Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What a day....

What a day...it started with a simple sit, hanging with the guys and the kids. As we were sitting made a little friend named Robins. While we sat there we watched a woman carry about 5-7 buckets of water on here head. Back and forth...the women work here. I thought I knew work, but I didn't know work until today. We saw that over and over today...

Ryna, is a nurse and today we had the chance to walk through the allies of the shanties and talk with the women. She was hoping to better understand the needs of the women, struggles, lifestyles. We visited about 15 homes. Every home we visited, there was a woman, but no man. We got to talk with some more than others, but the common denominator was the man was absent. The woman was raising the children. We met with one woman that left me without words and stumbling on my thoughts. We came down the alley and walked behind the sheet to find a woman sitting in a one room "home." She had three large washing buckets. She was hard at work washing. The washing buckets, her sitting, and the twin bed, piles of clothes took up the entire room. It was probably the size of a van, maybe an SUV. We talked for a bit to find that she doesn't work. She expects the father of her children to come every month, maybe. When we asked where her and her 3 children slept she pointed to the twin bed that was up against the wall. A twin, I complain about a twin and it is just me. The walls were tin, the roof was tin, it was far from a home, but it was her place. It is so deep here. The poverty, the oppression, the struggles, it leaves your head spinning and spinning, trying to grab hold and comprehend something. What makes sense? At the end of the day, it is God. His peace passes our understanding. At the end of the day you hold fast to his love, his grace, and his promises and you continue to keep the faith and fight the good fight.

As we walked farther we came to another house. On the tin wall was written, "Tann Bondye, Kwe nan Jezi, Gen puisans pou Bondye." I had to smile at what was written. Wait for God, Believe in Jesus, Have patience for God. In a shanty, in the middle of Cite Soleil, I was reading the very words that I struggle to do daily, that I believe we as people struggle to do. It is so hard to wait on the Lord and to have patience in his time. I know I don't even know the half of what it means to wait on the Lord. I wait a day for something and it is too long. These people have been waiting for years. I visit with these people and listen to their hearts, waiting, praying, and continue to be amazed and humbled. It is a true testimony.

In my head today I kept hearing the word, "revival." Lord, I want to see a revival in this place. I want to see men love their wives with passion, patience, and honesty. I want to see a revival for the children, their hearts to know the beauty and richness of you, how you provide. A revival where people come together and worship in unity. A revival for the women, where they don't have to work day to day, but they can have the freedom to live and joyful come together.

Still processing the day...working to be present, open to listening, displaying love.

Finished the day with a fruitful meeting and hopeful planning for the next couple of days. We let the kids crawl on us a bit. The smell of urine and dirty hands in my hair was nothing to scare me away. Might have scabies by the end of the week, but grateful for his grace, his love and how he continues to move in Haiti.

Continue to pray for our time here. Pray for the time in Cite Soleil. Pray for the days ahead that is would bear fruit. Pray that we would have fruitful conversation with our leaders in Cite Soleil. Pray for time with the women. Pray that God would continue to reveal and help us determine our steps.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Brushing Away Guilt, a Day of Waiting, Ended with a Meeting that Humbled and Brought Energy

The morning was quiet, Ryna and I took some time to read and had the thought of heading out to get some lunch and check out a place that makes flip flops in Haiti. We were supposed to head into Cite Soleil in the afternoon. Everything went not as planned. I have learned to not schedule in Haiti. God teaches me patiently enduring every time I am here. Today we were sitting and waiting and felt like God said,"Just wait, be patient, let me work in my timing."

We headed to lunch and it was actually very hard to embrace. Went to another hotel to get lunch with a friend. Walking into the hotel, the restaurant, the people, the smells, everything about it screamed, "I feel so guilty being here." The wait staff brought us a glass, poured our water. In the distance a man was smoking a cigar, the smell made me want to vomit. Not because I couldn't handle the smell, but because with the smell of that cigar I thought about the money that was poured into the cigar, their lunch, our lunch, the hotel, the pizza we ordered. As I sat there, had the hardest time enjoying the pizza. Thought about our friends in Cite Soleil, the food they would not eat, the education they would not receive, the church they could not attend. I got home and had to brush my teeth. I told Ryna, it was like, "brushing away my guilt." Hard moment of the day.

We thought we would get into Cite Soleil and ended up staying at the hostel and having a meeting with the man that we work with in Cite Soleil. I left it humbled and amazed by the strength that God has given him. Humbled and encouraged as I listened to this man's passion for his people and city. I wish I could have recorded it and played it for you all. It is so hard to communicate through words. You listen to his heart, hear his burdens, and listen to his dreams, and you are humbled at his perspective of it all.

Today we talked more about the children living on the streets. His vision to raise leaders in the community of Cite Soleil. My head hurts from all the thinking and my notepad is packed with notes, but the meeting was God. That is the only way to explain it. I feel like he moves every time we sit down and talk together. I wish I could write all my notes out because my brain is going a thousand miles a minute, but I will save you from that. The neatest thing we talked about today was looking at land in hopes to build a "home." The reason I put home in quotation marks is because we talked a lot about the actions of a child living on a street. We talked about how it needs to be a choice for the children living on the street. It needs to be a haven, a place of refuge, a place where they learn to trust you, and then THEY WANT TO STAY. They will not stay if they don't trust you. He had the neatest idea, "What if we had a bus that could pick up street kids, bring them to the home and then bring them back to the streets at night." It is a safe place, a haven, they learn to trust you, and when they have gotten to a place they let go and trust you completely, THEY STAY. Neat to visualize a bus picking up kids and bringing them to a place, a haven, a home. Street ministry in full effect and a hopeful true transformation as you begin to walk life with these children and youth.

That was an earfull...sorry about that. This might be debrief time for me. The day ended with smiles and another night of FLAN. This flan thing has become a running joke with us here. We are staying at a hostel and this is the fourth night we have had flan. People are now mocking me for it....makes us laugh. So the day of thinking, guilt, patient enduring, ended with a smile and FLAN.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Some images from the North...

Veronica, the little girl we met that had TB. Happy, Happy

A walk into the moutains brought these images....

Another day....it was a day of seeing and thinking a lot. We had the chance to visit a home outside of Port-au-Prince. The couple is supporting a home that houses 21 Haitian children. Amazing to see it up and working. Had some great conversation with them about there process of getting to Haiti, how the home functions, learning, asking, and seeing how God is moving in there lives. Before we left the children had a chance to sing for the people that were visiting. As they harmonized together, had to close my eyes and be amazed at how God is moving in this country.

A friend that works at the home had a chance to share this video with us. He recently watched it at a conference in Haiti. Today we watched it together and watching it again. I would encourage all of you to watch it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxASM44gPlU. Compelling, moving, challenging. Makes me think about how we have and are moving in Haiti.

It can be a bit overwhelming, but working to be patient and be faithful in the little things and praying that God will continue to determine our steps. Being faithful by listening, praying, embracing what God is giving us. Tomorrow is another day...into Cite Soleil in hopes to deeper root ourselves in the community and listen to the people. Hopeful to look at land this week and dig the vision of a future home deeper and talk about working with the children living on the streets.

We are having a grand ole time. Still smiling, still eating flan. Till tomorrow....continue to pray that God reveals his plan for us, pray for our patience and strength, pray for safety, pray that God would show us the land. Pray that God would expand our territory. Pray that we would follow him and not try to orchestra our own steps. Today we read this verse, "Proverbs 20:24-25

24 The LORD directs our steps,
so why try to understand everything along the way?

Sometimes this is me, more than sometimes. I always try to understand everything along the way. I try to look 20 steps ahead and understand what is going to happen. We read this verse today and just had to smile at God lightly tapping me on the shoulder saying, "Just trust me, I will direct you."

So another day....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Moto, a Hot Box, a Bus, and 80 people

What a night! Went into Port-de-Paix last night and spent the night at a friends house. Snuggled up with Ryna in a twin bed and the room had to be the temperature of 90 degrees. It was brutal, woke up at one and actively had to focus on not being too hot. Woke up at 145 and made the walk to the bus to come back to Port-au-Prince. It is one adventure after the next. This time around we were traveling in the night. brutal, hahah. This time around we had nine people across the seat. This is a normal school bus. Usually you put three to a seat, maybe. Nope, not on the Haitian bus. 9 across, feel asleep on a kid and got woken up by another Haitian. Priceless, the blanc falling asleep on a kid. We had to have about 80 people on the bus. Brutal!

Woke up again to Back Street Boys playing at 4 in the morning. If the road didn't give us a headache, it was the Haitian music, with a little mix of Celion Dion cranking through the speakers that were directly above our heads. hahah. It is one of those stories that I will tell my grandchildren...."When your grandmother was 28..." We made it back safely and getting dolled up to go to a Haitian wedding. The man that we work with in Cite Soleil is getting married today. A day to rejoice. Leah is putting on a dress for the very first time in Haiti.

Tomorrow we head out to visit a home that is outside of Port-au-Prince. We hope to visit, hear their story, learn from them, meet their children, and see where God leads us. Then back into Cite Soleil next week to enjoy time with the community, vision, and spend some time with the children. Day by day...that is how we go here:) Love you all. Continue to pray for our safety, time in Cite Soleil, vision time with the leaders, and time that we will be praying about a hopeful one day home. Love you all and we could not do it without you all! More pictures when I get home, the internet is slow here.

Veronica and the North

Great to be up North and visit people and plan for the summer. Had a time to sit with some of our youth workers and it was great to hear about some of their ideas to strengthen the camp and make it more fruitful for the children and community. Most of all it was neat to see that leadership in them. Had some time with the Pastors and was able to think about hopeful steps for the camp and community. Encouraging and fruitful. The trip has been neat in that we have been able to vision more with the relationships that we have already formed. We are working at creating some youth workshops for the summer. We were talking with the workers about gifts we could teach the children. Gifts that are already in the community. We were able to pinpoint a couple of them and get some research on them in hopes to implement them this summer.

Funny moments of the time in the North:
Ryna saved a goat. It was laying in the middle of the road. We walked house to house trying to figure out who the goat belonged to. It was hilarious to hear each house call to the next house by saying, "The blancs are trying to bring you a goat." We finally found a home for it.

Neatest moments of the trip up North:
Veronica was this little girl in the hospital. I think she was 8. When we first arrived I couldn't believe her back. She had been diagnosed with TB. The doctor didn't know how long she had it before she came to the hospital. They think it had been for awhile since her spine was the way it was. I hate making this comparison, but she walked and ran like the cartoon character, Hunchback of Notre Dame. But I will tell you something, the JOY and HOPE that little girl radiated was so humbling. I have never seen such a happy child. So happy, she would see us and come running down the hall. One day she sang for me and I played it back to her and I could not believe the way her face beamed. Her joy was beautiful. It was humbling as I think about the things I worry about in my day to day living and her is a 8 year old girl smiling away and her back will never be the same, but she is a fighter, she will make it and make it with a smile. Wish you could hear her sing, my word....made my heart smile.

Another moment where I saw God. This morning we were waiting for the bus, at 2 a.m. (that is another story) but as we were waiting 6 boys came out from behind the buses. They looked about 8-11 and I had to assume they were boys living on the streets. How they interacted and just had this God feeling that he was bringing me face to face with the future vision of Making Roots. Just watched them, observed them, their sassy hearts, their smiles, their rough around the edges spirits. Had this moment of, "Lord this is where I want to be, in the streets with these kids. I want to learn from them, understand them, know their needs, share joy and Christ with them, love them, teach them." Neat moment at 2 a.m. under the Haitian sky. This week we are going to be digging deeper about the hopeful vision of a home for boys living on the streets. Neat to learn, vision, and watch what the Lord reveals.

First Adventure...."The White People Have Yet to Pee"

Where to start? We had about 5 days off from Cite Soleil so we decided to head North to see friends in Passe Cataboise and do some planning for the summer. We heard the bus was 250.00 and we decided to look into the choice of the bus. When I say bus, I mean a school bus. No Grey Hound...a flashy school bus with the words "God is Everything" across the front. We were packed onto the bus, 6 across. We were told not to drink anything because the bus does not stop. We are ready to go, but the bus wasn't. We sat there for two hours. First it was the horn of the bus and then we had a flat tire....what does everyone do when we have a flat tire? They got off the bus and got water. Not the blancs:) We stayed on the bus and refused to drink because we didn't have to pee an hour down the road. The first half the road was paved and swift, the second half was a rollercoaster. Once we hit the rocky, dirt road it was an adventure. There was one mountain we were climbing, felt like being on a rollercoaster. A slow, steady climb to the tip of a big drop. Our bus hit the top of the crest and then it was all down hill. Ahead we saw a bridge and the bus didn't look to aligned with the bridge. All you can think is, "Have a little faith." We made it. To top the trip off, the last hour the women in the back were wailing because they had to pee. The bus driver finally stopped. After everyone loaded back on we heard some guy talking about the "blancs." He was saying, "The Haitians keep peeing and the blancs haven't gone once." To this Ryna responded, "Because we didn't drink anything." OOO, we laughed. Love that they observe us so well...hahaha. We made it safe and sound up North. This picture doesn't do it justice, but this is a photo of the front of the bus.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Where's Waldo Wilfete in Haiti???

How did the morning start? We were off to pick up our friend at the bus station. He is coming to visit for a couple of days. We arrived to find that we could not find him. Picture a bus station in the states....now take that all away. A bus station in Haiti is about 10-15 school buses lined up and craziness all around it. Our driver had to run back and find another person at the hotel so we climbed out to keep looking for our friend. It was like looking for Waldo in the books Where's Waldo. Hundreds of Haitians at the market, getting on the bus, here there and everywhere. We felt like we were in a Where's Wilfete book in the middle of Haiti. A couple of phone calls later we found out that we were at the wrong station, jumped in the car again and found our friend. What a process, all in a day in Haiti.

Today we had some good time catching up, talking about the summer camp from last year and how to make it better and reach more children that are in the mountains. Next year we are going to spend a couple of days hiking into the hills to find the children that don't get to head to school and church. We dashed into Cite Soleil for a couple of hours to sit around the table with a couple of leaders from the community. It was an amazing brainstorming session where we got to hear more from the leaders, see where their hearts are and where they want their city to go and more specifically the deeper needs of the city, a need of more leadership from the adults. It has been neat to watch this community work together. It is really unique. To see leadership rise up.

This is short, up at 5, but love you all. Thankful for how you continue to support. Continue to pray that God would reveal his heart for Cite Soleil and her people. Pray for a covering. Pray for our partner Robinson, he is getting married on Saturday. We are excited to attend and watch him celebrate this day. Many adventures ahead. I will be away from computer until Friday...so till next time....

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cite Soleil...and Flan..a.k.a, bread soaked in????

Day two in Cite Soleil. The streets are full of noise. We have been taking a moto in with the man that we work with. Today we had a chance to enjoy some time with the children. We got a chance to facilitate an activity with the children, painted crosses on canvas. Neat to just what them engage, be children. Yesterday I found myself observing the children interact. Quickly came more and more aware of how many of the children display mannerisms that are learned from the street. I took 30 minutes to try and talk with two girls that had been hitting and biting each other. One of the girls seemed to get it, hear it and respond well. About ten minutes later she had a rock in her hand and was threatening to throw it at a little boy. I see more and more how one has to adapt to his/her environment.

Today we learned that there are 34 zones in Cite Soleil. Another 33 areas that are similar to Boston, Cite Soleil, or even worse. Before we left I had a woman pray that we would hear mighty testimonies. That has been a prayer on my heart, to hear the testimonies of people in Cite Soleil.

When we are in the streets in Cite Soleil one can see the poverty, the open sewer, but it is not until you dig deeper that you see the deeper hardships that people walk through. Yesterday we visited a "home" of an elder in the community. It was a room 6 feet by 11. His clothes were hanging on nails, a sheet on the floor that was called "bed" and a small file cabinet and a couple bowls for food. This is home to this man. A space the size of many of our cars. When it rains the water comes it is a night without sleep. Think it is harder and harder to understand....

Had a great meeting with some community members that would like to support the summer camp in Cite Soleil. Some community members with small trade talents who would like the idea of using the camp as a place to teach the children about different talents. It was neat to hear them converse and talk about their ideas, hopes for the children, what Cite Soleil needs, how a community can support each other. We started thinking and planning for the summer. Thinking in a deeper way how we can equip, empower, and enrich the children's lives.

Today as we were heading out of Cite Soleil I was overwhelmed by the poverty, the oppression, and the continuing pull of God saying, "reach my children with a home." It is an overwhelming thought and prayer...then I came home tonight home and read this, "Instead, the scope and impact of your vision will be determined by who you believe God is-and whether you have the courage to respond accordingly." Do I believe that God can build this home? Do I believe that God can ordain and align the steps for this vision? Who do we believe God to be? Should our scopes and visions be larger than they are? It was a neat confirmation as I do believe that God can do the impossible and that while the scope of this vision seems impossible, that is right where God loves to work and be present. So tonight in the midst of being overwhelmed, we push forward and fight the good fight. Another day in Cite Soleil tomorrow....love the hearts of these people.

The funny moment of these last two nights has been "dessert" at dinner. I have been calling it flan, I hate flan. I don't even know what it is in the states, let alone what it is here. We have had it two nights in a row. Tonight we have determined it is bread soaked in....maybe eggs, a little sugar, evaporated milk, cinnamon...while it looks weird I somehow keep eating it. I keep blaming it on the tape worm I don't have....got to love fake flan and a good day in Cite Soleil.

Love you all, thank you for all your prayers, your joy, your support in this adventure. Please continue to pray for our time in Cite Soleil that he would reveal more and more of the steps we should take. Until the next blog...love you all

Thursday, February 16, 2012

And we are Back....and met a Haitian Mami

It is so good to be back here. The smells, the heat, the people, it is the same. The smiles continue to be contagious. The people are so welcoming and so good to see the same faces. The trip was amazingly easy. I got all our bags, every plane was early, freakishly weird.

On our flight in we acquired a Haitian "Mami" a grandmother. She was just precious. Step off the plane and she is wearing a down coat, two sweaters, and shuffling off the plane. She did not know any English and she was all by herself with 3 carry ons, and trying to get two checked bags. She became our side kick. We shuffled through customs, helped her get her bags and found her connecting person. So precious....she chatted our ears off. I could not believe she went to the states and back by herself without knowing the language, crazy.

We are at the hotel and into Cite Soleil tomorrow. Excited to see what the Lord breaks open on this trip. Today we thought about spending a day to go and sit with the children on the street. Most days they wait at stop lights and clear windshields. We talked about going to spend a day with them. Sit with them, work with them, work to understand a bit deeper the hardship of being a child on the street. I know, it is a weird and crazy idea, but we are going with the spirit. Leaving wide open space for him to move. Excited, ready and trying to listen and be patient. Thank you all for your prayers and support. We could not do it without you all!