Sunday, March 30, 2014


After finishing my blog last night our evening ended in a blaze...literally, when the neighbors tree went up into flames! As we stood on the balcony gawking at the sparks shooting out of the yard, Robinson ran over to make sure the neighbors were aware. Apparently they were just trying to burn their garbage but they went inside and the fire got out of control! It all ended well though! My alarm went off at 5:30 this morning and I really didn't think I could get out of bed, especially after such an exciting evening! We were all very tired but managed just fine. As we pulled up to the church, I got so excited! It can be long and hot during the service but there is nothing quite like it! Just like at the Long Night Service, there is not an inch of room to move but somehow we managed to walk up through the crowd to where they had saved a pew for us in the very front. Not even a minute later though, we were called up to sit on the platform with the Pastors. They always treat us like royalty and their honored guests. I feel bad sitting up front with a fan pointed at me while there are so many people who are standing in the sun, but I try to think about what I would do if any of them came to visit our church and I realize I would do whatever to make them comfortable. My favorite time of the service is the singing! There is no way to describe it, you honestly have to see it for yourself! You can take pictures and videos but you still won't understand. A picture is just that. A stand still image of one moment from one point of view. You can't feel the heat, smell the sweat, hear the music or see over a thousand people singing, clapping, dancing and praising The Lord. It's a breathtaking experience. Then came the time that I think we all dread and yet still love. The time to introduce ourselves to all of the church! Grandpa did great, as usual! I can tell how much he is respected by all of the people. Emma got a huge reaction when she said she wasn't yet fourteen! They were all so shocked and the Pastor even commented on it during his sermon! Robinson took time before Lee spoke and gave her many great compliments about all of her talents and how hard she has worked to help support Haiti and of course she soared through with no problem when she spoke. Apparently I made Mom cry when I spoke but I was shaking like a leaf while I was speaking! I am not a huge fan of speaking, singing or anything else in front of crowds but I try my best! Mom has such a heart of gold and shines during moments like these! In this culture it can be hard for women to earn respect from these people but Mom has it 110% and she was even asked to close the service in prayer. We were out of church this morning before church at home even started! We took the orphans as well as some other people back to the mission house for lunch and it was a very full car! 14 people inside the car and 6 outside! After a lunch of hot dogs and macaroni and cheese we were able to spend a good part of the afternoon playing with the kids and singing songs around the table. By late afternoon it was time to take the kids home and we had to run a few other errands. Grandpa got around quickly when we got home to go to the church for a little while and hear Manius preaching. Us ladies have had quite an evening of it! I think we are just tired but everything seemed to be hitting us funny! We have laughed until we cried about everything imaginable for the last couple of hours! And to finish off another wonderful day in Haiti, Grandpa brought back a couple quarts of ice cream! It was a huge hit here at home! We are hoping to get some much needed sleep so we can finish off our last couple of days well! Thank you for the prayers, we are all doing very well.

Much love to everyone,

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ground Hog Day

This morning began with a sweet voice saying "Bonjou Krystle! Bonjou Krystle!" And an even sweeter face pressed up against my bug tent. Vladimir was trying to be a good boy but by 6:30 this morning he just couldn't wait any longer! He crawled into my bug tent for snuggles for a little while. All of the orphans were getting up by now too so the upstairs of the mission house came alive! While Mom, Lee and I were on the balcony getting ready, Mom made a comment that really got me thinking. She said " Haiti is like the movie "Ground Hogs Day". I have never seen the movie but I know the general gist of it. A man wakes up one morning and keeps reliving the same day again and again and again. Life in Haiti is just like that. You wake up, clean up, clean the house, eat some food if you are lucky enough to have it, you walk, you sweat, you go to bed and hope that something different and good happens tomorrow and then you wake up and do the same thing all over again. Life here in Haiti is pure survival on so many levels. There is not enough time or resources to relax or do something you want to do because it is all spent on just living. It makes me wonder how these people keep hoping and dreaming when everyone seems, for lack of a better word, stuck. The answer is Jesus. We all have hope when we have Jesus! Still, it takes a lot of faith to press through the trials these people live through! Haiti is not for everyone, but everyone needs a perspective change, and Haiti is mine.

It was another fun morning with all of the kids! Painting sun catchers, watching Robin Hood and playing Candy Land! Today has been the hottest one yet so we had to pace ourselves to go more slowly. The four of us ladies had the big job of putting 500 bags together for the children's service this afternoon. We were all sweated wet by the time we finished but we have so much fun together laughing and sharing! Next on the agenda was lunch... At least 30 PB&J sandwiches later, we were all feeling tired. Grandpa took a short nap and Mom, Lee, Emma and I got to just sit and relax for an hour. We also sang with a bunch of the family! It was so special to watch all of them!

Today was the children's service at three. When we got there Emma and I stood at the door to pass out the bags of coloring pages, crayons and verses while the others went to the front of the church to get everything else ready. It took longer to fill the tent with kids, and Manius even took Mom out to the street to announce it to everyone! The service was probably the most fun we have had with all of the children! It started with a couple of special songs by a few children and then went into a singing competition between the boys and girls of the song "Father Abraham"! Then came the story! Lee and Emma were in charge of it for this trip but all five of us ended up being involved! The story was "Jonah and the Whale" and it wasn't just read, it was acted out! The casting goes as follows: Emma was our narrator, Lee was our Jonah, Mom and I were the whale while Grandpa got to play the part of the Captain! If you haven't ever seen 5 Americans trying to act out a Bible story in front of 450 Haitian children then you have not lived! LOL! It was the best part of the whole day in my opinion! Grandpa wins the gold medal for best acting skills of the day! I don't know which part was better... Grandpa throwing Jonah (Lee) over the side of the boat, or Mom and I swallowing her up with a sheet! The kids loved it! The two girls did an AMAZING job! We passed out all of the candy bags without much trouble and then headed home. By that time it was about 6:30 and we got some dinner ready. It has been a wonderful evening spent on the balcony together sharing and laughing. Our trip has been absolutely wonderful so far! Sunday mornings start very early here in Haiti so we are all trying to shower and get to bed at a good time. It is bucket baths by lantern light for everyone because we ran out of water this morning! Just another day in Haiti! Thank you all so much for your sweet comments! They have been so encouraging to us! Much love to all of you!


P.S. Grandpa talked to Leon about the rig that he wanted him to come and pick up from the island. They brought it over on a boat (an 8 hour journey) but when they went to unload it, they forgot to anchor the boat and the rig dropped between the dock and the boat into the ocean. I don't know how they managed it but with lots of rope and block and tackle the Haitians pulled the 5000 pound rig out of the ocean. Grandpa has told them how to wash all of the salt off of it as well as other instructions so hopefully they can get it working. 

Bubble Wrap

I woke to the sounds of Haiti this morning! It was a hot night for all of us but we did get some much needed sleep. Mom, Lee, Emma and I busied ourselves with getting the upstairs of the mission house ready for the orphans. When we stopped last night to see them, we let them know that they would be coming to spend the day and night with us. While we were sorting through more suitcases, we had a wonderful surprise show up! Robins and Guerline came all the way from Gonieves to visit! Robins is the husband of Ynives and father of Sarabeth who both died in the earthquake four years ago. Guerline is a relative of his and was one of the first girls my age that I ever met in Haiti. I haven't seen her in close to three years now! The orphans all got to the house shorty after that and we didn't waste any time! We came loaded with games and crafts to do with them but we had no translator this morning. Claudy was teaching an English class, Manius was in Port with Grandpa and Robinson was on his way to Port to pick up Manius and Grandpa. I was so surprised when Robins stepped right in to help teach the kids how to do the activities we got out for them. Sarabeth would have been almost 5 now and it made my heart ache to see how gentle and kind he was with the kids when his own daughter is gone.

Grandpa made it back here to the mission house in time for a late lunch. His day yesterday went very well as did his meeting with the Rotary Club. Hopefully he is able to make good connections so he can send in the rig he has been working on. Our whole day was based around the kids and we had so much fun! Vanessa, our newest orphan is a doll! She is very quiet but keeps warming up more and more. I can tell how happy she is to be at the orphanage. All of the kids seem to be doing well. They have all grown! I love how the four of us all come up with our own ways to reach out to the kids since the language barrier can cause problems trying to communicate. Lee showed all of the kids how to jump on the bubble wrap we had used to package some of our breakable items! They were all squealing with delight over that one! Emma and I joined in on a four way game of monkey-in-the-middle with the boys, and I don't remember the last time I laughed so hard while I was in Haiti! Mom has a unique way of loving each of the kids like they need to be. We have a diverse group of children, all with different needs and Mom seems to always know who needs what.

After dinner, the five of us ended up downstairs at the dining room table in the dark. Grandpa started sharing stories about his first trip to Haiti back in 1998 and the conversation ended up turning to the adoption of Manise. To see Grandpa's eyes light up as he talked about how he found out about Manise and then everything that came afterwards to get her was so special to me. She is one of the biggest blessings God has ever given our family and I know I speak for my whole family when I say that. So many people are proud of her, from both America and Haiti.

Our last stop of the day was at the church for the Long Night Service. We stopped to see it last June when we came too, but I never can get enough of it. There are honestly no words to describe what it is like. So many people that you literally cannot move without bumping into or stepping on a person. So many people that there is no where to stand, let alone sit. So many of them come and stand for the whole night to pray, sing and listen to the preaching. There were 5 different pastors there to speak tonight. How is it that Americans get antsy after an hour and a half on Sunday morning? It is something to really think about. How desperately do we want God? We all need God, but how much do we want or long for God? These people want Him enough that it is no problem to stand the whole night long with no food, no water and no sleep. It is an absolutely unbelievable but wonderful thing to me! Now it is late. We are all eager to get showers and sleep! Tomorrow is another day and I can't wait to see what God brings our way! Thank you for all of the sweet comments from so many of you! We have been reading them every night and it is so encouraging!
Good night from St. Marc Haiti!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


4 o'clock came very early. Although thankful for a place to sleep, none of us rested as well as we had hoped. I'm sure excitement played into that! The four of us ladies were downstairs in the lobby just before 5 and I think we surprised grandpa that we were ready to go on time! We were some of the first in the line for security and about fifteen minutes after leaving our room we were sitting in a restaurant ordering breakfast! What a blessing it was to be able to sit and eat a good meal together! The flight was smooth and all of us were able to sleep. As we descended below the clouds and I saw Haiti, it finally hit me that it was really happening. The five of us worked together perfectly, getting through the different security check points and locating our eleven bags. Grandpa took the lead with his cart, I came right behind him with my own cart and Emma followed me with some of our backpacks while Lee and Mom brought up the rear. When asked what we had in our bags, Grandpa calmly started listing off things like clothes, candy and toys. For the first time in years they waved us over to customs to have our bags searched for medicine and other things of value. It took everything in me to remain calm and act as though this would be no problem. I instantly started to pray, asking The Lord to blind the custom agents eyes to anything of consequence but especially our generator which had made it through this far! Mom marched right up front to assist Grandpa with the suitcases. I prayed and prayed and prayed. One suitcase after another was put on the table and then waved through. She did two off of the first cart, two off of the second cart, one off of the third and then skipped the whole cart that had the generator and came back to my cart to search the duffel bag. She never saw any of the seven month supply of vitamins for eleven people or any of the over the counter meds even though we know that there was medicine packed in every suitcase save the one with the generator. Can I just say, wow? I think we were all a bit stunned as we walked towards the exit. I know I say this often but it's only because it is the truth! God is so good! Out the door we went and Robinson was there to meet us! A short walk to the Toyota, 10 minutes to figure out how to fit all of the bags in and on the car and then we were off! It didn't take very long to get Grandpa to the house where he will be staying at for the night in order to meet with the Rotary Club. It is a very nice place and he should be comfortable, though I think we were all sad to be losing a team member for a day! Our ride to St. Marc was great and we had a lot of time to talk and catch up with Rob Rob. As we pulled up to the mission house a familiar face poked his head out of the gate. When Mom got out of the car, Vladimir went running into her arms with a smile that could melt any heart! I was not far behind Mom and to my surprise Vladimir smiled even bigger and started calling my name! It has been 10 months since I last saw him and since he is only three I didn't think he would remember us! Boy, was I wrong! He has been a little live wire running through the house calling for us left and right! By the time we got bags unloaded and found the food we needed for lunch, it was three o'clock. It is very hot and since it was 1 degree at home when we left yesterday, it is a 100 degree difference. A bit of a shock for all of us. Lee and Emma have been amazing though! Not one word of complaint and they are always right there to help! Couldn't have two better ladies on this trip! We got to see the orphans for a short time this evening. I couldn't have been happier! They are always a bit shy the first time we see them but I know they are as excited as the rest of us! We cooked a late dinner in the dark and are getting settled in for our first night! So much has happened today and I feel like I am leaving so much out, but I am too tired to keep going tonight. Thanks for all of the prayers, we can feel them!



The first part of the journey is behind us but honestly it was the easy part of this adventure! We met up with the rest of our team at noon and checked all of our bags through without a problem, though I think everyone was wondering why we needed 550 pounds of baggage. We said our goodbyes, made it through security and even sat down to enjoy a snack together. Perfect airport experience, right? That's when we got the phone call. They wanted to take out our brand new generator because they can't be sure that gas has never been put through it. The only way they let you send them through now is if they are in the packaging straight from the manufacturer. Dad made some phone calls and assured them that it was brand new and they agreed to leave it alone but said there is a great chance of it being taken out in Chicago still. We have been praying over it all day. God knows what He is doing even if we don't always understand! The flight from TC to Chicago took place without a hitch. Mom even played some Taylor Swift out loud for the whole airplane to hear...oops! In Chicago we had enough time to eat our last "American" meal and then get to our gate just in time to board. The flight from Chicago to Miami is always the longest, almost three hours. It turned out to be a nice time though. Mom was sitting by a woman from Jamaica who has devoted the better part of her life to bringing aid to her country. Her two suitcases are full not of her own things, but of as many pairs of children's shoes as she could fit. It is so encouraging to meet up with someone who is giving their all to a cause. Her name is Dell and she is in her early sixties. Tonight, she is sleeping on the floor of the airport by her gate because she couldn't bring herself to waste money on a hotel room when there are so many people in her home land in need. I have no words to describe my amazement of this woman. If only we could all be more like Dell!

When I wasn't listening to Mom and Dell talk, I was talking with Lee and Emma. I was lucky enough to be sitting by them on our last flight of the day! We got to talking about Haiti, the orphans and just the culture in general. Two hours later, after lots of questions and me answering as best as I could, I realized how thoroughly I had enjoyed our conversation. To have people who are so engaged with the country and it's people before even stepping foot in the land is really amazing to me! Both of these ladies are going to touch so many lives this week! Grandpa has been a true gentleman and most definitely a trooper today! Between getting us where we needed to go, making sure we had plenty to eat and drink and standing outside the ladies bathroom watching all the bags at least 5 times today, I now know that chivalry is still alive! He is treating the four of us ladies like queens! After getting off the plane, we had quite the time of it trying to find the airport hotel due to construction. But Grandpa once again came through and got us here to our rooms! We have just over 4 hours until we have to be up and at it again! We should be in country about 9 o'clock in the morning! Blessings to all!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014


This trip has really snuck up on me! I think the reason being because I had already resigned myself to not be able to go on a trip until fall. What's the saying? Oh ye of little faith? Just goes to show how awesome and faithful God is! Tomorrow is launch day and I am so excited! It has been 10 months since I have been to Haiti, and I haven't been away from my second home for that long in the past almost 6 years of my life. 10 months since I have hugged or kissed "my" beautiful kids! I can't wait to see how they have grown but it hurts my heart thinking about the time I have missed. That makes this trip even more special to me.

This is one of the smaller team trips I have been on but I am so excited about the people who are joining me! My beautiful mother is our team leader this trip around. I love everyone who I have been to Haiti with but there is no one quite as wonderful to travel to this land with as my Mom. Her love and outlook of Haiti and it's people is a special gift that few have and I strive to have eyes like hers. Lee and Emma Grant are the other two ladies who will be traveling with us. I don't know them very well but in 24 hours that is bound to change! There is something about Haiti that forms bonds with people that you will never understand until you experience it for yourself. In the little bit of time spent with the two of them though, I already know that they are going to be amazing on this trip! I am especially excited for Emma. I was right about the same age as her on my first trip (14 years old) and it was life changing! The last person joining our team is my Grandpa Berg. It was a last minute addition but I am so glad that he is coming! I have been in country with him one other time when I was staying in Haiti for three months in 2012 and it was a real honor to be there with him. After all, he is the one who started our whole mission! I know God has great things planned for this trip! I will do my best to keep everyone updated with blogs, though I am a poor replacement for my very talented father! Prayers for our team are greatly appreciated!

Goodnight from snowy Lake Ann!