Monday, August 29, 2011

More photos...

Some recent pictures of our time in Cite Soleil.

Painting, time with the children, and more to come. Thanks for all your support and prayers!

Last Day in Cite Soleil

Last day of camp. Last day of painting, what a day. In the hot Haitian sun for five hours without water, I thought I was crossing the desert and I had not drunken water for four days. The camp was great. Could not have asked for a better first year. The staff was amazing support. The children were a delight, obedient.

Probably my favorite moment was watching the graffiti artist today. We paid a guy to come in today and throw up some graffiti on the painted walls that we did this year. So fun to watch him work. Such talent in Cite Soleil. Makes me sad and happy all at once. Beautiful talent, but some of the talent that will never be seen or reach its fullest potential because it has no chance to grow outside the walls of Cite Soleil. Today as I watched Adou work I just had to smile at his art and the community coming together to watch, support, and pick words and verses to put on the wall. At one point he had to paint the outside of a bridge that was going over the open, sewer canal. They dropped the ladder down into the open sewer and Adou climbing over the ledge of the bridge and started ROCKING it out. So fun to watch him work. He wrote, “Kenbe’m, si’w kapab.” Hold me if you can. Thought that was so neat and powerful all at once. Hold me if you can. Cite Soleil is tough, but we are asking as a community to come together and work together, hold me it you can. Pretty neat place. We had about thirty people out today watching and taking it in. Just neat to see the community come together and watch it unfold.

The afternoon we took off to watch a karate lesson, which was a highlight of the day. A friend of mine runs karate for some of the boys in the community, twice a week. SO fun to watch him work with the boys. Fun to watch the boys engage, smile, and embrace karate, respect the leadership, and love it. Left with a smile today. This place continues to captivate me and draw me in. Looked out over Cite Soleil today and just had to smile at how God is moving in the midst of struggles. So neat to see him move in the community, in the hearts of the people, in the hearts of the leaders. This part of Cite Soleil is truly unique in that as you watch the people engage it looks like family. It is a community of people that HOLD EACH OTHER IF THEY CAN.

Tired, but happy. Grateful for this opportunity and thankful to all of you for supporting us with prayers, donations, and love.

A Look at Land..Crazy

Today we got to see a piece of land. As we drove down the road it opened up into a piece of land that had nothing on it. It was an open piece of land and in the middle of it was two big mango trees. Neat to see these huge trees in the middle of the lot. As we talked with the owner it became a bit more real that God is expanding borders. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but I believe that he is taking us to another level. Expanding myself, Making Roots, us in Haiti. The neatest part was that while we were looking at the land 9 boys all the sudden showed up behind us with a soccer ball. They stood there and were just checking out what we were doing. Some of you know that my sister and I have felt very called to starting a home for boys living on the streets in Cite Soleil. Our number was 8-10 boys. As those 9 boys stood there it was almost like a vision of what was to come. Made me smile. Felt like God was quietly speaking to me in the midst of a open, not yet known lot of land. Another day..thankful for new beginnings.

Slinging Paint

Another day in the Soleil. What a day. We had the older children today and they were amazing again. We hit up tye die today, which was a blast as they had never done it before and it was something new and fun for them. It is safe to say that I have never been this tired. Think I just ate enough for a family of five. So hungry and tired and it is only 6 and already thinking about bed tonight.

Precious moments today had to be the greeting smiles of the children as we rolled into Cite Soleil this morning. Painting with the guys this afternoon and enjoying color in Cite Soleil. On Monday we have a graffiti artist coming in to spray up a storm. Excited to collectively brainstorm what we want to write on the walls and bridges. We have painted three walls, three bridges, and three telephone poles..hahah. As my sister would say, “We are slinging paint.” So Monday Adou is coming in to spray up a storm. He told me he needs 18 cans of spray, so should be an adventure. I asked him how we were going to paint the outside of the bridge seeing as it is a bridge that is right over the sewer cancel. With no hesitation he said that we will stand the ladder in the sewer and paint. I think my expression threw him off, really man! Thoughts in my head…what if you fall in? What if you drop something? What if you fall in? What if you fall in..hahah. He assured me that it would be a.o.k. You got it brotha, lets roll!

The guys that have been working for us have been great. Today I got to go into a home in Cite Soleil and the little shanty opened up into a room that was full of tin artwork. So neat to look at….a thriving artist making it work in Cite Soleil. Beautiful work. Amazed me. Love getting to know more and more of the people. Been so blessed ot have the chance to be in this place and share friendship with them.

Camp has been good. My moment today was when I asked the children to write their names on their papers. The age group today was 12-15. I had a boy raise his hand and say that he could not write his name. He asked in this quiet voice and I could quickly read that he felt shame for this. Wanted to just hug the kiddo. So frustrating. A simple gift of education and this boy has not had the chance of even getting a glimpse of it. Leave here feeling blessed, but also this feeling of how did I get so lucky. Because of where I was born I have already a better chance than a Haitian girl. Just doesn’t seem far.

We are healthy and smiling. Just started to down pour. Between the rain and how tired I am, I might just fall asleep at 6 tonight. Want to continue to say thank you for all your support and prayers in this time.

Want to send out a prayer request. Have a friend that is suffering from bumps all over his body. Started on his arms and has slowly spread all over his body. He has been to the hospital and they can’t give him any explanation of what it is. They are extremely painful. This might seem like a small prayer, but it is causing him so much pain. I just ask that you pray for a healing of his body or also pray that we might be able to get help from doctors in the states to figure out what it is. He is such an amazing man that pours into the community and children. His spirit amazes me. He heart to support us, love on the children, and work with his fellow community members. I just ask that you pray for a healing of his body. Woke up this morning and just asked God to make them disappear. Thought how amazing that would be. For them to just disappear.

Love you all! I am home on Friday. Last day in Cite Soleil on Monday. Tuesday is quiet work day. Wednesday I am hitting the beach baby. Thursday work and visit friends. Friday home. Pray for strength in the team and pray that we would continue to grow together for the name of Jesus.

A Whole Notha Level

So tired that is seems like a whole nother level. My toes hurt and I think my eyelids might even need some Advil, but we are surviving. Been a crazy adventure and I tell you I have seen God’s power and strength in a whole notha level. It has been amazing how he has provided just enough or made it happen when there was no way. He keeps showing up. So powerful and neat to see.

Camp in Cite Soleil ..where to start First year that we have ever tried it out and it has been going with grace. Been surprised, but it has been awesome to see the strength in the workers and see the children smile and just embrace joy together. Made a friend with a smart alick and he has become my favorite. First day I asked him what his name was and he responded with, “Mesi.” So I started calling him that and now I guess we are best friends because he is right by my side. Painted with us today and each day he finds me. Played baseball with him today. Was fun to laugh and just be.

Yesterday I got to sit in the back of a pick up truck for an hour and chat faith, God, government, and Haiti with a couple of guys. Those are some of my favorite moments in Haiti. Getting the chance to talk with them, hear their hearts, hear their struggles, hear their triumphs, share prayer, embrace friendships, laugh and joke together. Grateful for those moments. Sometimes I think we as people always need to be doing something, giving something, serving, and we miss the beauty of just being people together. Love being people with the people of Haiti.

Been painting in the afternoons and that has been another level. We have been covering ground with paint. So fun to see color in Cite Soleil. It is pretty gray, so it fun to bring some yellow, red, blue and orange to the place. Favorite moment today was painting with Mesi and another little boy that is my favorite. He is such a lover. Always wants to be held and quiet, but so helpful. One of his arms does not bend correctly and I think it is because it broke at one point in his life and did not heal properly. But somehow he always finds a way to hold a paintbrush and help us with a smile.

When you first look at Haiti it appears to be deep in poverty and while it is, they are some of the richest people I have ever met. The other night I got to hear a man retell his story of the night of the earthquake. As he told me about the day in such detail, it felt like it had to be yesterday. He accounted the sounds of screams after it hit, the movement of his car, walking home because he could not pass by car, praying that he would find his family. As he told me his story I wanted to weep for this place. A day that will be marked in their history and it will be too hard to explain. But what amazed me in his story was his strength and his continuing adoration for God. This country may be the “poorest county in the western hemisphere,” but in all my travels I have never met a richer people group than the Haitians. Their faith, their strength, their ability to smile through suffering, their love to serve, their strength in dreaming and visioning, their hope for their children, their adoration for our God is so rich, it humbles you and for me challenges my personal faith and perspective of life. Continue to be grateful to be immersed in Haiti, in the midst of God’s kingdom on earth.

Continue to pray for safety, the team, the camp, the afternoons of painting and time with the workers. Pray that we would have the opportunity to grow deeper into the heart of Cite Soleil. Love you all! Thank you for your support and love.

Cite Soleil...last week of Haiti

So our car ended up not working out. Who would have thought we would have rolled out in class? A pick up truck, a hired tap tap for the day, with some rocking tinwork on the back and plastered all on the truck was “Jesus loves me.” Yeah yeah. Roll out peeps. Into the soleil today. So it was the first day, first time we tried camp in Cite Soleil. My prayer last night was that it would be calmer than expected. We showed up and the children were already inside waiting for us. We usually take an hour to set up, prepare, and let workers know what is happening, but ok…lets do it was the game plan today. One, two, three and it was game on. Went great…children were absolutely precious and happy. Almost seems like another level. Some of you know, but we believe that that God is calling us to work more directly with the boys living on the street. Today as I was in there working with the children I had this moment of, “Lord I think you are drawing me closer and closer to that vision.” I have to believe that half those children in there today were or have lived on the streets. Being able to work alongside them today and just be joyful was a blessing from God. It was good to be back today…seeing all the familiar faces, catching up, rambling Creole, laughing, and playing.

Hardest part was when the rain hit hard today. The church building we were in (a cement building with a tin roof) began to leak so bad that I literally had to move the children three times. Within 20 minutes our floor was covered in water. Makes your heart sad, a simply thing such as a roof is even hard to have in Cite Soleil. I thought about schoolrooms, people sleeping at night, churches. Almost so frustrating because it is that simple, a roof, but it is not there.

The camp has surprisingly been going great. The children are happy, respectful, loving it. Thank you Jesus. The boys in the group today were supposed to be troublemakers, but they were great. Funny, happy, full of energy. Was neat to see their energy displayed like that. Hear their sarcasm, but also embrace their funniness and moments when they were just happy. Today we took pictures and tomorrow we make frames. Excited to give them pictures. For all these kids I am thinking that not one of them has a picture of themselves, so pretty excited to see their reactions. They truly are precious. My Lord, I want to pack them up and bring them home and just love them like a child should be loved. Hard to come and hard to go, always the case in Haiti.

Today got to chat Creole in the back for a truck for an hour with some of our workers. Those are some of my favorite times. Being with the people, knowing more about their hearts, their land, their struggles, and their triumphs. Been a humbling experience, but continue to be so grateful for it. Been so good to see everyone.

We get to look at land on Saturday..crazy…excited to see where the Lord is leading. Just hear him saying, “I will expand your borders.” We are healthy, tired, but healthy. Many mosquitoes bites, but grateful it is not cholera or malaria. God has been good in covering our bodies with safety. Another day tomorrow, continue to pray for safety and time with the community. Pray that they would see God in all of this.