Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I must confess writing over the last few days has made me miss my normal routine. Words hold a certain fascination for me, so much of thought can be gloriously shared through the proper construct of words. I am ever striving to work with words, I am a work in progress! Authors with great command of vocabulary quickly move up to the top of my favorites list. The drive of my work schedule and pastoral routines deprive me of time to devote to my writing discipline. Writing is work, and often when your tired you can't get the words to line up right on the page! But Haiti drives my fingers to the keys, a story must be told, I feel compelled to give the voiceless a tongue, to give the impoverished a platform from which to be heard. To speak of destitute children, to caress their struggle onto a page where they are no longer lost among so much generalized suffering, to write their story on the pages of history. How will history be altered, and a new generation with new hope be inspired, part of it will be in the words that are penned to study the success and failures of a culture. Most of it will be because of people acting on truth with conviction, most of it will be a combined effort, where people learn from each other the lessons of truth God bears out in our lives. I remain a student of the Haitian culture, so many Americans race in and try to Americanize this place, but with disastrous results. We must come to this place with humility, as they suffer in certain areas of ignorance, so do we. In sounding out each other's lives, therein lies the secret of God's revelatory plan. He puts us together, we must learn to deeply love and respect each other's way of life, and in so doing, find the freedom to bring healing to us all. For we are all broken, the fabric of our dreams tattered and torn with reckless abandon by this thing we call life. There is joy in the journey, part of the joy is we need not journey alone. As we took off from Miami this afternoon I struck up a small conversation with a lady about my age. In the mini discussion that followed where we shared general travel information, when I stated I was coming home from Haiti, she looked into my face and declared "Thank you!" She told me how grateful she was I was giving my time and efforts to help there. I was taken aback, I have never had that happen before. So then I started my quest to see where such a gratitude had originated. Turns out years ago she served for three years aboard the original "Mercy Ship". Life has handed her disappointments and she is far from that place of service today. So I encouraged her to not give up on her dreams, and wished her well as we debarked the plane. I new sense of gratitude came over me for the second time today, that in the turns of my life, they have lead me here, God has brought me here. I have a people's story to share, and I do with fervor. And not just the Haitians story, but the stories of lives here at home finding redemption. Whatever difference God should chose to make through this unworthy vessel, let that difference be made. These last few days have inspired me, difficult, yes, but worth it. As I sat in the terminal this morning I watched an old Haitian woman in a wheel chair take to a terrible coughing fit. I watched the airport service personnel in charge of her give her no heed, no one did anything, but then I did. I went and offered her the only thing I could, a cold cup of water. She looked at me with such grateful eyes. It was the capstone moment of a week watching people struggle without water. The only language we shared was the language of the heart, but we understood each other clearly. I was no longer in St. Marc, I had the proclivity to be thinking my mission was over, but God bumped me from the rear and said "what are you thinking?" Always be ready and watching for your opportunity to share compassion, you don't need to board the "Mercy Ship" or fly to a far away country, most opportunities are right in the same room you are, you already possess your gift to share, you just need to share it. As we do what we should, culture is shifted and changed toward the good. Working together I expect God to bring change to Haiti in His time, I need to stay patient, and not worry about the pace of the change, I just need to stay faithful to the process! Blessings from Chicago!


The canvas of my life has this ruddy feel to it. I rather like a smooth texture, but i suppose then the picture doesn't have the depth God desires to see. Painting through my life day to day draws brush strokes down into deep places in my life and then up across high points of ecstasy. Who would have thought one of those high points for me today would be a simple glass of orange juice! I was obviously up early, I guess the unease of missing a flight or a crammed ride back to Port left me restless another night, but whatever it was it was part of a deep stroke of the brush pulling along a valley, perhaps a depression in the in the canvas that was refusing paint! I wished for a calmer night, but I must not be in control of my emotions enough to sleep through certain venues. The barking dogs above the din of the generator added to the misery of the darkness that should have brought sleep. But dawn broke again and with it fresh enthusiasm, Booboo stepped into the doorway and lit my morning with his huge award winning smile that washed away vague memories of the nighttime misery that were already fading with the gray of the morning. As we drove along the route to Port the windows were down as there was no air-conditioning in the little Isuzu that was our ride, diesel fumes were so strong it gave me a headache. Electricity was never on for my entire trip this time, so generators had to run if we were to be able to run lights and work in the dark. Sometimes the still hot air allowed the fumes to hang in the porch, and I think that wore on my system a little. That and the fact that our little generator's rings are getting tired and it smokes a little. As we entered the Airport Terminal, a way of gratitude swept over me, thankfulness for being able to be in Haiti again, thankfulness to be able to return home, thankful for all the lives we are able to impact with love and generosity. Just as we went to leave, the city gave a little water again, just as they had late in the night of my arrival, it was if a benediction was being spoken, all the water I might have used from Rob and Naromie was returned to them in double bonus. You have to know we are the lucky ones, this water is coming out of a lower reservoir that can no longer feed the entire city, and Rob is in a low place in town, we received water this morning where as thousands of others won't. A lighter brush stroke to my day again. I think this day will be lighter strokes in general, Rob forgot his passport so he couldn't come into the airport with me, our good-bye was the shortest ever, they dropped me at the door and were gone, I never even saw them drive away. But the good-byes are a little easier now, internet and phone and data have widened the window through which our connection grows. The view of Haiti as we took to the air and looking down is not as daunting as it once was either, no longer quite as surreal. As my bonds with the county and the people grow, so grows my affection, and God continues to use it to paint mixed colors of different hues I never expected to see in my life, but which I am becoming more thankful for with each passing day. What a glorious day this is! Blessings my friends!


The gray of morning sky is creeping into the porch. Last night was a restless night filled with remembering all the last minute things I will share on my way out of the country with my friend and fellow-laborer in this ministry endeavor. All the sleepless and restless moments are worth it though. I am always grateful at the end of the day for my home in my country. By tonight I should be in my own comfortable bed, but this family for the most part sleeps on the floor. The heat on the inside bedroom makes it unusable for even the Haitians who are used to it. In just a few more minutes Booboo will rise for the day and this place will come alive with his laughter and zest for life. He is the littlest of our orphans, and he calls Rob and Naromie mama and papa. What joy his little life has brought. I fed him mac and cheese last night and he sang Happy Birthday to me switching back and forth between French and English, not bad I think for a 3 year old. He had an accident last night and wet his britches, some got on the floor and the next thing I know he is carrying the mop out and mopping up after himself! I thought I would lose it, how many 3 years olds do you see doing that! Now the sky is shifting to blue, a beautiful blue! The ground beneath us here is pocked with sewer and litter, gray rocks and brown dirt stretch for miles, but look up and raw beauty is smiling down on you. Up looks like your noteworthy Caribbean vacation hotspot. It's a good reminder to me this morning to keep my gaze ever upward in my heart as well! Great things are happening, we just have to keep our eyes fixed on the right thing. Time to hit the road home, I am grateful again for the journey of life that has once again brought me here! Blessing until later!

Monday, November 4, 2013


"Pastor, we are going to die!" That was the words from the neighbor lady this hot afternoon. "We have no water." I said to Rob, order a tanker truck of water to fill your cistern and give her water. He told her what we would do, and she came running over to give him a hug. She said "Pastor, you can never leave our neighborhood, we will lay down at the end of the street and you will have to kill us to leave!" Such a little thing, but maybe you can see how big the water issue has gotten. There are lines of people all over the city, people have started businesses selling buckets of water. They had to go after a crowd of people today with tear gas and baton's. It's turning into a little war for some. The government is focused on the upcoming election, so there is little they are going to do to resolve this right now. But on the brighter side we delivered a hand pump to some very grateful Americans who are going to hopefully have it set up by tonight or tomorrow so a team of Americans coming down can hand pump their water instead of bucketing it for their uses! My teams can take heart at the fact they have never had to bucket their water, and they thought they had it tough!! I shared a lot of knowledge with them, and they were so grateful as they drove away, not sure I've met happier Americans down here than them. One couple has been here for 7 years bucketing all their water! How's that for a perspective setter. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to hear another complaint from a team member again! Get out the iron britches to come here, or you better just stay home. This will change your life, but get ready, because you just don't know how much!
I held several meetings today, good meetings, a little painful, but good all the same. I spoke of vision, and direction, and warnings to leaders and staff alike. All listened and thanked me, but then again what are they going to do, I have them strapped over the proverbial barrel. But without vision the people perish, and this is a very perishing place. Yesterday a man perished digging a well by hand, he was 75' down in the ground and ran out of oxygen and died. Pastor Isa's dad fell from a banana tree a couple weeks ago and died a week later. It's a hard country, and these are hardened people to take the brutality of it all, but they are just people, and they do die. Pray protection over our leaders, they live on a very ragged edge, they are wary and savvy in the ways of the country, but they too are human!
Tonight is my last night here for this trip, I am grateful for what I was able to accomplish, we met the mechanic tonight and the head for the Toyota engine is at the machine shop in Port. They are trying to have it done by Wednesday, and the mechanic said he would go early Thursday, come back with it and hopefully have it running by Thursday evening or Friday. Lord willing that happens. I would like it done by the weekend. It turned out to be a much bigger project than we expected, but it is getting fixed, we know what the problem was, and that can be the biggest mystery to solve. I showed the truck to another American today who was interested in the work we were having done, he was really impressed with the vehicle! We are blessed to have such a great mode of transportation in service here, and soon it will be even better than it was. It will give us a solid time of service going forward.
Time to sign off and hit the bed-sack, or bed tent should I say. Tomorrow will bring another wave of travel, spinning me through timezones and warping me back into my other world. It will be good to be home, but I am already making plans for my next trip back. I don't feel my work here is yet done, so onward and forward we go. Thanks for all the kind words in the comments, for the texts that were able to slip through and the occasional email as well. There are a few technical bugs we are resolving, and next trip in should see smoother outgoing communication again, we will be served up 4G speed next time!! Oh yeah baby! Over and out for tonight, sweeping toward morning I go. Homeward bound! Blessings again from St. Marc! Sequels to follow, stay tuned!

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Sunday morning in Haiti. What a rush! It's become my greatest payoff in my visits into the country. I love worship with the Haitians. They come with no expectations except to worship. They don't care what seat they get to sit in, how near or far they are from the platform, they don't whine about the heat or the music, they sit with rapt attention to the reading of the word, even if it's 30 minutes long. They come looking their best, and what a time of rejoicing they have together. I preached a message called "Rara of the Heart" today, warning against hypocrisy, for it exists to one degree or another in every culture. Our church is growing so fast, I felt prompted to warn against a "me better than thee" mentality that could spawn and grow. They received it well. They have let me know they miss the team, but they understand my mission, they all know how important that crazy Toyota is to both us and them. There are certain things I have gone to do, but then have had to say to Rob, "Oh, we can't do that, we don't have the truck!" He shrugs his shoulders, smiles, and says, "Yes, it is difficult." Difficult, difficult, difficult. Really? But then I find an orphanage that is bucketing all their water from a hand dug well. Hours and hours getting a gallon at a time from 14' down in the ground. Do I have any idea what difficult is! Tomorrow they get a hand pump from me, and they are so excited, they can hardly stand it. I am looking forward to speed improvements with the new iPad Air and they are excited about being able to hand pump water instead of bucketing it out of the ground. I think I'm suffering a terrible disconnect. I know, I'm typing up the blogs and communicating and fixing technology, but I can't get too plugged up with the non-essential. I must not, too much important stuff hangs in the balance. We find our ways to justify the means, but then a center line is dropped by God in our lives, and we have to see what measures up straight, and what has gone crooked.
Tonight I sit here at the house alone. Everyone is gone, this has never happened! Home alone! Home alone in Haiti! The generator purrs away in the background, the fan blows warm air across my sweating flesh, and I listen. 'Ears to hear' Jesus said, can I hear what I am supposed to. I spent awhile talking with the orphans today. Don't know why, but today was my 'tough love' speech day. Maybe after today they won't want me back in Haiti, but I have to say the important things along with the easy things. The kids listened intently, and gave me warm hugs as I left. We have some really precious gifts in these kids, and we are going to do our best to give them good lives! But as they listened, I also listened, I listened to their faces, their eyes, their actions and reactions. People speak, but so often they go unheard. Children suffer in silence, and these have suffered much. They suffer still, boldly with great resilience they face each day with a quiet hope that somehow their life will come right again. But that won't ever make their parent's live again, a new life has to be found, and we are trying to light that pathway for them, that they might find God and live! It's not as simple as it seems either. We will keep listening and loving, living and learning together. Sowing today, reaping later. A harvest is coming, it will be a very rewarding day!
So it's not all quiet, with the generator running, the neighbors are keeping me busy charging phones! lol The lights are on and somebody is home, and somebody can plug in the phones. That somebody would be yours truly. But Rob left orders no one was to get their phones back before he comes back tonight, he's afraid I will give someone's phone to the wrong person! And I just might, it's hard for me to tell the difference in all the dark faces!!
One more day and I head back home. I am feeling the sting of leaving again, but it will be easier this time because I'm going home to my family instead of having to pull them home with their tears and sorrow of having to leave these amazing people with me. I feel a thread of accomplishment settling over me, my mission is His mission, I get done what He allows, there is much to do, but He gets to say when is enough. It is wisdom I have come to understand about my journey into Haiti, it is what allows me to keep coming back. It is a lesson I learned when God first sat me down here and made me sit for 8 days. I refuse to forget that lesson, and I am spurred on today in the remembrance that sometimes I am only needed to set a plan in motion, and then He does the rest! I take the necessary step of faith, and am rewarded with more light to share with those in darkness. So I end this rather lengthy ramble tonight, I am full of stories, but it will take more words than you likely have time to spare right now! Blessings always!

P.S. Perhaps the most rewarding thing for our teams to hear from today's headlines: "Big Boy" as we like to call the neighborhood guard, is going to come to church! I met with him today, and he's ready to come home to God! He actually came looking for me two days in a row. He needs church clothes, so you have your mission should you choose to accept. I have sizes, we are going to hook him up! All you who have shared hugs and kind words, we have shattered his big frame with the love of God, and he can't stand not being on the inside anymore! Another great moment in my trip was to sit across from him and share the love of God today! Rejoice and be glad!!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Behold another day slips beneath with a fading horizon. I sit here grateful tonight for all the mercies of my life. Today's activities inserted me into a bit of the Haitian underworld I have never experienced. Sometimes you only think you have walked a mile in someone else's shoes, today I actually did. I went shopping with a real Haitian woman in her shopping world, and got my socks blown off. It was surreal, and real, and unbelievable. Our American ladies have so much to be thankful for when they head off to the shopping marketplace. Some things I never want to forget, somethings I would rather never remember. Sights and sounds and smells ripped through my senses, and left me a little senseless! So many stark contrasts again today. It's like I get to see it all over again from yet another diverse angle. How many times and ways can a culture be observed, and to what end. That I further exclaim my thanks to God for my place in life? Or that I come to another deeper understanding of contentment regarding my place in life? Too many questions, not enough answers.
The stunning reality is the capacity for endurance by the human heart. And not just to survive, but to somehow rise above the circumstances and smile, sing, and taunt the savagery of a land! To bury its cruel head in the muck and mire of its own cunning brutality, and instead share hope and joy with each other. I watched in this deep underworld as Robinson lowered his glasses and said I am going to play a prank on a woman from the church. She obviously didn't expect to see him in this unique woman's world, I watched with curiosity as he approached her little stand and bent over to inquire about a product she was marketing, and the crazy surprise that lit her face when he lifted his head, while raising his glasses and she recognized him. I captured that moment in my minds eyes. The delight and joy that exuded from this private place that left me feeling out of place. Like this was a cultures right to privacy and I an inadequate stranger allowed in by a unique turn of events of which I was really unworthy. I am beholden to a goodness I don't fully understand. The depravity of the circumstance would deny the exchange I witnessed by my own code of sanitation.
Today also brought light upon the mechanical failure in the Toyota. A blown head gasket between four cylinders is the culprit. As of tonight the engine is totally taken apart, all the parts have been cleaned for reinstallation, and the head will go to Port on Monday to be machined, the valves will be checked and repaired, and Wednesday or Thursday should see our needed vehicle road worthy again. Stronger and better than before. I am so grateful for all the little but massively important things God has brought together for this trip. I feel at great peace tonight. I am getting better and better at this drill. You might have expected I would be a pro at this point in this labor of faith and love, but God keeps dropping me behind enemy lines with just a little less ammunition than I would hope for! All you mighty giants of faith may not be able to relate, but my testing is my own I guess, I'm just being candid and truthful.
I ran across another American in a store tonight, he has been living here for two years. He and his wife just had a baby here three months ago, and the water situation has affected them with great difficulty. They are borrowing water from a hand dug well, and bucket with a one gallon pail every drop of water. They are using cloth diapers for their new born, and he says it feels like all he does is carry water. When he found out I was a Water Well driller he asked if I had ever seen any hand pumps and where he might find one down here. He couldn't find any. We have two or three stored at the church! I am going to get him one Monday and change their lives! It's just simply amazing how God works. I told him how amazing in the middle of a different universe that our paths would cross, another God moment in my day. The day was packed with them, take a leap of faith and be prepared to land a world away, for when God is in your jump, there is no telling how far you will go, how far He will take you. His day-timing crossed our paths at just the right moment for us to meet. Who said I ran behind or ahead today, running on God's clock, I was right on time! Matter of fact, when I come to Haiti, I stop looking at my watch, it just discourages me in my driving need to meet deadlines. Haiti has no deadlines. You may end up dead in a line, but to try to push your way through will kill you with stress.
I watched as a crowd waited outside the church for water, patiently they stood there, quietly hopeful that their buckets would find water for their meager existence. I passed a truck being filled with water for distribution this afternoon and children, maybe 6-8 of them were under the belly of the truck capturing the drips of the leaking tank! This bombardment of my mind and understanding is at times almost more than I can bear. How vile my ways and demands when these little ones wait for the crumbs from under the table, mere drips, but not one drip wasted. Think twice about those helpings of food or drink you toss away in your affluence tonight, some child in a land not to far removed from your own suffers for but a crumb from under our tables. And we grumble and complain for what?
I guess enough said for tonight. I am grateful to be able to see myself in the true light sometimes, this has been a good trip for calloused eyes, you don't realize your building them until they get torn and the tender skin below is exposed, perhaps the callouses serve us well for a season, my hands have been grateful on more than one occasion for the added protection, but it often leave one desensitized on another level where tenderness better serves the needs. So away with the callouses, I accept the pain of their removal with generosity, for I want to feel along with these people, that I may better help in the ways I'm meant to help as God commissions me on this journey. Blessings always my reading friends!

Friday, November 1, 2013


Where to start. A blistering hot day working over a stubborn motor, no time to eat, and when I could, I had to cook for myself. Naromie asked at one point, is that enough? I laughed out loud. But my dear Haitian family is constantly watching over me, as I worked they wired up a tarp to shade me from the sun, they kept bringing me my drinks, and I survived! I have actually missed a team more than I thought, but it has given me some unexpected moments to share and get into people's lives at a different level.
It was a delight to get a window into Rob and Naromie's wedded life tonight. I watched with curiosity as they shared who knows what, because I can't understand a lick of Creole, but the light in their eyes toward each other was something we don't catch so often when the entire team is around with all our demands for care!
Naromie went with her mom and 18 other married women from the church on an evangelization trip to the mountain this morning telling folks about Jesus. They were gone from before I was up until noon. I asked her how many people they talked to and she said many! I have to be honest, I was a little in awe. I have Naromie tagged as a lot of things, but she is in love with Christ, and bold!! Those were actually not on my list until today!
I on the other hand slaved over a very testy Toyota, should have suspected as much, me being a Ford guy and all. But I found some really good help, a gifted little mechanic, who might just have had the problem pegged from when we met this morning, but he was a good sport and did all I asked, and tomorrow I think he will get his chance to prove his point! I learned early enough in my life, it's not what you know, but who. We established a good working relationship today, and it holds great promise for the future.I hope he never reads this blog, because he was so happy with what I paid he and his apprentice, but they worked with me pretty much all day, the pair of them, with great patience for $50.00 US. I can't begin to guess what a complete injector job would have cost me in the US, but $50 was a bargain, I can promise you that. And all the parts and hoses we had laying around, I was glad I was not alone! We made a good team, even though we are cultures and languages and times apart.
There was multi-tasking going on as well, and we were able to facilitate some other very important discussions as well. The water problem in St Marc has reached desperation levels, it's very sad, and the struggle to survive that is already complicated suffers another brutal ravaging with the added burden of no city water. A difficult commodity to acquire in Haiti already, becomes even more elusive. A small miracle for me happened in the night when they gave out a little, and this morning I was able to shower! I made it a super saver special, for I knew no one else here would be using it the same way. Through Robinson we are giving free water away at three well sites we have in town. It's pretty cool, so cool the people are telling Robinson he should run for Mayor! He would make a good Mayor were he not a GREAT and GIFTED preacher and pastor. I remember a pastor of old saying if God calls you to preach, never settle to be the president! I told Rob that today and he chuckled! Some sayings work in any culture, and he liked that one.
Tomorrow will start at the mattress store with the purchasing of new mattresses for the orphans, from there we will progress through a series of plans we made today, we will see what we get done. We really need a couple more motorcycles for our church leadership team, the little taxi motorbikes are okay, but are a constant drain of funds for the guys. We'll see what God provides. All in all another good day in Haiti, one thing I feed on here is their fortitude and persistence. It reminds me that "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me". Something I'm a little prone to forget in my own culture! So peace and blessings to all tonight from a rainy St. Marc!


Then came the morning, or something like that. Dawn came early, and the rustle of activity stirred me awake early. The night was long and hot! Your first night in Haiti is always that way, at least mine seems that way! As I was typing up some of my thoughts last night for the blog, Rob,Naromie, and Klarissa we all playing together on the bedding spread out on the living room floor. Klarissa has just turned one, and has not seen a white person since our spring trip, I am a scary being to her right now, but she wants to like me, and after a couple of hours of working on her, she was trying to warm up. And of course Rob and Naromie want her to like me, so we are trying all kinds of little things to get her to change her perspective. It was funny to watch them work with her. And then I was lost in wonder at the joy of it all, here in the land of desperation and sacrifice people play. There is no water for the city, the hardships are too difficult to even elaborate here, and yet here is this joy and living taking place before my eyes. If we lose power for an hour in the states, its like a national emergency. Here, they just shift and adjust, and life goes on! So I will too. Going to go turn some wrenches this morning and see if we can get the Toyota road worthy again. Looking forward to what the day will bring. Today is like Halloween here, except it is a more evil celebration than back home. Lots of voodoo stuff going on later, so we will be keeping off the streets. They even close school for this, so hopefully I will have a little more time with the kids and orphans than I thought. Off to the races we go! Blessings always.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


As we climbed through the early morning skies, I watched the lights blinking on the wing tips. The white flashing revealed tiny clear crystal's lighting up in the backdrop. Then I realized I was seeing snow. When I boarded it was T-shirt weather on the ground, but as we climbed, the chill up high had the moisture that was landing down below shiny dots of ice glistening in the atmosphere. I was shocked how far we climbed and they remained. But another thought possessed me then, no matter how far we climb, or how far we travel, we never even begin to touch the universe which God possesses and rules, and abides in. Yes I do know this to be true, but sometimes going there brings greater clarity to life and circumstance.
Such is the trek for me in my life with regards to Haiti.You can talk about the love of God in far away places, in deep places, but it's all just so much theological gibberish until you actually land there. It's what my dear college professor spelled out in the difference between sympathizing with someone versus empathizing with them. After you have walked a mile in their shoes, struggled under their load, and suffered the tyranny of their lives, there is a parting, an opening of the eyes to something more, and suddenly you find yourself opened to a new dimension of love and understanding.
That is part of my personal journey into Haiti, and today, in the absence of any others to watch over, I allowed myself a little deeper dip into Haitian life and to the surroundings. As I stepped out of the truck tonight into the St Marc streets, I stepped into the very sewage I had a year ago. Everything within me recoiled as I felt the filthy moisture swiftly seep through my sock. I could have blamed the driver for stopping there, exclaimed my disgust, but in a moment I checked myself. This is his life, this is the cage to which he is confined. But really then, does he see is as a cage. Is his joy blocked by this filth. I think not, I am the one preconditioned, I am the one not free, chained by a tyranny of the mind, not exercising freedom in the Spirit of God, for He is also here. Does this environment bother Him? I think much differently and on a whole different dimension than I get. These people, not their circumstances is what God gravitates too. He is much less concerned about the external, and more deeply about the internal. Death sweeps through this agonizing land, but more and more each day I come to clearer terms that it's not really death for the Christian at all, its the shedding of this reality for the other more real reality. And this is my chance to effect change, to accept them in their place of reality, to love them to the God I know who loves them more perfectly and unconditionally than I ever could! So love them I do, in all the deep and filthy morass of this place, with its sordid smells and stark poverty, I love them, and pray for them, and hope for deliverance for all of them, not so much from the tyranny of this place, but from the tyranny of the sin and corruption that is found here. They are not here by choice, but they do have a choice wether to wallow in it or not. Those that choose not to wallow, they are my champions, they outshine me, they out pace me toward the kingdom. They are the true champions in life. So I pillow my head tonight and rest, I rest in the peace that lies within me, I rest because God is even in this atmosphere! He sees me and I see Him, perhaps a little more clearly after this day!
Lest you think my theology a little weak, beware of the rawness of this enviroment, theology has it's place, but it also can be just so much verb-age, words without weight, placed on a canvas void of life and substance. Here, there is great weigh, and a canvas soiled and stained by so much time and suffering. Here is where our theology better work, or we need to go back and find out where we left God behind. I have seen Him here again today and I marvel at His grace and goodness shown me by these incredible and deserving people. Were the tables turned, I'm not sure I would fair so well
I have done my techno stuff tonight, lit this place up again with internet, fixed Rob and Naromie up with fresh phones and plugged them back into the land of the WIFI! I am unpacked and moved in, ready to go to work tomorrow. Thanks for all the prayers, the day went as smooth as it could have gone. Time to rest my weary flesh. Blessings from St. Marc!


So now I am on this unique journey. Not unique to me in my destination, not at this point anyway, but unique in that this time I am going alone! The captain without a crew feels a little strange right now. When I arrived at the terminal this morning, just my family accompanied me, my regular travel companions walked me through the check in process with just 2 bags versus the normal 30 or so I have become accustomed to having to manage and sort. It was all a trifle bizarre feeling. The normal vortex that surrounds the airport fiasco was absent, and I hardly know what to do with myself. Don't get me wrong, it was nice, and I relished the simplicity of it all, I just miss the travel companionship.
Last night was a restless night for sleeping, the vacuum of the unknown keeps sucking all the preparation thoughts to the surface of your mind, you keep going over the checkoff list for something you will need but have forgotten. In Haiti you learn to get by on what you have, but it can be a rather testy experience. Sometimes I head off to a job here at home and forget something, it can be a hassle, but not earth shattering, in Haiti, it can cost you not being able to finish the project. I have had to leave things undone with Robinson, and it is difficult. I tell him I am sorry, and he says it's okay brother, it's Haiti. I am praying that is not the case with this trip, but the longer I continue this journey, the more I am reminded it IS A JOURNEY! And with some journey's like in life,  you don't get a say in when they are over, only God does. Lord willing, I will land today in Port Au Prince at around 4:05, and that will complete my journey via plane to Haiti, but it is just another moment in a long line of an adventure God has sent me on through my Haitian brother and an outreach ministry that now includes several churches stateside, a church of over 1000 in Haiti, an orphanage with beautiful children, 74 kids now able to attend school, and the blessing of drilling for fresh water and delivering it free to the masses. The scope of it all is rather hard to compute! I am grateful to God for this journey, even with all of it's uncertainties. It is worth every moment of struggle and every bit of pain for the joy it brings, the light of a hopeful smile is a huge reward. So I go, and will keep going, until He says my journey is over!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Four o'clock came earlier than I thought it would this morning! However, we did well and got out of the house on time. It was a bit sad this morning because some of the ladies said they would be getting up to see us off but I think we left earlier then expected so we never got to say goodbye to everyone at the house. On our way out of St. Marc we stopped at the property by the church to pick up two sisters who wanted to come with us to see the airport. The younger girl, Sophianise is a school child that someone at home supports and she could not have been more pleased to be going with us! She was so excited and happy that it just came bursting out of her in big smiles and giggles! We sang songs and shared granola bars but as we kept going we all noticed the car making strange sounds and knocking. Robinson stopped once to check it out but he said he thought we could make it to Port and back and then he would take it to be looked at. Well now I understand why Robrob has us leave so early in the morning! The Toyota started stalling and then all of a sudden quit in the middle of the road in a little town halfway to Port Au Prince. There was a truck on the right side of us parked by the curb, and then a semi parked right next to that so there was just enough room for us to squeeze by, when another truck was trying to come through the same small opening... And that was when the car stalled out. Amazingly, a man came right over to us trying to help Rob move the car and figure out what had happened. We finally got pulled over to the side of the road and all of us girls stayed in the car while Rob was outside talking to all of these men. We could see that they were all talking pretty seriously and heated but then everyone broke up and Rob came to the car to announce, "It seems we are not going to waste anymore of our time here. We are taking another vehicle.". Before we even knew what was happening the back of the Toyota was opened and all of our things were hauled off by three or four men to somewhere we couldn't see. The man that had first tried to help Robrob threw open my door and said "Vini!" which means "come" in Creole. Well I didn't move a muscle because I wasn't about to go anywhere without Rob first telling me to go. We weren't scared but we were all being cautious because everything was happening so fast. A minute later Rob told us to get out of the car and the five of us girls followed the man over to this really, really big truck. It was as tall as a semi but not as long and in the back, benches had been built into the sides of it so people could ride in it. I think all of us figured that was where we would be riding but we stood outside the truck with all kinds of people staring at us waiting to be told what to do. The man then opened up the front of the truck and motioned for us to get into the cab. We weren't sure exactly what to do but then Robinson told us that yes, we would be riding in the front with the man who had been trying to help us. We were helped into the big truck and squished ourselves into the cab. Mom was sitting by the driver but her part of the seat was raised very high into the air so she was at least six inches higher than the very tall truck driver! I sat next to her and then Deloris! Without going on forever, lets just say that it was a very interesting ride to the airport! There were a few times that we all thought we were going to hit or be hit by another vehicle but God protected us and we laughed and made jokes the rest of the way! We pulled up to the front of the airport in our extremely large transportation at 7:30! It just amazes me how God works out such details! We were not very far from City Soulei which is a very dangerous place and it would have been very bad if the Toyota had quit there. Then to send along a man who could help us not only know what was happening with the car but who also had a truck to give us a ride in?! Our God is SO big and amazing! I felt bad because Robinson had the two girls and his vehicle to try and get back to St. Marc but we got a report a while later that they had all made it home safely. Thankfully the rest of our trip home went smoothly over all. All of our flights were on time and we landed a good 15-30 minutes early on all of them! It was about a 20 hour day for us but surprisingly we were all quite chipper the whole day! I really can't imagine two women that I would have rather been in Haiti with then my Mom and Deloris! They are both absolutely amazing women of God and have such wonderful talents and abilities! I learn so much from both of them all the time and it was such a privilege to travel with them for the past 8 days. I love you ladies with all my heart! I hope and pray that someday we will be able to do this again! This blog concludes this chapter of the book but I don't think this is the end of the story. Keep praying for our ministry in Haiti! Things have come so far in the past five years and I know God is not done working yet! Thank you for your prayers and support for the past week! I could really feel them and I appreciate everyone who prays and supports this mission in any way! So for the last time.....

Goodnight from cool and beautiful Lake Ann, Michigan!

P.S. As a side note, this morning we received word from Robinson that St. Marc was flooded last night. As far as he knows everyone from our church is safe but there were reports of several men on motorcycles being washed off the bridge out to the ocean. Even though none of the members of the church were hurt there are several families whose houses have been severely damaged and have lost many of their things if not all of them. They already have so little and to have something so devastating happen really is heartbreaking. Please keep them in your prayers!

Monday, June 10, 2013


One great thing about Haiti, at least for me is that no matter how hard I try to sleep in, it is completely impossible! After laying in my bug tent for half an hour this morning, I finally rolled out of bed at 6:30! Between all of the roosters, people selling their wares, children calling to us from across the street and just about anything else you can imagine, there isn't too much time to sleep! We went about our usual business getting ready this morning but then Robinson left to go get ready at his own house. He took the generator with him, probably so he could fill the tank at his house but it was hot here! I would say that at 8:30 this morning it was as hot as the hottest afternoon I remember here in Haiti! We have handled the heat the best we could but I think our frizzy hair and running makeup were dead giveaways! We got our morning playtime in with Vladimir and Klarissa! They are both sweethearts but completely different personalities! Actually they remind me a lot of Kelly and myself! Robinson had to run a couple of errands so we decided to run with him. The Toyota had a flat tire so that had to be fixed and we also had to get another case of water. Everything in Haiti takes so much longer so we were gone about two hours on those small errands. After lunch we headed to the orphanage for one more afternoon with the kids. It's been a rough day for me... I realize now I have been pulling away from everyone since this morning. I don't like goodbyes very well, especially when it's goodbyes to my family and kids, and I don't know when I will see them again. Everyone says not to be sad because someday we will all be together in Heaven, but somehow that never completely eases my sadness. Of course I fully believe that but my heart is still heavy. Still, we had a lot of fun with the kids. Today we passed out sticker books, harmonicas, giant lollipops and finished it off with their first viewing of "The Incredibles". When it was time to go lots of hugs and kisses were passed around. I tried to hide my tears but I'm afraid I didn't completely succeed. Junie and Titi (A girl around my age staying at the orphanage for a while.) carried out our purses, told us not to cry and waved and blew kisses until we went around the corner. I'm dreading the morning when I have to say the rest of my goodbyes but with God's strength we will make it through! I am excited to come home and see everyone but it seems as though I am torn between two worlds and two families. We are hurrying around tonight trying to finish the packing and last minute things that need to be done. It is storming harder then it has since we have been here but thankfully our windows were closed and I haven't slipped yet, but I'm not crossing my fingers! Tomorrow is going to be an early one! Robrob likes to leave plenty early in case there is an emergency on our way to Port Au Prince so we will be up at 4:00 and take off at 5:00. Please pray for safe travels and hopefully I will see you all soon!

Love and blessings from a very wet St. Marc Haiti!

P.S. Special shout out to Ray! Happy Birthday! We have been thinking of you all day and I'm sorry we weren't there to celebrate! Sending big hugs! Love you bunches! 

Sunday, June 9, 2013


It has been a long and hot day for the three of us, but it has also been an amazing day! The alarm clock woke me a bit earlier then I cared for it to, but we always have to wake up early for Sunday's here in Haiti! It always makes waking up on Sundays at home so much easier! We got to the church at about 7:30. The front of the church has been raised, tiled and fenced in since our last team trip so we got to sit up there with the Pastors. All of the Pastors including the guest pastor have small children and they let all of them stay up front so we got to snuggle and love on them lots during the three and a half hour service! It never ceases to amaze me how they worship! They literally give everything while they are praying and singing. After church, we came back to the Mission House to eat (Chrissyann made Haitian food for us!) and gather up our stuff before heading to the orphanage. Today was the big day for the birthday party! We didn't tell the kids our plans until this afternoon so when Robinson explained to them what we were going to do they were so excited! Sometimes we are unsure of what they are thinking because in the Haitian culture emotion is rare. However, we had no problem deciphering their thoughts on this! They were smiling and jumping up and down! I sent them outside with jump ropes and some other toys and told them not to come back in until they were called. From there we worked like crazy blowing up a bazillion balloons, hanging crepe paper and wrapping presents! It was SO hot! We persevered though and got everything done by the time everyone started to show up. We had a full house! Robinson and his family, Thaina, Claudy, the orphanage staff, plus some extra people that we had no idea were coming for a total off about 25 people! Everyone came in their new orphan dream ministry shirts that were so graciously donated for us to bring to them, so we got some great pictures! Deloris was our wonderful chef and cooked up all of the hotdogs while Mom and I led the kids in a lively game of pin the tail on the donkey! Forty hotdogs later we were finally ready for the birthday cake! It was loaded with candles and the kids faces were priceless as everyone sang happy birthday and they blew out the candles! For their presents the girls got barbie dolls and the boys got baseballs and gloves. The boys didn't know what baseball was so we gave them some lessons! Samuel loves it and was already getting good by the time we were leaving! I told them that if they practice maybe we can send a bat in next time and we will have a baseball game with the next team of Americans! They are so excited! It was an awesome party and the kids were thrilled! I don't think they have ever felt so special! Tonight, we are once again at the Mission House showering off the days dirt and grime. Tomorrow is our last full day here which makes my heart heavy. I am tired and the conveniences of home sound wonderful but then I look around me and wonder how can I come home and live with such leisure when the neighbor children don't even have clothes? There is not enough food or water to go around and there are so many hurting people and children. I'm not sure what Gods plan is for my future but I know he has placed Haiti in my life for a reason and I will always be so thankful for that. The only problem is that when Haiti grabs hold of your heart it never, ever let's go again.  We are off to get some sleep for tonight so we can finish the last stretch of our trip well. Miss and love everyone! Hugs to Dad, Kelly and Ray!

Goodnight from St. Marc Haiti!


This is yesterday's blog, Krystle couldn't get it to me via email last night, the internet was too crowded.

I have to start this blog by going back to last night. We had some very interesting things happen after I sent out last nights update! Deloris and I were upstairs talking about the day when there was some thunder and lightening. Deloris commented that she wondered what would happen at the all night service if it started to rain. Just then, water started pouring through the windows so forcefully that in just seconds the floor was soaked as well as our bags! I ran to the windows and door trying to close them but ended up slipping before I could make it anywhere! Finally I got everything closed down but the water just kept coming through any cracks around the window or door. Kevins and Peterson came to our rescue with a mop and bucket to try and soak up the water. Thankfully it completely stopped within ten minutes! One of the craziest things I have ever seen! It breaks my heart thinking about all of the people who don't live in homes nearly as nice as the one I am staying in right now. When we all finally crawled into our bug tents it was midnight. I was in that place right in between sleeping and still being awake when I became aware of someone calling my name. Thinking it might be one of the kids I jumped out of bed to investigate. There stood Peterson in the hallway, (He is Robinsons 19 year old nephew) motioning me over and repeating in his broken English, "Excuse me Krystle, I am so sorry!". After a minute of sign language and whispering back and forth I finally figured out what he wanted.... He needed toothpaste to brush his teeth! I didn't know if I should start laughing or crying! In one way the whole situation was quite comical but on the other hand it made me sad. He is such a good young man and yet he doesn't even have the things needed for such a simple task. I dug through my bag in the dark until I found the toothpaste. He had a huge smile on his face while he squirted some onto his finger and happily walked off to brush his teeth.... Presumably without a toothbrush. Moments like this always keep me in check. Even crazier then the storm was that I found out today, it didn't so much as sprinkle at the church during the all night prayer service that is just minutes away. God is good!

This morning came very early with little eyes peering, smiles glowing and words I don't know whispered among the children. As soon as we crawled out of bed they swarmed us with hugs and kisses! By the time the morning was over though, I was worn out! Duck duck goose, jumping on the bed, dancing, singing, rough housing, chasing, spinning, clapping, laughing, snuggling and running! It was an absolute blast! At noon we went over to the church to meet with the school children so many people at home are sponsoring! It took a couple of hours but we have most everyone's picture for the new school year! From there we went a short ways behind the church property to see a house that someone had given money to make a shower for their family and also a single Mom who needed a new roof on her house! It looks amazing and the families have been so blessed by it! Later this afternoon we went to the orphanage and decorated the kids rooms with posters, cut outs and glow in the dark stars! Their rooms look so bright and pretty and they seem to be very pleased! On our way back to the Mission House with Robrob and Vladimir we made a quick stop by the Deli Mart to pick up hotdogs and a cake for our birthday party tomorrow! I think it's going to be another great memory with the orphans! Now we are settling in for the night and getting ready for church in the morning! I hope everyone back home has a blessed morning at church and know that we are thinking of everyone and love you very much!

Goodnight from rainy St. Marc!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Today has been a hot one here in St. Marc! We have had to take it a bit more easy but it has still been an amazing day! We spent all morning here at the Mission House mainly giving all of our attention to Booboo! I feel so special because he has learned my name and continually talks to me. I played so many hockey games, chased balls all over the house, put his tractor together again and again and again and then in case things were too boring we sang Vladimir's favorite song, "Happy Birthday" at least twenty times! He is beyond charming and too smart for his own good! Robinson came to pick us up after lunch and took us to the orphanage. We helped all of the kids try on their new clothes and as always they were extremely pleased. It was a bit more serious today because we were trying to get all of their sizes re-figured out.... They are always growing, and in fact Liline is officially taller then me! However, they did color some pictures and we played around for a while. Manius, Junie, Catherine, a couple of the kids, Mom and myself spent quite a while singing together. All of them are learning lots of songs in English, but I have to say my favorite was when we sang "Seek Ye First" in rounds with them singing in French and us Americans in English! It was very beautiful and so amazing to be singing praises to our Lord in different languages together! Last evening all of the children wanted so badly to come spend the night with us but because they had school this morning we made plans for them to come tonight instead. So, we scurried around to help everyone get cleaned up and packed before Robinson came to pick us up. They are all sitting upstairs watching "Zookeeper" and enjoying it immensely!  Robinson took Deloris, Mom and I to the church to see the all night service. I have never seen anything like it! Hundreds of people singing, dancing, jumping and praising the Lord! At one point one of the Pastors said something and everyone jumped up and embraced the person nearest them and I don't mean your average, awkward hug! They held onto each other laughing and smiling! By the time we had to leave there was literally not an inch to move. We had to try and step over people who were praying, children who were sleeping, duck under straps holding the tent up all while other people were trying to go the opposite way as us! It leaves me speechless and utterly amazed. I asked Robrob if he would be staying at church all night or be coming back to the house, but he told me that he wouldn't be sleeping tonight. Not to worry though because he would be driving past the house every little while to make sure everyone is doing well. He is so sweet and I am proud to call him my Haitian Dad!

The three of us have talked a lot today about how our perspective has changed about Haiti as we have been here more and more. I remember when I used to worry about the dogs, or how I had to watch every step I took because I didn't want to touch the filthy ground. I remember when the smell of the sewers and burning garbage made my stomach turn. The flies and ants made my skin crawl and I would scream at the sight of cockroaches and lizards. The shabby huts that so many people live in always caught my eye and the hungry children left me heartbroken. Now I see Haiti through different eyes. I can wash my feet and not worry about what I look like. I now smell warm air, Creole food and the ocean. The bugs and other various creatures are just a small nuisance on occasion. I see people's homes that they work so hard to keep nice, and instead of seeing people's pain, hunger, thirst and desperation I see their smiles, love, and faith. It's not that I don't have compassion for the people's struggles but instead of dwelling on the sad things I have learned to see the beauty. I think back on the last, almost five years and all of the changes. So many times I remember feeling discouraged about things we were trying to do and wondering if things could ever be different and better, and now they are! Things take time but I have been given the privilege to watch and help as God heals this land. It is truly an amazing thing! Haiti's healing is not complete by a long shot but God is working, and working through people to make a difference. Please keep us in your prayers as we head into the second half of our trip!

Love & Blessings from St. Marc!

Thursday, June 6, 2013


It has been another amazing and very productive day here in Haiti! The weather has not been nearly us unbearable as I thought it would be so that is another blessing. The orphans were such a joy to be with today! We pulled out bubbles which is something they have never had before and you would have thought we had given them a million bucks! Their smiles and happiness are priceless. We played with bouncy balls, dolls, looked at books, had a staff versus kids soccer game, colored pictures and they even put on a small concert for us! There is never a dull moment with all of them here! We got to talk with all of them again but this time we had a bit more fun! So far we have an up and coming Pastor, Nurse, Soccer Player, Teacher and Doctor... It is so amazing to hear all of their hopes and dreams and even though we all know that children change their minds it is encouraging to know that they are dreaming, even in a country that seems to crush such ideas. They all shared that they would love to have bicycles, and even though they have never ridden them they would like to learn! Kenley, our second oldest boy has changed so much from the last trip! He is so full of life and joyful that it just pours out of him in everything he goes to do! When I asked them what something is that they have never done but would like to do, Kenley piped right up and said he would like to race cars on a play station! He is so outgoing, funny and smart but he is also loving, patient and gentle.

At one point during the afternoon, Mom asked the kids if they had memorized any scripture and I was amazed as each of them stood up to share a whole chapter out of the Bible. Come Dina's turn however, she forgot halfway through what the rest of her scripture was. Her heart was broken and she was so distraught that the house mother, Junie, took her into the bedroom, pulled out their Bible and helped her to study until she could say it perfectly. She reminds me of myself quite a lot and I could not have been prouder when she came marching out and confidently finished what she had started. It amazes me how strong and resilient these kids are even in something as simple as this.

It's been a quiet evening at the Mission House. We ate our dinner on the second floor outdoor porch, overlooking the neighborhood and the side of a mountain. There is a crusade going on nearby so we get to listen to all of the singing and all of the neighbor children wave and blow us kisses anytime they catch a glimpse of us. They have already stolen our hearts! Robinson went to Bible Study tonight but some of the boys and Kimberly are here and do anything and everything possible to make it easy and comfortable for us! They all feel like my brothers and sisters! Now I will close out for the night. We have lots of big plans and ideas for tomorrow but morning is coming quickly! Once again, much love to everyone at home, especially for our three guys!

Love and goodnight from St. Marc, Haiti!


This morning came really early! Back in TC airport, the man who had been helping us had managed to check our bags all the way through to Port Au Prince, so we didn't have to do anything this morning except walk through security. It was a huge blessing! At our gate just a few minutes before boarding, one of the ticket agents came to me and asked me my age (That seems to happen a lot to me!) and proceeded to try and move me to the emergency exit row. Now that's all fine and dandy until you start imagining me in a case of emergency, single handholds trying to help people out of a plane in the middle of the ocean... not that I wouldn't try my best but that could turn out very interesting! Luckily, Deloris went up to tell them that we are traveling together and we would like to stay together. I don't know how we managed this but the man came back a few minutes later and said that instead of splitting us up he had moved all three of us to first class! Things like this happening just reassure me that we are surely in the right place doing exactly what we are supposed to! We were the first ones boarded on the plane! Both of the ladies were served breakfast and given hot towels. I was of course offered those same things, but instead just curled up in the complimentary blanket and slept for the whole flight in that great, big, comfy chair! God has given us so much favor on this trip and this is only day two! We arrived in Haiti fifteen minutes early and we were some of the first off the plane. We were in immigration for a total of probably a minute and a half and then quickly given three carts and escorted to the front of the conveyor belt where we waited a quick five minutes for our bags! As always, Robinson met us right outside of the door with hugs and whisked us off to his Toyota! The ride back to St. Marc went as smooth as could be expected.

"The Mission House" as it is now being called is absolutely beautiful and well on its way to being finished! All of the floors are tiled, walls are painted and doors and windows have been installed. Better then all of that was seeing so many of my Haitian family! After dropping off our bags we went to see Naromie and the baby. Klarissa is absolutely beautiful and Vladimir could not be more handsome and charming! Our next stop was the orphanage where I got to see all of my darling kids. I have missed them so much and even though I have just gotten here, my heart aches for the day we have to leave them again. We had the wonderful opportunity to talk with all of the kids and have Claudy as our translator. We found out all of their favorite colors and a few other things like that but then  came the really big question. "If you love us so much then why don't you take us home with you?". It was not asked in a rude, demanding or challenging way. The question came from a deeply hurting heart that has been abandoned far to many times. How do you explain the difficulties that are Haiti to a child who just wants a family and to be loved.? How do you deny a child of something they should never have to ask for? How can I come home to a place so full of comfort when these kids are left here and expected just to make do? People say these kids are blessed to be at the orphanage because it has to be so much better than what they had beforehand, that's true to a certain extent, but how can you say that so easily when they have gone through something so horrific that no child ever deserves to go through? It is all a lot to handle but I am so thankful to be here and I'm so thankful that God has allowed me to be in these kids lives. Now I just pray that I will be a blessing and that God will use me to make a difference, even if it's only in helping these five children to know that they are loved, that they are special and that they have a purpose. As heart wrenching as the above conversation was, the night ended perfectly. We gave the boys action figures and the girls magnetic dolls and we had an absolute ball playing the night away! We are all back at the house getting showers and settling in for the night! Sending love to all of our guys at home, Dad, Kelly and Ray!

Goodnight from St. Marc Haiti!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


We are half way there! So far everything has gone extremely well. We got to TC airport at 2:30 to check our bags through. The man helping us was very kind and our first blessing of the trip was that he waved the forty dollar fee for each of our second bags! It's funny how God works because earlier I was telling mom how stressed about money I was! I guess I need to have a little more faith! We have a big God and he always comes through! Our first flight to Chicago was uneventful but we had lots of laughs and probably disturbed the whole plane considering how tiny it was! The three of us are so excited although I think it has just hit us that we are actually on our way. On our last flight heading to Florida I was thinking about how it is all going to go tomorrow morning and what's going to happen when we land in Haiti. I have much of it down to a science and I could lay out the whole process but I won't bore you with the details. What is mostly on my mind is wondering how I will do on this trip this time around. I'm always worried that I don't have enough to give, that I'm too small (in more ways than one!) too insignificant to make a difference, that I'm too young, that I'm not wise enough, not strong enough, not patient enough or that I won't have enough love to go around. It's easy for me to get caught up in these feelings but the Lord always reminds me of something when I start to feel overwhelmed. I am not enough, but He is. I can't wait to wrap my arms around all of my sweet kids and the rest of my Haitian family! I have missed them and my heart is so ready for this trip! It's 11:00 o'clock and we have just gotten into our room only to be up again in four hours! Keep us in your thoughts and prayers and know that you are in ours! Much love from the three of us!


Monday, January 21, 2013


We set the new tent on Thursday, the Children's service and long night service happened Friday. Here's how it looked! This is a big tent, and the crowd almost makes it look small. As close as I can figure it served close to 1400-1500 people the day after we set it!

Amazing and profound to take in. I wept many tears of joy. The night shot here was a awe inspiring moment. It took a lot of careful footwork to get to the backside of the property to get this picture. There were hundreds of people.

Friday, January 18, 2013


I awoke this morning still very weary. Pulling back the covers, my bare feet swung over the edge of the bed and fell onto soft, plush, warm, clean carpet. I took a breath of clean Michigan air, albeit a bit dry. Pulling the blind I watched 8 deer wander through the front yard.  I walked to the closet and sorted through several shirts before choosing one. Without dusting it off, I simply pulled it from the clothes rack, and slipped into it, pulled on a pair of jeans, opened the bedroom door, walked down the steps and to the kitchen. I spun the corner cabinet and pulled out the box of 'Life' cereal, turned around to the refrigerator, opened the door and seized the chilled, fresh milk container. Opening another upper cabinet, I reached for a bowl, dropped my hand and pulled open the silverware drawer taking a clean spoon without barely a glance. I settled into a clean and plush kitchen chair glancing out the sliding glass door and taking in the light snowfall. I poured my cereal, poured my milk, and commenced to allow my palette to savor the mix of flavors without a thought to bacteria. I did this all in the space of 2-3 minutes. An impossible scenario just two mornings ago. Who am I? How did I land here? What grace has befallen me? I stare at this picture, I feel lifetimes separate us, but in reality only a few days, and a couple thousand miles. Who is she? Does she deserve this? I sit here, she sits there. Me in my palace, her in her rubble. What am I to do? Be grateful you say? For what? For my soft carpeted floors, for my box of cereal, for my refrigerator, for my glass window, for my clothes? Don't get me wrong, I am of all men most grateful, but sometimes the flavor of gratefulness is bittersweet. I better understand Mother Teresa's compulsion to seize and remove all carpet from facilities that became her places of dwelling and outreach. It's sometimes hard to enjoy such comforts when those to whom you minister languish on beds of rock and concrete. It's hard to enjoy the comfort of the recliner when a child reposes somewhere on a broken down wicker seat, or a stone, or just simply is reduced to sitting in the dirt, swallowed up by dust, and ashes, and hunger, and pain. Eyes stare in bewilderment, 'who are you?' they ask. Her eyes ask questions her tongue cannot speak. "Can you save me? Will you save me? You go, I stay. Why? You choose, I can't." Thousands of children in Haiti are teetering on the fragile edge of existence. I want to save them all, but only God can do that. It's a somber morning for me, reflection is part of restoration, so I open the window of my heart today, a cold breeze flows in, but I also feel a sense of strange warmth in it as well, ah, there it is, hope is in the air. It refuses to be shut out, it is persistent, and I am grateful for that hope. That is what I am thankful for this morning. I stare back into these eyes and I see, glimmering ever so weakly, but glimmering all the same, hope lives! In both of us, hope lives. We are connected by this mighty cord today. Whatever this day may bring, may it bring us all much more hope and promise, moment by moment, day by day, one day soon this child may be granted a different life, a new opportunity, because hope lives! Be blessed today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


13. That is the number of this team. 13 varying personalities. Each needful and necessary. Often we are prone to reject those who push our buttons, disturb our routine, and upset the balance of our lives. Haiti has modified me on this, it has tempered me. I love personality. Each person brings unique flavor to life. God will change people's hearts, He will modify behavior, He will never change personalities. He has created each one for a specific purpose. As we travel to Haiti with these teams of wonderful people, my heart has grown in affection for each one. The refining fires of Haiti certainly are used to mine the gold in each of us, but there are aspects that are already brilliant, rich, and mature given by the Almighty Creator. I have been blessed to witness this on every trip. Everyone has expectations of how they hope to perform, all fail at some level or another, and often we beat ourselves down for such failure. There is no reason to though, everything God uses for our good, even our failures become places of rich growth. I have found this true in ministry and life. This trip was an explosion of talent and personality. Each one, Ray, Deloris, Brandon, Neil, Bob, Ethan, Stephen, Rick, Karen, Kelly, Krystle and Beth had delightful, shining moments. As we readied to leave Miami this evening, Neil splashed us again with his amusing take on life and filled us with a small burst of refreshing laughter. Sunday morning Rick and Krystle moved the church family with inspirational messages of hope and love. Deloris and Beth make every child who encounters them know they are loved. Bob, our resident 'baby whisperer' has arms that every baby seems to feel right at home in. Ray's drive to complete his projects is unparalleled, Ethan brings unique genius, Stephen brought ministerial experience, and Brandon brought unrelenting tenacity. Kelly has come into his own as my righthand man, getting the entire project wired for electricity, working ferociously behind the scenes, he gets things moving for me. These are just to name a few. Skill sets on teams is one thing, the loaded gun of personality is the greater force to be reckoned with. I'm afraid our efforts will never amount to much as efforts go, but our willingness to love one another and put God's love on display, that may be the richest gift our teams give to Haiti. As Beth was touching up my hair this morning on the front porch of the house, she commenced to bend over and give me a kiss, I kissed her back, there are not a lot of moments for loving exchanges between us in Haiti. As would be the case, madam Robert doing laundry outside witnessed us through the iron gateway, and gave out an exclamation of delight. As fate would have it, she was one of the women who had participated in the 'Apple's of Gold' ministry this year, was at the celebration Saturday night where I spoke on the marriage relationship between husband and wife, and also who had stood and encouraged the women at their last meeting with Beth and Deloris to bring their husbands because she would have brought hers if he were not in the States. She witnessed our words in action, and her heart responded. To bring Christ to Haiti is to bring truth in action. The people have embraced this about our teams, and as such have proven the value of multiple personalities. Do we bring challenges to each other, yes. But if we allow it, we also bring polish and greatness to each other as well. God knew what He was doing with each personality build. Would that we could put our faith into action with each other, the universe would shake with the power of that movement! I am so thankful for this team blend this trip. The circumstances of our lives will now unknit us from each other as we step back into our American routines, time and distance and responsibility will estrange us as it always does, but for this moment, God put this forcefield of 13 together, activated us, deployed us, mobilized us, and the mission objective was reached. I am certain tonight without each and every one it would not, could not have happened. God bless this team, and may He bless you as well!


All aboard! We have safety made it through another mission, we are all sitting on the plane in Port Au Prince. Gratefulness consumes me. The weight of responsibility begins to lift from my shoulders. The accident in southern Haiti quickened my awareness, and sharpened my focus on travel risks. But now that is behind me, the plane captain takes over, I'm just here for the ride. We elevate off the runway and as quickly as a world is turned on end in coming to this country, it will be righted once again. In the course of 120 minutes I will shift a few lifetimes away from these people. I embraced my dear brother a final time for this trip, tears filled my eyes, my voice cracked. His vision is so strong for his people he refuses to leave them behind. I want to ease his suffering, to remove his cross, I feel he deserves so much, but he sees differently. So does God. It is ours to feel the pain of our parting. I felt it from him too. Passion for people burns within us, there will be a final reuniting where we will never have to leave or say goodbye again. We will lay down our dusty backpacks, and trade them for immortality. The tears will cease, the burdens will fall like broken shackles from our lives, and we will sit together long on heavens golden shoreline conversing of our journey and God's faithfulness, His provision, His amazing grace. How He took a little orphan boy from the streets and rescued him, gave him back family, and empowered him with such motivation and vision, that he moved with compassion, dared to hope for his people, and witnessed great change in the hearts of so many. It is a humbling circumstance to be partnered with such a pure heart, to be knit together in one accord, to be witness to a mission so profound. As we enter back into my homeland, I echo my sons sentiment, now I think I have two homes. Massively different in so many ways, but I love both, and am grateful for the opportunity to share my life on both sides. The pain will fade, life moves on, it's ebb and tide has no reverse, onward we go, north to the cold! All is well with my soul. Blessings now from Miami!  


Finished! Night has long since fallen, and we continued to batten down the projects. One by one we took out our objectives! The last had Kelly on the tent resetting the rain flap at 10:45 pm. The tent is so strong a 180lb. monkey can climb on it! It's impressive. The girls wrapped out the massive orphanage reorganization project, we installed four new wardrobe cabinets that Bob and Ray built, we finished bolting all the benches together, printed off 50+ photo's for the Celebration couples, picked up medication for the orphans, Brandon flying solo spent 2 hours at the hospital with orphans getting them their recently needed vaccinations, served lovingly by taking each child into the doctor office while not being able to speak a lick of English, and held them as they received their shots! It was a bit of a letdown day for the poor orphan children, as tonight they also had to say goodbye to us. Ethan saw a couple last minute patients, we put the sign back up on the front of the tent, they set up and had a wedding at the property on freshly finished concrete this afternoon! We installed a new alternator and spark plugs on the Toyota and its purring like a kitten again. It's nothing short of amazing what we accomplished this trip. I am certain we have never done so many tasks on previous visits. Tonight I have this great sense of fulfillment. Morning will come very early, the evening brought many teary and sad goodbyes. We will leave straight from our sleeping quarters which has been a change from our previous trips. Managing three locations and transporting the team has been a challenge this time, but we pressed through and we have completed our mission short of one quick stop in the morning to pass out gifts to a family Krystle has taken interest in while she was here last year, snap some team photos and we hit the road for Port. Will post up pics and more blogging tomorrow as we journey the long road home. Hitting the sack, the team leader is spent! Blessing all from our final night of this trip in St Marc!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sunday Morning

Sent from my iPad


Maelstrom may describe this day. As I posted this morning, I knew it would be full, little did I know how full it would actually be. But it was a good full, not a bad full. A vortex of activity that drew us in, irresistible, irreversible. We were able to share with very desperate children today, and it was a marvel to behold. Karen was a show stopper with a fantastic message of hope for the children. In Des dunes we touched close to 250 children! And we did it right on a street corner, I might better describe it as a place where two rough dirt roads made contact with each other. We marshaled our weary frames through a very dusty land, in a very hot sun, needless to say tonight there is not much left. We still have one day to go! Stephen and I sit here at a pretty comfortable kitchen table, both tapping away on our iPads. Last minute reporting and checking in to do. My list for the last day is longer than I desire, but ultimately it is up to God what is to be accomplished. So we will strike out early to finish what we can. It has been a trip for veterans to be sure, it has been rugged and furious, but we have done what we came to do! Tonight the concrete work is almost finished, the electrical work is all done except for a couple of fixtures, we have had a great trip! It is not without its struggles. One meets things moment by moment where your first instinctual reaction is to recoil, but then you are remiss to be reminded of who sent you here, to trust His protection, and forge ahead to spread love and hope to the hopeless. In this land of great desperation and tragedy, we continue to be this bright light, this beacon calling out to the lost, the wayward, the broken. What a privilege to serve here, to interact with these beloved people, to witness the great change hope brings. It will be great to pillow my head on a real pillow, on a real mattress, with a bathroom with hot and cold running water. To re-enter the strata of the universe that I know like the back of my hand. But what tempers my excitement, that restrains my enthusiasm is the knowledge of what I know these people are chained to. While I fall into the lap of luxury, a child sleeps on the roadside atop a freezer that is now just a overgrown ice chest. Curled up in the dust, the wind, the roar of the street it sleeps. What ever will morning bring for this little one? Will morning even come at all? My heart weeps, there is much yet to be done, more hope to be spread, more lives to be touched. I know when I leave I will have done my best, and that will be good enough for the God I serve. But we leave with more to do, so as time is my friend, and zeal is my fuel, I will press on, I will return, I will be faithful to do my part until my time is spent, and my name is called. To my little mat I go, to join the rest in uneasy sleep, to dream of a healed country, a restored nation, a land of promise and blessing. Blessings upon blessings to all tonight!

Monday, January 14, 2013


Somewhere a rooster crows, a dog barks, a child coughs. The color of the sky is graying just before dawn. A tap on my shoulder, a dark face peering in, a voice says 'I will need some money for concrete'. And so my morning begins. I am not the first up, as I come to the top of the stairs, the soft chatter of men's voices drifts up toward me. A cold shower sends shivers that awaken my senses, a cup of hot coffee, morning conversation about the night before, plans for the day forming. So begins our second to last day in Haiti. By tonight we are hoping we capture pictures of the concrete work finished at the church. We will commence a day of travel here in a few minutes, the team ready's for the day. A tenor of sadness has accompanied us since hearing of the accident down by Port that took the lives of four Americans. As we drove to our speaking engagement last night I had a defensive driving discussion with Robinson and Claudy. We spoke of the comfort and danger pavement brings to travel, especially in a country not accustomed to it. They are apparently beginning training for some road police, as is common with Haiti, it's a bit of the 'cart before the horse' syndrome. I am not afraid to travel here, all travel bears risk, I attempt to lower the risk factor by not choosing the most dangerous paths, but nothing is ever guaranteed. To come to Haiti is to take a risk, but these people are worth the risk. So we go today to share with the mountain folk, and then to a little village outside of town, we will travel slightly up, then we will travel north through the lowlands were we will behold the green of the rice fields. It will be a dusty day, hard day for the sinuses, but will be rewarding in the many faces we will see and the smiles we will share. I am grateful today for the opportunity afforded us to be here, to witness the changes the gospel brings, to be in the moment. Life screams by us a such a great force, we often find ourselves bystanders of the ride. We have been granted the chance to climb aboard, to take this journey, to have our lives shifted and our perspective broadened. We give, we receive so much more in return. That is not my reason for coming, just an acknowledgement that you can never out give the God of the universe! More blogging about that later. I did get up one picture for you, I have tried several times, and the blog has been stingy this trip, no worries though, many are coming! We are capturing many, many priceless moments! I can hardly wait to begin my review of them all! It's hard to process it all here. The ride goes very fast when you are on it! Gravity pulls us homeward, the end looms just ahead, may we finish well! Blessings always.





Sunday, January 13, 2013


Incredible, marvelous, sensational! So much to write about, so much to say, but I'm not sure I can keep my drooping eyelids propped open long enough to spell out all the goodness. The team was up early and to church around 7:45 this morning. Of course it was Stephen's birthday today, and we had all kinds of special moments for him. One of those moments came at Church when all the congregation sang him 'Happy Birthday' in both English and Creole! Hundreds of Haitian voices in chorus produces amazing harmony! Stephen also spoke at the young people's gathering this evening and did a great job! I ended up speaking at two churches today and it went very well. There has been a little bug that has gone through several of our team. Thank goodness for a doctor on board! He has not seen as many patients from Haiti this trip, but the team seems to keep him plenty busy! Tomorrow is the jaunt up the mountain, then on to DesDunes. It should be an easier day. The concrete work will be launched in the morning! There are several projects that we are still trying to accomplish before we go, so will be pressing hard Tuesday morning. It's rather hard to believe we will be headed home in just two more days, this trip has really gone by quickly. So while my last two posts are short, you must know I have been struggling with my health a bit. Tonight I am better, but very tired. So will rest the keys for now, collect my weary bones and hit the hay! Blessings all.


Who declares the end of a struggle.  When is enough, enough? Today was one of those twisting, turning, contorting days. Every step was like trudging through mud. Time played tricks all day long. But we have a slogan for that; It's Haiti! We took our morning foot trek up the mountain behind the Church. It came with challenges and blessings. Neil remarkably found his little boy who through tears of fear still waved at him. A very precious moment. Our Haitian carpenter took a very long lunch break, electrical got started in the wrong location, the speakers for the sound system blew this morning, the food for the celebration service was an hour and a half late, need I say more. Until tonight, when after speaking to my married couples for about 30 minutes, they gave me a big round of applause, and then proceeded to swarm the team and swamp us with hugs, thank you's, and many 'God bless you's! It was a breakthrough moment of epic proportions. A moment I have longed for, labored for, prayed for, and believed for. Tonight it came to pass. We were beginning pick up and I already had sound equipment in my hands, I was looking down when suddenly I was being embraced in this huge hug. As my head came up from looking down, I was inundated, compressed and filled with their great love for me as all who were there came to give us all hugs. It was a moment to behold. Now I am weary and will cut this post short, tomorrow will be a busy day, but a little chance for rest. We have to be at church by 7:00! Weariness claws at my eyelids, I will get after some more material tomorrow. For tonight, thanks for following, thanks for the prayers. I say with Abraham of old, God has provided! Blessings to all!

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Lights, camera, action. We blazed through this day, another power moment of our trip. Firing from strength to strength, we accomplished so much. I always hesitate to name one team better than another, because truly every team is different, the journey in and out of Haiti is distinct to each team, that said, this team is rising to the challenge, nay, exceeding expectations. And we so needed too. Everyone has worked extraordinary hard, and it is paying huge dividends. As we close out today, the 'long night service' has commenced complete with lights, amazing sound, and a sell out crowd. When I say sell out crowd, I mean fence to fence, from side to side, from front to back, spilling into the road way, the property is absolutely packed with people. We walked from the back to the front in a moving line to get to the ariel view the guard house offers. I stood in humility as their voices lifted in song, praise and prayer. I have never had a payoff quite like the one I received tonight. I know I wrote on destiny last night, tonight I write in awe, almost a serene silence, words fail what the heart knows, sees, and feels. Yet I tap away here tonight, embracing the moment, catching the rain fall of grace cascading in a down pour that saturates and cleanses my parched and weary frame. Nothing of this countries cruelties can burglarize this incredible, luxurious moment. I certainly witnessed them today as you do every day in Haiti, but tonight, the flood of God's favor is a tide that cannot be stopped. It's as if a relief valve hit its maximum pressure and has blown, never to be reseated. What is changing here by way of grace is polarizing these people, bringing many different congregations together to spend all night praying and praising God! The carpenter side of the team fixed about eleven benches that were terribly used and broken down replacing the seats of them all, and we ordered up 8 more we had received money for. All the wood for those is purchased and cut tonight. We need about 23 more! We have so much more space! They started on 1 of 4 storage cabinets, and Rick overseeing a hard working crew of Haitian wanna-be-painters, has most of the wood already sealed. Our self acclaimed 'rookie' of the trip, Stephen, has blended it with great ease, never losing stride, offering many good gifts to the team. I'm confident now of how much we needed him on this mission. He is confident, poised, steady, funny, and smart! What more can you ask for? We wired up new lighting for the tent, and started the electrical which will be finished tomorrow. We installed an amplifier to drive two more speakers, and can almost part hair with it. We can make the sound bounce off the wall of the property across the road, which is good, because tonight the road will be full of people that did not arrive early enough get a seat inside the gate. Speaking of gates, that reminds me of another moment today at children's service, We had almost 500 kids show up, at one point the service started, Brandon and Stephen were handing out the coloring papers to the kids coming in, I walked in from a quick run, walked through the gate, realized we were about at max, and shut the gate. Stephen looking at faces still on the outside said; 'how do you do that?' I'm not sure, it's a reality of Haiti that is hard to accept, but you need to come in to get the story and the gift. When you don't, you end up shut out. But don't people everywhere struggle with this though, we struggle outside wanting our freedom, but yet desiring the gifts offered freely within the realm of grace, we need to be careful not to get shut out. Today we were not shut out, we were on the inside, we were witness to the gift, the gift of love, acceptance, and thankfulness. And so were almost 500 children, and 1000 other people meeting tonight underneath a most incredible gift, a new, spacious, bright white tent! We are beholden to so many for your gifts that made this moment possible! Time to call it a night, Rick and Karen are chatting via FaceTime with Autumn in Australia who leaves for Cambodia Sunday. Keep her in your prayers. It continues to baffle me how data advances at such a high rate of speed in a country for the most part still ages behind us in development. Rejoice and be thankful, we are blessed!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


We have these appointments with destiny. We wonder, will I be up to the task? Can we go the distance? We falter, we stagger under the load of the responsibility, we consider if there is a way to not show up. What if we show up and fail. So many times I have suffered strikes against my personal pride in Haiti. My ambitions, plans, and wishes have often ended up at my feet in ashes. Surrender is key, ego must be slain, and Haiti is great place to go and have your expectations realigned. But be warned, it is often messy, crushing, terrifying on certain levels. Not terror as in physical trauma, although the heat, and dust, and filth can terrorize your senses here, but rather the terror of the spirit. We are all so spiritual, I know, we need never fear, your faith can move mountains, just speak the word, it will cast itself into the sea. But what happens when you speak, and it doesn't? Perhaps your timing is off, or your speaking to the wrong mountain? Or you apparently don't have enough faith, your seed is smaller than a mustard seed. What then? We have all been there, but not today. Today we arrived at our destiny moment on time, all the right people, and all empowered for our stations. The former tent is down, and the new tent is up! It is amazing. It's big, and there is so much excitement in the air. I don't feel worthy of the moment. I'm tired, I'm sore, but so content. I am so delighted with our team, every player, every brush stroke of our lives seemed in harmony today, carried on the wings of prayer and support from home, we succeeded in meeting this moment, rising through the grace given us, we have erected a new worship facility. I can't wait to post pictures, we have effectively covered the church property with a much bigger tent than before. I know Paul of scripture was a tent maker by trade, we have become tent setters! You couldn't pay me enough to do it for a living, but when you get commissioned by a Higher Authority, well, pay no longer matters, cooperation does! And it all came together today. Tonight we are all weary in well doing, I can tell you it is very hot working on top of white canvas in the bright Haitian sun. But our reward is not contained in words tonight, it's revealed in the hugs, the smiles, the thanks of grateful Haitians. Our mission that was stalled for several weeks, is now a reality. We are grateful and amazed! More details to follow, but rest in the knowledge that an endeavor of many months, and great sacrifice has finally come to  pass! Rejoice and be blessed!