Saturday, February 25, 2017

Gauze, Pills, and Love.

This morning, Sam took Tom, Alisha and I up to a Wound Care Clinic. We left at about 8:00 and were there until Noon. Just getting there was a bit of an adventure! We were in a van with about 8 nuns (sisters). They were fun to be with. We were blown away by their kindness and all of their knowledge! They are doing a great job of running this clinic with the minimal resources that they have.

Alisha, Sam and I had the opportunity to help the sisters with some wound care. Mostly on lower legs, arms, and some minor head wounds. On legs and arms seemed to be a lot of burns. A sister showed me what I need to do, where the basic supplies were, and off I was spraying Betadine, gauzing, washing, and wrapping. It was a ton of fun for us, we really enjoyed it! The patient we saw that stuck out to me most, was an elder lady, with her husband that carried her onto the bench. He himself obviously struggles with walking, as he had a cane. But he carried his (what we were assuming to be) wife, who knows how far, just so she could have her bandages changed. He must love her oh so much! It was a pleasure for Alisha and I to care for her. People are incredible.

Most of the last half, Tom continued seeing patients that were in a line to see him, with various degrees of needs. There were tons of people in the area, and it was difficult for him to properly assess due to the language barrier. But he did an excellent job with what he had! Many were grateful to have seen him. Alisha and I somehow became, what we liked to think of ourselves as, Pharmacy Technicians. People would come up with their prescriptions from Tom or the other physician, and we or the sisters would put the medications into little baggies with the name and instructions on it, and give it to them! All medications are donated, so people don't have to pay. Super cool.

Even in the short amount of time, we really enjoyed ourselves and were very thankful for all of the wisdom the sisters had to share, and we were very thankful for the help we could bring to these people, even though it may have felt minimal.

- Carly

Friday, February 24, 2017

Unexpected Blessings

Today started off with a beautiful early morning church service. We all got up at 5:30 to get ready for the 6:00 service at Church on The Rock. With sleepy eyes and smiles, we prayed and hopped in the tap-tap, ready for our first service in Creole since arriving. Us "blans" sat in a group, taking up 3 pews while sitting. I was amazed by many things: 1. When we walked in, the pastor was shouting in Creole-probably a sermon of some sort. It seemed so powerful and I wish I would have know what he was saying. 2. Every Haitian in the big worship building was standing up, hands in the air, praying and worshiping with joy. 3. People were so gracious to us when the service ended, shaking our hands and kissing our cheeks, thanking us for coming. One man even translated for us. The amount of joy and comfort in the Haitians was amazing. God is definitely showing us some amazing things this week.
We then departed for a home for sick and dying adults. Unfortunately due to traffic (if you think traffic in the U.S. is bad, think again...there are no stop signs/lights in Haiti), we made it there at the time that we were supposed to be leaving. Graciously, the sister gave us an extra half hour to stay and sing to the women, lotion them up, and paint their nails. We split up into two rooms, and asked each lady if they would like lotion or nails. Every woman was grateful for our time and extra love. Some even had fun practicing their English skills exclaiming, "THANK YOU VERY MUCH!" when we were finished with their massages. It warmed my heart knowing I was doing something to make their day or even week.
After that we were supposed to head over to the history museum, but due to traffic AGAIN, we didn't have time to see that and instead drove straight to La Loo, an orphanage. Traffic was so bad today due to the crowds of Mardi Gras. It was fun to see all the little kids dressed up with face paint and glitter, but the tap-tap was pretty toasty when we weren't moving. At La Loo, as soon as we got in the gate every person was "chosen" by a child. I was chosen by a little girl, who hung on me the whole time through singing, dancing, coloring, and arts and crafts. I can't imagine how the kids feel when we give them undivided attention- something they don't often get. Playing and comforting children has been one of my favorite things this week. Spreading joy and love is all we need.
Unexpected blessings come in all shapes and sizes. Extra time with friends during a traffic stop, gracious time to serve from a sister, a joyous smile from a sick woman, and the laughter of kids. God fills our hearts and souls with unexpected blessings everyday; you just need to look for the light in the dark.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

More than Nothing

Shortly after we disembarked from the Tap Tap  he took my hand.  I sat down on a step with him where he began to play with my hand until I stopped him... after realizing that he was intentionally pushing down all of the fingers of my right hand except my middle one.  He then climbed the steps behind me and asked me to watch him.  He proceeded to go down the steps hands first. Then he took my hat and put it on his head...and ran away with it.  Attention seeking, Mischievous.  Testing me, pushing me for a reaction.  I got the hat back, returned reluctantly.  As our tour of Grace Village progressed, I watched him "steal" two more hats off heads of other mission volunteers, scale a fence that I was pretty sure was off limits, eat cookie dough from the bowl in the kitchen, and flirt with the pretty, young volunteers.  He refused to stay in the background, in the shadows, determined and demanding to be seen, to be heard, to be noticed.  So, I noticed, and I wanted him to know that God notices, too, all day every day, all the time, with a fierce, relentless, Fatherly love.  Was he being naughty?  Some would say so.  I later found out his name and his attention seeking antics were well known to those familiar with this place.  Before I left, he hung out on the couch next to me.  I gave him a hug wishing I had the time to get to know him better.  But, I pray, that in this place of refuge and redemption and restoration. in the hills above the village named Titanyen, translated as Less Than Nothing,  he will know that he meant something to me today.  More importantly, that he will know deep in his heart that God pays attention to his children, to him, this precious precocious child
and loves him deeply, all day, every day, all the time. 


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Little Miracles

There is no place in the world I would rather be right now than right here in Haiti. This is my 3rd trip to Haiti and each time I am here I fall even more in love with this beautiful country. The people here are so loving and filled with such community. That today was so evident as we spent the afternoon at Dios special needs orphanage. As we arrived and got off the Tap Tap we were greeted immediately with many hugs and smiles from the children. The children have many forms of disabilities but they are so very precious and are some of the sweetest and loving children I ever met. What makes this place so special is the community and love all these children give to one another. They show the most unconditional love and care whether it is making sure another child is okay or help feeding another.   A highlight and what touched me the most was our time of worship and singing together. We sang songs in English and Creole. Even the children sang for us and one sweet girl had a voice of angel. It was such a beautiful time for all of us together singing praises to our Lord. What a slice of heaven here on earth! Something that never ceases to amaze me is despite our language barrier and differences, we all worship and serve the same Lord and it is such a precious gift to experience and share together. These children may be different from us but despite their disabilities we are all precious and perfect in His eyes and are apart of God's community, a unconditional loving family that will last for eternity.  

- Brianna

The righteous then will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?" The King will reply, "Truly I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine you did for me." - Matthew 37-40

This passage was in our morning devotions today, yet I had no idea how much it would ring true. 

We had the opportunity to serve at Home for Sick & Dying Babies this morning. Within the small building, there were two main rooms for the tiny little patients, one room was for sick babies, the other was for very sick babies. I personally spent all my time in the "very sick" babies area. There were about 30 babies in this room I would say. Ranging from probably 4 months, to 3 years at oldest. Yet these were some of the tiniest babies I have ever seen. The medical problems seemed to be primarily severe lung congestion, infection, and malnutrition/dehydration. As a nurse, I found it extremely difficult to not be able to hook up all the IVs I could, give the proper medications, or call up a doctor for orders to save this tiny humans life. I learned quickly, there simply are not enough resources to do all you can, as fast as you can. It's very paced, so that resources do not run out or wear thin. I remembered/realized that what we are here to do is simply love and hold these babies as close we can and as tight as we can, for the time we have with them. 

We changed diapers, wiped runny noses, changed bedding, etc. My favourite moment was sitting on a swing, with a little boy about 10 months old in my arms, rocking back and forth, with him completely content in my arms. It felt as if that moment might actually save his life. It was so beautiful. It was fantastic watching my team mates work their motherly magic with the babies as well. Taylor had the coolest little boy I have ever seen. Aasta sat with a little boy who insisted on sitting like Ghandi. Syd had sweat pouring down her face, with an incredibly congested boy who refused to be put down. Dorothy was a rock star with spoon feeding the babies for lunch. The rest did wonderfully as well! These are just the pictures in my mind that I hope to hold onto for years to come. 

I learned today that even when people need everything to keep them alive, from water to food to clean clothing, the one thing they want more than anything, is human touch. To be held close. We all want to know that we are loved and valued, through Gods love, today we were able to give these people that exact thing.

- Carly

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

One Bucket At A Time || Water Truck Day

Isaiah 6:8 "Here I am Lord, send me."
Today was my first actual experience as a Healing Haiti short term missionary, and let me tell you, it has been one of the best days of my life. I knew Haiti was full of poverty, and I had seen pictures, but you never actually know and feel what it's like to be in this situation until you have experienced it. Today was water truck day; a day where we deliver water to the poverty stricken people, who need and cherish water like I've never seen. Our first stop was definitely my favorite, because it was the first time I felt a rush of emotions like this. The people and children just flock to us when we get off the tap-tap, wanting to be loved and exclaiming "Hey you!" Definitely my favorite phrase of the day. The first little girl I saw immediately took my hand and continued to follow me around wherever I had to go; even when I was helping other kids carry buckets to their homes, she held my hand or stayed an arms length away. All the kids loved my long braids and loved to play the hand game.
 The water hose process was also a highlight of my day. Three people working together to hold and manage a hose to give water to the community, one bucket at a time. Everything was one bucket at a time; carrying one bucket at a time, filling one bucket at a time, watching kids bathe in one bucket at a time, and giving love and hope one bucket at a time.
One little girl stuck out to me; I picked her up, and immediately she looked into my eyes, cupped my face and said "bel," which means pretty or beautiful in Creole. This was amazing to me to see how she cared and loved me and the Healing Haiti team so much. I mean, I was dirty and sweaty, and she still wanted my love and wanted to give me love back, even when she had nothing. So amazing to see the sense of community and love, making what we are doing so much more special.
Today we also visited Hope Church. Emanuel talked about the building and school system, and then we went out back... Out back is when we saw a scene that broke my heart. Mounds of trash, roaming pigs, sewage, tin shacks. This is all these people have and it's hard to imagine people living this way. God is doing something great by bringing all of us here to see and try to make a change. We also stopped to see where they fill the water truck. It was so insane to see the trucks fill up, and watch people shower and clean off with the water running off the trucks-no water wasted. Next was Haitian Initiative; a place where kids go to play soccer, learn, and eat. I loved being able to see the kids having fun in the sun and learning English.
I can't wait to see all that this country and community and God do for me.
"You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you." -John Bunyan


The whole day was filled with smiles and not a smile on one of those beautiful faces will be forgotten. A simple smile is such an incredible bond. Every child had a huge smile on their face when the tap-tap came rolling through Cite Soleil. Then I'd begin to hear "Hey you!" "Hey you!" I love seeing those smiles and yelling "hey you" right back! Before I even got off the tap-tap at the first stop I could see the child that had picked me out. She was a gorgeous little girl and was so smiley and giggly. While I held her she was rubbing my face and my braids and repeatedly said "bel," which means beautiful in Creole. She was the one that was truly beautiful, but it was amazing to see such love and compassion shared between such a young girl. The abundance of smiles continued as we visited the other water truck stops. There was a little boy at the last stop who looked at me with the brightest smile. He was hugging me and just staring up at me when I began to tickle him. He broke out in the most adorable giggles and tickled me back. It became a back and forth tickle game with both of us exchanging laughs. It truly is the simple things that make a difference. I encountered so many wonderful people today while I was serving. It is amazing to see the good that we can do and the love that we can share with the people of Haiti. It is truly fulfilling to see their joy and thanks that we bring through our service, whether that be hugs, smiles, or help carrying the water buckets. Once again, I came to Haiti thinking that I would be changing lives, but really they are here changing mine.



We have arrived!  Our journey has begun!   We had a smooth start to our trip.  All went well in the airport in Minneapolis where many of us started.We got to Atlanta and met up with Dorothy.  Aasta, Beth and I made our connecting flight with time to spare.  All of us traveled together into Haiti.  Margie met us at the airport, and showed the way to our tap tap (open window truck).  This would be our transportation for the week.  This gave me my first view of Haiti.  Our ten minute ride showed me a city full of people, many needs, beautiful flowers, and much to do.  We arrived at the Guesthouse and saw the purple gate leading us in.  This would be my home for the week along with 23 other soon-to-be- best friends.  We got most everything unpacked and settled.  While having a talk about our week here, we heard the neighborhood boys playing soccer next door.  We couldn't resist!  Most of us went next door to meet our neighbors and play some soccer.  Sam and some of the boys waited for the game to end to start up a new one.  Most of us watched the fun games between all the boys, not wanting to get too involved in this game.  We talked with some women and children with the little bit of Creole we knew, and the English they knew.  I felt like I had dipped my toe into the water that was to come.  This is just a taste of the beginning of this journey God has taken me on.  I already am taken by the people, the beauty of the children, the simplicity of life.  God has provided a window of opportunity to see life from a different perspective.  I am excited and challenged to allow Him to lead each day and see what comes forth.  He has brought together a unique team of people for this week.  He has ordained this.  In my devotional today it said, "Once we are totally surrendered to God, He will work through us all the time."  May this be so.  May I and this team be broken bread and poured out wine.  That God would use us to further His kingdom, and transform hearts in the process.  This is truly a gift!!
The journey has started.  "A new commandment I give you; Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another."  John 13:34

post by Kathy

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Day 2
Today was our first day of ministry. We split our group into two teams. The guys served at a special needs orphanage. They had a ton of fun there! They felt like they were the ones being blessed rather than the other way around. The women went to the home for sick and dying babies. Its tough to even put into words what all you feel and experience in the orphanage. Our main job was to spend time loving the children, holding, changing, and playing with the sweet sick kiddos. Our next stop was a trip to Apparent Project. This is an awesome ministry where they create jobs for orphan prevention by teaching the Haitians how to make jewelry, metal art, and other accessories. They have also created an internet cafĂ© which has some of the most amazing coffee, smoothies, and treats. We ended our day with a sweet time of worship, group devotion and prayer time. We are looking forward to water truck day tomorrow and a trip to tent church in the morning!