Haiti – Day 1: We Made It!

 This is the view from the veranda! It is a beautiful mission house and a beautiful breeze and keep things nice and cool!

Praise God we had problem-free travel! Everything was so smooth. We are is settling in to the house here at Deep  River Mission. 

We are looking forward to tomorrow where we will visit an orphanage, go to church, and hopefully do some sightseeing. With and rest up and get ready for VBS which starts first thing Monday morning. 

Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for us to be effective in the work that we’re doing here and grow and love and unity for each other and the people of Haiti. 

More posts to come!

 

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Haiti 2015: T-Minus 3 Days

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I’m still trying to wrap my bald head around the events of this week, on a few levels. Today, my son graduates High School…which just can’t be as he was just 2 years old yesterday, watching Toy Story 1 and 2 (back to back on DVD), sitting in his Elmo chair, with his blanket and pacifier. (AKA, the “Mookie”)

Then…early Saturday morning, or very late Friday night if you will (3:30am is still night to me) we start our journey to Haiti.

23 of us from GPBC, and a few extra friends, will be traveling to Cap Haiten, Haiti.  We will be going with Deep River Mission to work at a school there putting on a Vacation Bible School program, teaching some ESL, and also cooking humongous pots of rice and beans to feed to people in the town.  For most, it will be their only meal of the day, and many will share one plate with their whole family.

This is not my family’s first time there, we went in 2013, so I know exactly what we are in for.  (Above is a picture of the soon to be HS Graduate from the 2013 trip entertaining the locals with a marathon game of “Slaps.”) When I look at pictures of our trip last time and was instantly transported back there – the sights, sounds, smells…last time it was all new to me, I was sort of in shock.  This time, there is a very real sense that I know full well what I’m in for.

We would love for you to pray for us:

  • Travel.  Let’s face it.  For a guy who thinks caravanning is a result of the Fall, traveling with 23 people to another country is a challenge.  Please pray for smooth and safe travel, and for us to grow in unity through all the ups and downs of the journey.
  • Finances. We still are a tad short of our goal.  Please pray that the funds come in.  If you are so inclined, you can give online.  (Select “2015 Haiti Missions Trip” in the drop down.)
  • Team.  I am super excited about this team.  Last night at our final prep meeting (yes, there were spreadsheets involved) there was a sense of love for each other and joyful anticipation.  Flat out – this is a great group of people going and I can’t wait to be there with them.
  • Ministry.  Pray for us to minister well to the people we come in contact with.  Pray for compassionate love for the people, for opportunities to share the gospel, and most of all for God to open the hearts of those who hear to know the freedom he brings in Jesus.  Last night, we were reminded of God’s word fulfilled in Jesus (Luke 4) of the nature of the rescue mission of the Messiah —

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;” (Isaiah 61:1 ESV)

I will try my best to keep up on blogging when there…you can add “wifi” to the prayer list.  🙂

Haiti. Day 8. Chaos. Mayhem, perhaps?

Well. Today sure had a different feel! The kids in the town we hyped up today! There was lots of yelling, and even more than the usual pushing and shoving. It’s hard to describe the feeling of there constantly being hands all over you, pushing you, pulling you, yelling at you, asking you for a dollar or for you to “botum” – pick them up. 🙂 There was a desperate tension in the air. We learned that as it was the last day, they were anticipating presents! Fortunately we brought lots of extra beanie babies, balls, candies, matchbox cars, chalk, and bubbles. The Amazing Amanda (Amanda Claus?) had us package them up in little brown bags and then she distributed them as the kids from the town left the building after eating.

We also gave away 2 basketballs and 1 soccer ball, which in Haiti seemed similar to giving away $1 million dollars. :-). This caused quite a stir!

We then had to say our goodbyes to all the kids that had wiggled their way into our hearts for the last 5 days. Needless to say, that was tough. Some even wrote us letters!

We are thankful that we have given them solid Biblical truth this week. I challenged them this morning from John 6 picking up where John V left off on Monday. In the narrative, many couldn’t bring themselves to trust or believe that Jesus was who he said he was, and that he was truly God in flesh, The Messiah. The one who will satisfy all of our needs, believe it or not more important than food, drink, shelter, money. Is this different than today? I remember God calling me back to him years ago, and I remember not wanting to trust him with everything in my life.

In the passage, many turned away from Jesus at this teaching. He asked the disciples if they would turn away as well. I love Peter’s response –

So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69 ESV)

I think of the many martyrs who gave their lives for their faith like the disciples themselves, some later is missions work and in translating the Bible. How else could they willingly endure all of it? They believed that what God offers in the Gospel is far more satisfying.

Our prayer for Haiti is that they find Jesus for who he is – all satisfying life. We were blessed by the people here, next week I’ll begin compiling all the pictures and videos we took – be on the lookout for the summary slide show!

Thank you all for your prayers. We leave tomorrow AM for the Dominican the we fly back to JFK. Please keep praying!

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Haiti Day 7

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is our last day here!

Today was Day 4 of our 5 Day VBS/ESL and we are really starting to develop relationships with these kids. The craft today was personal little chalk boards that some of the kids then wrote “I Love You” and our names on them!

We also saw one of the most touching moments of the week today. As we were feeding those in the community, I noticed a little boy not eating his food. He looked very sad and had tears in his eyes, so I went over to him. At first I though he may have been sad that his food was too hot to eat. That wasn’t the case, so I called over our translator, Thomas who asked him why he was so sad. The boy told Thomas that his sister didn’t get in yet, and he was worried that she wouldn’t get any food today. After drying our eyes, we quickly went outside to find his sister and bring her in to eat next to her brother. This is something we have seen many times in Haiti, brothers and sisters caring for each other.

Thank you for your prayers for our health, I think we are all past the intestinal bugs. Looking forward to our last day tomorrow and getting back to home!

Happy 4th!

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Haiti Day 6

Day 6. Yeah.

It’s safe to say that while we definitely aren’t losing enthusiasm for these precious kids, we are feeling the drain a bit! Several of us are battling I intestinal “things.” Please pray for us to get on the mend quickly.

Today’s VBS went very well. After singing (wait til you see the video!), I had the opportunity to speak to those gathered in the square about Luke 17:11-19 where Jesus heals the 10 lepers, and only one returns to thank him and worship him – its clear that this man knows who Jesus is – God in the flesh, The Messiah. For his faith in Jesus, the man is “made well”- forgiven of his sins. Literally in the Greek he is “saved.”

And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:19 ESV)

I brought out two points: (1) that we have greater needs than our physical needs – our greatest need is to be forgiven of our sins. (2) We don’t need to clean ourselves up before coming to God. Like the lepers, we are sinful and unclean before a holy perfect God. He cleans us and gives us new clean pure clothes of righteousness.

Tomorrow there is talk of hitting a beach. That would be sweet, but it would be even sweeter if there was a cheeseburger place next door. (Goat stew is getting old). Every day after getting back to the hotel after VBS/ESL, Mel and I gladly pay $3 for a glorious Coca Cola on ice. I never appreciated it so much!

Thank you for your prayers! We are starting to miss home.

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Haiti Day 5

Day 5 in Haiti, Day 2 of VBS. Today we started in the courtyard with singing and a great message from the Word from the one, the only John Voigt. John challenged those who were listening that God is aware of their physical needs, but there is a need that is greater – our spiritual need to be reconciled with our Creator.

Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:27-29 ESV)

It is not a matter of our works or by attempting to obey Gods rules perfectly. Sure, obedience is important- but that isn’t what saves us. Jesus was sent by God the Father (v29) and he did the perfect work by taking all the sin on himself. Our part is to believe, and by believing we are made new. We then live out our new identity in faith and by the grace of God.

We pray that those who heard this word today believe in whom God has sent.

We also managed to get another pot of rice and beans today so we were able to feed more people!

Definitely a highlight of the trip is the ESL classes. It is a great experience to sit with 3 kids or so and teach them English words. Today we did “opposites.” (Up/down, weak/strong…). So much fun – and they want to learn!

Another highlight is when we gather together nightly after dinner to sing and hear from the word, and hear some reflections from the day. I’m looking forward to that later! (But sure am craving some serious American food!)

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