Saturday, July 28, 2012

We are going to Die, but we Love this Place!

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 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: )

Crazy Night...The Lord Reigns

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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Week TWO in the Mountains, Day One…Ryna bought a Machete…

Week TWO in the Mountains, Day One…Ryna bought a Machete… Day one of week two…we passed a good and restful weekend. It was a bit tiring as many people come for little chats (need something), gets a bit exhausting, but try to embrace each one in remembering patience and love. Got to cook corn with Jean Kelly in the woods yesterday…Ryna and I said, if ever a time that we were going to get cholera it would have been yesterday because Jean Kelly was cooking on the ground and dusting the dirt and ashes off the corn with his hand..hahah, guess you let go. A couple of nights ago, woke up feeling sick and feeling like vomiting might be in my cards. Prayed my heart out…Lord, if I get sick this week is going to be brutal. Prayer is a beautiful thing here. You become completely dependant on the Father. In the states it is so easy to loose sight of praying and a deep need to ask God for prayers because everything is at the tip of your fingers or easier to orchestra for yourself. Haiti, if you re hungry, without a garden, and many children, you pray. If you are sick, without a doctor and medicine, you pray. There is a scripture in 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. I see the oppressors and they have great, great power and then I see the children trying to fight with what little energy, knowing, of strength they have. I see tears of children that are oppressed by hunger in Haiti, oppressed by the poverty of his/her situation, oppressed by an elder, oppressed by slavery, oppressed by lack of education, oppressed by not have the opportunity to worship in a church, oppressed. Feel like God is giving me a heart that wants to go deeper and deeper with children that are this verse…go deeper in prayer and deeper in asking for the impossible and opportunity to be a comforter to these children. To be someone to be a comforter to the oppressed children of this world, but more than that demonstrate and have the opportunity to show and share God’s love with the prayer that God’s love can begin to break a piece of that oppression and expose beauty and opportunity to a child. Week two begins and so grateful for the workers. We started workshops this afternoon, have 3 workshops and was expecting them to have errors, teachers not show up…but once again the Lord proved me wrong, it went great. No errors, teachers were on time, and exceeded all my expectations. Love when God shuts you up…felt shut up today. Loved it. God continues to provide the right people and supplies and things to demonstrate to the children. We are tired, but holding strong. Today was so neat. We broke out the drums with the children. First time all week, it is another level with this group. You could see that everyone was tired, the counselors, us, the kids. The drums came out and it was another level. End of the day, it didn’t even matter. The girls and some boys are in the middle, running around in a circle with the maracas and singing, “Jericho, walls crushed, Jericho, Jericho.” The boys are sitting on the outside banging the drums with such rhythm, you have to think they are born with that kind of rhythm because it appears to come so naturally. About 10 minutes into the drumming, it almost seems like the beat and the energy is dying off, but it picks up in a way that is hard to explain. The drums get louder, the children laugh harder, the feet move faster, the voices get louder, and the energy increase, it is so contagious that it makes you laugh harder and move faster. Clearly it is the spirit moving thought the drums. I think of the verse in Jeremiah where it talks about running with the horses. Feel like the drums are the sound of the horses storming through the fields. Love it, love the energy, and love what the music does for the children’s hearts and joy. So hard to explain, but my favorite part of the week so far. Love when God breaks through and how he breaks through. Ryna and I are fighting off the rats…haha. Today I come home to a machete on the kitchen table, with a post it on it that said, “Dear rats, the battle is on.” Hhahah, laughed so hard…that is right Ryna, the battle is on. Going to the machete…grateful for all the hands that the Lord has equipped for this trip. He has truly ordained every piece of this trip. A blessing to serve in Haiti, serve our God, and be open to how he wants to move. Love you all, continue to pray for people that are coming in next week and the week after. Pray for the children and the camp, pray that God would continue to move and receive all the glory. Lvoe you all! Thank you for walking in this with us.

Week 3 is Done and the Battle with the Rats is Still ON….

For all the moments that seem to suck the life out of you…like rats or backed up drains…there are so many precious moments that capture you heart in this place. Tonight I headed down to play soccer, really feeling tired and just thinking I was going to deliver the ball and sit and watch. Got there and it was the little boys. We had three on three…all kicked off our flip-flops and played. Love those moments, taking in them having fun, laughing, and heckling each other. I love observing the culture, taking in the language, seeing Haiti for its sweet beauty and richness. Love thinking about how we are on this small island just embracing a game of soccer together. It is those sweet moments that get your through the moments that sometimes make it so challenging that you feel like throwing in the towel. Week 3 is done. Good week, ended it with a party for Jesus and a piƱata. Hahah, always makes me laugh how the children love it with great great smiles. We got blessed with a free gift, kind of crazy. The pastors were really hoping to send children home with bibles. As I was budgeting it appears that we had enough for some, but not all three weeks. The pastor called a friend in the city and he said he had 45 he could give to us for FREE. I laughed because I have never been given anything free here, crazy. We got to hand out bibles yesterday to the children, which was pretty neat in itself, onto of it God giving us 45 free bibles. Next week we are going to try camp and workshops in the afternoon. We found three teachers that are going to come teach the children certain trades that are in the community. Could totally blow up in our faces and not work, but excited to give it a chance and see what happens. Some of our youth workers have done all the leg work for the afternoon, so it has been fun to turn more leadership over to them and have faith in them budgeting for it, talking with the teachers, finding the equipment, and teaching it with the teachers. You never know til you try…I have learned to let more go in Haiti. Fully knowing that it could all fall apart, but have gotten to a sweet place in life that I have learned to fully let it go. There is a verse in the bible that says, “Who can know enough to be his counselor?” Love it for so many reasons, but mostly because just challenges to always know and remember that God is all knowing, all powerful and all I can do is be faithful and know that he will show up in his timing. Today we got to kick it in the woods and cook corn with the boys. Love those times. Jean Kelly is 11. He makes the fire and cooks away. Bare footed and hands in the fire, makes you almost laugh. He talks away and cooks. Just fun to spend time with the kids when they are in their element and embracing Haiti. Thankful for today. Thankful for relationships that we have in Haiti. Thankful that we have a God that is all knowing and always present. Thankful for a God that can bring beauty in the midst of suffering and hardship. Thankful for a God that knows all of us by name. Love you all. Thanks for following us. Such a BLESSING to have you all here with us. Will post pictures when we have more internet in two weeks…until then….love you.

Friday, July 20, 2012

This Little Light of Mine….

Have to say that the candle that Ryna has found in here case from 2009 has in its own way kept me sane. Hahaha. Yesterday morning I heard Ryna screaming from the bathroom..figuring it was a rat. Yup….she flies out of the bathroom, hands shaking, the rat was in the back of the toilet and when she flushed the toilet it scurred out and she climbed on top of the toilet and it was running on the ground, trapped her inside…it is on…the battle of the rats. We recvered and I came to the kitchen and lite the candle…it is bringing us peace. Hahah. Today we came home and we are pretty sure there is another dead one under the oven…what does Leah do, lites the candle. This little light of mine…I am sure that God will make the candle last these three weeks while we are here. This little light of mine…I am going to let it shine…and we have a show down with the rats…its on. Hahah Last night we had to clean another bathroom because the other bathroom is having issues with the pipes…backed up…one thing after the other seems like. Anyway…Ryna and I are cleaning away, laughing because that is all we can do…..but somehow I loose my footing and take the biggest digger in slug water..o we roared laughing. Pretty sure I would have cried my eyes out if Ryna wasn’t here…she has been a sweet, sweet blessing. Got back up, covered in slug water and finished cleaning and then proceeded to go lite our candle..hahahah..this little light of mine. .. We will let it shine..ain’t no Satan gonna drive us nuts with rats, backed up pipes and all that other great jazz. Camp has been going great, the workers have been a sweet blessing. Tomorrow we will be done with our third week, more than hald way through. Kin dof crazy. We got blessed with 40 free bibles to give the kids. Kind of crazy, a man in Port-de-Paix cant sell them anymore and he said he would give them to us. Might be the first time I have ever gotten anything free in Haiti. So tomorrow we are having a party for Jesus. Pinata, dance party, bibles and all…we had children ages 6-8, but pretty sure some of the parents lied about some of the kids ages. Some kids barely talk…and are so tiny. I asked a girl what age she was yesterday and she said, “3” hahahah…yup..that is what I thought. Roll with it. Been neat to just embrace Haiti and it beauty that lie in the people. Have appreciated just watching the children play soccer, laugh together. Yesterday, someone had roller blades that they bought in the city. First time I have ever seen them in Haiti. Wilfete, one of our workers thought it would be a good idea to try them. O Lord, might have been one of the funniest things that unfolded. He stood up, tried to get his balance, went up and down within a minute and continued to say he was scared of them..hahahah, at age 23, scared of roller blades. Ready for rest tomorrow and the weekend to arrive, need sleep and rest. Next week we start week 2 and workshops. Excited to see how they go. Put out youth workers in charge of budgeting and figuring out logistics for me, trying to hand more off to them and give them opportunity to organize and work together. We will be teaching the children a couple of trades that are in the community. Excited to see it unfold and watch the children engage. Today was having a hard time getting going and really felt like staying in bed. Tired, leg is having a weird pain, so hot last night in sleep, was just grumpy…got to camp and looked at the faces of the children and worked myself out of my funk. My life compared to theirs is nothing…my pains and “issues” is nothing compared to what some of these children walk through. Just neat to looked in their eyes this morning as I was struggling with my own self. Grateful for this place and hearts and joy of children.

Candles, Rats, Maggots, and Tranquials, Hail, and Moto Ride with Crackers….Week One Begins..and Thankful for the Little Things

Lord, what a transition. Always makes me laugh. It was graceful getting here and full of laughter. Picture this, three motorcycles in one accord, 80 pound bag on the back of each one, an American squeezed in between the bag and the driver. Ryna said it perfectly, they only time I might have had fear in Haiti was getting to Passe Cataboise on the transportation. Got a pack of crackers at the airport and was eating them on the way out to PC while we were driving. This is an everyday experience on a moto. Moto pulls up beside us and they are having a convo with my driver. They see the crackers and say, “They look good, and can I have one.” I hold it out as to make the gesture if you can get it, SURE. Don’t you know…my driver lines up with their moto and before you know it I am handing off a cracker to both the driver and the passenger and feeding one to my driver. Shared a laugh, love laughing with the Haitians, making jokes as they call it. Part of the journey, embracing life and a bit of laughter. Arrived safely, where we are staying has rats. hHhahaha, another bonus to the trip. They put out poison the day we got here, so both Ryna and I are getting wonderful whiffs of a dead rat. Last night, I said I would love a candle with a smell. Last year my one wish was for popcorn. Ryna keeps a bin here for when she comes back to Haiti. Last year I wished for popcorn and a day later we found her bin and inside was POPCORN. Last night I was talking about the smell and the need for a candle. A bit later Ryna was cleaing and unpacking her bin, and don’t you know inside was a SCENTED candle..hahaha, it was comical. Feel like her box is like Jesus turning water into wine. God, provides this little things that make a difference each year. Provides the big and little things. Last year the popcorn was just a sweet blessing that we needed. The candle this year was a sweet smell that we needed. It has been covering the death of a rat..hahah. Our wonderful Frejal, guard of the hospital, came and found the dead rat. This is good, he finds it and it is covered with maggots and a live tranquila is eating it…hahahah, o Lord, what I wouldn’t do for a clean hotel room right now. Things I am thankful for today: soap, My Ryna, scented candles, coffee, fantastico (random bottle of cleaning supply we bought) and soft bread from the baker: ) Day one finished. It was a weird quiet, think the kids are getting used to us again. They were freakishly quiet. The workers were great, the day was a success. Next week we are hoping to do some workshops with the children in the afternoon and teach them something of a talent. We are pretty tired and excited for Ricky to come in a 2 weeks, to bring the energy. We are going to need it. My body just hurts and sleep is never enough, but we are healthy and good. Having a quiet afternoon in PC. What we thought was rain is actually hail..hahah, never seem that before. The kids keep yelling, “You can eat it.” We keep saying, “Wash it first, ahhh, cholera!!!” Think washing it takes the fun out of it. We are well, day two tomorrow….grateful and resting in his peace today and the week to come. Have a new little worker that finds us in the afternoon. Her name is Michelda. She is 13, I think. She has been kicked out of her house and living with her aunt. Trying to understand it, makes me frustrated. Don’t understand all of it, but because she was kicked out her father is no longer paying for education. She asked if instead of coming to camp, if she could work. It is going to cost about 100 dollars for her to attend school. Less than that. So humbling, 100 dollars and she is willing to work for it, trying to figure it out for herself. They are tough, I will tell you that much…that little Michelda has got more strength that I will ever have. We said she could come help us from 2-4 with prep work for the following day. She was right on time. Sharpening the pencils for camp with a smile…cutting ribbon, all so she can go to school. Humbled by her spirit and drive to attend school. We serve a great great god. I have been reading a book about a woman who has been serving in Africa. She talks about the struggle of trying to understand why she wasn’t born into oppression and struggling, why was she blessed and some aren’t blessed. She writes about how God didn’t give her answer, but she did hear, “It is not for you to know why, but because you weren’t, over your whole life you have a responsibility to care for the poor.” Thought that was so neat…so many questions are hard to answer in Haiti and in this world, and are so often without an answer, that you want to question God. Why do people go hungry? Why am I blessed with a car and these people walk miles to work? Why do babies die? Why do children go hungry? Why do mothers suffer? I could write out countless questions, but honestly I have gotten to a point that I work to rest in his perfect peace and a knowing that we are called to bless those that are less fortunate. It shouldn’t be a choice, it should be a known…that is our job. There is a verse in scripture, “Seek justice. Corrects the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause.” Isaiah 1: 16-17. What stands out in that verse is, CORRECT THE OPPRESSOR, and DEFEND the fatherless. It is not a choice to do this, it is our jobs to do this. Will never know the answers, because who can ever be God’s counselor or know enough to answer these questions. But I do know that God has called us to be peacemakers and be responsible to love and work with people that are less fortunate. Been a good three weeks so far..thankful for this journey and you all that have come alongside us, to support us, to love Haiti and the children. Less posts because I am in the mountains, probably two a week, but continue to pray for the camp and the time with the workers and community. Also, ask a personal prayer. My grandmother will be undergoing a triple bypass surgery today on her heart; please pray for her strength and ability to recover. Pray for the doctor’s hands and wisdom. Pray for the recovery time and her strength, pray for my family. Also, pray for Ricky who is coming in a week and my sister that will follow. She is going to throw down some paint in Cite Soleil and paint up a storm. Looking forward. Love you all…till next time! Love you all!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Day for the Books

What a day! Last day of camp in Cite Soleil and it was a great one at that. Walked in today and the children were all dressed up and ready to show off their work from the work. The church looked amazing. Had all their work hanging up, teachers were there, and children were singing up a storm. Three of my favorite boys, with crazy fun energy and character got up to sing. They sang in english, "We are the world, we are the children," and I was pretty close to crying. You are right, you are the world and you are the children and we need to keep being concerned about you, loving on you, remembering you, teaching you, and sharing life with you. So neat to watch them sing. This is them below. The other picture is of one of the same boys busting a move during the recess time. They love to dance, we just had a great, big party today. These particular boys had some much energetic, funny faces, energy and joy. Loved it.
Just a neat day all together. We talked about Luke 10:27 and about the importance of loving your neighbor like yourself. We had the children make cards for their teachers, moms, dads, they got to pick, but it couldn't be for themselves. It was so neat to see how much it captured their attention. They all drew their own photo, colored it, and wrote the longest letters inside. I got the opportunity to receive a couple of them and they are truly some of the best thank you cards I have ever gotten. Just neat to read about what made them happy, what they loved, thankfulness for the community coming together to support THEM. The skit of today, supporting the helping your neighbor theme, was the Good Samaritain. Lord, the staff got so into it both Ryna and I were roaring with laughter. We even had a donkey..hahah, it was great. The donkey being Elton, our great leader in the camp. Comical. Mario even broke out bandaids and tape as he was the good samartian and he needed to treat the beaten man. The children loved it. We were so blessed with a great staff, made the camp that much more fruitful.
Neat picture of Paloulou checking out the childrens artwork.
This is Marsal and the children he worked with for the last two weeks. So neat to watch him engage with the boys and share art with them. Such a blessing to watch it unfold.
The teachers with the children.
All the staff. We were so blessed by them. Got the chance to visit with Dorthy and meet her father. Neat blessing to share that with her. Love her joy and presence.
Good day. Full of emotions. The children's joy was something that will be hard to replicate. Something about it today, full of spirit and energy. It was contagious, it was hard not to laugh out loud and dance with them. It was one of those days that I will forever remember. Turned to Ryna today and said, "Might be one of my favorite days in Haiti." Just so neat to see JOY come ALIVE in a place that seems desolate and without JOY and ENERGY. So grateful for this place and how God moves. We head north tomorrow for another three weeks. Pray for our travels, bags, and energy. Pray for Ricky, he is coming in on July 29th, pray for his transitions and time in Haiti. Pray that God continues to cover this ministry and work, pray for FAVOR. Love you all and so thankful for you and walking this journey with us! We couldn't do it without you all:) The staff. Amazing group of people with great, great talent and joy to serve!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Lord is Good

Week 2 almost done...crazy, time seems to be passing faster than I thought it would. Week two even better than last week. The older children have been the sweetest joy and the community continues to amaze me. Probably one of the neatest children at camp is a boy named Jhon. He has a quiet demeanor, but seems to come alive when he gets working at something. He lost his leg in the earthquake when he was 13 years old, but that doesn't stop him from serving. As the children filed outside today he asked how he could help. Helped passing out supplies, markers, just neat to watch him serve and see the strength behind his heart. One of our workers said he got there early this morning to help set up the chairs and the benches. Just made me smile to see a beautiful servant of the Lord working to serve others in the midst of what many could say was a burden. Tough child, with a beautiful heart. My other sidekick showed up today without pants. He is 5 years old and quickly an adult told him to head home home and get pants and come back. He kicked it with me the entire afternoon. He "helped" me roll yarn. He more so made a mess of it, but it was sure funny to hear him talk as he thought he was helping. We danced around while everyone else worked and he then proceeded to "try" and do what the big kids were doing. Held it up with pride, had to laugh inside as it was only one piece of string with a bead on it. Love the little kiddo. Been so neat to grow with the community and work with the children. Today a worship song came on during out workshops and it almost brought me to tears. It sang about Canaan. Just beautiful as it filled he church and the children sang in one accord. Just been full of spirit in a place that can often feel lifeless and dead. The skits have been crazy great for the children. Today we did the story of Zache, one of our workers climbed up the beam of a church to pretend he was in the tree trying to see Jesus. The children loved it. Our Zache had dreads and tattoos..hahaha, think that might be new. Ryna and I followed it up with a skit about why it is important to was your hands after you go the bathroom. We used glitter to show how germs spread. I spent about ten minutes practicing how to say diarrhea in creole, all the workers laughed at me. Couldn't get the accent right, but we made it work. We have had some good laughs together. Been grateful for the crew that we have been given. Saturday we head north for another 3 weeks in the mountains. Continue to pray for the group, the children, the bags. We don't have much transition time. We get there late Saturday and do camp on Sunday. Going to be a quick turn over...but know our youth are waiting for us. Continue to be so grateful for all of you and your support to us. Thank you. It might be awhile to the next post as heading into the mountains doesn't give me much internet access, but wanted to post some pics before we left. Until next time...
Skit for the Prodigal Son
Jhon. A sweet servant
Us "rolling" yarn.
Little buddy trying to do what the big kids were doing. He was proud of it:)
Ryna kicking it with Owl and throwing down some Creole.
Crocheting...they are throwing it down:)
Paloulou working with one of the children
Ryna and I rocking the skit of the importance of washing our hands.
We found some artist!!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ryna is HERE and Week 2 here we COME

Ryna is HERE. Such a blessing to have a friend in this adventure. We spent the day getting ready for week 2. Prepping for the week wasn’t as bad with a partner in crime. Love her, she has such a beautiful heart for this place and one can see it as she is present in this place. Her love and joy to serve the people in Haiti is contagious. She shared this song with me tonight and just wanted to weep: It is called, “All the Poor and the Powerless.” The main line was, “ All the poor and powerless and all the lost and lonely, know that you are HOLY.” Feel like this week I have been looking into the eyes of the poor and the powerless, but God continues to reveal their great beauty and holiness. Feel like God has been moving in the past week. There has been this little 5 year old and he has been working on my heart. He is so happy when we dance. He will be so sad, or hungry, or upset that someone took his marker and then I grab him and we dance and he just laughs and laughs. Friday I plopped him on my back and continued to work. He just hung there and didn’t speak a word, just content. He humbled me everyday. He came hungry everyday, had a large abscess on his back, but somehow he could laugh and see joy in the day. Week 2, day 1 and I feel like it is week 4…I forget I am getting older. Great day. The older kids are fun to watch. They are more engaging, which is fun when we do the theater part of the day. Tomorrow Ryna and I are bringing a skit for why it is important to brush you teeth, putting a health lesson into the day. It has been a neat addition. Today we talked about worms, and then gave a de-worming pill to all the kids before lunch…bet that doesn’t happen in America..hahah. Tomorrow..the importance of brushing your teeth...and I have to say I am pretty sure the blancs will bring some laughs. Sweetest moment of today…I was exhausted…but they have been cranking the music in the church, so fun. Brings life to the place and the children. At the end of the day I got a couple of kids out in the middle of the church and we danced…just laughed, so much fun to just be JOYOUS WITH THE KIDS. I told Ryna I love acting like a fool in front of them and making them laugh. When we were done dancing I was sweating like I just finished a marathon…if only my future husband could see me in Haiti. That has become Ryna and I’s joke of Haiti because we are often messes by 5 o’clock. Love it…day 2, week 2 tomorrow….. Paint is here, love it, it was swift and easy... there were bumps in the road, but got to the hostel today and it was here. Love it, just showed up…thank you Jesus. Continue to pray for the time working with the people, pray for the others that will join us in the weeks to come. Pray for our travels North on Saturday, pray that the bags get there with us. Pray for the camp up North, trying to bring more opportunity for the youth workers to take leadership this year.
Our "Strong as an OX" worker
This is our security hard at work. A little boy resting in the heat of the afternoon, precious!
Marcel, our art teacher is teaching the boys to draw a sunset. He is great with the kids.
Me busting a move with the children.
Some pictures from the days…Ryna found her “twin.” Hahaha, NOT. He is one of our workers and wants to come to America, he said she could say that they were brother and sister because “their teeth look alike.” Hahahah, he is a riot. Been a sweet joy to the camp and children. Love him.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Day of Many Emotions

We got to Cite Soleil late today because of transportation issue, but I will tell you, it was probably the best welcome I have ever gotten from anyone. I walked in and the children in one accord said, "Leah," with the most precious smiles. Then my little buddy who danced with me yesterday just ran to me with open arms, almost started crying. There JOY amazes me. Amazes me. Good day, had a day full of camp. The afternoon was another spirit filled afternoon. They have been cranking music for the children in the afternoon and today a song came one and I looked around the room and most of the children were singing along. I almost started to cry, it was just beautiful. The songs chorus was, "We adore, we adore our god. He is the only one, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega." So neat to just watch the children sing in one accord and work at the same time. They kept repeating the song for me because they saw that I liked it so much, hahaha. They played it four times in a row:) Sweet moment to the day. Another sweet moment was watching a father trying to teach his daughter how to crochet. They worked for about 30 minutes and she couldn't get it, he started to walk her to the door and I said no with a smile. Told him it takes more than 30 minutes to learn it, keep teaching her. About an hour later he called me over, he had a beaming smile on his face, she got it. He taught her. He was so happy. A sweet day. A hard day in my heart. I have had the opportunity to watch this community come together in a mighty way. It is glorious, but at the same time my heart breaks for this place. It is so full of talent, energy, ambition, hope, and smiles that can easily get lost in the shanties and streets. Today at the end of the day one of the workers and I broke out in dancing. We acted like figure skaters, we were ridiculous and I am sure everyone in there thought I was crazy. But what made me smile about this moment was this worker can be a very hard person. He used to run in a pretty tough gang and I know I don't know the half of it, but here I was today watching him break out in dancing with a smile that could light a dark room. Made me smile because I could see him being softened in his spirit by the atmosphere, people, joy, the Lord, and the community. What if this was present everyday in this place? My thought for the day....Made my heart break because I think about leaving Cite Soleil in two weeks and this coming to an end. Feel like God wants us to do so much more with his people in Cite Soleil. Last day of camp tomorrow, then one week done. Kind of crazy how quickly it comes and goes. Continue to pray for the camp, community, and team. Ryna comes in tomorrow, excited for a side kick. Pray for her travels, the bags, her spirit, and strength. So exhausting getting to Haiti, pray for a swift flight. Love you all...till next time...

Moments of the day

We made mask today. Camp is finished at one and at 4 I looked out to see this little girl cruising by on her bike. She popped a U turn and cam back to take a photo. Love that she was still rocking her precious mask 3 hours later.
This is PURE JOY. We all decided to jump on each other, their laughter was contagious. I lost it.
This photo started with one child and me. It turned to this and my face looks like this because it is 10 seconds before I fell. Good day with the kids.
A father was trying to teach her to crochet. About 30 minutes into it he was ready to quit and walking her to the door. I told him, "Nope, takes longer than 30 minutes to learn." He laughed and kept going. Within another 30 minutes she had it. He called me over with excitement for me to watch. Best moment of the day. To watch a father engage with his daughter and teach her.
Father's daughter that learned to crochet.
W and I being funny. One of the best workers we got. Always ready to help.
Making it work with what we got. Kids are chowing down. So many of them this is there first meal of the day. Had a couple crying this morning saying they had a hurt stomach. Don't know how they do it.
Favorite moment of yesterday. We have been cranking Jesus music in the church and two of our workers took the mic and began to rock out. Made my day, it was precious. Then one proceeded to the middle of the room to dance with me like we were figure skaters. hahaha, priceless. Yes, I am still a child at heart.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Let the SPIRIT COME and Faces of HOPE

Pure JOY!
Two of our helpers learning to crochet
My little buddy who just grabbed my hand to dance.
Father come to help his daughter work.
A little play for the children. Jesus loves the little children.
Learning to be an artist.
This picture was hilarious. He got right up there and did he was planning it all along. Priceless I am currently wolfing down my food like a man that was just in battle for days and just returned home. People are looking at me funny, hahaha. I eat in the morning and wait til night, hate to eat in Cite Soleil when so many people barely get a meal a day or go days without eating. So tired, but somehow God fuels me up for the next adventure. Today was a day of the spirit moving. We are working in a church that was just built in Cite Soleil. They have a good sound speaker and we were cranking the music. One boy grabbed my hand and just started dancing with me. He was the boy from the picture I posted yesterday. He has become my best buddy, can’t really do anything, but is so proud of what he does. We started dancing and within minutes we had about 20 children dancing around, it was pure joy. Was pouring sweat by the end, but I will take it. Just felt the spirit move, it was amazing. The day was good, Caitlin has come up with a great schedule for the kids and it has been rocking it out. The staff has been great and making it work. The afternoon was the same, just felt full of spirit. One point half of the groups of children were singing to the song that was being played, so neat to just see peace and joy in the midst of what could be considered chaos outside. Can’t complain, God has been so good in all of this. Our budget was met and even in the last two days we have received more blessings of donations. The staff has been great, the children are pure joy. My mom wrote tonight and said she talked with her friend about Haiti and he said, “How can she keep going there when it's a place of NO HOPE!?" Haiti is and isn’t many things. One thing that Haiti is, is hope. Think that is why I keep coming back because in a place that could appear hopeless, if you go deeper all you can see is hope and faith. A simple conversation can reveal that, the hope of a father for his children, the hope and joy you see in a child as he/she engages in something with you, hope for a better tomorrow. Hope in two men sharing a conversation and learning to crochet together…see that as hope as Cite Soleil is a place where gangs thrive, but watching two grown men laugh and learn to crochet is a bit comical. Hope in watching to men grab the mic and sing for Jesus in a place that could seem hopeless. Hope is all these children smiles as they take their photo and know that they will get one copy of it the following day. Hope in 10 boys as they learn how to draw from an artist. I once heard a woman call Haitians, “Little resurrections” and I have to say it was the best analogy for a Haitian. At the end of the day, they almost seem like they could die because their days are that hard, but somehow they wake up the following day and do it all over again. Little resurrections. They are such a beautiful reflection of hope. It is hard to explain, you almost need to get a glimpse of it for yourself, but in the midst of suffering I have seen great hope. I have watched people from the community come out to support the children this week because they have hope in their community; they have hope in their leaders, hope in their children, hope in the Lord, hope in themselves, and hope in a better Cite Soleil. This place continues to humble me and crush my self. Thankful and blessed today…love you all and so grateful for you all. We could not do this work without you all. Continue to pray for the travels of our volunteers. Pray for the camp and the community. Pray that God’s glory would continue to REIGN and SHINE in this place. Til next time….pray that Hope continues to SHINE.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Community Coming Together...what a BEAUTIFUL and GLORIOUS Sight

What a day. Started nervous, never really get too nervous in Haiti, but think it came from the feeling like I was heading in by myself and having to drive in. First time driving in Haiti..SUCCESS. Camp came together quickly and the workers were on time. The neatest part was having people just ask me if they could be present and help the kids. They continued to affirm that they didn't need to be paid, just wanted to be part of the day. Amazing, at one point we had about 10 adults in there supporting the children. The verse of the week is Luke 10:27. Trying to teach the children to LOVE GOD with all there heart, soul, mind, strength, and as their neighbor. Today we focused on loving him will all your heart, not just a little piece:) but all of it. Just fun to be with the community and serve and love on these children. Many of the children do not attend school and get to attend church and have the enrichment of play, so just a joy to serve God by loving on them. The afternoon might have been pure joy to sit back and watch. We have five local people that are teaching the children a talent. One adult to ten children. We have an artist, two people that crochet, and two that make jewelry. The children we all sectioned off and the adults really took on the task. I literally did nothing. It was amazing. Had other adults circulating and helping the children, children sitting, engaging, and patiently waiting for instructions. It was amazing. The adults were even more amazing. Just serving the children without hesitation. Truly beautiful to watch a community come together and serve each other with JOY. Every adult in the room was working with a child. The atmosphere of the entire day was truly one of the Lord, glorious! Got home to see another moment of the Lord shining through. Got an email saying that the second plane would not take our paint and it was stuck in Cape Haitian. Had a moment, meaning 2 minutes, hahhaa..thinking about if I could drive four hours to get it. Before I had too much time to think about it I got a second email saying that they found another airline that would take it, hahaha. Lord, didn't even let me stress about it. It was great. Getting ready to prep for tomorrow...need some cutting partners. I have 80 butterflies to cut out..hahahahahah, o man, I can already feel my fingers falling off. Til tomorrow. Continue to pray for energy, so exhausted by 4 today. Pray for the staff, pray for safety and the children. Love you all and continue to be grateful for you all and your commitment and support to us and Haiti. Thank you

Moments from the Day

My Tough as an Ox her JOY!
People coming together
This is one of our security men. I know he doesn't look tough, but pretty sure he can turn the switch if needed. We had a good laugh with the photo.
They came up with the shirt script, "Working for a better Cite Soleil Tomorrow"
We have some locals coming in the afternoon to teach the children a trade. Crochet, an artist, and another two people that make jewelry. So neat to watch the community rise up together.