Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday March 24th leaving

As our team prepares to leave, i think we all still have the question in our heads, what is your story? As we look at each child, adult, mother. father, grandfather, and grandmother, we wonder "What is your story? Why are you here? What is going through your mind right now? Are you hurt? Are you sad? Do you need help?" With all these unanswered questions, we just pray to God that he watches over all these gracious people, and we pray that he continues to use his endless love to help these people through whatever difficulties they may be facing.

This trip has taught us so much; to be grateful, to have sympathy, that just one smile, or a simple wave can make someones entire day. We pray that as we return home, we will continue to pray for all these children, and keep them in our hearts. We have touched so many peoples lives on this trip, and they have touched our lives.

Tonight as we were praising the Lord outside, we prayed that all these questions would be answered. That we can somehow use those answers to help these people in whatever way we possibly can. We have so much hope for this country, as every time we return something has improved. God is here. He is with these people helping them through their hard times.

We hope that in the future, that this country will be in peace, and that the people of Haiti will no longer live in poverty. We pray for all of these people who's hearts have been broken due to losses of loved ones. We hope that their prayers will be answered and that their hearts will be mended.

Returning home will be difficult for many of us. We pray for a safe trip home, so we can share our stories with our loved one and many more.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday at Grace Village and Juno's Orphanage

A few days ago I met this girl at Grace village and got to spend only a few minutes with her. I told her her smile was beautiful and she beamed. I loved being able to just hug her tightly but it was for only a short period of time. The next day we went to pick up the kids from there for the beach day and I was saddened to hear that she was not coming along. I told her that I would see her later and gave her a big hug. When we arrived back at grace village after the beach, she was there with the greatest smile and the biggest hug. Next thing I knew she gave me this piece of paper completely covered in stickers and as I unfolded it I saw an entire page filled with the kindest most sincere words that anyone has ever said to or about me. This girl knew more about my spirit than any of my closest friends and she had only spent a total of 10 minutes with me with no words spoken because of the language barrier. Yet this letter was written in English. Beautiful.

Today most of the team went to Grace village, while some of the team went to the wound clinic. At Grace village we were given a tour by one of the long term missionaries; Jess. We learned all about future plans for the rest of the ten acres of land and we also learned about how Healing Haiti gives back to the community. It was really inspiring to see the different ways in which one organization can make such a profound impact on a community like that. After the tour Kalley shared a faith lesson with the orphans and then we did a few crafts.

After our time at Grace village we went to an orphanage called Junos. It was great to have a fresh perspective on what a average orphanage in Haiti is like. The kids there were super welcoming and so responsive to us being there. We sang songs with them and painted the girls nails. The boys did an awesome job at that, I think they all have found their true calling in life.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Elderly/Mass Graves

When you hear the word orphan who do you think of? Most likely a young child abandoned by their own parents. But have you ever thought of an orphan that is 60, 69, 74, 79, and 89 years old? The average age expectancy in Haiti is 52 years old. So many of the elderly here have outlived their children and have no one to care for them. Can you imagine that? Living to see all your children die and the end up alone in a country that is the poorest in the world. Because they have trouble contributing to society, they become outcasts, left to struggle for their own survival. Many are not able to walk very far or have little strength to pump their own water, so their basic needs go unmet. We had the privilege to visit five orphan Haitian elderly who are apart of the Healing Haiti elder ministry. Many of us were surprised at our own emotional reactions to this experience. There were the most tears shed as a team today than any other day so far.
One of the elders we visited was named Dieufort. He welcomed us into his home that was made of a cement floor and a tin roof that leaks. The size of his home would be comparable to a 3/4 size bathroom. He was precious. He couldn't stop sharing how good God is and how we all need him in our lives. His faith inspired us all. We were able to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We took wet wipes and washed him down, put lotion on his feet, legs, and arms. And massaged his hands and feet. We prayed for him and Justin led us in worship. He love being prayed for and hearing the music.

Another elder we visited was Maria. She is 103 years old! And the sweetest spitfire you will ever meet! Her spirit, words, and love for God was so inspiring. When we gave her a peanut butter sandwich she wanted us to take pictures of her eating it because she loves seeing herself eating. It blesses her! Is that not the sweetest thing?! While most of us avoid pictures while we eat. She loves it because it reminds her that God has met her need to eat something today. Its so humbling. When we prayed for her, I cried the hardest I have since arriving. Can you imagine living as long as she has in Haiti, outliving all 14 of her children, in a storage shed that has a concrete floor, concrete block walls and tin roof covered with tarps that still leak when it rains? And then have overflowing JOY. As you have heard in past posts we do a "word of the day" at night describing something about our day. My word for today was "batteries" Many of the elders have talking bibles and ask for more batteries because they go through them so quickly. They are always listening to the bible. I thought about my own life and how I recharge my "batteries". I don't turn to God first every time I need recharging. I find other ways I think will re-charge me. It may work temporally but its a fast fading battery. To see her rely so much on God reminds me that when we start with God first He charges us with things that last. She is experiencing Jesus. Witnessing her faith has changed my life. I will never be the same. Maybe its just one of many reasons God has extended her life this long. God loves her heart and she makes it available for Him to live through it to others. I may have helped in a same way in her life today but her faith recharged me. That is a gift of grace and I am grateful.

Today we visited Jude Jean Paul, a young man who is severely handicapped. We rubbed lotion on him, gave him a massage and sang songs for him. As I placed by hands on his back I felt his crooked, bony spine. I thought of the exact kind of moments when Jesus healed the lame and how amazing it would have been to witness. As I prayed over Jude Jean Paul I sensed The Lord say, "One day I will straighten out this back and he will walk with me." It was in this moment that the gospel became something more to me. The good news of Jesus, that he has redeemed the world and is continually making things new. It was a beautiful to know that the good news for Jude is one day, because of Christ, he will be raised to his feet and will be healed. It was a powerful moment, one I won't ever forget.

Day 2

Today we had the chance to spend our time with orphans in a home for the sick and dying, and Gertrude's orphanage for disabled children.

It was an overwhelming and inspiring experience for the whole group. When we arrived in the morning, we had a chance to visit while some of the kids parents were there as well. We held them & played with them on the playground for a few hours. Their smiles, laughs and excitement brought a lot of joy to our team!

We went from here to Gertrude's. This was a large house, courtyard, and playground where we had a chance to push the children on swings, feed them, and enjoy their company. The orphans had varying degrees of disability, but they were all equally beautiful and energetic!

After this, our journey took us back to the first orphanage again. An amazing scene to sum up this visit is when most of the group was sitting in the shade, cradling children or playing with them as the sun started to go down :) Such a blessing experience to spend our day loving these Children of God.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Water truck

// and so, as our journey unfolds the first 24 hours - from arriving / entering the airport to this incredible land of beauty, meeting our loving
& gracious hosts, learning & singing local tunes, carrying water buckets to homes in need of water, to crowds of kids eagerly greeting us amidst a beckon to be held in their arms.

these first few hours bring about reflection upon the words of Jillian Michaels, journeying to how & what it means to be comfortable with being uncomfortable...

as a group, we've decided to share our words of the day that arrive & speak to us in our moment of movements...

* connection - arrived through action & love
* joy - such an honor to see the smiles and receive the embraces of so many children
* spotify / angry birds - reveals the groups play-list (character) / changing the meaning of a game to a girl wearing angry birds sandals longing to be held
* birthday - met children who have no idea when they were born or how old they are.
* family - upon spending only a few minutes with these children, it felt like we could connect in a very beautiful, universal way. our team has also come together and is serving each other and this community with great hearts :)
* uncomfortable - in a good way, changing perspective
* need - this day redefined the word from the way americans use it.
* puzzle piece - Asking God where He is in in the midst of so much brokenness.
* reality - Struck by the reality of the world we live in and how the poor live.
* smile - loved seeing the smiles of all the children and the team.
* present-embracing each moment for what it was, being present with each person that the Father allowed me to embrace.
* loved -seeing all the kids waiting to welcome us before we even got off the tap tap
* concerned - the young girls were so vibrant and happy, the older woman seemed more distant. Why? When does that change occur?
* pick me up - the children rushing us and asking to be picked up.
* meaningful

we spent our first full day in city SolÄ— on the water truck. we had the opportunity to serve the people of this community by y clean water, and holding and playing with the children.

tomorrow we spend the day at a home for sick & dying babies...please keep us in your prayers