Wednesday, July 22, 2015

“How can you think about heaven, when you can’t eat today?”

Haiti always has moments where you hear pieces of the rawness to life. The week has been going well! The kids are full of energy and joy. I have made a “new friend.” One of the youth that has been attending the afternoon workshops has asked, “If he could be in my friend group.” I had to chuckle, “Sure buddy!” He was the same boy that asked if he could come to my wedding in October. He is precious. Said he is making me earrings for my wedding day…have at it buddy! Talks my ear off. He asks some really random questions, but it is fun to sit with him and chat and laugh. The children love that I am getting married! They want to come in my suitcase home so they can go. I told them that the police would have a big problem with me! We have laugher and enjoyed the presence of JOY in the church. I have had a lot of moments. Haiti often gives you moments! Some moments where you loose it with laughter, some moments where your heart aches, moments where you just need to be still. The rawness of Cite Soleil came from seeing three different men at three different times carrying BIG guns like it was part of life. Gangs have been going back and forth. Today the community communicated to me, “That you will see that, its war.” It’s frustrating. It doesn’t make sense. It’s the weirdest sight to watch a man holding an AK47 walk past you while you are sitting with a group of children on the front stoop of a church and the children pay him no mind. It’s normal! The rawness of Cite Soleil. Moment where my heart ached that children have to call that “normal.” Moment where I laughed….Waiting in an alley for the 100 pate (food) we ordered for camp. A Haitian child was giving me a joke and asking me what language I spoke. I told him English, to which I asked him what language he spoke. To which he stated, “The language of a GOAT.” OOOO, this should be good! Leah enters the joke by saying, I speak goat as well, to which I begin to speak in goat sounds. Classic, as he responds in goat sounds. Sounds stupid, right? OOO, but we did this for five minutes and had about 10 deep laughing with us! I love those moments, laughter and being ridiculous with adults and children. Haitians have such a great sense of humor, fun to sit with them in the jokes! Tonight I got to sit with my good friend Louvenet. I met him the year I lived here, in 2007. He was one of the first children that I came to know and we began to learn English and Creole together. Sat with him for awhile tonight to talk about life in Haiti, his life, my life, catch up! He is 21 now. He talked about how “hard” it is up North because they don’t find rain and the drought is so bad. Worst he has ever seen. Louvenet loves Jesus with all his heart, maybe more than me. Tonight as we were talking he said, “Its hard to think about Heaven, when you can’t eat today.” We sat in that statement for awhile. What is hunger? Have I ever really known hunger? Nope! When hunger consumes you how it takes your mind off of what is pure and lovely, heaven. I told him I know I don’t really understand that statement because I have never had that kind of hunger. He said, “It has to be Haitians helping Haitians, but how? I have no doors to knock on.” So frustrating to be in that conversation with him because I look at a gifted man who could blow it up for his community, for Jesus, for his family, and then I see him in Haiti and how the great struggle of this country can consume his being. It makes my heart ache. Louvenet told me tonight in the politest way possible that I will never get it. It was humbling and I agree. I can be a presence in this country, be a listener, be a bridge, be a light, be a piece to the community, but I will never get the magnitude of what it means to worship through the struggle in this country.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pictures from the summer!

From top to bottom: Jonathan, sweet boy that came to the second week. We sang one day and he just danced and danced. Jumping rope! They wipe that rope so hard that sometimes it knocks kids over! Sun after a rainstorm! Louvenet (youth workers) helping one of the kids color his emblem for his Haitian flag craft. Our theme of the weeks was, "We love because he first loved us." The heart was a craft to represent the theme. Last two pictures are of us playing drums! Throwing down and jumping up!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Goliyat ak David Highlight of today was the theater for David and Goliath. Made a makeshift shield, helmet, and spear for Curtis. Made a makeshift slingshot, and shackle for Chodley and we were off to a great ti theater for the children. Curtis didn’t know a lick of Creole, but somehow the skit was amazing. Curtis, (Goliath) fell face down to the ground. The pictures below explain it all! Good day, week two almost over. We are up to 67 children, Lord help us. We are surviving and we are healthy. The youth workers continue to amaze me as they step up and work together. So neat to see how much they have grown together and how well they work together. Neat to see how the years have grown up strong workers. They truly carry the camp. They lead the worship, they lead the activities, and know how to manage the games. I find myself sitting back more and more, such a blessing and refreshing to see unfold as it is a hope a day will come that we will give it over and let them go!

Raised Hands!! Mwen Sezi

Today was the first day of week two! We are in Passé Cataboise and the first day we hit 67 children..hahaha, O Lord, I don’t know what I was thinking, but ok! Bring them on! Ryna, said we should just do 70 and call it a week☺ Love her! The first day of camp…I decided to explain to the children if they needed something, they needed to raise their hand and then explain to a grown person what they needed. I didn’t expect them to actually implement the request….but wouldn’t you know…one by one they raised their hands to ask for more glue, to go the bathroom, get a drink of water. I left dumbfounded and amazed…hahah, I have been doing camp for 8 years and I have never had the children actually listen to that request. Day one done…we created butterfly mask, bracelets, play “cat and mouse” with the parachute…had a little diri ak sauce pwa for lunch…it was a good day. The high of my day was hiking into the valley with Curtis and Wenge, a 5 year old Haitian. Wenge, decided to come with us and proceeded to tell us 32 year olds that we should follow him. While that sounds like a dumb idea, being 32 years old and allowing a 5 year old to lead…I promise that in Haiti the child has walked or ran the foot paths that he/she is about to take you on…and it is often in your best interest to listen and follow. We followed and it lead to an adventure into a valley, through a cornfield, janbe (cross) a river, into Wenge grandfather’s garden where we proceeded to watch the cows drink from the river. After that, Curtis decided to take a break and Wenge, the 5 year old says, “We can sit to look at the country!” Precious, we sat, enjoyed the view. Neat night! We are all still healthy, thank you Jesus! Praying daily that God holds fast our healthy bodies! We are always blessed to have you support! Thank you for praying and continuing to send finances to make this all unfold! Such a blessing!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Big Boy…Cite Soleil…135 children/youth…WE be CRAZY

Hard to believe the first week is done. It went amazingly well. God showed up in so many mighty ways. First, I was able to get three bags onto the plane in Boston. The Delta ma, Ousmar, allowed me to take three bags, which was a blessing in itself. Got all of them in Haiti. Curtis, Ryna and I all showed up to Haiti safe and sound. 1, 2, 3…Cite Soleil it was on! We were able to employ 23 people last week, which was so neat in itself. Neat to watch everyone work in one accord. Watch the teachers skillfully set up their workshops, and pour into the youth as they taught them a skill. Neat to watch the youth absorb what was being taught. The children were so loud for camp. We said that the camp was for children ages 6-9, but I am pretty sure that we had some 3 and 4 year olds. This was affirmed as on the last day, one of the 3 year olds decided to whip out his penis and pee on the church floor. Yup…nope…take it outside buster! The camp went great. Curtis was nicknamed “big boy.” The name was kept by the children and our workers. Many were amazed of his height and mass. The last day our Haitian partner challenged the children to try and pick him up. Imagine all 65 children running at a 6’2” 250 lbs, man and work to pick him up. PRECIOUS and priceless. They did not succeed, but great effort. Highlights of the week were jumping rope with the children. Having a neat conversation about not fighting with some of the gang leaders, enjoying watching the youth. Watching our workers become invested in the camp. We had one worker run home to change his shirt so he could rip his shirt and put red paint on it. We were “performing” the Good Samaritan story, and Owl, was the man that was beat up. The ripped shirt and red paint….added effects:) people loved it. We have made it safely to the North after a 6-hour bus ride of being crammed on a bus. We are showered, covered in deet, healthy. Continue to pray for safety, health, and against mosquitoes. We love you all! Pictures are hard to load as it takes to long in the mountains, will load many on August 9th!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Learning to be an artist!
Ryna hanging with the trouble makers...they gave us a run for our goudes.
Paloulou, one of our teachers that worker with the children to make jewelery.
Sewing it out!
Mario and W getting into the skit of the day, The Good Samaritan
Went to visit a town up in the mountains, these children were waiting to greet us!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Last Day...

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.