice the size of what we have now! Until later, many rich blessings.

Monday, April 2, 2012


We are traveling along on our way to Desdunes. My thoughts are racing. We ended up needing two vehicles to transport everyone. I was planning on just the bus. But  it is smaller than what I have used in the past. As we were loading up , three more of Rob's family asked to go to their home town for a visit. It's a rare treasure to be able to go back to the countryside to see family and friends.  As we drive along they are chattering back and forth in Creole. I wish I could understand them. We arrived in Desdunes with a strong breeze blowing dust everywhere. It's funny that way here, a beautiful Carribean breeze annilated by the filth it picks and is forced to carry. That kind of sums up the country. Natural beauty is forced to become a beast of burden. So many beautiful people forced to carry poverty's staggering load. But the amazing spirits of these incredible people seem to rise up under that burden and shine no matter what. We just witnessed  this again at the 'dispensary' in Desdunes. A lovely nurse who we met in 2010 continues to labor to help her people with no tools. When we were here with the team then, there was a little medicine on the shelves, today there was none. A door opened today that has not opened before, and we are going to help her. It's another small miracle where a well placed and timely visit became a God moment for many lives. And then a second miracle happened, we always give out candy in Desdunes to the desperate children there and it has always been a massive challenge to pass it out. We have tried method after method, but they are children and they are sneaky! So they figure out ways to trick us to get more than one helping and it turns into quite the fiasco. A new thought came to me today, and we set it up, the children behaved to perfection, and we passed out candy to about 100 children in 2-3 minutes! I made them stay in line until everyone had their candy bag. After we were done, I told Robinson to tell them we loved them and would see them next trip. He said 'I did'. I said, 'what are they still standing here for?' He laughed and said, 'I don't know'. And then it hit me, they were as shocked as we were. Everyone had gotten candy, there was no need for pushing and shoving, no tears, everyone at once was happy! It transfixed them and they just stood there. It blew us away! It was another moment we felt the power we know has carried and marked this mission every step of the way. We are headed home now, our mission pretty well complete. We are hoping to get down to the ocean at sunset to gather some pictures and final memories of this trip. Then to bed and dawn will take the first group from our team home. It has been another amazing day in Haiti! Weary but grateful, blessings to all!


This morning has been an adventure. We started out the day packing up camp to move back to the church property tonight. Upon Rob and Germaine's return, we headed over to Robinson's. Germaine shared a devotional about finishing well, about the coming emotional part of this journey called 'saying goodbye'. Always a tricky thing here as I have mentioned in previous posts. Much more so than in our country, you never know but what it will be your last goodbye to some of these this side of eternity. There is always something sobering about that. When you risk loving people, you also risk losing them! And we have lost many through the years of ministry here. But to love and lose is better than to hate and lose! Or to simply live in a place of not caring. I ran into someone like that on our way here this trip, she was a counter clerk for AA. A really sad piece of humanity who has lost her way in life, and has nothing to give except bitterness and angst. I finally asked her to just keep her comments to herself and do her job. That seemed to curb her attitude a bit. But I thought how sad a condition, what a terrible human plight, worse than that of even the Haitians, the poverty of the body is one thing, poverty and rubble in the human heart, that is the worst! There is a rawness to pain that helps keep things real for me. So I would rather love and lose, than to take the risk of not loving at all. That always brings me back to my Creator and Savior, who risked it all and suffers the greatest loss and pain each day where people turn their backs on the greatest of all loves, and live in a vacuum never created for them!

We just had an amazing lunch. One of the necessary evils of team travel is food preparation. It is a hot, thankless job. It is done in the back round and often with little notice. Beth, Niche, Krystle and Ray, Germaine a little, have done a tremendous job of food delivery, cooking, passing out the food, over seeing the meal selections. Niche gets the award for most transformed team member. She has had a radically different journey this trip with us. She is one of the most aggressive self study people I have ever met in my life. She can bring into sharp focus areas of needful change in herself and will doggedly pursue the truth to expose herself to transformation. It splashes rainbows of beautiful color throughout her life. I have enjoyed having her this trip, we could not have done this without her. Her friends can be thankful for her to be in the impact zone in their lives, and take heed, for she has much to offer to all! Every team member has pulled their weight with steady hearts and great compassion for one another. It has been my joy to work with all! We ascended the mountian this morning, Krystle and DeVante riding motorcycles, Germaine, I, and a Haitian rode the rack on the back of the Toyota, while the rest rode in the Air Conditioning. It was a memorable journey, new for Ethan, raw for the rest of us. Krystle met up with Darlene and gave her a new dress and little doll. This is the little girl who's picture with Krystle a year ago helped win a contest that provided a way for our kids to stay in Haiti the last three months. Krystle wants to bring her home, she is a sweet little girl, but the country is ravaging her little body. Pray for her safety and care! In a few minutes we board the bus for Desdunes, Robinson's hometown, where we will see his family and pass out candy to the children. Now the hours are rushing by, final packing to go home is upon those leaving tomorrow morning. I always arrive at this time with anticipation and dread. Glad to be going home, so sad to leave behind these dear golden friends and brave souls. But I leave with the promise of hope, a promise of change, that our labors of the hand are not in vain, that change is occurring, that we have planted and watered, the rest I leave with the Creator. I leave with the knowledge that I will always feel we have not done enough, but that we have done in fact what was needful of us, that it counts in ways we don't understand, and bears fruit we may not ever see! May each of us leave behind the legacy of the faithful; faith, hope, and love, and leave mostly the greatest of these, love! Until later, blessings again!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


How do I describe today? Emotionally charged, moving, empowering, life changing. As we arrived at the church this morning, we found the usual packed house. So many faces, it warmed me to see what is happening here in ministry. Our greater mission has always been about the delivery of the magnificent message of hope, that which will truly change a person's life, and that is being done in a marvelous way through the church family we continue to support with our efforts on the ground here. We spoke this morning through an interpreter about the church, what it is made of, what it is not, and challenged the people to not be on the sidelines of service in the church, but to sign on to what God is doing and build on one another. It was well received. But prior to that, there was a very special moment when a young man who had been in the orphanage with Rob years ago had made a commitment this week to get his family back in church. I have worked alongside of him for years now, he has been a part of many church projects, he is an amazing mechanic, fixing things at the parsonage, at the orphanage, worked with us drilling for water, and has just been an amazing friend. You cannot fathom the joy that filled the church and myself this morning when he arrived with his family, wife and three children, and had made the determination to come to church! An orphans long struggle has found rest today, he is home, and we are thrilled, it makes everything worth the effort, expense, and toil. It is the crowning moment to everything else.

On top of that we delivered Krystle's package of gifts to her family she had taken on her heart while Kelly was drilling in January. I cannot fully describe the tranquility of the moment that we became part of, the sweetness and tenderness were sublime. We took some pictures as the gifts were handed out to very, very grateful children. It was a magical, powerful, delightful moment. On top of that, they raced off to their house and all the children that were there dressed up in their new clothes, shoes (yes Deloris they ALL worked) and carrying their new toys. If I could transport you to that moment when the first teenage girl came out of the house, well... lets just say; "Extreme Makeover" move over! There was no reveal quite like the one we received this afternoon. As we stood there admiring and shooting photo's, Beth took a few tender moments to share the message of Christ with the family, and the reason for our being there in the first place. The atmosphere was radiant! It was a piece of heaven in a horrific land! I wept at the scene as it unfolded, and wondered that I could be counted worthy to partake in something so beautiful. Krystle was so happy! A special thanks to the many who contributed both large and small to her mission, I can tell you, it was well worth it, a hundred times over! We arrived back at the house, have had dinner, I am going to send off this post, and then we will head to the orphanage for the night. Another amazing day in Haiti! Blessings to all!