Saturday, August 22, 2015

Saturday - Caden

Today was another great day, but it involved us to be flexible. The first thing we were planning to do was visit the Haitian Museum, but right away we found out that it wasn't open. So we had to adjust to God’s plan for the day and decided to explore and taste the culture of downtown Port-au-Prince. When we did that we all ended up having a lot of fun, because the city was setting up for a community festival! While we were exploring, workers were putting huge colorful birds made out of old car tires in the trees and we also saw a dance group practice. We really enjoyed ourselves even though it was very hot.
The second thing that we did was visit an orphanage called La Lou. I really enjoyed myself there and also the kids! It was really calm during our Bible Story and craft, but after we brought out some toys and stuff for them to have, it became crazy in the place. There was a lot of grabbing as the kids wanted to have the toys for themselves. After we got all of them calmed down it went very smooth! 
After the orphanage we went to The Apparent Project, this is a place that woman in the community are able to use their amazing talents and gifts to make things that they can sell. We were planning to get a tour but we weren't able to do that so we had to be flexible again. So instead of doing that we explored the store and bought stuff. There was a cafe in the store so we all were able to get home made smoothies, lemonade and all that jazz which was amazing!
The final thing we did today was eat at an American owned pizza place. It is called Pizza Amour. The thing that we so cool about this place was that the restaurant was a house. The people who started the place were very nice. They had 6 kids and they all worked at the restaurant. We all had a really good time bonding over some amazing pizza!

The thing that I really liked about today was that this one girl at the Orphanage stepped up and told all the other kids at the table to put the materials in the middle. That way everyone could have some materials during the craft. The reason that I love this action is because she and the other kids have so little, but they are willing to share the little things that they have! We are often so greedy and don't want to share, even though we have so much! This is just one reason why I love Haiti.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Day 5

We started the day early and went to the sunrise service at a neighborhood "tent" church. It's not really a tent anymore. It's actually made out of cement blocks. The pastor was enthusiatically speaking in Haitian Creole, so we didn't understand what he was saying. It wasn't like a church in America, because everyone was up and moving and praying. Some people were walking while they prayed. The pastor spoke a bit in English and told us to ask our neighbors for prayer requests and to pray with them. Everyone held their neighbors' hand and spoke to each other. There was a lot of singing - even some American songs that we recognized, like "Our God." The pastor moved with the music and jumped around with the people. His enthusiasm made us feel like we could understand him, even though much of the time we couldn't. He told us that "YOU ARE NOT GUILTY!" He repeated that a bunch of times. He also said "This house is full of joy. OH YEAH!" The people cheered often.

After church, we had breakfast back at the guesthouse and gathered all of our stuff for the beach. Many teams that come to Haiti take kids from the neighborhood or an orphanage swimming at the public beach. Unfortunately, it did not work out for our team to do that, so our team went to the beach by ourselves. We went to Wahoo Bay Resort. When we got there, there was a beautiful view of the ocean. Some of the team went snorkeling and we all enjoyed swimming. A couple of us got stung by jellyfish. Today we had fun and grew closer together as a team.

-- Elaina Gerst

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Elderly and Grace Village Visit

Today we went and visited 3 elders in Titanyen. The first elder we visited was named Clelie, she is 76 years old. She had lots of spirit and joy, we washed and massaged her hands and feet then painted her nails. We prayed over her for strength and health. The next elder we visited was Marie who is 105 years old. We also painted her nails as well as the neighbor kids around her. Her only prayer request was to be able to go to church on Sunday. Finally we visited a 22 year old named Jude Jean Paul, who has epilepsy. We sang and prayed with his mother who is very loving and caring and has devoted her life to him through God.

Next we visited Grace Village and toured the compound. They are creating family lives for the orphans because God created families not orphanages. They are also providing schooling, food, jobs, and health care. The aquaponics farm is providing responsibility and food for the children. It's so great to see the vision of Grace Village come to life.

After we visited the Mass Grave, 300,000 bodies were buried there after the Earthquake. Brunet told us a story of his personal experience with the earthquake and how emotional it was for everyone. Outside of the Mass Grave we gave out "Feed My Starving" food to the surrounding community. When the food started getting low the crowd got a little aggressive, we finished giving out the food and started our ride back to the guest house.

Today was a long emotional yet joyful day and we are very thankful for this experience! -Avery Whitbeck, Maddy Canny, and Lucy Gerst

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day 3 - Wednesday

Day three was one of highs and lows, one of change and growth, and finally one of understanding and respect. At the beginning of the day we started off with yet another great breakfast cooked by our world famous guest house chef's, made with their chicken bullion eggs and ripe mangos. After breakfast we had down time to fill our water bottles and get ready for the day, while our leaders talked with our translators to figure out the current situation with the water truck. One of the filling stations was down and we needed to get to the truck so we hopped in our trusty Tap-Tap, and off we went.

When we arrived at the filling station we spent little more than seconds waiting for the truck which came out with it's horns bellowing speeding into the busy intersection, we followed hastily behind in an attempt to match the truck speed. As we drove we passed many roadside landmarks some of which will remain in my mind forever. To give a little background my first time in Haiti was about this same time of the year in 2014, it was only four years after the earthquake and Haiti was still in shambles it had a corrupt government and there was only ruin and despair, it was an arid desert with little more than crumbling infastructure and a people in a national depression (both in a physical and spiritual sense).  That is why it was so relieving for me to come around Haiti and see a land bustling with life and happiness. See America is a place with a more materialistic culture and scale of happiness, however in Haiti you see a culture built on community and spiritualism, which is why while we were driving when we pass such communities with trees and grass and the simple things you can see how much Haiti has truly grown, from despair to a relative happiness, you can again be proud to be Haitian.

When we arrived in Citie Soliel, the vast trek through open sewers, past U.N. guards with assault rifles and past market stalls with pigs heads seemed to initially bear no reward, but one of the great things about the Haitian people is that the beauty is not always on the surface, what may seem a hard and unforgiving land can truly blossom into a picture of beauty, the trick is that it is in the eyes of the beholder.

With our first stop morale was high, delivering water to a people with such hope tends to rub off on you and being the reverse missionary truly sets in. we left the Tap-Tap only to be greeted by un-clothed children desperately needing to be held, these are loving people who live on nothing but prayers to get by. It was a stop 17 one I had been to before, this stop was a great example of the warmth of god and the prayers of a people, not to mention the change the Haitian people have endured in their last year. the church was still being built but its mere existence was a triumph over poverty itself not to mention a symbol of hope to the Haitian people that the earthquake was just a veil of darkness over the Haitian peoples otherwise bright future.

When the bellowing horn sounded that was when the people came flocking from all about through routes that most of the team didn't even know existed, and in seconds a gravel street corner had become a vibrant and bustling hub of energy and movement. Within the first couple of seconds water had filled the streets, turning the whole vaguely tiled floor into a mess or wet dirt and slippery tiles. People had began to crowd around and it was time for me to make my choice as to whether I was going to be on the hose or with the children, though I chose the hose initially that is not to be said that I couldn't be swayed to find a different place on the line. In the beginning Nate was working the front end where the business happened but he kindly moved offered me the front end so that I could experience the hectic rush for water myself. Though there was a kind Haitian man to help show me the ropes, we built up a rhythmic order and in the end it was just our Haitian guide and the locals moving buckets into order and me holding the giant hose in place while the water rushed out in a white current.

After encountering no problems at that stop we moved to the Haitian Initiative, where I had the most memorable experience yet in Haiti. When you walked into the steaming hot room you saw that there was little more that a makeshift kitchen and a table in a space large enough to be a warehouse. To give a little more background, I moved from Saint Paul to Edina in the summer of second grade, where I made what would be my home until I graduated high-school, In Edina we often hear of the Haitian Initiative, not only in how they would destroy us in soccer but also how many sponsors would bring these children from Haiti to Edina, where they would live during soccer season. Needless to say Edina is very connected in the Haitian Initiative organization, so it felt quite good to see Edina's loss had gone to some worthy players, these kids were kinder, more playful and more joyous than any kids I had ever new. With countless games and ways to entertain themselves they must keep themselves in shape and quick on their feet come soccer season.

While inside the Haitian Initiative organization I sat down with my grandmother, Pam and a man I had never met before, we sparked up a conversation and though he looked the part he had to good of english to be born here, it was as if it was his first language with little to no accent and using words that a gifted scholar might use it warranted the question of "where are you from?" the question was of course met with a toothy grin and a heavy laugh followed by an explanation and short summary of his life.

He told us how he was raised in New Jersey and was an avid reader of many holy books, he found his calling by doing missionary work down in Haiti after reading a particular book that listed quote from the bible. "I am working for the lord" he said, making his mark as an true christian.

While majority of the Haitians ran into a circle to play a group game some of the players and I snuck off with David to get some photos, they all had Edina jerseys on and when I told them I was from there to they burst out in somewhat laughter and somewhat amazement as they seemed to never expected than someone from Edina would come to visit them.

As it grew later in the day we socialized some more and gave the kids some more amazement when I told them I was 15, and 5'-8'' they thought that it was not possible that I was 15 as the nearest kid a 16 year old was barely 5 feet tall. However at that point the amazement and fun was only to be continued as Micah busted out his dance moves and showed the whole team what fun really was.

Chris Lethert

Day 3 of Haiti - By Caden Boike

Today was a really fun and it was also a very emotional day for all of the people in our group. One of the things that we did was deliver water to a poor shanty town called Cite Soleil. The first stop was a lot of fun! We all enjoyed playing with the kids and helping people get water. The thing that I really liked about the people of Cite Soleil is that they have so much joy about everything that goes on. For example when we got to the place where we would deliver the water all the kids crowded around just wanting to get hugged and held. Then when they would get that hug it would bring them so much joy and happiness. So if we weren't carrying kids or playing with them we would be helping people get water in their buckets and carrying it for them. The second place that we went was a little more emotional for the group. It felt a little more intense. The kids and people were a little more aggressive in wanting our attention and love. They also had different boundaries then we did. For example, they would grab at us and want to stroke our hair. This definitely showed their high need for touch and attention. But sadly we had to leave this stop a little early because of things starting to heat up. Afterwards though, this experience led to a lot of bonding and help our group grow closer to each other because we were able so share our thoughts and feelings about what we had gone through.

Another thing that we did today was go to this place called Haiti Initiative, also called H.I. This was a place for kids to get schooling, food and also attend a soccer academy. This place was also in Cite Soleil. The thing that I like so much about H.I was that the kids had the most joy that I have ever seen. The boys would like to arm wrestle and they were a lot stronger than you would think! They beat me almost every single time! Then the girls would have a fun dance party where they would get in a circle and clap and dance (There may have been some Whipping and Nae Naeing involved). Despite there was a big language barrier we were able to have so much fun through playing and interacting. To wrap up I think that the biggest thing that I learned was that we can find joy in the littlest things, just like how the people in Haiti do. Like they don't have as much as we do, but they have the most joy and love I have ever seen. The Lord is at work in Haiti and I can for sure see it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Day 2 Haiti

           During the day our group split up in to two groups. One went to Gary's, and one went to the home of sick and dying children.

            The home of sick and dying children was really an eye opener for me. You would walk by their crib and they would just stick out there arms wanting to be held. We would feed, them carry them, or just sit with them. At the time we were there, it was the time when the kids parents would come visit them. They left before we did and when they left the kids would just scream and cry, there was a time when I was just sitting in the toddler section without a kid. When a little girl just came and laid on my legs just saying "Mama no" that was all she say for the last 45 minutes. She really clung to me and when I had to go it was really hard, I was just about out the door when I looked back. the girl was standing maybe 10 ft away with a tear going down her cheek. But over all it was a great experience for me that showed me that these kids just want to be loved and cared for. -Jack Boike

            The other half of our team went to Gary's orphanage for kids with special needs.
This was a newer destination considering only four teams have been down there. When I got out of the tap-tap I could already hear the cries of delight from the kids in the orphanage. We walked in, found 17 of the kids in the orphanage. Some of them were very stiff and couldn't completely move all of their muscles. Those were the ones that I loved to be around, because all you needed to do was stroke them, or massage them and they would be happy. I held a kid for a while, and she only smiled when we sang. I helped a little boy make a mighty fortress, using four chewed up legos. I also helped spoons feed a different little boy. I guess i need to practice before I have a child, because i didn't do the best. I had to leave right in the middle of struggling to feed the boy. At the start I was an observer, the trick is to jump right in. -Micah Stoerzinger

Monday, August 17, 2015


After a relatively smooth pair of flights, we have arrived safely in Haiti.  The kids were excited and seemed to love the tap tap ride to the guest house where we will be staying for the next week.  After settling in, about half the team challenged the neighborhood boys to a soccer match while the other half walked over to a neighboring hotel pool to take a refreshing break from the heat.  All seemed to be looking forward to tomorrow where we will face our first day of serving.  I'm sure more than a few hearts will be broken at the home for sick and dying babies and the handicapped orphanage that we will be visiting.

Our trip that we have been preparing for these last months in now upon us.  I can't think of a better way to close out the summer for these kids.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Fruits of Labor are on the way to Haiti

Several months ago a group of students from three different schools scattered across the Twin City area came together to bag groceries on an afternoon for the kids and people of Haiti.  Most had never done this before and most had probably not worked all day at something for which they wouldn't receive any compensation.  All nine of them worked hard, laughed and felt good about what they had accomplished.  For they had raised over $700 and this money was used to buy over 40 pairs of leather  church/school shoes, backpacks, socks and playground shorts.  At the end of the day, they walked away with empty pockets but with full hearts.  One of the kids will be able to see the reaction of the Haitian kids when they receive these items and I hope that he will be able to express to his fellow baggers the gratitude and joy that will be shown on the day that they are delivered to those orphanage kids in Haiti.

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.      Anne Frank

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sometimes All You Need Is A Comforting Bosom 

Mission work is a complex amalgam of love, hard work, spiritual warfare, travel, giving, and joy. Throw in some pain, terror, sacrifice, heartbreak, privation, and laughter and you start to get the idea of what it really is like to leave your home behind, get on a jet with a bunch of strangers, and then eat Pringles as you bounce across rotten roads with a load of orphans.
This week in Haiti was my second one in three years. It won’t be the last unless I get lucky and meet God in person before next year. It cemented my impressions and love of the country, and people, that occupy this fragile island.
Two years ago it was a different place. Where there were stinking canals full of garbage on the first visit, there is water flowing and backhoes clearing away the sewage. Pounded collections of rubble from the 2010 earthquake have been replaced with small markets, new homes, and plantings of corn and sugar cane.  Smiles have replaced frowns. Blue skies are no longer darkened with the clouds of burning plastic.
Best of all, the national color of Haiti has changed from the blue of tarps in a tent city to the reflective vest of the construction workers and their matching hard hats. The country is cleaner, more vibrant: they are coming back from a terrible tragedy and a history that mixes despair, despotism, and liberty in unequal parts.
One thing hasn’t changed: the hearts of the people who come here on missions. Tender, caring, broken people who give their time and money to help Haiti climb out of the pit. A national mass grave has been left behind in a move toward a future of growth and tourism.  All with the help of people like Tamara and Stefan.

They are the two very tired missionaries who have children, also asleep, draped all over them. A soft bosom to comfort the children of Haiti, as they grow toward a future of joy. Two very different bodies, two different people. One spirit. The spirit of Jesus as he uses us as his hands and feet. And his comforting breast.


Saturday, April 18 

Love Thy Neighbor...

We made our way back to City Soleil to bring water, one of life’s most precious resources, and good will, to the people that live there.

As we maneuver the creaky Tap Tap and sister water truck into place, the residents of the city gather. Children smile and reach up and out, toddlers wait, for something--they don’t seem to know just what; and grown-ups are all business.  They line up their buckets quickly, looking for any hole in the line to slip into (we call it butting)--some succeed; others are reprimanded by the water truck driver, or our Haitian translators.

There is an energy circulating within the gathering--not upbeat as it was earlier in the week.  More unsettling, as if a storm was far off but brewing.

Our group begun to help;  carrying buckets, hoisting gallons of water to impossible positions on top of small heads; holding small children and babies, praying to infuse everything good thing that we held in our souls into these lovely beings as if for storage when needed.

Two young ladies shielded my team mate and me as we sat  in the hot sun, with a rag just big enough to cover our heads and the young children we were holding. They reminded me of sentinels; their sole duty to give back something to these strange white people whom they trust are here to help.

Later, a man vehemently slaps a young boy about the ears and on his head repeatedly.  I stand between them, helpless--to do much of anything else.  The man leaves; the boy begins to whimper, then sob.  I try to comfort him, to no avail.  He is distant--perhaps anticipating further unrest when finally he must go home sometime today for shelter.

Shelter.  4 by 5 feet, perhaps.  A couch. No bed. Dirt on the floor.  A chicken pacing in front of the towel hung in an opening to constitute a doorway.

The morning grows chaotic as the water begins to run out.  The people quicken their pace to retrieve water that they pray will get them through to the next delivery.
The water runs out.  Our group makes their way to the pier, as our driver tends to a flat tire.

When we return to the tap tap, we find waiting an injured woman, her head gashed and bleeding.  As our team mate,who is a nurse practitioner, and one of our leaders tend to her injuries, our translator explains that a man has intruded into her house and attempted to rape her 12-year-old daughter.  When the mother fended the man off to protect her daughter, he beat her severely. Our skilled nurse patched her up with with what tools we had from the tap tap first aid kit.  The woman would go back to her house.  No hospital--no money.  No police--there are none.

Love thy neighbor...

I stand by the tap tap. Lost. Where is God today, I’m wondering?
I feel like crying, and then I do. Stuck. Helpless. Saddened. 

A little girl in a dirty white dress sees me from the other side of the tap tap.  She makes her way over to me, looks up at my tears with genuine, adult--looking concern.

Beautiful, deep brown eyes, furrowed brow.
Genuinely concerned.

She takes the hem of her dress and lifts it to my face to dab at my tears.

I hug her close, wanting to savor the utter, simple humanity of this moment.

The injured leaves, the crowd begins to thin.  we board the tap tap.

A morning of tension, a morning of violence, a questioning of faith--redeemed by a small child reaching out--an act as large as God--an act of loving thy neighbor.

After all...

Marj Hellweg

Friday, April 17, 2015

Just Another Mission Post

We went some places and did some things. 

We did this and we did that next. Then we had lunch, did some more stuff and came back for spaghetti.

Thus your classic mission blog begins. Usually about where the average reader ends their interest and skips back to Facebook to see if the friend from Ohio put up the new pictures of their child.

Not today. Because each of the members of my mission team, and all of the people with whom we spent time deserve much better.

Chronology matters in this narrative only in that it frames what we learned to love about Haiti today. Our morning on the road was slowed down with some vehicle issues. Unlike many groups I’ve spent time with on this planet, in other times, and other uniforms, this did not result in endless kvetching and eye-rolling. People laughed, looked at the pristine sky, and chatted with each other while we waited for the translators to take care of our vehicle. Good guys, every one of them. Excellent drivers, sheep dogs when wolves approach, and friends to share a joke with during the moments between moments. 

This is my second trip to Haiti. Not my last. I was greeted with smiles and hugs from all of them. Evidently tales had been told, because the ones who had just started all seemed to know about me. Reserving comment on that: I’m honored and nervous.

Time now encroached on the mission. That doesn’t change if you’re flying bombers over Nazi Germany, making stops at orphanages, or driving the kids to hockey practice. Our leaders are good ones. They sought our opinion, weighed it and decided. Bad leaders move by consensus regardless of the situation. Our leaders did the right thing. Maybe not in my opinion, but theirs. I appreciate that and love them for it all the more.

We did the full core workout today: bouncing on bad roads in the back of the van will do that: you have to use every muscle in your core to stay on the just-not-wide-enough bench and avoid smashing into the person next to you, or the grab rail just above your head. Your team will catch you/cushion you as you roll around. Mutual defense through mutual contact.

Now to the point. Glistening soap bubbles floated toward the palm trees lining the orphanage as the snow-cones amped up the sugar level in our blood. Not one child was  alone in the night, nor were we. We loved the time together, the bounding soccer ball and the cracking jump-rope. Small children, 64 year old retirees, and twenty-something men and women who had more in common than most families: Jesus Christ.

Mutual respect, loving kindness, and joy reigned supreme from the breakfast table to the diesel smoke clogged highways. Spiritual love and blessings went right along side of the squeezable apple sauce. Peace and joy occupied the knees of middle-aged men as children sat upon them in search of solace.

So, while we did go places and do things, we mainly were the hands and feet of Christ.

That made it a perfect day.------Joe

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Today was a day that overflowed with hope, the kind of day that is rare in Haiti. Our team toured Grace Village in the city of Titanyen, which translates to "Less than Nothing". God's glory has transformed this town of "Less than Nothing" to a town of hope, opportunity and perseverance. Grace Village has given the children of Titanyen hope for the future, for independence and sustainability. The compound contains a school, clinic, feeding center, aquaponics center, library and homes for orphans. Driving up the hillside to Grace Village is one of the most awe inspiring sights I've laid eyes on. The astonishing mountains and crystal blue ocean pale in comparison to the beauty inside Grace Village. When I look at Grace Village I see the Lord, I see the passion of hundreds of people who have worked themselves to the bone to spread God's hope and promise to the Haitian people. I see a vision that only our Father could have orchestrated.

In addition to serving and educating the youth, Healing Haiti also supports the elderly of Titanyen. Many consider the elderly to be the true orphans of Haiti as the average age of mortality is 52. Many of the elderly that receive support have lost everyone close to them or have simply been forgotten. We met with a woman today named Marie that had an immense impact on each of us. Marie is 104 years old and had 14 children and only one of them
is still living. Marie is filled with the Lord's light and relies on His grace to provide her meals, shelter and medical care. We sang in worship with Marie and washed her body as she beamed with joy and prayed for us. Words can't describe how humbling it is to have this magnificent woman who lives in a home the size of a walk in closet praying for you. When we asked Marie what we could do for her she said she'd like us to pray for her family, for her health and daily meals.

Marie requested that we take a picture of her so that we never forget her face - which would be impossible for anyone that comes into contact with her. I will always have Marie in my heart and in moments of weakness I will do my best to remember her joy and gratitude for our Savior and for the gift of life. Christ has blessed me immensely in the opportunity to meet Marie and I pray that each of us is given the opportunity to be a shining light in a strangers life.
- Tamra

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A day of contrasts.  That's what today was for me.  The beauty of mountains and aqua ocean and pink flowering vines contrasted against broken and crumbling homes made of tarps, cinderblock and sheetmvetal.  We spent our time out today at City Soleil.  The poorest slum in the western hemisphere.  We delivered water with the water truck.  Happy half naked and wholly naked children of various ages literally pressed around and into us at each water stop, latching onto our hands and/or bodies, thirsty for attention and touch just as much as water.  Large empty buckets and metal tins were lined up to fill from a continuously flowing hose of water.  Our duties and privileges of the day: holding kids, acting as human playgrounds, helping fill and facilitate the filling of these buckets and bowls, helping carry these filled water buckets back into the maze of homes in the City - sometimes one hand/arm holding one child and the other helping another child carry a 40 pound slushing bucket of water.
I said today was a day of contrasts.  The sun was HOT, the water was cool.  The water we brought was clean, the water in the surrounding gutters was DIRTY, filled with urine, trash, and likely human waste.  Contrast our team's need for consistent hydration and these Haitian people who don't seem to need a third of the water we need to keep going.  The contrast of dirty, dusty feet and bodies and pressed and sparkling clean uniforms on the kids coming and going from school.

The biggest contrast for me today: weakness and strength.  These Haitian people have an unbelievable strength and stamina.  They work and live hard in the sun, don't seem to require nearly as much water as we do, and these kids can carry and push 40 pounds of water without taking nearly as many breaks as I need to.  The water buckets hang on unbroken fingers and rides atop strong heads and necks. I started the day out in weakness.  We are all probably cruising on less strength and energy than we otherwise would (not being used to the heat and perpetual sweating, to be honest.)   But let me tell you this - in my weakness and fatigue, the LORD Almighty, who loves these Haitian people, was my STRENGTH.  And seeing the fatigued, sweaty, yet willing and joyful faces of my team, I know that my Jesus was their strength too, without a doubt.  There were several times where I  literally felt I could not help carry one more bucket or pick up one more child with their arms outreached.  In the moment of silent confession to my Creator of my inability, strength that was not my own lifted up the other side of the bucket and picked up and held the darling child.  And I praise God.  Because moments of this kind of physical weakness are hard to come by in my middle class American life in the states, but this experience provides a beautiful soil for growth of knowing my LORD to be my strength and to LEARN that His grace IS sufficient for His power IS made perfect in weakness - 2 Cor 12:9-12.  And while my faith isn't always sure of the validity of that promise, my experience today and the experience of my friends with me affirms that it IS true.  
Let now the weak say I have strength, by the Spirit of Power that raised Christ from the dead. - Hillsong   -------- Stephanie

A Passionate Heart, A Willig Heart A Volunteers' Story

A Passionate Heart, A Willing Heart - A Volunteers Story

     Let me ask you this question.  Where is your heart when it comes to serving others?  Many people ask "what do I have to offer"?  I asked myself the same question at times.  We have more to offer than we think.  It says in 1Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of Gods grace in its various forms.  God has blessed each and everyone of us with gifts and talents that he wants us to use on a daily bases.  So, what we should be asking ourselves is, What am I passionate about, what inspires me to want to serve?  Gods love pours into each of us.  If we in return would pour some of that love into blessing others the more passionate we will be in doing what God has asked us to do.  There will be some that will say "it will take me to much out of my comfort zone" or they may feel they don't have what it takes to serve.  I said the very same thing.  It is through our weakness God is strongest.  Take it from someone who's shy and insecure at times, when i'm being a blessing to someone it's worth getting out of our comfort zone for.  So, when you ask yourself why me, why not you.  Why not me.  We are all children of God.  We will guide us every step of the way.  And, maybe a whole new doors of opportunity may open.  You never know where it will take you.  Take that step of faith and be a blessing to someone.  And as for me, why do I do what I do, I want to make a difference in this world.  To love my neighbor.
     I had the greatest  opportunity to spend the day with some young beautiful children today.  I was holding a little girl with the biggest smile on her face.  We were both feeling quite content as I was rocking her in my arms humming Amazing Grace.  That's what it's all about.  God is good.

Kimberly Juska

Monday, April 13, 2015

Winding down a beautiful day filled with sunshine, happiness, courage, faith, and love. Feeling blessed to be in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere serving our LORD in Haiti. We are already forming intense bonds that will last a lifetime in our hearts. We were honored to play soccer with the little ones and to be amongst amazing company throughout our first day. The Haitians were incredibly welcoming while destroying us in soccer. They were extremely fast, energized, and limber. They taught us how to smile big throughout the struggle while also teaching us Creole. A devotion meeting helped us to focus on the reason we are all here. Just as the prophet Isaiah was called by God in Isaiah 6:8. The verse says, "Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying,'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said,'Here I am. Send me!'

" God called us to serve in Haiti. We are all extremely excited to begin this journey together with God leading the way. Kasey Kelly

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ready to Go - Just Need to Pack

"And someday, in the midst of giving yourself in the spirit and act of volunteering, that seed will blossom into the amazing realization that this is what you were made for!"

I love this quote that Dave mentioned in his previous blog.  It is reality for me.  I went to Haiti last year for the first time.  I have not been the same since then.  I call it the week that I was "fully alive".  Doing what I was made for.  Experiencing the full range of emotions, from deep joy and heartfelt laughter to gut wrenching sobs and heartache, to bonding with people on the team I had never met before, but felt like I have known  for years, to finding within myself a compassion, love and care for others that I didn't know was there.  My heart opened to serving "the least of these" and in that I discovered that I am "the least of these". 
In one of my favorite books "Your God is Too Safe" the author Mark Buchanan describes how we each have a "holy must".  Paul says in Philippians 3:12 "I take hold of that  for which Christ Jesus took hold of me."  That is the "holy must".  What must I do  - what was I made for?  I want to "take hold of that".  I found my "holy must" in Haiti last year.  I found what I was made for.  And it has been growing within me ever since then. 
So I go to Haiti again, with an open heart to whatever God wants to do in and through me to fulfill that "holy must".  To do what I have been made for.  I am "Ready To Go - Just Need to Pack"

Kathy Witte

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Our Trip is Upon Us

 All of us come from different backgrounds and all of us have different reasons for wanting to travel to Haiti.  We all have taken time off of our busy schedules and spent considerable effort and thought in preparing for our upcoming mission trip.  Some of us will have doubts.  Some are excited and some are probably not quite sure what this will be like.  For many, this will be their first time volunteering and they're probably wondering what they could possibly have to offer to the people of Haiti.  Bill Hybels answers this best in  "The Volunteer revolution".

" What do you have to offer?  More than you probably think. You have the gifts and talents you were born with.  The passions that inspire you.  The blessings of education.  The skills you've honed as you worked at home and in the marketplace.  The life experiences that have matured you.  The pain that deepened you.  The love that spills from God's heart into yours.

Once you decide to invest even a small portion of the blessings God has given to you into the lives of others, you'll find the seed of something powerful sown in your soul.  And someday, in the midst of giving yourself in the spirit and act of volunteering, that seed will blossom into the amazing realization that this is what you were made for!"

Friday, February 6, 2015

Job Well Done

This week the dental team from Advance Family Dental brought together a team that  worked cohesively to bring effective dental care to many who were in dire need.  We saw 90 patients and did 10 root canals, 15 extractions, 147 fillings and saw 3 ortho patients.  The whole staff was involved, including the non dental team goers and each day they would get more and more efficient.

Of course, there are always a few issues.  However, this team has proved that they were incredibly focused and were minimally bothered when issues would arise that would test their flexibility.

Most adults would do everything possible to have a chance to be seen and they would wait for long periods silently and patiently for that opportunity.  Some of the children were a little more uncertain and would escape only to be found and brought back.

This week we had the pleasure to be assisted by a Haitian dentist who graciously volunteered his time  to work along side us.  He stayed at Grace Village and was  assisting us each day.

The team was able to take a break during the mid day period to see some of the elderly in their homes and visit an orphanage as well as deliver water in Cite Soliel.  They also had an opportunity to visit Wahoo Bay Resort and recharge on Thursday after 3 days of an intense long schedule.

As we get ready to return, most have commented on how fast the week went and how much they felt that they had accomplished.  I saw the gratitude on their patients faces as they exited the clinic and I'm grateful for this team and the time they have devoted to helping these people.  They worked hard and they have every reason to be proud of what they have done.