Thursday, January 18, 2018

EBC: A Day at Grace Village (Day 4)

A Day at Grace Village

It’s 8:16 PM in Haiti and I’m currently surrounded by my 17 team members in the living room as I write this post (hoping I can compete with Abbie and Anna’s blogging skills). We are finishing up day 4 of an incredible trip, and although this may sound somewhat cliché, I feel like these people are starting to feel like my family. Each night we gather around and tell our stories from the day – there are sad stories, happy stories, and A LOT of laughter. Mostly about how Wayne wears socks with his sandals (its 90 degrees here).

Today was spent touring Grace Village and visiting the elderly in Titanyen, a town next to the beautiful Caribbean Sea. You really can’t describe how extraordinary Grace Village is, but I’ll give it the good ole college try. In eight short years Healing Haiti has created a community including a school with around 350 students, family-style homes with a mom and father figure for the children, a clinic with three physicians and one dentist, a church for the Titanyen community, and a bakery/restaurant to create jobs and grow the service industry in Haiti. They are providing modern learning techniques and technology to prepare the students to go to college and to get jobs of their own someday. The abundance of blessings this place provides on a daily basis is overwhelming.

After Grace Village we headed to serve the elderly in Titanyen. The Healing Haiti elder program sponsors and serves up to 40 older adults ranging in age and health status. Because of Haiti’s poor economy, many older adults go without basic care and affection. The program provides them with food, medical care, and weekly visits from teams such as ours to wash their feet and give them lots of love. Today we visited a man who was over 90 years old. He is blind and could barely hear what our translator was saying, but even with the communication barrier, he was glowing with joy simply from our presence in his home. They all did. Something as basic as holding a hand or massaging feet seemed to change their spirit. We ended each visit praying for them out loud as a team. 

It’s hard to explain what the Lord is doing to our souls in moments like that, but it feels like a million emotions all packed into one. You really start to realize that even with our different experiences, background, and economic status, we are all God’s children in the end.  


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

EBC: Cite Soleil Photo (Day 3)

EBC: Anna & Abbie (Day 3)

Anna & Abbie Day 3

We are back by popular demand.

Some of the ladies woke up early for the sunrise this morning, while the men decided to get some (much needed) beauty sleep. We ate another delicious breakfast with French toast, eggs and fruit. After devotions on the patio, and lathering on some sunscreen, we all squeezed into the Tap Tap for another bumpy ride to City Soleil. Greeted by the many children, we got out the jump ropes and bubbles. The kids (and mothers) loved to jump rope with all of us. We blew bubbles with all the little kids, and even had time for a bible lesson. We taught about God’s promises by using a rainbow and its colors to help them understand. The bible lesson was successful, and by the end all the kids were dancing and singing about Jesus. After the fun morning we all went back to the guest house to shower, change, and munch on snacks.

In the afternoon we had the opportunity to visit Papillion Enterprises- an organization dedicated to orphan prevention and job creation. We were led on a tour around the area and learned about all the processes that went into making the sold goods. Our team spent time shopping and looking at the gift shop.

After Papillion, our team split into 2 groups- One went to the “Home for Sick & Dying Babies.” Another went to Gertrude’s…a special needs orphanage.

Home for Sick & Dying Babies- When we arrived we had an option of two rooms, one was infants and the other was toddlers. In the toddlers room we started off by feeding them and changing diapers. They begged to be held and cuddled. We gave them lots of love and attention, hopefully making their day a little better. We were heartbroken to leave them all, but we left feeling grateful for the opportunity to visit and hopefully make a difference.

Gertrude’s Special Needs Orphanage- Upon arrival, we were greeted by a group of enthusiastic kids ranging in age and ability. They were so excited to play with us! We played hopscotch, drew with chalk, and rolled them around in their wheelchairs. Mike and Dave even showed up the younger girls with their hopscotch skills. (We only wonder why they kept their talent hidden from us for so long.) Needless to say, the kids kept us pretty occupied. The joy on the children’s faces was unexplainable.

We ended the day with tacos and some hot sauce that was too hot for some to handle (aka Anna), but Ellie was a trooper and helped to finish off the left-overs. Our team debrief time after dinner was a great way to connect back up as a group and share our experiences. We think Ruth summed up the day perfectly tonight with her word of the day- Joy.

EBC: Sorry for the Delay (Day 3)

Sorry for the late post tonight, but Anna and Abby felt a little "girl talk" and time to play with the new puppies was more important than sharing all the amazing ways God is working through each of us :)  Or, perhaps it could be the slow internet connection...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

EBC: Anna & Abbie Day 2 (Cite Soleil Water Truck)

Anna & Abbie Day 2
This morning we woke up to the smell of coffee brewing in the coffee pot and breakfast being made in the kitchen. We had a large breakfast spread- including pancakes, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, juice, and oatmeal.
We cleaned our dishes, talked about our day, and squeezed into the tap tap for a (slightly bumpy) ride into Cite Soleil.
Our tap tap followed a water truck into the different districts. When we unloaded we were greeted by children running up to us, grabbing our hands and asking to be picked up. While some people played and held the kids, the other half worked hard at filling up buckets of water. There was even some friendly competition among the team members- with Carlee and Mike carrying the heavy buckets above their heads. (We clearly have the largest biceps in the group, so hearing the grown men complain about their tired arms all night is getting a little irritating.)
We even had the opportunity to help serve lunch at one of the schools there. There is no way to describe the smiles of the kids when you pick them up or show them some love. It’s only day one of the trip and so far it’s been worth every minute. The experience in Cite Solei today was fascinating and one that’s hard to put into words. The kids begged to be held and even though we couldn’t communicate perfectly with them, it was easy to see that they craved the attention and love we gave them.

When we got back to the guesthouse we quickly rinsed off- we were filthy after delivering water to 3 different districts. After that we relaxed at the pool at a nearby hotel and came back home to dinner- chicken yakisaba. Tonight we spent time up on the balcony discussing the challenges and highlights of the day and ended it with prayer and a slideshow of pictures from today. It was the perfect way to end the day and soak in all that we did. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for us tomorrow! 

EBC: Good Morning (Day 2)

Monday, January 15, 2018

EBC: Anna & Abby's Daily Blog (Travel Day)


The day started off pressing snooze 20 times. After being stuck behind snow plows and surviving the icy roads we all met at around 4:15. We headed to security (Wayne only forgot his luggage once!) With our coffee and breakfast we all flew to Atlanta, GA. After the short layover we were finally on our way to Port-au-Prince. Flying over Haiti was breathtaking and the anticipation grew as we landed. The tap tap picked us up, and we squeezed all 18 of us on there. We all took in the sights surrounding us- including goats, chickens, and dogs roaming in the streets.
Arriving at the guest house, we were greeted by 2 of the long term missionaries. The puppies and dogs got a lot of attention as we relaxed outside together, discussing our smooth travel day and the Vikings victory (none of us can still believe it actually happened.)

For dinner, we had sloppy joes (an American classic), beans, and peppers. By the end of the meal, half of us were struggling to keep our eyes open. We cleaned up our dishes and sat among each other on the couches, discussing our words of the day. It has been a fun experience seeing how we are bonding together. We all bring our own different strengths to the team. We can’t wait to see what He has in store for us tomorrow as we take on a challenging day- distributing water in Cite Soleil!