Category Archives: Haiti – June 2015

Haiti – June 2015 / Final Thoughts

Posted by Barb

Final thoughts

We came to Haiti, we talked with the people and the people talked with us, we walked with the people and the people walked with us. We lived with them, we ate with them, we worshipped with them, we sang with them. We prayed on the land, we prayed over the land, we prayed for the land. We prayed over the people, we prayed for the people, we prayed with the people and the people prayed over us and the people prayed with us and the people prayed for us. We were the richer for it and our joy was complete. And so another mission trip comes to a close in the Kingdom. Amen.

Haiti – June 2015 / Day 8

Girls at Strong Tower Orphanage after 'Glitter Party'.

Girls at Strong Tower Orphanage after ‘Glitter Party’.

Norlie's glitter photo collage.

Norlie’s glitter photo collage.

Posted by Penny

Friday- our last day in Caracol. Though we have enjoyed our stay here, I for one am glad to know that this is the last day in which Repel 100 will be my moisturizer of choice. We (especially Beckie) have been anxiously awaiting our ‘Glitter Party’ with the girls at the orphanage. Earlier in the week, Beckie and Shelley took pictures of the girls and printed them. The plan was to let the girls tape the pictures to construction paper and color around the pictures.

All week Beckie had playfully asked any and everyone “Got glitter?” While searching for duct tape, Mark discovered a bin with glitter, glue, pipe cleaners and other craft items. And not just silver glitter, but red, gold, blue, green and multi colored. God answered our unspoken prayers in a big way!

Immediately after breakfast and morning devotions, the women were ready to get our glitter on! We sprawled on the floor of the orphanage with the girls. The girls caught on very quickly and were soon decorating their photo collages with glitter. Flowers, hearts, squiggles and of course their names all done up in glitter. I don’t know who had the most fun, Beckie or the girls.

After our glitter party, the girls walked around with pipe cleaner eyeglasses and bracelets. The girls mounted their pretend eyeglasses on their foreheads, above their eyes, looking like miniature versions of Pastor Payot!

Alas, it time to bid farewell for a while. We once again climb into our chariot. I have since learned this is not just a pick-up truck with wooden benches in the back. No- this is a flatbed dump truck with a removable frame and wooden benches. Once again I marvel at the ingenuity displayed by our Haitian brothers and sisters.

We head for the airport, and guess what time it is? Yes noon! Though not walking this time, we are riding in the back of this truck again in the noonday sun. We are all laughing as we make our way to the airport.

Though physically exhausted, we are spiritually refreshed, having received much more than we gave. We recognize that we are far more similar than we are dissimilar, striving to provide for our families and become better disciples of Christ. As Beckie asked of us during one of our devotions: “Do we leave others better or worse for having known us?”

Once again God’s mission for this trip was accomplished, though our mission in Haiti is far from complete. This was the tenth trip to Haiti for Beckie, the second for myself, and various numbers for the others in the group. However, we all leave knowing that if it is God’s will, we shall return again.

Haiti – June 2015 / Day 7

Herve and local girls making popcorn for 'Movie Night'.

Herve and local girls making popcorn for ‘Movie Night’.

Posted by Penny

Our plan on Thursday was to awaken early for breakfast and morning devotion in order walk through the village of Caracol conducting benevolence visits.

Our first stop was at the home of Christina. Christina is an elderly Haitian woman, a devoted follower of Christ and attends The Church of The Redeemer in Caracol. She lives in a house, such as many, built of tree branches with a dirt floor. Christina invited us into her home to pray for her. Her house is positioned in such a way that each time it rains, her home floods. Men in Action, a group of men from the church, recognized that they would be remiss in their duties, as men of God, to allow Christina to live in this manner. Men in Action have begun to build her a new house, bearing all of the costs of labor and materials themselves. Another example of being poor in material wealth, but so rich in the Holy Spirit honoring the word of God.

Throughout our benevolence walk, we visited more homes, including that of a blind woman and more elderly women. At each home, we were invited in to pray. Though praying for others, our faith is continually being strengthened seeing the strength and faith of those who live here.

We did not start out as early as we intended, so as you can guess – again, we are walking the streets of Haiti in the midday sun.

Today we learned from Pastor Payot that he had identified a member of the church as being a sound candidate to attend the local seminary. This individual is none other than our own beloved Herve. Herve has long been a faithful steward to The Church of The Redeemer, an interpeter for the mission teams and a general assistant for whatever is needed. However many do not know Herve’s story. Herve is the third of nine children. His father died while Herve was still a young child. Although we are well aware of the poverty which exists in Haiti, we can only imagine what Herve has endured as a child of a widow with nine children in Caracol. Herve was not able to attend the University in Caracol as his limited resources are needed to help his brothers, two of whom are never far from his side, Gerald and Watson. Yet, Herve taught himself to speak English. Without any formal training, Herve has already led many in the Caracol community to Christ and is always willing to pray for others. Now we pray that Herve will be able to attend seminary and continue in his call to discipleship.

Returning to the mission, we have lunch, but not much rest, as tonight is movie night in Caracol! The children look forward to a Bible lesson followed by popcorn and a movie. This time, Penny conducted the lesson on Noah’s Ark. Penny’s dramatic and colorful presentation was equally demonstrated by Aly as he translated in Creole. The children eagerly participated and many prayed the Prayer of Salvation following the lesson.

As we complete our day with our nightly devotion, another day comes to an end, leaving us full in the Spirit.

Haiti – June 2015 / Day of Rest – Day 5

Leadership Institute: pastor Ernest-Vice President, Pastor Payot-President, Guindy-Assist Secretary, Pastor Kenth-Treasurer, Diedonnae-Secretary, Mark-Advisor

Leadership Institute: Pastor Ernest-Vice President, Pastor Payot-President, Guindy-Assist Secretary, Pastor Kenth-Treasurer, Diedonnae-Secretary, Mark-Advisor

It takes a village to do Penny's hair.

It takes a village to do Penny’s hair.

Posted by Barb

Tuesday was our “rest” day coming mercifully between the two days of travel to Roche Plate. It was much needed, but rest and idleness are not synonymous as much was still going on. We took more time with morning devotions to pray, reflect on the previous day and share our hearts with each other. I think we are all good at listening with our hearts as well, which makes it a safe place to learn from each other and grow. Devotions ( AM and PM ) are two of my favorite times of the day as I feel myself being both challenged and encouraged in my walk of faith with Jesus by my teammates.

On our ” rest ” day we put together the first aid kits that Lindsay would use in her presentations to CHE and for the schools and churches. Shelley and Beckie spent time with the girls at the orphanage, taking their pictures which the girls loved. Also, two important meetings took place here at the mission, CHE and the Leadership Institute meeting. It is said that people perish for lack of vision but no vision was lacking today in these meetings, lead by Mark. Indeed, a very clear vision for providing pastoral training and the training of Christian leaders who could in turn train other leaders was communicated clearly and received with enthusiasm. This would take place right here at the mission house in Caracol which is being built even as I write these words, literally. I am on the first floor typing this, while all day today workmen have been working on the floor above laying tile and doing lots of pounding which indicates to me how hard they are working despite the heat. When complete, there will be three floors to provide housing and meeting space for the leadership conferences/ trainings that are to take place here. This Christian Leadership Institute of Northeast Haiti will be unique in this hemisphere. Our Haitian brothers attending this meeting were overjoyed to understand without a doubt that this mission house is being built to serve them and their people, not primarily as a place for us to stay when we come. It will be used for the work of the kingdom in the churches here in Haiti and in the Caribbean area. This Christian Leadership Institute is a vision well on its way to becoming a reality by God’s grace and provision.

All this activity took place with the daily activities of the mission compound as a backdrop. Starting with the singing coming from the church around 5AM and continuing with the voices of the children singing melodies both unfamiliar and familiar at afternoon choir practice, ladies singing hymns in the kitchen as they cook and others singing as they do the laundry, (outside) there is an atmosphere of continuous praise and worship from before sunrise ’till after sunset. All the buildings are open air, no windows, so all activity; teaching, preaching, conversing, laughing, children playing, the workmen pounding, and the almost continuous singing, blend together into what is the daily ebb and flow of life here at the mission. This is what our “day of rest” allowed us to experience. This and time to enjoy conversation with the many people who come and go throughout the day. It is a peaceful, purposeful rhythm, quiet yet filled with the comforting sounds of daily life here. I know I truly rested on this “day of rest”.

A note about today’s photo, what better thing to do on a day of rest than to get your hair done? The caption should read, ” It takes a village to do Penny’s hair”.

Lastly, a note about evening devotions. The question was about the impact the poverty in Haiti was having on us. But all we seemed to talk about was the richness each of us is experiencing here, in their relationships, in their worship, in their faith, in their perseverance in the face of hardship, their resilience, in the less hurried pace which seems to make this richness of experience possible. James 2:5 says, ” Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?” And so closes another day in the kingdom. Amen.

Haiti – June 2015 / Roche Plate – Days 4 and 6

Posted by Penny

On both Monday and Wednesday we made the two hour drive up the mountain to visit the village of Roche Plate. Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on unpaved roads would rival the rides of an amusement park. Yet, the journey was well worth it.

On Monday, we conducted Vacation Bible School for over 250 children. Upon our arrival, the children were waiting for us anxious for the opportunity to attend. Guindy and Pedrine led the children in worship songs filling the church with the Holy Spirit. Shelley and Beckie taught on Noah’s Ark and the flood with Guindy providing Creole translations filled with lots of energy, oohs and ahs and animation. The visuals which were prepared by Shelley were colorful and engaging. The children expressed pride as they eagerly taped pictures on the board. Afterwards, 28 children accepted Christ as their Savior and prayed the Prayer of Salvation.

While we were with the children, Aly (assisted by Mark and Lindsay) taught 22 members of the community the concepts of CHE Leadership in Creole. Members learned the principles of business ownership through role playing.

Afterwards all 250 children, CHE members and others were fed a delicious meal of rice and beans and chicken.

Wednesday when we returned we were even more busy than on Monday. God truly allowed us to accomplish his mission providing us with supernatural energy and stamina. More than 300 beautiful, loving and patient children were sitting in the pews waiting for us. While Barb taught Part 2 of the lesson ‘The Covenant’, Lindsay conducted First Aide training and passed out supplies to 25 church and community leaders. Afterwards, Aly along with Mark and Lindsay did a second CHE lesson, this time for 28 community members.

In addition, school supplies were donated to the school. These supplies came not only Indianapolis and Chicago, but from the Muslim community in Chicago as well. Upon learning of the trip, a Muslim friend in Chicago wanted to donate to the school, fully aware this was a Christian mission trip and a Christian school. God can move the heart of anyone!

No, our day was not yet over. After Vacation Bible School and the trainings, we wanted to see the land being leased by Caracol Christian Chruch. The land is to be used to grow crops for the school in Roche Plate. Surplus food will then be sold to provide additional funds for the church and school.

The land is not completely accessible by truck. Therefore, once again, we found ourselves walking in the middle of the day in Haiti. Try as we might, we seem unable to avoid a midday walk! Aly, one of our Haitian partners, explained that in Israel, when you purchase land, the land is not yours until you walk the perimeter and pray over the land. With this being said, Mark and the other men walked along part of the land and prayed. Afterwards, all of us prayed over the land as well as some of the local children who had followed us on our walk.

Both days were long considering the four hour round trip commute, but it was a labor of love. Once again God’s mercy and grace appeared. On Wednesday’s trip back to Caracol, we had a light rain shower. What a respite for our hot, tired bodies. The rain along with a cool breeze was just enough to cool us off, but not drench us.

Later in the evening we attended the Wednesday night Praise and worship service. We enjoyed Shongela’s singing. A voice strong and powerful as she sang Love Lifted Me and Have Thine Own Way in Creole. Though the service lasted until midnight, we did not. It was a long day, but by day’s end, we had been spiritually rejuvenated.

Haiti – June 2015 / Day 3

Posted by Barb

Sunday, a day of worship and rest. Church here at the Caracol mission always feels like coming home to me. Praise and worship are a universal language along with smiles, hugs, love, math and music. Although we cannot understand the words the melodies are comfortingly familiar and I find myself singing along. The prayers and the preaching although in an unfamiliar tongue retain the intonations, the cadences, the exhortations common to all shepherds encouraging and leading their flock leaving no doubt what is being communicated. This particular morning our team leader, Mark, gave the message with interpretation from Pastor Payot. It was well received as he spoke of God’s grace and challenged them to be God’s light in Caracol. An all church meal followed providing time for fellowship and renewing of friendships. During the afternoon music and singing could be heard coming from the church and open classrooms of the school.

We had planned on attending evening service at the church by the tree, but God had other plans. The leadership/CHE meeting took place with much time for sharing, discussion and planning. Devotions on the roof by moonlight were a welcome way to close The Lord’s Day with singing, thanks to God and prayers of gratitude praise for all His blessings. The question we considered stuck with me as we retired for the night. It asked what we have in common with the people of Haiti? My answer was pretty much everything. Although language, food, style of dress and other customs may differ, at our core we share the essential intangibles which define our humanness. We’re created in God’s image, created for relationship with Him and with each other. We desire safe communities in which to raise our children, meaningful work to do, friendship, health for ourselves and our loved ones, freedom to worship without fear and peace in our world. Though we look different on the outside God sees us all the same because He sees us from the inside. We are more alike than different.

Our Haitian brothers and sisters take such good care of us. Our driver, our interpreters, those that cook for us, those that make sure we have water, those that even do our laundry all serve as unto the Lord. We come here to serve and we are served, we come here to encourage and we are encouraged, we come here to teach and we are taught, we come here to give and we receive, we come here to bless and we are blessed. This is how God’s kingdom works. And so the close of another day in God’s kingdom.

Haiti – June 2015 / Day 2

Posted by Penny

Again this morning, we did not have long to wait before seeing God’s glory. Being the only male in our group this time, many prayers had been said for Mark, as this added to his responsibilities.

Mark was up early, reading the instructions to begin replacing the water pump which we had brought with us. Mark was as focused as any general preparing for battle. He sat with his morning cup of coffee, instructions and parts laid out before him preparing his strategy. He realized one of the ‘thingamajigs’ was the wrong size! Now changing strategies, knowing how desperately we needed water, Mark began to wonder: “Could he get to Cap Haitian for a new part?” Could he use duct tape?”

We all prayed, remembering that only yesterday, God had allowed us to bring in all of our bins. We knew God would provide Mark with whatever resources were needed. Lo and behold reinforcements arrived! Terneil (?) (also lovingly known as Toenail) and Mesidia (?) arrived to install the pump for us. We had no idea they were coming. They were able to use parts from the old pump and had our new pump installed in time for us to enjoy a morning shower!

After breakfast (and showers of course) we decided to do a prayer walk through New Hope Village. Yesterday, while in route to Caracol, we had noticed a mosque had been built next to the New Hope Village. We wanted to especially pray for this area and encourage the residents to remain faithful to God and not fall prey to false teachings.

Our first stop was at he home of Brutus, who lives in New Hope Village. Brutus is an active member of the Caracol Mission and The Church of the Redeemer, as well as an active member of CHE. After praying for Brutus, his home and family (wife expecting baby #4), we began walking through the village. Along the way, we also came upon the home of Cherlie, a lost member of the church. We prayed with and for Cherlie and encouraged her to return and spent time just expressing our love for her. After touring the school, we began to realize that maybe noon, was not the best time of day to conduct a prayer walk in Haiti. As we began wilting in the sweltering sun, the now very warm water in our water bottles had ceased to become refreshing. Beckie, Barb, Shelley and Penny were fading fast. Yet Lindsey and Mark seemed to have a little something extra in their water bottles for they did not appear nearly as affected as we were. Mark, wisely decided to head back to Caracol before a revolt began. (Note to future groups-think twice before conducting prayer walks at noon while in Haiti.)

After lunch and a nap, we headed next door to the orphanage. The girls were thoroughly fascinated with the kaleidoscope they received. The girls’ personalities came alive as they showed off their jump rope skills for us. The joy and laughter in their smiling faces came shining through as Beckie and Shelley took pictures.

After dinner and devotion, we more grateful than ever for working showers as we readied for bed.