Thursday, May 26, 2016

Today we were able to see all the amazing things God is doing in Haiti. Being able to serve and love on these people is such an indescribable feeling. We visited some of the elders today and were able to bring them food, water and clean them up a little by washing their feet and singing songs to them. Just to see how joyful and loving they were really touched me and to see how they focus on God and praise Him through all the pain and suffering was simply amazing. I absolutely love the people of Haiti.

Today I was pondering the meaning of the word “grace” and marveling at how grace-filled the people of Haiti are. There are many iterations of the word “grace,” and the Haitian people embody all of them.
They are graceful: the women carrying massive buckets of water on their heads while holding their precious children on their hips, the vibrant colors that cover their homes and businesses, the gorgeous way they intone the word “Bonjoo.”
They are gracious: the selfless willingness of our two translators to share their stories about the day the devastating earthquake destroyed their homes, the two lovely women that cook us breakfast every morning and how patient they are with me when I do something wrong, the way the children we encounter shyly hold our hands as we walk down the streets together.
Most of all, they believe in the infinite grace of God. We visited three precious women that participate in Healing Haiti’s elder program. They receive a hot meal, clean water, and medical support. But the thing they are all most grateful for is the grace of God. The sweet 91-year-old woman we visited first, asked for prayer for her constant pain, but when we sang “Glory to God” with her in Creole, she sang along with her soft, quavering voice. While we washed her feet, our second elder told us that her family was suffering from a terrible fever. When we prayed with her, her beautiful, calm face reflected how much she believed in God’s grace and power to heal her family. Our final elder truly blew us all away with her faith in God’s grace. Instead of sitting, she bustled around to almost everyone in our group and told us that “GOD IS GOOD!” (She has the makings of an outstanding preacher!) Her faith and joy, in the midst of poverty, loss, and tragedy, is inspiring beyond the scope of words.
This country truly has captured my heart.

Greetings friends and family,
The Lord has been doing a mighty work in me and my team in Haiti. I have been on mission trips to Ecuador for the last two years, in which I did a huge amount of physical for a Christ Centered organization called Elohim. Going into this trip, I thought that this trip to Haiti would be incredibly easy compared to my Ecuador trips. Boy, was I wrong. This trip has been emotionally, physically, and spiritually taxing on me, but in a very positive way. It has been a huge lesson for me in how little I actually know in comparison to what the Lord knows. Which brings me to the main lesson I believe the Lord has shown me through this trip. The Lord is such a patient teacher with me. Just when I think I have something down 100%, He “pulls the rug” out from underneath me, so to speak, to teach me a lesson. Often times when I think I have something down, I begin to get prideful. Haiti has taught me to be dependent on the Lord for this reason, to avoid pride. There is always something else to learn. I thought I had mission trips down, but man, has the Lord shown me how wrong I was. But that’s what is beautiful about grace. Even in my wrongness, the Lord’s righteousness is made perfect. I will always have something to learn, no matter what, and Haiti has truly shown me this. I am so thankful for what He has done, and what He will do on this trip. ¡Gloria a Dios! Or has the Haitians would say: Glwa pou Bonedye.
Thanks for reading my chaos of thoughts
 Ryan Taylor

Greetings! Now I’m no English teacher (like Katie) so we’ll see how this goes!
              On Tuesday when we went with the water truck it was completely different from today.  Today was emotionally taxing verses the physical taxing which we saw on water truck day. Now physical stuff is easy-peasy for me, I can easily push past the physical pain and just focus on the fact that I won’t feel it forever. But I’ve always struggled with the emotional aspect of life where I get very over emotional. Today we visited the elders and each one had so little that I was just thinking “wow how do they do this”.  They only had little huts, and I mean sticks holding blankets up under which they would lay down on blankets on top of cardboard where the cardboard was the cousin from the hard dirt covered ground. And those blankets and cardboard were most of what they had. When we walked up to each I just saw their face light up and they were so happy that we were there. Clelie even told us that we (Healing Haiti) were her family, and treated her like family and she was just so grateful to us for coming after she lost all her other family members. It was all so emotional I just held back tears.
              When we showed up I’m not completely sure one of the women knew what was going on because she couldn’t see that well, but our translator explained who we were and it was obvious that she had arthritis by how she moved, he then asked if we could sing for her. She said yes and a couple lyrics into “Glwa Pou Bonedye” she was doing a small jig in her bed. I got to wash the hands and feet of the second elder and she told us everyone she lived with (five people) had fallen ill and when we asked her how we could pray for her she just said that they would all get better.
Now all these ladies have are the places they sleep, some friends, and the food/water Healing Haiti brings them. But yet each one mentioned how god is good and when we asked for prayer requests no one asked for more things, more food/water, a better home/life, not even that the lord would bring them a family. All they asked was that their pain be taken away, that their house members be healed, or that what has been stolen would be restored. They were just so grateful for what they had they never let it get them down. They accepted what they had and made it work. Not once were they ungrateful or anything of the sort. They really showed me what its like to actually have nothing and how I should be more grateful for what I have because they probably think I was the richest girl alive if they saw my room, and I don’t even deserve how the lord has blessed me. The people how actually deserve everything that I have: these three women.
              The reason these women are living like this is not just that they have no money, but because of the earthquake that occurred on January 12, 2010. My team and I got to visit the mass grave memorial (which is not quite finished) where they had to bring many of the bodies found after the earthquake. As many as 300,000 Haitians were buried there during this time and when we visited our interpreters graciously shared their stories with us. Their stories touched my heart on such a huge level. I will not share their stories out of respect for them but lemme tell ya, it’s a dusey. Haiti has grown together and stood hand and hand to help each other though this, which is such a foreign concept for our country (not in a bad way) in that they would share their income with their house members. This country has touched my heart with their amazing spirit and I will forever be changed.
              Much love,

              Caitlin Shell