Tuesday, April 1, 2014


woke with a feeling of dread in my stomach as I remembered it was our last day here. I never want that feeling to take over and make my day miserable but I seem to look at things through new eyes when I know my time here is drawing to a close. We had planned to take a walk up the mountain behind the church but time got away from us this morning. Robinson has 5 nephews that are our guardian angels while we are here. They fill the coolers with water and ice, keep the generator going, load and unload the car, carry our bags, help with the children, set up fans and just about every other little job you can think of. They are all right about my age and they are some of my very best friends here in Haiti. They all grew up in the village of Desdunes  but in an effort to get them out of that situation their grandparents had them move to St. Marc. The grandparents live in the states but all of these kids live in the grandparents house here in town. They are all by themselves trying to go to school everyday and make it through life. As we were talking to them this trip, Mom asked why they weren't going to church. Come to find out, they have no church clothes and no money to get any. I know at home that we believe we can go to church dressed in whatever because God excepts us just as we are and that is true but the Haitians follow the same standard my Dad and Mom taught me. If you were going to meet the president wouldn't you wear your very best? Then why wouldn't you do the same when you go to God's house? That is how the Haitians think and it is very important to them that they look nice. Mom promised that she would do her best to get dress clothes and shoes for all of them and they were so excited! Then they asked if there would be any way we could get them a Bible. It breaks my heart that I don't have these simple things to give them but I have high hopes of being able to help them.

We had our big school meeting today for all of the kids being sponsored for school from back home. We got there and were greeted by all kinds of children! The only problem being that three quarters of them weren't the school kids... They were kids who wanted to be able to go to school. So many hurting kids who just want to learn. We had about 50 of our 79 kids show up to write their thank you cards and get pictures. One of the young men that Grandpa Berg has been sending to school will be graduating this year and then next year I think we have 2 or 3 kids who will be graduating! It is so amazing to see all of our hard work to get sponsors for these kids paying off! Besides God, education is one of the only things that is going to help Haiti. Mom is so respected here in Haiti and Rob asked her to speak to a couple of young people from the church who are struggling right now. They are like any other young person anywhere who have struggles and quite often Rob will ask Mom to talk to them about their choices and decisions. She is like a mother to all of these kids and young people! As we got ready to leave the church, we had to say our final goodbyes to Claudy. It was the start to the many goodbyes we have had to say. The orphans came back to the mission house with us to eat dinner and have a little time with us. They didn't know we were leaving until we got to the house and told them. We have learned it is better not to say anything to them about leaving until close to time. It is so hard for them to let us in when they know their hearts will be hurt all over again when we leave. They are such strong kids and it took everything in me not to cry when we told them we had to leave in the morning. Samuel started counting on his fingers how many months until November and when I walked around the corner, Dina was wiping tears from her eyes. A lot of times when they hear we are leaving, they become very distant but I was so proud of how they handled themselves! We got more hugs in one evening from them then we have gotten the whole week which is really saying something! They refused to leave our sides all evening long. The Haitian kids love food! Any kind of food! They ask and ask and ask for food and will eat anything so when we pulled out popcorn and cookies you would think these kids had been given a million bucks! It was so much fun and a great way to spend our last night with them. When it was time for them to go, they gave us big hugs and got into the car. Manius went with them and saying goodbye to him was just as hard as saying goodbye to the kids. We waved until Rob, Manius and the kids were out of sight and then the four American women stood outside the gate and sobbed. Every trip gets harder and harder for me to leave. Poor Vanel stood at the gate watching over all of us until we could pull it together. We are finishing packing up and sorting through the things we are leaving here and taking with us. Klarissa has given us a wonderful show tonight dancing in a way that only she could! We got some pretty spectacular video footage! Now we are showering and ready to fall into bed. It will be an early morning and a long trip home. This past week has been amazing. I will come home if I must but my heart stays here in Haiti.

Much love,


Today has been a whirlwind of excitement! After we got up and around we went to go see the church up in the mountains that West Side Church is helping to have built. We picked up Pastor Isa and Claudy on our way out of town. I don't know what has gotten into us in the last couple of days but we just keep laughing like it's the last time we ever will! Especially Emma and I! She has become like a little sister to me! The four guys in the truck didn't know what to do with us but it was a great trip to the church! When we got there, about 20 children came running out to greet us. They were all very poor and malnourished and it just breaks my heart to see them having to live like this. It was just amazing to see how much a balloon and a lollipop affected all of these sad children. There were smiling faces everywhere! We gave them out to the adults as well and there they all stood laughing and blowing up their balloons! The church is looking awesome! It's unbelievable how quickly they are getting the work done! It's going to be a really great blessing for all of these mountain people to have it! On the way back down the mountain, we stopped to hand out candy to every person on the side of the road. It's crazy how happy it made each and every one of them. I like to believe that to stop beside someone who is just trying to carry water home, crush stones to sell for money or washing laundry in the river, to give them candy is a blessing. Even though it's not much, I like to think that this simple act is letting these people know that they are not forgotten. They are special. They are loved beyond their wildest dreams by their one true Father. It's like the song from Mary Poppins! "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!". A piece of candy from a complete stranger to help bring a bit of sunshine to another dreary day.

When we got back to town, it was time to get Vlad from school. Robinson let us get out and walk in with him and then got us special permission from the principle to be surprise visitors to Vladimir's class! His face was priceless when the four of us walked through the door! His class has probably 50 other children but he was so excited and happy as we took pictures of he and his classmates! His teacher dismissed him from the table and he walked out of there like he was the coolest kid there! It was great! After a very quick lunch at the mission house, we took off for more adventures! Grandpa and Rob dropped us girls off to the church to wait for the water tank to fill so they could pass out water and we could get pictures. While sitting there waiting, we got visited by about 35 kids. We each had at least two on our laps while the rest crowded around to touch us or comb our hair! This is one of my favorite things about Haiti. When I was here back in 2012, I taught Sunday school to over a hundred kids every Sunday morning. I would have 4-5 hours every week that were spent with all of these kids but on team trips I usually don't get any time with them. This is yet another side of Haiti that I will never be able to explain. To have all of these children love you so deeply when you don't know half of their names is something truly precious. They aren't expecting anything from you, they just want to be near you, to see you smile, to get hugs and kisses. Emma and I played ring-around-the-rosy and London bridge is falling down until we were sweated wet and could hardly stand up! The kids were beyond thrilled! When we told them we had to leave, they all gave us a hug and kiss goodbye multiple times for many of them. They waved and waved until we turned the corner in the Toyota. Times like these make me so sad. I love my home in Michigan so much but I love my home here in Haiti just as much and leaving after only being here for a few days breaks my heart. There are people here that are my family just as much as my Dad, Mom and brother and seeing them for a couple of weeks out of the year isn't enough. When I said goodbye this afternoon to all of the kids, I was saying goodbye to most of them for the next 6 months. From the church, we went to the orphanage to spend some time with the kids. We made crafts and blew bubbles but then we pulled out a new soccer ball, basketball and volleyball. We had different games going on all over the yard! Mom played volleyball for a few minutes, but then I took her place to play with Kenley and Emma played with Titi. It was a blast and the kids loved it! They were all asking if they could come back to the mission house after school tomorrow. They don't know yet that tomorrow is our last day with them. It is so hard for them to understand why we have to leave and why wouldn't it be? It's hard for me to understand why we have to leave. I just ask for extra prayers as we get ready for our last day here on the ground.

Before going home for the night, we went to visit a couple of the Monday night prayer services. There are four of them held at four different homes with a total of 400-500 people every week. The first one we went to see was behind the church, up the mountain just a little ways. The path up was steep so Rob had us go up in a "chain" holding each others hands. LOL is all I have to say! We must have looked like quite the group! Manius is the president of the first service we visited. This tiny house up the mountain was filled to the brim with people! It's just amazing! The second one we visited was downtown but it was just as full. Emma and I were talking about how we wished we could have things like this back home but people hardly make it to church Sunday. Back home, our faith is being smothered by the business of life. I totally understand because I live there and I know how life works but I have to wonder why we choose to rush through so many things. Like I said in one of my previous blogs, Haiti is a good perspective change for me. Lots of things I am thinking about tonight. Love to everyone back home!