Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bayside/EP Sunday literally:)

As the three youngest followers of Christ on this mission trip, and since it is the last day in Haiti, we decided to make a top 10 highlights of our time in Haiti.

1. Getting off the TapTap and holding the children, both clothed and naked, in City Soleil with love.

2. Carrying the heavy water buckets from the water truck to the thirsty residents of Cite Soleil, as a         loving act.

3. Caring for the special needs children at Gertrudes and singing "10,000 Reasons" to the Elders.

4. Holding and feeding the frail children at Home for the Sick and Dying Children.

5. The smiles on the individual's faces when we applied lotion to patients at the Home for Sick and         Dying Adults.

6. Eating at the Fleri Boulangerie and Fleri Restaurant; we enjoyed the flavorful monkey bread and         delicious pizza while also supporting the Haitian economy.

7. Giving love and joy to the Haitians while at the same time growing closer to God.

8. Praising and worshipping at Grace Church with the Grace kids and the Titanyen community was a     truly moving experience.

9. The nice, gentle breeze in the TapTap while driving down the open road.

10. Relaxing at the beach and swimming in the refreshing Caribbean Sea and buying gigantic shells.

All of these ten barely touched the surface of our service filled week! It was truly a fulfilling experience serving our Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ!!!

In Christ's love,
Jake, Brady and Molly

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bayside/EP Saturday

My word for today is Blessed.
I went on this mission trip to serve and love the people of Haiti.
But as it turned out, I have been blessed in so many ways during this trip, and I'm sure every member of our team would say the same thing.
This morning, we visited the Memorial for the 2010 Haiti Earthquake Victims where they buried about 300,000 bodies.  Even though I have seen thousands of coverage of this particular earthquake in the news, it  felt more real when we stood there and prayed. It was a solemn moment that made me realize that I have somehow become jaded when I listen to the news. Stories of earthquakes, mass shootings, hurricanes, terrorist attacks and other horrific events have become so common in the media that I have learned to tune them out. May we never forget that every victim have a unique story, and their lives matter. May we remember to pray when we hear about horrible news, and listen for God's leading on what we need to do in addition to praying.
Our next stop was the Grace Village. This is an impressive place. They have a medical clinic,a school, and an orphanage. Their medical clinic provides affordable, quality medical care that is so needed here. Their dental clinic is opening soon. They are also doing preventative medicine and community education efforts, and looking into possible specialty services. I am so excited to see them grow. They have about 46 kids that live in 4 community houses, each managed by Haitian Mommies and Poppies, and the kids in these houses now feel that they belong to a family and are no longer orphans. Their mission is for the kids to know Jesus, to feel that they are safe, and to feel that they are loved, and judging by the joyful and contended faces that greeted us, we can tell that they have fulfilled that. They also have about 30 kids in their "stop and go" program, where kids that were removed from unsafe orphanages  are placed, so that they can receive the love and care that they need while waiting for more permanent placement. We learned that about 80 % of orphans in Haiti  have parents, and in 4 out of 5 cases, the parents were coerced by individuals engaged in Orphanage Entrepreneurship which is a sad truth that I would definitely look more into. But it inspires me to know that there is hope for these kids because there are wonderful organizations like Healing Haiti who have the right heart and motivation, who got it right.  In addition to helping, they are also equipping and empowering the people of Haiti through job creation. We had tasted the delicious goodies from their bakery and enjoyed pizza in their restaurant, where they train and employ Haitian bakers.  One of the kids that was nurtured and cared for in the Grace Village is now in Medical School. I would tell my friends and family, that if they want to invest in other people's lives, they should not hesitate to support Healing Haiti.
Another highlight of our day was the Elder Visits. We visited 4 of the elders under their care- we brought food, we sang hymns, we washed their feet, put lotion on their back, arms, & legs, asked about their well-being and prayed with them. We fell in love with them.  On our third elder visit, I got so emotional and started crying,  so I went & hid in a corner. A little Haitian girl found me and hugged me.  I thought that was funny because I was supposed to be the one bringing joy to this family, and here I am receiving love and comfort from this little girl. So, I cried some more, and another little girl joined in and hugged me too:) I was assigned to do "hands on" for our last elder visit, and it was a match made in heaven. When I applied lotion on her, I  felt a special attachment to her.  She shared with us that a previous team had prayed for her son to accept Jesus and the prayer was answered two days later and now her son is a devout Christian.  I had the privilege of leading the prayer for her before we left, and she joined me in prayer, which made it pretty special.
I feel so blessed to be part of the team I am with. I have grown to love each one of my amazing brothers and sisters In Christ, and I don't want this missions trip to end.  I will forever be grateful that the Lord gave me this precious week to love on others and to feel loved in return.
God is definitely weaving an amazing story for each one of us.
I thank the Lord for all of you who supported us on this Missions Trip.
Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!

In God's Love,
Amida



Friday, June 16, 2017

Bayside/EP Friday

 When one is pushed to their limits by God in order to grow, often times the Spirit also encourages election on experiences and key moments in time in order to maximize the effect they have on the soul. Here in Haiti, a world apart from the luxuries of our homes and communities, there is ample opportunity for both growth and reflection and even revision of specific notions we previously had reached. In 1 Corinthians 13:13, scripture reads, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love", which really highlights the importance of loving all of God’s people. All of our ministry experiences here in Port-Au-Prince have given us the opportunity to grow in our ability to love and after reflect on the role of love in the development of individuals, both here in Haiti and back at home. In the United States, many children and adults take the love we receive from God and others for granted. It is something we have always had and always will have, but here in Haiti, it is not the same. During our water truck stops in days past, children would cry out for the smallest amount of love and compassion, and upon receiving it, they gave off an aura of joy and contentment. To us, what we were giving was nothing, but to the Haitians, it was everything. Love is powerful beyond the ability of words to describe and in the love and encouragement present in the lives of Haitians, lies the hope that this country is looking for as the dreams for the future become a reality. 

Today’s ministries gave us time to continue spreading God’s love to the people of Haiti through the time spent at Carrefour Home for Sick and Dying Adults. Here, our mission to spread love and hope took on a different form as we rubbed lotion on blistered limbs. Today’s hope and love was focused less on the future and more on living in the moment, not entirely knowing the differing conditions of the patients we ministered to. It was very touching to feel and see God’s love and presence surrounding people who have so little in this world, yet they still praised the Lord for his graciousness and their hearts were full of love and gratitude.

Similar to how God rested after completing his masterpiece of earth and life, this afternoon we took some time to connect and minister to each other as a team, through journey to the top of the mountains surrounding Port-Au-Prince. Looking down upon the city from far above, it gave us further time and opportunity to reflect on the work we have done, how we have impacted the Haitians we are ministering to, and how it has affected our walk in the Spirit to bring love to even the most forgotten of God’s People. 

Even as our time here in Haiti is coming to a close, Satan is still trying to prevent our work from being efficient and successful. In the past 24 hours, two of your team members have fallen ill and we, as a team, as for prayers of healing for these two so that they can rejoin in or efforts to demonstrate love to the country of Haiti. Additionally, prayers for discernment and strength would be cherished as each member of this team continues to be pushed to their limits by God and all of his glory, in accordance to his plan and purpose for us. God Bless from Haiti!

- Noah 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bayside/EP Love is shared

We had an interesting day from the very start. We had one of our team, who has had steady headaches from the first service time on Water Truck day. She was prayed for last night before bed and the headache was gone. This morning it had returned and so we prayed as a team and she said she felt a bit better, then the same person prayed the headache was gone and she had a great day with no headache, and so her word of the day, which is the one word we use to describe what meant the most to us during the day, was dance:)

Today was our second water truck day, where we go and deliver water along with our water trucks, to the area known as Cite Soleil. Having done it on Tuesday, this was one thing, we knew what to expect, so we seemed more relaxed and it went great. People that had done the hose before, wanted to do it again, which will be something they won't likely ever forget. They are the person who actually holds this big 5 inch wide hose and pours/shoots water into this line of buckets, being shoved into place by eager, maybe somewhat desperately thirsty people. Water is life here, just as it is everywhere. So when you have no access to it, guess that's as important as anything. Well we deliver to them for free and then our team helps them carry the water, as Haitian culture mostly women and kids do that tough task. Although, this time we did notice more male involvement:) Those not hauling water are mobbed by kids wanting to be held, aching to be loved. It's really a remarkable thing, and the team said that they had heard from me what to expect, but there really isn't any way to be truly prepared for what the experience is actually like once you are here. At one stop it was actually difficult for us to get down the stairs cuz the kids were so eager they were climbing up to greet us:) It is my job to make sure our team doesn't stray too far, and also to get the best pics of their whole experience. It's a pleasure to try and capture their happy faces as they hold a child or 3, 4, or 5, I think was todays record by Sam:) But more than the pics, will be the memories of the feelings or moments that will change them forever, and brighten someone's life even if only for a moment.

After a quick turnaround to shower and eat, mostly standing, while we got ready for going to
La Pherre orphanage. This is a great experience, where the kids are seemingly happy and healthy and open to our loving them even if for just a few hours. We started with a familiar song with Molly doing great on keyboard and then Emanuel joined in on guitar, and we had a fun singalong time. Then Amida got her photo booth out:) and Noah and Brady took polaroids of the kids, some with big smiles, and poses, and some were being pretty shy. Sam and Amida were doing their best to keep it somehow orderly:) Once the polaroids developed they were put into small frames with the words "Jezi Remnen ou" which means Jesus loves you:)
While this was going on we got out the old favorites, Bubbles, and Jaimie and Laura and Jacob, entertained kids with that, and then the girls got excited as Marcia, Jen and Kristi brought out the nail polish and started getting the girls of all ages with beautiful colored nails:) At the same time outside in a small walled in courtyard, driveway type place, Jake was playing soccer with some of the boys, and then was joined by Jacob and Noah too! Talented kids, even the younger boys, were fun to watch!
Then we got the parachute out, thx soo much to Marcia for bringing it along, and started playing games with Marcia, Sam, Jaimie, Laura, Jen and Amida and ....really got the kids moving:) and smiling!! Before we left, we had the girls from La Pherre's putting on a jump rope display that impressed all!! and included a turn for Molly as well:) We all felt encouraged that there was such a well run place where the kids were being especially well taken care of.

Last special part of our day was a worship session on the balcony of Guest House 2, with Grace, our American long-term missionary leading some of our favorite contemporary Christian worship songs. We had all three Healing Haiti teams, come together as a group to raise our voices in praise to our Heavenly Father, through whom all things are possible, and through his love, we are able to do what without Him, we would not be equipped.

In the book of Romans, it talks about how God's love is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who He has given to each of us that believe. It's because of this gift that we are able to show such love and impact lives as we are serving each day here in Haiti.

Feeling blessed and thankful,    Al

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Day 3 The spectrum of life

Today was full day. We woke up and went to the apparent project. The Apparent Project was a place of hope for all of us to see. The Apparent Project gives jobs to families that are struggling to keep and provide for their families. The project teaches its workers skills, gives their children 0-3 free daycare on site, 4-5 years old have preschool on site for $10 a month, and finally they have a mini school the adults can choose to learn computer skills and english on their breaks or spare time. This place was amazing. We saw them make paper, clay, and crushed glass beads. They also make pottery on site and screen print the shirts there. After we walked through the onsite production we had the chance to purchase the items the parents were making and also get a great snack. Going to the Apparent Project was such a contrast from yesterday, that there is truly a chance for some to be able to provide a good life for themselves. After the Apparent project we were able to back to the guest house and eat lunch.

After lunch our team split into two groups. One group went to Gertrude which is a special needs orphanage. Al, Amida and Jake had a good time spending time. Al was able to reconnect with some children he knew from before. They were able to play with the special needs children and the abandon children that were there. The second group that I was apart of went to the home for the sick and dying babies and children. We all had been trying to prepare our hearts for this place all week. When we entered into the compound there were two rooms our group spilt into, half went to the toddler room and the others went into the infant room. Each room had around 50 cribs. They were all full. There was so many different issues with all of the children. Some children were able to stand and yell and jump as we entered, and the other end of the spectrum was some children were so weak they couldn't lift their heads and had iv's. As soon as we came in we went straight to work. The nun's gave us bowls of food to start feeding babies. Some ate and some didnt. After all the children were fed we worked on holding as many babies as we could. They all craved love and attention and there was not enough of us to hold everyone at the same time. We all made special connections with at least one child. Our lives were forever changed because of these little ones fighting for their lives.

I had an experience today that rocked my world. I was able to find hope in this special place because i could see children being fed, loved and their medical needs were being met. I was often told that "this child improve". That brought joy to my heart in the midst of all the tears. I then met a young lady that didnt fit with they other. I was in the infant room which is generally 0-2 year olds. This girl was about 5-7 years old and was lying in the bed calling for her mama. She had an iv and was very uncomfortable. I tried to help her but i couldn't understand what she was saying. I gave her a hug and helped a baby that was screaming behind me. I then came back to her and tried again. She was motioning for food and i asked to feed her but they told me she couldnt because she so malnutrition she couldnt handle food. I was crushed. I tried to help a few more kids and when i came back to put one back i found her on the floor. She was trying to go potty in a bucket on the floor and didnt have the strength to hold herself up. I quickly put the other child away and lifted her out of her mess onto my lap. As we sat on the floor cuddling i sang to her and pray with her. She finally relaxed and fell asleep. We sat there for awhile until i was called to leave. It took every ounce of me to put her back in her bed and say goodbye. This young lady will forever be in my heart.

Today was filled with a spectrum of emotions and life situation. We all grew because of today. We all learn that we could do something to change the world but we have to learn that we cannot save everyone. I think that is the toughest lesson i have learned here. If I cannot fix this situation i need to leave it to God and just pray. If you feel led to help out the apparent project you can order online at apparentproject.org. We still have a few pray request. One of our guard dogs Bacon has ear mites and has sores all over him. The vet did come today but he seems ill and doesnt move much today. Jaimie would like pray for a pulled hamstring and I am still not doing well with the heat and have a constant pounding headache.
In His love,
Samantha


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bayside/Tonka Day 2: "Hey you! Fight to Receive!"

The temperature is finally cooling down a bit as we calm down and relax after a full day of ministry.  During the day we did have ample opportunity to cool down because we were delivering clean water to City Soleil.  I'm so excited to share about our activities today but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.  Allow me to rewind to my personal devotional this morning.  As I read 2 Timothy 1, I was reminded to seek out God's hand in everything and not stop searching until I have found it just as Onesiphorus did not stop seeking Paul until he found him.

Fast forward, our ministry today was delivering clean water to City Soleil as I said before.  What a joy and privilege it was for us to be the hands and feet that carry one of the most basic needs to all mankind.  Yes, the ministry in itself was fulfilling.  In some ways, I found this ministry to be heartbreaking.  The truth of delivering water in City Soleil, the poorest city in Haiti, is that the people only receive water about once a week because there are 36 districts in the city that need water to be delivered.  Thankfully, there are 2 water truck under the care of Healing Haiti's organization.  Today, however, one of the trucks is out of commission.  Please pray for speedy repairs to be made.

Another thing that made my heart break was watching many of the people, mostly women, fight over the water.  More than once, we had to shut off the hose to settle the people down and reform a single line.  Looking back at how sad that made me, what's even more sad is that they were not all fighting for the "ultimate" basic need of all mankind:  to know Jesus.  How many times do we reject the good things that God wants to do in our lives because we don't think it's in our best interest when in reality, we should be fighting to receive all He has for us because we need everything He gives.

Enough sadness, let's talk about some of the joys of the day.  None of us have heard the words, "Hey you!" more frequently than we have in a single day driving in the Tap-Tap.  At each stop, the children would run alongside the vehicle yelling "Hey you!" at us because they were so excited to see us.  Before we even open the back door, the children would swarm around just waiting to be held and loved.  It was not difficult to choose one to pick up because whoever got to you first would already be clinging to you.  So much joy on each of their faces.

Another huge joy was being able to see Hope Church.  This church is literally built upon an old garbage dump and restroom area.  Hope Church is a shining example of the word hope because it proves that beautiful things truly can come out of the dust, grime, and ugliness. Needless to say, the only place people go to do their business is now the indoor restroom.  Actually, the facility is also used as a school for kindergarteners.  Hope is found in the eyes of these sweet children because it is a free school for approximately 50 students.

Amidst the sorrow, poverty, and joy, hope and love can easily be found when one asks God to reveal it to them.  As a team, we have all been learning in our own ways that God does not call the equipped.  He equips the called.  God does not ever promise that things will be easy, but He does promise that we will never be alone going through it.

Your prayers are much appreciated!  The water truck to be repaired quickly, and also Samantha has had some painful headaches due to the extreme heat, and Amida to continue hearing God's leading and guidance as she steps out of her comfort zone by being in Haiti.

Thank you all for your support back home!
Jaimie

Monday, June 12, 2017

Bayside/Tonka Day 1 "God is in the unexpected"

This was the message of our sermon Sunday, and was oh so fitting for our journey to Haiti! For the Bayside goers, we had to patiently deal with road construction(or impatiently) that put us through security just in time to board. Then nice flight to Miami, and then we find we had to claim our donations bags which were maximum weight and haul them with to the hotel, and back. Had great shuttle helpers and actually turned out she was from Haiti:)
A late dinner at Ihop and most of us were full and smiling as we finally called it a night. Kristi and kids, though, slept at the airport, or should I say in Kristi's words, "it was an adventure". But not really sleep.
Things went smooth in every way to finish our trip to Haiti, and we ended up getting in early, around noon to the guesthouse. We then took care of our organizing for the week, and checking out the guesthouse and grounds. We had a refreshing trip to a nearby hotel which allows us to use their pool in exchange for just buying a beverage:) It's hot here and I've never seen people get into the pool so fast in my life:) A relaxing, reenergizing time and finished with shepherd's pie and soccer with the local boys.
We have some other new friends with Team 3, and enjoyed games, talking and the soccer time with them too. We finished with a devo, and the word of the day, which is where we all pick a word that describes our major thought for the day. Some examples, beautiful, grateful, peaceful, and relieved.
Now early to bed and rest for our big day delivering water with our water trucks to City Soleil. Tomorrow the adventure goes to the next level! Thx for prayers and interest in our team.   Al