Haiti Day 5 = Chaos (and Bools)

So.  Yeah. Friday’s during Haiti VBS are nuts! Reason being…the kids all expect us to give them presents in the last day. We certainly has our share of soccer balls (about 50) and various other things…but when you have a couple hundred kids that doesn’t go very far.  Chaos is a good word to describe the atmosphere today. And shoving. Lots of shoving. With lots of yelling in CreoleEnglish telling us to “Give me bool.”  (Ball)

We did give away all of our “bools” via a contest where the kid lines up far away from the goal and gives it his best kick.  If he or she gets it in, they win the bool.  Here’s a pic of one of the attempts. I’m pretty proud of this shot, every once in a while I get a good one!


I had the opportunity to talk again with Alberto. He seems to be a legit follower of Jesus. I saw a man selling Bibles and bought one. After that Alberto asked me if that was a Creole Bible, which it was, and he told me that he didn’t have one. He only had a French one on his phone.  When I gave him the Bible his face lit up. He as so excited to have a Bible in his home language. Here is a shot of my bud and his new Creole Bible. 

Tonight we are going back to the town to hold a “crusade” – basically a church service. We will sing a few songs, and I am preaching from Luke 5. Please pray for the Word to go out and for it to penetrate hearts!

Haiti: Days 3 and 4 – All In It

I think it would be safe to say that we’ve all experienced a wide variety of emotions these last few days. Joy at seeing the smiles, laughter, and hi-jinks of the kids; bewilderment at how things got this bad and how we can best help; a dose of conflicted aggravation from being asked for money, clothes, shoes, wedding rings, candy, soccer balls, or water over and over and over again; waves of sorrow that can momentarily overwhelm you; and moments of seeing God move that can bring you to tears in an instant. 

The children are precious. They are so loving it knocks you over – sometimes literally. I’ve spent most of my time in the town square just playing with the kids in simple games like thumb wars, arm wrestling, and the ever popular “slaps.”

We can’t walk around outside without being mobbed with kids – such a great problem to have right?  Perhaps the only thing that rivals the beauty of the kids themselves is the beauty of seeing Jesus in the faces of our team as they show love to them.


The kids today (Wed) were pretty amped up. I tried to give away candy but had to bail when a near riot started.  They live to see pictures on my iPhone, and the really cool thing is I was able to show some kids pictures of us together from 2 years ago. Their faces were priceless!  This too I had to cut short as upwards of 15 kids would swarm me, with lots of pushing and shoving.  There is a ‘fight to survive’ mentality here.  There is never enough so they fight for everything. This is strange to us as Americans where we have such “order,” but we also have enough…more than enough, we have excess. I need to remind myself of this before I judge. 


We have had several very young children – like 2 or 3 years old – literally put into our arms by others. We hold them for long periods of time, some fall asleep in our arms. 

Then there are the young adults and adults. They hang back in the shadows and we try to engage them.  We try to seek them out to give them a smile, a touch, some food and water, or if the opportunity allows, to tell them about Jesus.  We gave this older woman some food and I was able to follow up and give her water, she thanked me profusely in Creole and the only thing I could think to say is “Jezi” (Jesus). He is the reason we are here, what we give you food and water, play with the kids, hold them, teach VBS. It’s all about Jesus, even if you don’t rmemenber us – remember why we came. 


And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭10‬:‭42‬ ESV)

PS: Be sure to follow our team via #GPBCHaiti2015 – there are some great pictures going around!

Haiti – Day 3 – It Begins

One of the things I am liking the most is the chance that we have every night to sing together, be in God’s word together, and share what is going on in our hearts. Last night Alex challenged us from Matthew 19 that we desire most of the time to be first in yet Jesus calls us to put others before our own needs. 

 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

(Matthew 19:30)

When we do VBS in Haiti, unfortunately the opposite of this verse is in effect. There is a great amount of clamoring, yelling, and pushing and shoving him to be at the first of the line to have a chance to get in. 

I had the opportunity to preach to the crowd this morning – telling them we are here because we love them very much and so does Jesus. We see brokenness and the effects of sin and evil all around us – in Haiti or America, and God has done something about it. He has supplied us the restoration and healing in Jesus. Ours is to live by faith in Him while remembering what he has done for us in securing our new identity. 

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

(Galatians 2:20)

Today we started VBS and while it was controlled chaos, it still was chaos.  I saw some of the kids that we saw 2 years ago. But even in the midst of chaos,  the warmth and the love of the children is just absolutely amazing.


After our VBS classes we fed the community as far as two giant pot of rice and beans could go.  One of our translators suggested that would be a good idea to take some plates of food into the street and find the people that of been hiding in the shadows and bring them to them. This turned out to be a great idea as many were doing just that received the food gladly. 

After that we spent some time in small groups with children who wanted to learn English.  

We spent time showing them pictures from our iPhones are pointing to drawings and the books teaching them the English word for many common objects. The Haitian children are very excited to learn English and it was a blessing to spend some one-on-one time with them. 

We’re looking forward to a nice time together tonight over dinner and more singing and time of sharing this evening. Lauren has volunteered to lead our studying the word tonight and we are excited to hear from her. 

So far everyone is doing great and no one has become sick. Please pray for our stamina to keep up in the punishing heat and most of all for God’s word to have an impact in the hearts and lives of these precious children. 

Haiti – Day 2: Orphanage, Churchnp, and…Oh yeah…the Citadel

Welp, after a time of worship and a word last night from Psalm 1, most of us slept pretty well. It is H-O-T. Personally I don’t think I’ve ever sleep-sweated like that before, unless I was breaking a fever. (Oversharing?) Still, with 3.5 hrs of sleep on Friday, a sweaty 8hrs felt great!

After breakfast (we have 2 Haiten cooks here who fix us yummy breakfast and dinner each day) we set off for the Children of the Promise Orphange. They have many kids there and a few house parents that raise them and care for them. They also have some children with special needs. This was particularly hard to see, but my brother Josh spurred us on to love and good works and suggested that we pray with each child. One boy who was very restless and noisy became silent when we touched him and prayed for him. Many of these children will not be adopted, but some will. Some also will be cared for by loving house parents. Perhaps you are being called to be one of them?

We also were able to worship with the staff there today. We sang some songs and the watched a video sermon from 1 Peter 3:3-12.  To sing worship after seeing the needs of some of the children was emotional, these lyrics hit hard: 

Heal my heart and make it clean, open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to love how you have loved me. Break my heart for what breaks yours everything I am for your kingdom cause, as I walk from here into eternity.  (Hillsong United – “Hosanna”)

It was a solid message on video from Pastor Lee Cummings from Radiant Church– our feelings and reactions are wired to our hearts like buttons that get pushed. Will we be Christlike in our reactions and actions?

After the service and some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we got in our vehicles and headed off for a bouncy ride to the Citadel. (my wife actually managed to leave there without stealing any of the children.)

This was my second time to the citadel and I think I was even more impressed this time. The hike up is quite a workout, but once you get there the views and history behind the massive fortress are amazing. See below for a great shot of my dear friend Josh with some cannons. Josh loves cannons. 

After the Citadel workout, the team was very excited to get some relaxation by the pool. Tonight we are looking forward to a yummy dinner and then some VBS planning. And then a time of worship and sharing together.  We have given the challenge for some of the youth to lead in a devotion each night and for tonight Alex has taken up the challenge.  I’m always thankful and encouraged when youth take up the challenge to lead. 


  As you can see, our room (somehow dubbed the honeymoon suite) holds all the supplies for our week doing VBS. Tonight we will talk about how we are going to get things done, but also how we are going to share Jesus with the children there.  May we truly love God and love his children. More to come!


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!


Haiti 2015: T-Minus 3 Days


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!



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!




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.



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!)