Saturday, April 1, 2017

Changed

So we reached the end of our week in Haiti and I prepare myself for the questions people may ask upon returning home…”So what did you do?”  That list, in and of itself, included very simple things.  We filled buckets of water; hugged toddlers; and let a tired child smile, sigh, and rest with a loving arm around them.  The things we did were not that extraordinary—but what those actions meant in that moment in a challenged community, an environment with very few soft edges and with people needing happiness and love, I believe, was extraordinary.  Hundreds of water buckets, countless hugs, some tears, and hundreds of smiles.

God planted a seed in each of us and we came to this place—we weren’t sure how or if it would grow.  Were we nervous?  Definitely.  But then we figured out how to see through the eyes of God—not in some holier-than-thou sense, but through truly placing ourselves in service.  Things began to sprout.  We saw leaves of hope…both within the people we served and inside ourselves.

So when asked, “What did you do?”, we can say, “We changed.”  Not only in the sense of helping in Haiti, but equally changing within.  We’ve a deeper relationship with God, a renewed faith, and a sense of responsibility as a global citizen.  Thank you and God bless.  


-Dan

Friday, March 31, 2017

Hope

Today we awoke with the memories of yesterday’s visits to the home for Sick and Dying babies, as well as our time spent at Dares, a home for special needs children.  Our lives and hearts will be forever touched by these children - and our hearts and prayers will be with them always.  We find peace in knowing they are wrapped in God’s love. 

While yesterday our hearts struggled at times with hope…today our hearts were overjoyed and overfilled. In fact, at evening devotionals, we lost count of the ways in which we saw hope.     

Today we visited Grace Village and also had the honor of spending time with some amazing Elders in Titanyen village. 

For those who are not familiar, Grace Village is a school, orphanage, feeding center and medical clinic for people in the surrounding village of Titanyen. It is an amazing place that is doing transformational things in the community and for children and families in Haiti - far too many to list here but one you really must see to understand. I could really envision working at this place as it’s truly making a difference in this country. This article gives a good glimpse of how it all began:


For each of our elder visits today, we delivered food and water to their home, washed their feet, spent time with them in prayer and song, and simply shared love and faith. We were able to meet family members and even hold a one-day-old newborn grand baby. What a blessing after yesterday made our hearts feel so heavy.

Each elder visit was special in its own unique way as each individual showed their character and heart to us.  It would be so hard to describe them all in a short blog. 

We will cherish those visits as much as the times we have enjoyed with the many other special people we have met and served in Haiti so far. 

Has it really only been four days? We have met so many new brothers and sisters and formed bonds in this country. I can’t believe it has only been four days.  

I will share one of the elder visits at the end of our day as she stood out to many of us for her incredible spirit. She was a 91 year old woman who lives in a concrete home with a tin roof. She struggles with dementia and memory loss but has the most beautiful spirit and was so happy to see us. She was beaming with joy from the moment we walked in, swayed and hummed to the music we played the entire time we visited with her.  This beautiful woman’s spirit reminds us all that despite having what one might think is so little, her heart is still overfilled with such incredible joy. 

We’ll close this blog with a wonderful bible verse shared by our Pastor Kris which was so fitting for our day:

“We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” - Romans 5:3-5

-Beth

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Day 3- Blurred Lines

Blurred Lines

The Children…
Some are very small, some are quite tall, 
Some are smiling, some are crying,
Some are our own, some we hold for just a moment in time.

The Children…
Brave, 
Strong, 
Resilient, 
Compassionate, 
Longing.
Some are our own, some we hold for just a moment in time.

The Children…
Some are hungry, some are thirsty,
Some are healthy, some are sick.
Some are our own, some we hold for just a moment in time.

The children we brought with us to Haiti, 
and those we meet here-
together, they are blurring the lines
of the great divide in our world.

I’m pretty sure this is what Jesus wanted us to do-
Blur the lines…

Jill

Matthew:

Jesus said, let the children come to me.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Life Giving Water

A boy. A girl. Unknown. Or just doesn't matter. What matters... love. 

Today, Easter Lutheran Church was graced by the love of Haitians. We delivered water, but they gave us so much more. We held, snuggled, played, hugged, and shared something so special with the kids that we all will be changed. Maybe we change the world by changing ourselves? 

I signed on to write about our day today in Cite Soleil. But, for once, I am struggling with words. Its difficult to write about the arms wrapped around you, squeezing enough to feel her breathing and her heartbeat against mine. It is hard to say what the smiles on their sweet faces told us. There aren't many words that can describe how water really IS life.

So we will let Jesus do the talking:

“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?.......Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” - John 4

-Stephanie

Easter Lutheran Church Arrival Day

We were having some Wifi issues last night so we couldn't get the first blog posted. So here is our blog from day 1 in Haiti.


As we arrive in Haiti and prepare for the week , I know that the emotions we hold are as different as each of our personalities. We are nervous, excited, uncertain, insecure. We are curious, scared, wondering, over-the-moon anticipating. We are all of these things and more.
I know that God is with us in the anticipation and God is in Haiti preparing a place for each of us. There are things we will see that will shake us to the core. There are relationships we will build that will last a lifetime. There are mysteries awaiting us that are too big for our earthly brains to comprehend.

It is God who calls us to this adventure.  
And God asks very little of us. 
Only one thing, really. 
Openness.

Open minds to learn what God wants to teach us.
Open hearts to give and receive love.
Open arms to embrace those God puts in our path.
Open lives to be transformed and live into the future God has for us.

So let’s be open. To one another, to our Haitian brothers and sisters, and to God’s love that gives meaning and heart to all that we do.


-Kris

Now we are heading out into Cite Soleil for a full water truck day! Stay tuned and we will check in tonight!

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.

-Sydney