Saturday, June 16, 2018

Aspen Grove Trip Day 5

     I'm going to write about my most memorable day this week, given that this was our last day of serving and that, that was our question for tonight's dinner. My most memorable day was Wednesday because of an orphanage named For His Glory. At this orphanage I met a very special girl named Bianca. Bianca was a little girl about age 2 that was different from a lot of the other kids because of her personality. From the moment I picked her up she was clung to me, which isn't really different, but she didn't talk and she did not want to play. All she wanted to do was watch, watch other people play, watch others draw chalk, and look at the play ground but not dare touch it. There was also a puppy around, and I had forgotten that all Haitians are afraid of dogs. I thought that, it was more of a taught skill and took a while to develope. I quickly learned that it wasn't the case when the dog was the one thing that she did not want to look at.
     We finally took a sit after the puppy had scared her beyond compare. As we continued to watch others she saw something that was interesting and got up quickly from my lap to go find it. I was extremely shocked because I was beginning to think that she couldn't walk because I had been holding her since the moment I saw her and for her to just get up and walk was incredible. She went to look for this fanisnating thing only to realize the reaching arms of others to hold her was not the thing she was looking for and ran back to me. She would do this a few more times until I had given her to another girl from our trip. She had met Bianca a few months ago and just wanted to hold her, but she couldn't because Bianca was clinging to me the entire time. Once I had given Bianca to her Bianca stayed calm and just sat with her while I hid away so they could have their moment.
     I really wasn't much of a kids person before I met her. She was the kid I would hope to have if I had a kid of my own. Calm, loving, and slightly clingy. I really hope that if I get to come down again that she will remember me and I can be with her again. Thank you Bianca.

~ Juniper Anderson

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Aspen Grove Trip - Day 4

Wow- God blessed our team with an incredibly eye-opening and love-filled day today. Each day in Haiti is something new and exciting, so we all feel very grateful that we were given the emotional and physical strength to participate... though we were two members short today as Ethan W. was stuck in bed and his dad stayed back to care for him (Please keep Ethan in mind during your prayers and ask God for Ethan's recovery and healing!).

Today began with a team breakfast and prayer to set the stage for a busy day of serving our Lord! We  loaded up our tap-taps and took off for another water truck day in Cite Soleil. Water truck days consist of going to a neighborhood in Cite Soleil and filling the residents' buckets with water... the children of those collecting water swarm to us, so if we aren't carrying/distributing buckets of water, we are holding a few smiley kids in our arms! The children don't have many material possessions (many don't even have clothes on), yet they are happier than you would ever think. God shows His love for us through those kids' beautiful smiles and the way that they wrap their arms around us so tightly. We are constantly inspired by their unending happiness, because it is honestly so humbling that they have nearly nothing that we do, yet they have all the joy AND more than us!

After our first stop, we had to refill the water truck at the city water supply. There, we ate lunch and took a breather before the next stop. However, while I was eating, I caught a glimpse of a young boy looking at me... I waved and said hello, but his face was sad and he said a word that means "hungry" in creole. My heart automatically broke because I wasn't allowed to give him any food, and I also wasn't allowed to give him bandages for the many wounds that I later realized he had. He didn't understand that I couldn't give him anything, and I felt so helpless because this poor child was hungry and hurt and in need. So I gave him the only thing I could, which was love. I loved on him for a good long time, and God just knew that I needed the child more than he needed me at that point. He showed me how to love by cleaning dirt off of me with his own shirt and wiping my tears away... It was such an emotional encounter, but I am blessed to have held my little brother in Christ and again be shown Jesus' overwhelming love.

We had another water truck stop afterward, then headed home to change and made our way to an orphanage. We visited an orphanage called La Loo that houses 55 children. Upon arrival, the beautiful children gathered and sang us a welcome song. We got to love on them all afternoon, playing duck duck goose (otherwise known as duck duck duck duck goose), drawing with chalk and playing soccer. One child drew a gorgeous chalk portrait of our team member, Taytum, which was the sweetest sentiment one could've received. We toured the orphanage, and I was amazed at how the caretakers were able to keep everything so well-kept while also fulfilling all of the children's needs. It's always difficult to visit a home where children don't have any parents, but I stay strong in these moments by reminding myself that God is their daddy and He is all that anybody needs. We are blessed to be filled with love to give to God's children.

We are now back at the guest house... tired is a common theme among us. We are resting and gearing up for a big day in Grace Village tomorrow :) Blessings!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Aspen Grove Trip - Day 3

Hello from all of us in Haiti!!
Not sure where to begin.... we're only on day #3 and already it's been one of the BEST experiences of my life. I'm not being dramatic... It's amazing!  The people on this trip are THE most sincere, kind, loving, funny, bold, ambassadors for Jesus, and I feel truly blessed to be here.
This morning, after another delicious breakfast made by our sweet Haitian friends, we slathered on the sunscreen and bug spray and boarded  the tap-tap. Our first stop was Papillon Enterprise. Papillon's mission is orphan prevention through job creation. The majority of Haiti's orphans have mothers, but sadly those mothers can't afford to raise them, and the children end up in an orphanage. Papillon provides jobs, training, and FREE childcare to Haitian women. We toured the facility where they create the most beautiful beaded jewelry, pottery,  and fabric creations to be sold all over the world.
The second stop of the day was the For His Glory Orphanage.  Our job for two hours was simple... love on orphans.  I don't think any of us will soon forget the faces of our new tiny Haitian friends. Every one of us fed, cuddled, jump-roped, and played our hearts out for those two hours.  Saying goodbye to our new friends proved difficult for many of us. We will certainly keep those sweet angels in our prayers.
At dinner we always have a question of the day and everyone stays at the table until everyone has answered. What a fun way to get to know everyone!! Tonight's question was "who's the most influential person in your life?"  The honesty of the people around the table is very very cool.
Okay, I gotta go!  Time for our evening service at 7:00 sharp!  Thanks so much for all the prayers.  God is so so good.
                          Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me,
                                            and do not hinder them,
                         for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
                                              ~Matthew 19:14~

--Submitted by Val Seurer

Aspen Grove Network Post 1

          This is my first trip to Haiti, and I've only experienced one full day here, but I can tell you without a doubt I will be back. We did a water truck day yesterday, and let me tell you, it was eye opening. The water truck was a huge truck full of water with a hose and people would line up with buckets for us to fill up. We did three different stops with the water trucks to three different areas of City Solei. The first stop we went to, we hadn't been there for more  then five minutes and this mother handed me her baby, that must have of been a year or younger, she walked me over to the shade and told me to stay there. The mother trusted me with her child, she had no idea who I was, she just knew I was there to help, which was awesome. We then went to eat lunch and tour and healing Haiti church, then we did another water stop. On the second water stop I decided to help haul water buckets to the homes of these people. Theses people were so thankful for our help. At one point I was helping this little old lady and she was so so great full. Once we got to her home she would say merci, which means thank you and then she'd give me a great big hug and kiss on the cheek. We then went to a healing Haiti farm which is providing jobs for Haitians, the manager of the farm gave us a tour, most of there food goes to the healing Haiti restaurant and then they will sell the leftover food they have. Healing Haitis goal is job creation because eighty percent of Haiti is unemployed. We then went to a third water stop, at this one I just played with kids. It was then time to head back where we spent the night eating dinner and having a service. 
- Sophie Seurer

Saturday, May 19, 2018

SVCC Day #5 - Water Truck, Papillon

Boy oh boy, what an amazing day the Lord provided for us today in Haiti! It is always great to start the day out with the wonderful breakfast that is provided by the Healing Haiti guest house staff. It is a great way to start the day before we are away from the house and out in the field. The first thing we got to do today was head over to Cite Soliel to deliver fresh water to those living there. It is a blessing that while we are filling buckets with water for people to take to their homes we are also able to spend time playing with the local children. Children ranging in age from babies all the way up to teenagers, all of whom equally enjoy getting the love and attention that we are able to show them. In addition to those things we also make ourselves available to help whoever asks us to help them with getting their water buckets as close to their homes as we can. We were then able to stay in Cite Soliel to simply spend quality time playing with the kids in the neighborhood. We had brought with a few different toys for us to enjoy with the kids. From playing catch with balls and frisbees to getting a soccer game going in the middle of the street. We were also able to play games such as tag and other such fun things as simply running and chasing each other around or to just share the love we have in us with them by sitting and holding smaller children in our laps, or in some cases putting an arm around some of the older kids who sometimes need to feel the love we share just as much as the little ones. Following up this time with meeting our water truck at another stop a few neighborhoods away. Again we did what we do with water deliveries, filling buckets, helping carry them to where people need to get them, play with and hold and share whatever love God has filled us with out to the children of Haiti. Later in the day we were able to visit Papillon which used to be The ApParent Project. It is truly amazing what the Lord has been able to do in this organization to help bring job creation to the people of Haiti. By this there have been many families that have been able to stay intact. The growth of this company over the years is astounding! It has blessed my heart in just the last few years of me coming down here on mission trips to see them continue to grow and add new and exciting products to their brand. It is also incredible to hear and see the way that they take care of their employees. It is so evident that they have their focus on what is best for the people they employ and the overall wellbeing of their families. It is also was a nice opportunity to be able to help this company help those they employ by spending some time shopping and in turn spending money at their shop which helps them do what they do for the people of Haiti. They also have a nice cafĂ© above the store that provided our team an opportunity to sit back with a refreshment and enjoy some quality time together talking and laughing together.    

~ Nate

Friday, May 18, 2018

SVCC Day #4 - Wahoo Bay, Fleri Resto

The love of Jesus, joy and hope. This was the mission of 10 strangers 5 days ago. 4 months ago most of them were complete strangers. This mission brought them to strange and unfamiliar territory. The commonality that held them together is the same glue they were hoping to share and participate in, Jesus.
After a week of some seed sowing, trying our best to be the hands and feet of Jesus receiving the love this community has to offer, in abundance, Friday is a day of reward. The community spirit, the landscape and our fellowship together as we witnessed the National Holiday of another country. The Haitian community is a very proud people of their culture and country. It brought me joy to see the masses out together in spirit and in celebration! Meanwhile our team celebrated together as we took  2 hour drive across the Haitian countryside to see all that the country has to offer from a scenic perspective. 
The country itself is one giant miracle.  There has been tremendous loss and heartache here yet if you look around there is an abundance of beauty.  From the Caribbean Sea to the luscious green mountains there is beauty in God’s creation around every corner.  As a team we got to soak all of that in together.  There have been some daunting tasks along the way but the reward when everything is said and done greatly outweighs the trials and tribulations.  I think each and every one of us was thankful for the beauty of nature today basking in all of the glorious things God has created here in Haiti.

~ Anthony 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

SVCC Serving Day #3 - Mass Grave, Fleri Resto, Grace Village, Elder Visits

It’s our third day serving the people of Haiti.  After the delicious breakfast prepared for us by Keslet, we got ready for a day of remembering the ones no longer with us, and spreading love to the elders of the community.  
We pulled up to the mass grave where many of the people of Haiti that lost their lives to the earthquake on January 12, 2010 had been laid to rest.  The memorial was beautiful just at the sight of it.  Our guide explained what it was like in Haiti the day the earthquake hit as there hasn’t been one there since roughly 1854.  Many people lost their lives on and around Jan 12, 2010. The government of Haiti has roughly estimated 300,000 are at this site and does not account for the families that were wiped out in their entirety.  The guide alluded that there will never be a way to properly document the loss that took place after that earthquake.  The people of this community experienced a huge loss and built something beautiful as a result.  We stood around the center of the memorial and joined another church in prayer. While we were fixed on the Lord a strong gust of wind blew around all of us standing there.  The Holy Spirit was undeniably present.  In the middle of all the sadness and despair, there is this beautiful monument honoring the people who have passed.  
After we left the monument we went to Fleri Resto, a bakery and restaurant opened by Healing Haiti to provide jobs and high quality baked goods to the people of Haiti.  None of the many products we purchased from the bakery disappointed us.  Everything they made for us was not only made with love but tasted amazing.
Our next stop was Grace Village - an orphanage, school, and clinic up on the hill, founded by Healing Haiti. In addition to the children who live at the orphanage, there are more than 300 kids in the surrounding area who get to attend school here, and the clinic is open to the public. Our tour guide shared that they recently saw their 11,000th patient, and the clinic has been open for less than 4 years....God is good!! 
The best part of the trip for me today was the elder visits.  In Titanyen we stopped to visit four elderly people.  When we got there they were so happy to see us like we were family they hadn’t seen for some time. We brought each of them a warm meal and something to drink.   Our team got to work sitting the elders down and washing their hands and feet and giving massages.  The last of the elders we visited  today was so joyful  she put a huge smile on the faces of most everyone on the team. We cleaned and moisturized her skin and got to paint her nails, she was so pleased which made my heart smile. 
The people of Haiti, outside of the help we have in house have not done anything physically for me but everyone I’ve come in contact with has touched my heart in one way or another.