Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Again I observed all the oppression that takes place in our world. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and the victims are helpless. ~ Well, this morning started off different than others. We are sitting here waiting on our ride and a call from the man that we have been working with. Last night there was some cross fire in the area that we are working in and a little girl got shot and died. We got to talking on the phone this morning and he said, “She was in your camp; she was 12” This scripture continues to come to my heart over and over again. The great oppressor…. and the tears of the oppressed. See oppression coming from all sides in this place. Makes you frustrated, makes you sad, makes you exhausted, makes you desire to go deeper. Have been thinking more and more about discipleship and the great need to speak the power of God into this world, in Cite Soleil, specifically to the boys. Saw one of the guys that was involved sipping a beer in the streets the following day. The justice system does not exist. A 12 year old died, the man drank a beer in the streets, and the cops never came around. Thought about the great leader this man could have been….I look at the 5 year old boys here and think about what great leaders they can be with the correct leadership and discipliceship….. See a great need of rising up boys to be men that want to be leaders of change, leaders for Christ, leaders to fight for the oppressed, leaders to fight for their own people. This is happening all around the world. I think of Dorchester, MA where I am currently living. We are loosing children monthly to gun/gang violence. What makes the difference? Seeing more and more that the difference is discipleship and working alongside them through the good, the bad, and the ugly. The work isn’t pretty, it is often ugly, and often comes with getting burned out, fried, exhausted, and getting burned by people. Without the love of Christ breaking through in these places, what can be the lasting change? Do we weep for the things that make God’s heart break? And when we weep, why do we weep….how is it the spirit of God moving us to break for the things that break his heart? Nehemiah wept for the broken walls of Jerusalem, he wept for the people in exile…what makes our hearts, your heart weep? Haiti makes my heart weep. The oppression against the children makes my heart weep The day started off hard and I thought it would continue in that way. We got to Cite Soleil and some of the men that were working for us were a bit frustrated because other men wanted to work to. There was one specific man that just kept yelling. I finally laughed at him and gave him a hug. Asked if he was angry with me and made a comment that written on his shirt was the phrase, “Still Angry.” I translated it to him and we laughed, he quickly became my best friend. Favorite part of the day was hanging with my little kiddo that has become my favorite. We share the same joy. He is 4, I am 29 but we seem to laugh at the same things, he mimics my dancing, and constantly is bringing me things, by things, I mean garbage. Yesterday he brought me a doll that had a couple of chunks of hair. About ten minutes after that he brought me the doll and a clump of weave hair. I could not help but laugh. We tied the weave hair up on the doll and called it a day. At the end of the day I got a chance to observe him playing in the streets. He was playing in the garbage, standing in the garbage cannel. Just made my heart sad. The end of the day we visited another zone that wants to work with us. Twenty of us sat on the bridge talking about the need of the community. As we sat on the bridge that covered the cannel of the garbage I couldn’t help but think about the wind blowing the fumes and nastiness of the garbage in my face. Took a breath and realized that this is there life. They don’t get to leave this place, they don’t get to know the comfort of the next meal, they don’t get to feel the peace of knowing they can provide for their children, they don’t get to know that their children will be safe walking in the streets, they don’t get to take a nice shower, they don’t get to….the list goes on and on. I asked them what was the first thing they needed. It was simple…they wanted a little wall put around the sewer wall so the children wouldn’t fall in it. That is what they want. Not a food, not a job, they want a wall to surround the sewer cannel so they children don’t fall in or play in it. Feel guilty this morning, feeling sad this morning, feeling exhausted, don’t know if I am ready for the land of the plenty yet. Don’t know if I am ready to see wealth and having the chance to have a choice…but we are done and we are healthy. Thank you all for everything you have done to support us, you have truly blessed our hearts, the people of Haiti, Cite Soleil…we could not do it without you all. Love you all and continue to be so grateful that you are walking in this journey with us. Will be posting more pics on our blog when I get home….we are home Friday. Ricky leaves today…Ryna, Caitlin and I are out on Friday. Pray for our travels and planes. Pray for our hearts as I know the transition is always harder going from Haiti to America. Until next time…may his glory continue to shine and be the light that breaks through in this world.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Last day tomorrow...here we go. Wanted to post some pictures of the work that was happening in the community and some of our favorite shots over the last couple of days. More to come in the next couple of days..love you all. Thank you for your prayers. Keep praying for the last day. Ricky heading home on Tuesday and the rest of our time here. Love you all.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
We serve a beautiful Lord. Today in church I almost started to cry. Just got to thinking how much I love this place, in the midst of it being exhausting, I love it, I love the people, I love how God moves her, I love the eyes of the children, the joy of their hearts, I love the beauty of the mountains, I love the beauty of a smile through stories of hardship. Today the church was singing and for a moment I closed my eyes to take it in. I opened my eyes to see a woman with outstretched arms, lifted high, standing at the front of the church. Such a beautiful sight. In the midst of great poverty, hardship, her arms were stretched open to the sky. Such a neat testimony…had to just watch her. It humbled me. I love seeing that faith. It is total dependence on the Lord. As the offering plate gets past around you watch people that walk through poverty put money in the plate…it is humbling, it is challenging, it is a struggle in my heart. How quickly I become comfortable in America? How quickly to I adjust to America and depend more on my mother, a friend vs depending on God? As I watched that woman this morning I wanted to weep for a place that I will miss, for the beauty of their faith, for the lack of my faith. This place will either make or break you…. Sunday is supposed to be the day of rest, but today was far from that. We are getting ready to take off in a day and trying to get thigns wrapped up here and everyone wants to sit down and talk. My Creole is hurting because I am so tired, but been holding it together. Ryna’s Creole is amazing and has been a gift from God. When I miss something, which I always do, she gets it. Two are better than one, always. Today we had an exposition for the community to come see what the children did from camp. SO neat to watch the whole church file into the school to see what the children had created in camp. Made me smile to see the ownership they took over their work. Lunch with the pastors, they always have 20,000 more ideas for next year…I laughed. I told them I haven’t even closed this year. Had lunch together and recapped on the camp, nice to keep the connection and invest in the relationships with them. After we started to hike for the hills to meet a friend. I got asked to be a godmother…hahah, so I was hiking into the hills to meet the child that I will see maybe once a year. We got about ½ mile out and it started to rain, Ryna and I took off in a run up hills. Lord, I haven’t done that in months. About 5 minutes from home both my sandals break….barefoot I take off for the house and the whole time I am praying that I don’t get hook worm..hahaha, a worm that I think gets into your body through your feet. Dodging the cow dung, the horse dung…O lord…cover my body. O the moments in Haiti. We are well….off for an adventure tomorrow night. We have to get the bus at 3 in the morning, so we are taking motorcycles at 1 in the morning into Port-De-Paix to get the bus. Pack of three motos…1 in the morning…sounds like a crazy adventure that I need you all to be praying over. Ma, this blog is for you. I am posting it after we are safe and sound….what a night. Ma, I was waiting to post it because I didn’t wait to freak you out. Our night, motorcycles show up late. Middle of the night, a pack of three motorcycles driving down a dirt road in the middle of Haiti. Can’t say I trusted our driver, kept telling him to slow down, but Ryna and I had some good laughs. All the men seemed to be a.o.k with the drive, laughing and smiling, Ryna and I joked about becoming nuns because we were irritated with men at that moment in the morning..hahaha. They were late, driving like idiots, and well…guess that was enough to make me think that becoming a nun at that moment would be good. Got to the bus station at 230, and on the bus to sweat out my dinner from last night. It was so hot. So hot…by so hot, I mean people crammed in a school bus, with no circulation of wind, and sitting next to big Ricky. Those buses are not designed for people like Ricky, he was a trooper. Think I would have complained the whole time, but he kept saying he was ok. Then we were off…rollocoaster. Literally a rollcoaster. We were told that it is a bus, but on the frame of an 18 wheeler, with tired from an 18 wheeler, so that the bus can sustain the road. We are safe and laughing so much. Caitlin is here tonight, our two Haitian brothers are with us and we are just laughing, so good. Might be one of my favorite memories on this trip. Tonight we ate dinner together, felt like a big ole family. Made me smile. We are safe and thankful to have a bed and a room with AC. AC...yes! Some pictures of camp up North. The children were learning different skills in the community. We hired teachers to teach them.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Ryna and I decided to head down to the bakery for the third time tonight to try and get bread for the morning, since that has become our diet. We come to the bakery and they are out, but we quickly come to find out that the baker’s children are heading up to where they make the bread to bring some down to the place they sell it. So we are off, Ryna and I throw a kid on our back and we are off for a little night adventure. Love those moments. They are random, but they are moments that you get to know people more, see their lifestyles, and laugh together. We find the father and four of his workers, working away. The brick oven is blazing in the background. The only two things that light the room are the oven and one oil lamp. Just night to watch unfold. Ryna somehow manages to carry a load of bread back to the store and once again we are off….got out bread, so hot….had to break into it on the way home. Love little adventures…week FIVE tomorrow…this is the most that we have ever done. As I like to say, “A whole notha level” here we come…we are tired, but we are holding fast. Tonight I got an email from my brother….had to laugh and some might find this inappropriate, but it made me laugh and need the laugh. He read the blog about our Thursday night with the 8 people vomiting and seizing in the hospital….his response was, “Keep kicking Satan in the nuts.” Hahaha, thanks brother for the support, it was actually just what I needed…sometimes you need a good laugh here. It is what gets you through the day when things seem to look so difficult or exhausting, you laugh. So thanks my brother for making me laugh. Tomorrow I head into get Ricky, he is bringing the energy for the last week. The children will love him, crawl on him…good to get some more hands pouring into the people. Grateful for his heart to serve. Keep praying for us…we have 17 days left and from prior trips I have learned that it is the last weeks that Satan loves to put in a bigger fight. The nurse that has been living here for three months, heads home next Tuesday and she just found out today that she had Dungae. It is a form of malaria. She is doing ok, but just see Satan trying to put his foot in her door. Just pray for her, our team, the last week of camp, Caitlin and her time painting, pray for the rest of the trip that God would reveal, expose more of his plan in Haiti. Love you all…thanks for following, praying, and supporting us.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Another day for the books….had a friend ask if we could visit a school/church that he works at in the mountains. Maybe I should have know the route would have been that intense when my friend asked if we could pray before we left..hahah. About 30 minutes into the trip and then we took a left and started to climb. We climbed for about 40 minutes, some place we had to get off the motorcycle and walk because it couldn’t carry 3 people and climb the mountain. Literally we were in the middle of Haiti, climbing a mountain with a motorcycle…it was almost comical. At one point we were walking and Ryna and I were saying and thinking, we are going to die on this trip, but we love this..hahah. Have to laugh…the transportation here is always the hardest. But always remind myself that the driver doesn’t want to die either…it is my comfort, that and I pray the entire ride. Hahah. We climbed and climbed, some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. It got greener as we got higher. We finally arrive to the place that we were working to get to and you could see in every direction, you could see the ocean to the North and the ocean to the other side. We came to this church that was made out of wood beams and had a tarp roof. It is a very impoverished community, mostly because it is so high up and so far away that resources seem limited. We walk into the church to find about 100 children there to greet us. Many seemed a bit scared, but they sang and we prayed together. My friend was hoping to see if we could do camp with the children next year. Good to go visit, but also hard as you wonder how many more villages in Haiti are in this same situation. The school that they have created is provided to 200 children. They function the school in the church, with the tarp roof and in a persons home down the way. 50 children work in the house and 150 in the church. They have 5 teachers. My friend said it is 30 Haitian to go to the school, that is about 4 American dollars, but yet parents still cant pay the fee. Makes you frustrated about a lot of things…why isn’t the government doing anything, how does something like this exist, I spend 2.50 on my coffee everyday, makes me frustrated with myself. I wish children in America could see this at a young age. I think about how many children say they hate school, they hate to read, they go to a poor school….I know it is two different worlds, but struggle with so much here. Don’t know what the Lord will do with today, but such a neat place and hard to not think about it once we left. Last week of camp next week, Ricky comes next Monday, another volunteer. Pray for his travels, he leaves for Haiti tomorrow and then I have to find him on Monday. Pray for our energy, we are tired. Pray for the last two weeks as more people are coming in. Pray for my sister who will be painting in Cite Soleil in a couple of weeks, pray that it would be another time for the community to come together and the spirit to move. Pray that Ryna and I keep laughing in the midst of exhaustion..it has worked so far. Pray that God’s spirit would continue to break through. Moments of great laughter: A bat flew into the kitchen. We all hit the floor. I was the closest to the light so I shimmed my way to turn it off, whilst covering my head with a Tupperware. Then we all freaked out and turned the light back on…Ryna ran saying, “I don’t have my rabies shot.” Leah holding a machete trying to kill a mouse. The other hand holding a broom closing off the hole that it could possibly go into. Yes, I lost that battle…the fight is still on. Ryna buying a machete at the market…don’t know it that is funny or just crazy. Me taking a digger in slug water while we were trying to clean the bathroom. There have been so many more, but those might be the best…never know what you will find in ayaiti. We have learned to roll with it and keep smiling. Carrying Ryna because she was supposed to be the cow that was going to be sacrificed in the story of the Prodigal Son. Her “mooing” when I dropped her to the ground. Acting out health lessons and having to pretend that I had diarrhea and wasn’t going to wash my hands. Used glitter to show how germs get around…kids said I had diarrhea for the rest of the day. Awesome: )
It is 2 in the morning, and somehow the night has gone so fast. Sometimes in Haiti all you can do to process a night, an obstacle, a moment…you write. So tonight as I unwind, try to enjoy some of the cool night air, I write. Headed to the hospital with Ryna at about 10:30 as the guard from the hospital came to get Ryna. They said they had 5 people vomiting and having seizures. Ryna explains as we head to the hospital, you never know what you are going to get when you get there. Sometimes it is worse than they make it sound, sometimes it is just a headache. I went for moral support and extra hands. This place often wakes you up, slaps you in the face, or quickly refreshes your soul. Tonight it woke me up as we walked into the hospital to find 5 children, 1 woman laying on the beds. One child had already been having seizures before he arrived and the others where sitting so quietly just observing. The woman was having seizures and vomiting. The father was trying to explain what he thought happen, they were eating rice and a bit after this happened. AS he exited the room we heard a crash, as the father, too feel to the floor and started convulsing. It is this moment of what is going on, I feel helpless, is this really happening, where are we? Kind of found myself sitting with this little boy named Benti who was having seizures maybe every 30 minutes. As he seized I couldn’t help but look into his eyes, they just seemed to cry for help. Never seen a person seize before, let along a child. Just hurts your heart, then to see all his family members around him embracing the same thing….makes you sick. Humbled every problem I “think” I have every had. What “problem” of mine can even compare to this now? Never seen a boy fight so hard. The seizures didn’t seem to stop, but somehow he kept fighting. At one point I looked to the floor, it is so interesting what you notice in moments where you seem to be focused in on one thing. He just vomited up blood, and on the floor was an almost perfect heart from his blood, about the size of a small greeting card. Just stared at it for a bit and this verse came to my heart, a verse that has been beating loudly on this trip: Ecclesiastes 4:1 Again I observed all the oppression that takes place in our world. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with NO ONE to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and the victims are helpless. See such oppression here that it begins to frustrate you, hurt you, make you want to weep, make you want to move here and fight for these people, make you question all the things you wanted in life, make you go deeper with Christ because you can’t make any sense of it. Benti, fought like no other. At one point his blood pressure seemed to get lower and his heart beat was slowing, but Benti kept fighting. Children can fight, it is amazing the strength they have to fight. He seemed to be coming out of it when I left and was struggling with pain, which could be a good thing as he was coming out of it. Just laid my hand on his head and kept trying to pray for the little kiddo, can’t say my prayers were strong as I was trying to focus in the midst of trying to comprehend the night. Fought back the tears and thought of the verse in the bible where it speaks of God knowing our prayers through our tears and how he holds them all. After the father went down, his brother sat with him and just silently cried. Feel like it is not often you see that in Haiti. You often hear wailing from family members if someone dies, but I have never really seen a cry like this. He looked so scared, helpless. My heart just broke for him, here he was watching his brother and nieces and nephews fighting life….with the potential of them all dying in the night. Made me think about my family…Lord, I think I would have lost it if I was watching something like this unfold with my family members. Here I am at 2 in the morning, have to get up for camp at 7….but found Silent Night on my computer. I know it is a Christmas song, but somehow it seems like the perfect song for the night. Silent night, o holy night….maybe it is the peace behind the song, maybe it is the prayer that Benti can sleep a silent night and wake up feeling no pain…I don’t know…but it is a comfort. God is moving in this place. As much as I see oppression, tonight I got to watch two wonderful nurses who have come to Haiti to volunteer their time to serve this place, these people, our God. I watched them work under pressure and come together to support the family and each other. So neat to see what God does here. Without those nurses tonight that family would have died I often say that Haiti will make or break you…I think it does both. Asked God to break me in a different way on this trip…not really knowing what that meant, but feel like tonight in the midst of the chaos, unknowing, God once again broke throw and showed his power and broke me in a different way. Once again broke my heart for the things that break his heart, revealed his power, and helped me to get out of my self. Posting this a day after and have to say that the Lord moved last night. The family is doing well. The boy that was doing the worst, is up and talking and eating. Many of the Haitians said they should have died; it was that bad…but we serve a mighty God. That was the Lord last night. I know there was medicine and doctors, but God moved through their hands, he moved through those people, and he put a fighter spirit in that boy. Never seen a child fight so hard…so grateful that we serve a living and powerful God. This morning I was sipping coffee and this verse was on my cup,”God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. “ Brought a peace to my heart…. Thanks for letting me write, helps to process. Love you all, continue to pray for the hands that have committed their lives to this place. Pray for strength and endurance, this place is hard and exhausting. I am only 4 weeks in and exhausted, can’t imagine someone that has been here for months or years. Pray for little Benti that his lungs and heart would get the healing in the night and weeks to come. Pray for his family, that they too would get better. Pray for rest. Love you all and am so grateful for how you have supported this ministry…we could not do it without you all.