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!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


They say you can tell much by a man's shoes. I study faces, body posture, I notice much, for perhaps the loudest things people say, they never speak. We are closing in on the end of our second day in Haiti, the women's meeting was a great success. I sit here on the church property quietly observing all manner of conversations and people. The young people met under the children's tent, another small group meets out in the open air, the women are gathered under the big tent that is to be replaced tomorrow. Children dance around me, laughing, stroking my hair, touching my white man's skin. Their fascination with me matches my own fascination with them. Out of their poverty, they practice such joy and contentment. It makes me cringe at the contrast to my own selfishness. It the midst of these observations I notice of all things tonight, shoes. Feet that often don't fit in the patten leather, flip flops an inch too short, a child in dress shoes wearing camo colored military style clothing. There is little fashion in Haiti. It is about getting by, not getting more. I recently received a gift of a pair of Keens sandals. The nicest I have ever worn, tonight I feel even more blessed by this gift. Who am I that I should posses such luxury, that I should walk in such comfort? Am I somehow more deserving than these amazing people. I was born in a different country, to a different blood, so that makes me worthy? I confess I will never fully understand the grace of God. The scope of my understanding is just too small. What I do understand is that I have been given much, and much will be required of me in the end. So here we are, those who have received much, to give as much as we can, and giving on behalf of so many who also practice this compulsion to love and share. Our gifts are winning hearts for the kingdom. And it is remarkable to witness. Our first full day on the ground is almost done, and it has been good. The first 48 hours of this journey always kicks you in the teeth, but this team has been steadfast, and I am grateful. Tomorrow is 'D' day, we cleared the property late tonight for the removal of one tent and the unfurling of the new. Pray for our success, that against and in spite of all obstacles, we erect a new worship arena for these incredible people where shoes don't matter, but hearts do. There are already so many stories coming to light, the success of these trips will never be fully measured this side of eternity, of this I am now confident. So now to rest and ready for day three, blessings to all our faithful!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Morning came very early today, but we made it to the airport with all our luggage. It is such a fiasco to work with the airlines today. They are constantly changing policies and regulations, it's almost impossible to keep up with them. Embargoes come and go, and we are calling often to check on changes and possibilities in order the get the most goods in we can at the most economical rate. Invariably Robinson calls with last minute additions, this time it was an alternator, a couple suits for a wedding, along with some other little things. The holiday travel embargo was to lift as you might guess, tomorrow. But the nuances of these embargoes are always shifting. The airline told us to call the day before travel, and they might let us take the extra bags that would have been able to go if we had gone in October. We received permission by the main office, we had a plan ready, so we did some quick shifting yesterday morning before we left, and we had our extra bags after all. Fast forward to about 4:30 this morning, all was going smoothly, all but two of the team were through with their luggage, Ray and Deloris were the only ones left with six suitcases. You can guess what happened. The embargo according to the clerk limited us to just four more bags, not six. Funny I had just commented on how smoothly it appeared to be going. As the plot thickened I whispered a prayer under my breath. There was no way these bags could be left behind. Fortunately we had a wonderful and considerate clerk who has served us kindly over the years. With some fast thinking she separated out Ray and Deloris' reservation, and had them recheck for an upgrade to first class. Unbelievably, they upgraded and got all six bags included for free. We ended up saving $130.00! We are now in the air just above Port Au Prince, and I am reminded of the goodness and greatness of God to deliver upon what He means to accomplish! He continues to stretch my faith, and work over my troubling frame of unbelief. Now as I finish this post we are safely in St. Marc. We made absolutely fabulous time in the airport and passed through customs unscathed. We sped along marked paved roads until we entered St. Marc proper, I can't tell you how much that has improved travel. Now at 9:00 pm Rob is delivering our bedding and daypack to a new location we are going to try. The team is weary in well doing, but we are doing very well. So we will call it a day soon. We rejoice tonight for safe travels, for cooler weather, and hugs from a very beautiful Klarissa Belle! She is definitely a star attraction. Blessings from Haiti!

Monday, January 7, 2013


We have made it to Detroit with no flight cancellation calls from the airline! The further we made it down the road today, the greater became the realization that we are actually on our way. The weather was beautiful and cooperative, and we made good time, even pulling a trailer. Tonight we gathered for an informal meeting to collaborate on our mission, and the sharing time was very rich. We prayed together and now we are readying for a few hours of sleep. As always we have much to do, and little time to do it in. So we will do our best to accomplish all we are allowed to do, and trust it is enough. Rick shared a thought tonight about how the poor view themselves, it's funny how we become disillusioned by what we possess. We often gather opinions of ourselves based on what we have or don't have. His point was that the poor see themselves broken, useless, and unwanted. In truth, the reality is we are all broken, in some form or fashion we are useless and unwanted, even when we have much. If you happen to possess much at all, you are usually envied for what you have, not for who you are as a person. In our culture, we are wrestling with entitlement mentality that says take from those who have and give to those who do not, balance the equation we say. In truth that will fix nothing because our value system has been broken, it's now about stuff and not people, or relationships. As we shared around the room tonight, relationship took center stage and it was refreshing to feel, to partake in. As we plunge ourselves into the Haitian culture tomorrow, we enter a realm where relationship is not in poor straights. As we share with them this week, we will all take away something from them as well, if we don't, it will be our own faults. While they are the poorest of the poor as the world counts riches, they seem to possess a wealth of relationship understanding, and we suffer a terrible deficiency of it in our culture right now. We busy ourselves in pursuit of the American dream, and then just about the time we achieve it, we die and leave it to another. Or it's never quite enough, and we cut off all that really matters in our reckless pursuit. Don't take me wrong, hard work is good for us, there is nothing wrong with making money, this mission cost me personally, it can't happen without hours of labor to pay the bills. But we need to be careful to seek balance, to not give away the most important thing for a bowl of porridge. So time to rest, to pause the cursor on the screen, 2:30 am steams toward us, 28 suitcases, 13 day packs and 13 travelers to get to the airport early and catch our 6:20 am flight. We need some rest! Blessings tonight!


However awkwardly, we are making ready to leave for Haiti again in two days. Tomorrow at noon we will begin our trek south to Detroit en route to Miami and then Port Au Prince. We are all suffering a sort of disillusionment and disorientation since the trip was cancelled in the fall because of Hurricane Sandy. You can read about it two posts back. We have just come through the tunnel of Holiday rush, and the feeling is a little like blurred motion. I wonder that we should be going so soon after all that rush, I feel like part of me is still back at December 25th and is trying to catch up. The decorations are down, and so some semblance of normal is in the air, but now bags are repacked, and we are leaving what is somewhat normal to plunge ourselves into someone else's normal. A normal where the riptide of time has left broken and scourged lives desperate for hope and deliverance. As I peck away at the keyboard tonight, a child weeps in the dark, alone and afraid, a mother struggles to feed a hungry child devoid of enough nourishment herself to survive, a father agonizes in frustration and hunger, for tomorrow will produce more of what came today, no work, no food, no change. I know these faces, for I am beholden to them every time I enter the universe called Haiti. A surreal place that challenges the frame of my understanding and shakes me to the core of my being. It would be so easy to quit, to drive these images from my mind and to free myself of the bondage to serve, to wrap myself in my soft quilt of American culture, to continue to be drugged with a false sense of security, and serve my selfish desires... or would it? The truth is I cannot. And while I may be beleaguered and tired, the force of grace drives me on, drives us on. And so tonight we re-boot, the countdown begins, and ready hearts move into position, flanking each other, we press on. Like the children in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, we move across the room together, approaching that foreboding closet door, ready to tumble again through the wardrobe and into a land of icy cold, frozen by evil, shrouded and encased in a bubble of time far removed from what we are accustomed too. We tumble in to take the great message of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, a message of hope, with goods, and good tidings we go. There is much we desire to do this week, but circumstances will rise and endeavor to shut down our efforts. Pray we are able to accomplish what we are meant to accomplish this week. That we are able to serve up marvelous portions of hope, to feed the hungry, to give a drink to the thirsty, to bind up the broken, to hug the forlorn, to pass out warm smiles and to sweeten the bitterness of the forsaken. It's a very formidable task, but we are up for the challenge. We do not stand on our own, but on the wings of Him who carries us. Many blessings tonight!