Monday, August 16, 2010

More Videos

Two more videos from Haiti:

Riding along some Haitian 'roads':



The Outside the Bowl 'Rave' Party on the roof one night after devos:

More Pictures

We had a debriefing meeting yesterday and exchanged photo CDs. With that being said I am now uploading them to my Photo Gallery. Check them out if you are interested.

Bonney's Haiti Photos







Adam & Kristina's Haiti Photos






We are still missing 2 CDs, but at least there are more pictures for you to enjoy :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Birthday Wish

Hey there,

My birthday's coming up and to celebrate, I created a Birthday Wish where my friends and family can help me raise money for a cause that I care about.

Outside the Bowl is an AMAZING organization. I was lucky enough to travel to Haiti at the end of July with them to help serve the Haitian people. We went and saw the campus that the super kitchen is at and I CANNOT wait for it to be up and operational - IT IS AWESOME!!

So please check out my Birthday Wish, spread the word, and make a donation if you can.

Thanks so much! I'm so lucky to have such awesome friends.

—Carlee

aHomeInHaiti.org



This team was at the mission while we were there. It was awesome to see their work and hear their stories.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Haiti Fault

Haiti Quake Caused by Previously Unknown Fault

A previously unmapped fault was responsible for the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12, not the fault originally blamed for the temblor, scientists announced Tuesday.

The massive earthquake was responsible for the death of more than 200,000 people and left more than 1.5 million homeless.

When the quake hit, scientists thought there was little doubt about the culprit, said geophysicist Eric Calais of Purdue University, at the American Geophysical Union's Meeting of the America's conference in Brazil.

The Enriquillo fault was quickly blamed, but new data, has revealed a more complicated picture.

"The fault responsible for the earthquake was not the Enriquillo fault, but it was a new fault," Calais said. "This was such a big surprise that I thought all our calculations were wrong."


The rest of the article here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Journal Entries

Below are my journal entries from Haiti. I didn't edit them, but just sort of spewed my feelings on the page. Hopefully they make sense to you. I want to warn you though, if you started reading them earlier I have re-ordered them. Now the oldest is on top, so that when you scroll down you are reading them in the order they should be. Thanks for checking out some of the stories of my trip :)

7.19.2010

Tonight we are leaving out of LAX to begin our trip to Haiti. I probably won't write much (hopefully I will be able to get a few minutes of sleep on the planes, but I doubt it) - Today: TRAVEL DAY.

"Who am I that I might be called your child?" - The lyrics of a song I was listening to on the plane ride to Miami. How awesome is that... that I am the daughter of the King, of the Creator of the Universe. I'm not just a robot or drone, but made to have a relationship (a meaningful relationship - not just going through the motions) with the one and only true God. I need to remember that and take advantage of it. Not just turn to the relationship when I 'need' something (or am in a tight spot), but because of the privilege that I have been given.

7.20.2010

Why do I find it so much easier to be God's hands or feet, but it is so difficult to be His mouth? Is it because I worry about messing it up? Is it because actions speak louder than words? I think that is what I do to justify it to myself, but maybe it is just a cop-out. Maybe I care too much about what others will think about me. Maybe because I don't know how to articulate what I believe or why I believe it's true. Maybe I am just self conscious of looking dumb, or worse making God look dumb. Maybe I pass it off like "there are lots of parts to the body, so we don't need another mouth". Although I'm sure I'd love for it to be a legit reason, I'm probably just scared. I mean God can use it, right? I can't screw it up 'that' bad, right? But maybe I'll still leave it to those "mouths" out there.

So many emotions already and we were only on campus for the evening. The first blessing I wanted to acknowledge was the fact that the two buses ended up filling up before we arrived so we had to take the plane. Although we had to wait around for it, I am much appreciative that we did not have a 8-12 HOUR bud ride that we needed to endure. After the plane trip we were greeted by Jacque and all of our luggage had made it (even the carry on that Bonney was forced to check in Miami). We were able to fit (with another 18 people) in the back of the truck and make it to the St. Louis campus. Yes, my butt hurts, yes, there were lots of BUMPBS along the way - but we made it, and we made it safely. I have to say I have mixed feelings about how we were received on the truck ride to the campus, but I guess more on that later (seeing as the lights are now out and we are going to be listening to the rain coming down outside) - what an awesome way to end out first day :). We are blessed beyond belief.

7.21.2010

Going to bed listening to the rain (well if you can call it sleep) and waking up to it too. I hope that means it will keep the heat away and not make it ultra sticky and steamy.

So, back to the mixed feelings about the trip in. I guess I should have expected it, but I guess it struck a cord with me. Some of the kids were happy and waving, but we had other kids (and adults) yelling what seemed to be 'not so nice' phrases. We were even flipped off.

On the bumpy trip in we also went through (well, waited for it to pass) a funeral procession. Of course there is a sense of sadness around death, but it was also awesome to see how loved the person was. It seemed like the whole community came out to mourn this young woman (about 30, a wife of one of the Haitians that worked here at the mission campus).

Last night we were told that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and this area (haiti is broken into 10 smaller zones) is the poorest zone in the country. It just hit me about all of the verses about feeding the poor and taking care of the least of these. We are for sure doing the work of the Lord. Whatever we do for these people we are doing directly for God.

Back to the mixed feelings of the ride in (just remembered a few more thoughts I had). I know that we are here to show Haiti God, but I was thinking if I was in their position how I would feel. I mean this is all that most of these people will ever know. And when we 'white' people come in, I hope that they are thankful for the work we do, but I could see how they could feel like they were put on display for us privileged people. Sometimes it seems like mission trips are more for the people that go on the trip than for the people they are trying to help. Of course bringing these issues to peoples forefront is great and hopefully we all bring the things we learn here back to the rest of the world - but the eternal impact is what really matters.

Melonnie (one of the staff members on the St. Louis campus) made a little rules speech last night. I think the biggest thing that I took away from it is not stealing the glory for God. I know we don't walk in thinking that we are 'stealing God's glory' but subconsciously we are selfish and want the acknowledgement for ourselves. It is important for the Haitians (and all people for that matter) to realize that it isn't the 'Americans' providing things to them, but that God is the one that provides (I would have never really thought about that, but it makes it important that they see the church is taking care of their needs - which is why they need to be part of a program - not for selfish reasons (like they want their numbers to be higher or anything like that) but there are reasons behind it all). Even if we don't understand the rules, but they are there for us to obey - they are there for our benefit - just like God's rules. We may not fully understand them on this side of Heaven, but we need to obey them no matter what. Just like Chris said a few weeks ago in his sermon - Obedience follows obedience. We follow because we believe it is true and because we want to obey and please God, not because of what we can get from God or how we can manipulate Him to do what we want (or think we want).

This morning was our 'campus' day. We were able to do and help with and of the ministries on campus. We decided as a group to go to the Gran Moun - which is list the elderly orphanage. The social security system here is your kids. If your children die out from under you, you are left to live on porches or homeless. The Gran Moun is run by sponsors, I mean all of the people there are sponsored by outsiders. We were told that the baby orphanages are seen a lot, but that the elderly are often over looked. We asked the director is they had any crafts that we could do with them. They told us that many of the VBS's have left over color pages and we could take coloring down to them. The 7 of us went and grabbed the pages and saw that the scene was that of Jesus washing His disciples feet. We thought it would be an awesome opportunity for us to do that for them. We sat and colored with them for a good 2 hours. They all seemed to really enjoy it. Brenda had stickers so we used the stickers (and the rest of the sticky paper) to hang their colored pictures on their fridge and cupboards. After that we went back on their porch with their rocking chairs. We had 4 people washing feet and 2 drying. We went through and washed about 40 elderly folks feet and prayed for them. They were all very appreciative.

Kristina and I also walked around campus and played with some kids over by the nutrition center. They were cute, and much easier to entertain than American kids, even without speaking their language.

After playing with the kids we found medical supplies that had been donated and separated them. Each of the kits has things like pipe cleaners, plastic tweezers, gauze, etc. We sat and broke down a couple hundred kits till the boxes were empty. This afternoon (at 3) we will be heading over to the jail. Apparently in Haiti, the prisoners only get food if their friends or family bring it. With that being said there is a HUGE need for outsiders to bring food and the gospel to them. It should be quite an adventure, especially since it is down-pouring right now and we are supposed to ride over there in an open back truck. God will bless whatever we do, even if it doesn't line up with our plans. His plans are always better, huh?

The rain stopped about 10 minutes before we left for the jail. It is the jail in St. Louis. Melonnie walked us down there (maybe about a 10 minute walk or so). She said that the jail is more of like a holding cell. It is a jail of all sorts. Sometimes it can be used as a debtors prison, sometimes it is for people that have committed violent crimes, etc. They have one cell for the guys and one cell for the ladies. There were no ladies today, just 4 men. One of them was beat and left for dead by the community for stealing a goat. Melonnie said that she was going to have to call a nurse to go see him because he was in pretty bad shape. A man that is staying at the mission (not in any one particular group) asked if he could come with us. He does prison ministry back in the states and really felt like he wanted to go with us. He shared the gospel with the guys (through a translator of course). Then we asked if there was anything specific we could pray for with them. One one gentleman spoke and asked that we pray he can change his ways (because what he was doing was not good). They all said that they had accepted Christ earlier in their lives. When we got back we were able to go up to the baby orphanage to hang out with some of the kids.

There are rumors of a tropical storm / hurricane on its way. We will see what we are able to do tomorrow. It sounded like most people were going off campus, but it won't really work is the rain is pouring down. At least the rain gives us a little soundtrack to fall asleep to (that is, if you can sleep).

7.22.2010

The storm didn't rage last night like the rumors had predicted. It did rain, but nothing too bad. We were able to go over to Tortuga Island. We were worried that if the weather was bad we wouldn't be able to take the boat to the island. It is just a sail boat that you take, so any rough seas or bad weather will cancel the trip quickly. We started the morning off with devos and breakfast. After that we had to get ready to leave. We walked down to the beach with Alex (the guys sports ministry camp staffer) and translators. Because of the weather throughout the week a lot of the trips had been cancelled, so people came along with us. In all I think we had 20 people. When we got to shore, the boat crew was there to greet us. Not only were they there to welcome us, but to carry us out to the boat. Yep, we climbed on their shoulders and they walked us out in the waves to the sailboat. We were told about it, but I guess I thought they were kidding. These Haitian men put us all on their shoulders - even the 250lbs plus folks that were with us. Once we got on the boat we sailed over to the island. I think it took us about 90 minutes to get over there. I guess it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours (depending on the weather and waves). The sailing was so nice and peaceful. Once we got away from the St. Louis shore it felt more like a vacation. Once we got close to Tortuga Island, the captain jumped into the water to swim to shore to get a smaller boat that would be able to reach the shore. Some of the guys jumped over and swam to the shore too. We took the small boat to the shore (well we got out when we were about 150 yards out - 3 feet deep or so) when we got close enough the kids started coming out to meet and greet us. There were probably 100 kids there. We broken them into boys and girls. The guys played soccer and the girls played duck, duck, goose. After a while of duck, duck, goose, we played some clapping games that they taught us. We stayed and played with them for about 2 hours - then it was back to the 'main land'. These kids were a lot of fun. It is difficult for a lot of people to make the trip over there, so they are just stoked to have people to play with (since it can depend on the weather, waves, getting a boat, etc). The kids outside the mission here are usually asking for your money or personal items, but the kids there just wanted 'friends'.

Kristina said that the average school level is a 4th grade education here. Of course a government or infrastructure will crumble when the majority of your people have less than an elementary education!

7.23.2010

Today we went to Ansafleur. It is the voodoo capital of Haiti (and some say the world). We thought it might be a big trip because a few had been cancelled lately, but it ended up just being our group and a few staff members. It was great to be able to really hear the stories and learn about the culture from the people that are immersed in it. We were lead around by Josh, who has been here (for anything from 2 week trips to summer long trips) for the past 10 years or so.

We took the truck to Ansafleur. The ride was about an hour or so. We saw a lot of the country that way. We saw everything from the slums to the coastline.

We hiked up to the monument. There is a lot of history there. There was a church there and they had dedicated the land to Christianity (probably 200+ years ago). The church put up this HUGE cross in the mountains to declare the land for God. A while after that it was struck by lightning and it broke apart (obviously because it was the highest point which is why the lightning was attracted to it). The people thought it was a sign from Satan that he was angry with them and taking the land back. They also said that when the lightning struck that a small porcelain doll feel from the sky (it is a black doll with one eye open and one eye closed - somehow showing the impending doom coming). Now they worship the doll - St. Ange. How sad, huh?

The hike up to the monument was steep and rocky. It was difficult in most areas to keep stable. On the way up the hill there were many people stopped along the way. There were people worshipping and praying and sacrificing. They would pour alcohol on the rocks to burn them (make them into candles). The burning makes the rocks black (and quite satanic looking). We saw people along the way up to the monument that had rocks on their head. We asked Josh what they were doing. He said that just like we use the symbolism of heavy burdens and laying them at the feet of the cross (Jesus taking our yoke and giving us His), they were using the rocks as symbols.

Before I forget, we didn't take any pictures. We don't want it to be a spectacle or disrespectful. The mission has worked for a long time to allow people the ability to enter the monument and temple as guests, so we would not want to harm that relationship. We wanted to be sure that we are respectful of the culture. It is not to go in and flip tables, but to see how ingrained voodoo is in their culture.

Just like in America, there are sermons that Christians 'turn their ears off to' (like greed or giving), the Haitians turn their ears off to the monotheism sermons. They said that the country is 80% catholic, but 95% voodoo. They worship the same God as us, and they consider Him the 'good' god, but they also worship Satan and many other gods. They spend most of their time trying to keep all of these gods at bay and pleased with them (and why would they need to spend time pleasing a good god that isn't there to hurt them like most of the others are).

After we went to the monument, we walked over to the voodoo temple. People pay to stay there. They will stay there to pray or sacrifice for their sick friends or family members. They will stay there until they get word that the person is better or that they have died. They believe that if the person dies that they didn't pray enough or sacrifice enough.

We went upstairs into one of the small rooms. They were rooms for worship and prayer. There are 3 rooms. Each of them have a small doll in the wall (the ones that they say fell from the sky from Satan).

It was interesting what Josh said while we were up in the room. He said that it reminded him of one of the Numa videos. They happened to be painting in the room we went in. He said that in the video they were talking about how the word 'spirit' comes from the word 'breath' like when we breath in and we breath in the spirit (and when we stop breathing out spirit leaves our body). Josh said that he thought it was symbolic that it was hard to breath (literally because of the fumes) because it was spiritually so dark there, but that we still needed to breath so that we could let the spirit in that place.

After we came down from the worship room we walked through the compound and went out back. They had a small pond that they called their 'holy water'. They use it to cleanse their offerings before sacrificing them as well as for individual cleansing. It is sort of like a demonic baptism. They say that if the person drowns or something happens to them it was because they didn't have enough faith. The pond looks more like stagnate mud, but to them, they consider is holy.

[We were told on the following days trip to the temple that the group had witnessed a woman having sex with a goat and then slaughtering the goat. I am thankful that I was not there to witness that.]

We went over to a local restaurant for lunch. It was a small (but good) buffet. The lady made us all this great food (pasta salad, a spicy slaw, fried plantains, chicken, and rice and beans). I, of course, did not eat the meat, but everyone raved about it. The lady said that we could go to their private beach to swim if we wanted (I'm not sure if it is always an arrangement or not), so we gave her some money to let us on the property and headed over to the compound. The guys swam and the girls played with some of the kids around there and sat in the shade. The kids loved having their pictures taken and then looking at them - so we did that while they played in the water and then would run to the shore for a good while.

On the way back to campus Josh was going to get out at a home to visit. He asked us if we'd like to come along, so we all dot out. Apparently only about 30% of the orphans here actually have no family. The other 70% have family, but they just don't have the resources to care for them. It happened to be the mother's house of two of the orphans that stay at the mission (and Josh had them living with him for 2 months after school let out before they went back to stay with their mom for a few weeks). It was cool to get to sit on their porch, hang out and pray with them.

I wonder how hard it would be to have to admit that you can't care for your child and send them away. I guess if 70% are like that and it is so common that maybe it is more acceptable. It seems like that is a much better option (housing, schooling, care, etc), than some alternatives that people do in other areas - selling their kids, pimping them out (putting them into the sex trade), etc.

We got back just in time today (God has really blessed out timing this week). The down-pour started about 20 minutes after we got back. It was so loud that you could barely hear the person next to you speak. Hopefully the tropical depression leaves soon. Thankfully the rain has kept the temperatures down and the bugs away. I was worried when I saw the forecast (for Port au Prince) that the rain would make it so sticky, but it hasn't really. I mean we are constantly sticky feeling, but it isn't as humid as I thought it would be (I was picturing the rain evaporating from the ground so it looked like steam).

Josh told us a story while we were waiting to go on our hike to the monument. He said the story was originally from Jody (who was on staff for a while but just flew back to the USA). He said that we needed to put on our Jesus bubble and our Jesus smile. He was talking about Extreme Makeover Home Edition. When they chant 'Move That Bus' they show the families faces before they show the house. You can tell that the home is beautiful just by the looks on their faces. That is what we need to do. Show how good and beautiful our Lord is, just by the looks on our faces.

7.24.2010

Last night we had a great devotional. It was more like a full sermon, but it's okay. The guy went through the Matthew 14 story of Jesus feeding the 5000 (probably closer to 15,000 when you add in the women and children) and Peter walking on water. He was talking about the lack of faith and the amount of doubt that the disciples (us) had even after all of those miracle. Even in spite of ourselves, Jesus still calls us to 'come'. The guy doing the devo asked the question 'What is God calling you to?' whether it is from moving to Haiti and selling everything to being patient and learning how to wait.

God is calling me to be the best wife that I can be. Not for my glory and not for Ryan's benefit, but because I want people to see God's love through the way I love and honor my husband. I don't know exactly what the 'best' looks like, but I will be trying every day to strive to love him more and better than I loved him the day before.

Today we went to the market and the waterfall. I think in total it was about 6 hours that we were out walking. Adam had his GPS with him and it calculated that we hiked about 10 miles. The market was crazy. It must have been because it was Saturday - just like the swap meets :)/ It just reminds me of how little people actually need. I mean there were so many people selling so much stuff, but I didn't really see anything buying anything. We went mostly for the culture and the experience. The market doesn't sell anything Haitian made - it is actually mostly stuff that they have gotten from friends, family, etc that they are trying to sell. Most stuff was junk, which makes it all the worse, to see how bad it really is here. The poorest of the poor - literally.

The hike to the waterfall was awfully long, but so beautiful. Not only was the scenery amazing, but it was wonderful to say hello to all of the Haitians and see their faces light up - especially the older women. I hope they saw Jesus' face in mine because I definitely saw His in theirs.

With all the rain that has been falling these past few days, the river was raging. It was much higher (the staff said) and running faster because of all the extra water. They said that the waterfall was 10X as strong as they had seen it before because of the extra water. It was quite the site to see. With all of the poverty and pain of this world around Northwest Haiti, God still send His beauty (whether it is in the form of newborn goats, Haitian children, Gran Moun, or water falling out of rocks).

I tried my first canip today (sure that isn't the way to spell it). The way I would explain it is a grape inside of a hard coating that has a large pit inside. You crack the skin (and throw it on the ground of course) and suck on the eyeball type fruit. You scrap the fruit away from the large pit in the middle. Yum.

7.25.2010

Today is a day of rest. We have nothing scheduled other than church. I was expecting it to be so excruciating. Kristina and Adam had talked it up like it was a 5 hour ordeal in the sweaty, hot heat. It was pretty hot (I think tight now it is about 93 degrees in the shade), but there was a nice breeze that was coming in off the water. Also, the one that did the majority of the teaching was American, so it was in English and then translated into Creole (so we actually could understand some of it - rather than just smiling and nodding).

It is nice to have a day 'off'. I know that the majority of the things we have done has been less ministry and more culture, but it is still nice not to have anything scheduled. I think I will try and talk Ryan into picking back up the Sabbath. It was nice to have Melonnie explain that it is not only for us, but to show the Haitians that we take a day off for the Lord.

So far today I have only had 2 bars to eat. For breakfast we had some salty grits (that we had before and couldn't eat them then either). For lunch we had some Chef Boyardee beef ravioli. Everyone else really seemed to like it. Hopefully we will be able to have something a little more vegetarian friendly options for dinner (like pasta with no sauce or rice and beans).

I tried to take a nap but there is no breeze in the dorms and all I was doing was laying miserably in my sweat (yummy).

I have to say, on this trip there have been a lot of times that I have been discouraged. It seems like some people are always busting into group prayer (out loud). At times I think that if someone was shot or having a heart attach that they would pray for them instead of calling 911. It has made me feel like my faith is less than theirs, or not good enough, etc. I know that it is just the devil trying to cause me to doubt myself, but I really don't like it. I should be thankful that they are prayer warriors, since it does not seem to be one of my gifts, but instead of thanksgiving I find myself jealous, envious, and sometimes even annoyed.

A few teams left today (I think about 30 or 35 people), but a new group just rolled in of 49! We barely had room before, so we will be tightly squeezed tonight. A few more teams leave tomorrow, so hopefully it will be back down to a normal capacity again.

Tomorrow we are supposed to be going to the House of Hope and running a sports camp.

We took a Creole class, so I thought I'd copy down the words we learned.

a lot - ampil
adult (elderly) - gran moun
baby - bebe
beautiful - bel
Bible (The Bible) - bib (La bib)
boy - ti gason
brother - fre
candy - siret
cat - chat
car (truck, etc) - machin
chicken - poul
child - ti moun
Christian - kretyen
church - legliz
clean up - netwaye
clinic - klinik
come - vini
daughter - petit fi
disease (sickness) - maladi
dog - chen
dollar - dola
donkey - bourik
don't - pa
drink - bwason
everyone - tout moun
everything - tout bagay
excuse me - eskizem
faith - lafwa
family - fanmy
female (woman) - femel
finish (ed) - fini
food (eat) - manje
friend - zanmi
girl - ti fi
go (go away) - ale
goat - kabrit
God - Bondye
good - bon
goodbye - babay
happy - kontan
he/she/it - li
hello - alo
here - la
house - kay
how - kijan or koman or kouman
hungry - grangou
husband - mari
I - mwen
Jesus - Jezu
juice - ji
later - pita
love - renmen
male - mal
married - marye
mine - pa mwen an
miss - chonje (sonje)
money - lajan
need - bezwen
no- non
not (yet) - poko
now - konnya
party - fet
people (person) - moun
photograph - fotograf (foto)
pig - kochon
please - souple or silvouple
pray - priye
remember - sonje
sad - tris
satan - satan
say - di
share - separe or pataje
silence - silans
sing - chante
sister - se
sit - chita
soccer - foutbol
son - pitit gason
sorry - regret
speak - pale
stop - rete
swim - naje
thank you - mesi
thirsty - swaf
tired - fatige
together - ansanm
tomorrow - demen
understand - konprann
wait - tann
want - vle
water - dlo
we/us - nou
what - ki sa
when - ki le
where - ki kote
who - ki moun
with - avek
wife - madanm
yes - wi
you - ou

good morning - bonjou
good afternoon - bonswa
good night - bonmwit
do you remember me - eske ou sonje mwen
seek God - cheche Bondye
Jesus loves you - Jezi renmen ou
very well, thank you - tre bien, mesi
thank you - mesi
you're welcome - padekwa
what is your name - koman ou rele
my name is - mwen rele
how are you - koman ou ye
how old are you - ki laj ou
goodbye, I will see you later - babay, m'a we ou pita
I'm working - mwen ap travay
give me that - ban mwen sa (banm'sa)
wait a minute - tann yon minit
stay here - rete la
are you thirsty - eske ou swaf
are you hungry - eske ou grangou
I'm sorry - mwen regret
God bless you - Bondye beni ou
I don't understand - mwen pa konprann
where is your house - ki kote la kay ou
whats up - sak pase
not much - n'ap boule

I won Rummy 5000 this afternoon. Silver taught us to play while the new teams were getting their orientation and tours. It was fun and I'm glad that won :).

7.26.2010

Last night no one seemed to want to let everyone sleep. We had people up being loud forever, people waking up to leave at 3:30am with head lamps on, everyone waking up at 5:30am because it is light out (maybe).

This morning Silver woke up with his eye swollen shut because of a stye. He said that it has been on his eye for the past 9-10 months, but nothing had happened with it. He woke up around 2am to his eye puffy and unable to open. He woe up a medical staff member and they said that it was just the stye. Maybe it was the heat that made it swell. Whatever it is, it looks painful, so hopefully the swelling goes down and he is still able to participate in everything that we are going to do.

This morning we went to the House of Hope. It is an orphanage half way between Port au Paix and St. Louis. They don't get a lot of Americans there, so it was fun to get a chance to hang out, color, and blow bubbles with the kids. Originally it was a TB kids hospital, then it turned into just a hospital, and then parents just started dropping off their kids and not picking them up, so hence the orphanage. The kids there were super happy to see us. There are quite a few kids there that were malnourished, but because of their lives before the orphanage. They are on the road to recovery now.

We were supposed to do a sports camp this afternoon. We brought soccer balls with us, so a soccer field is all we needed. The problem was that there was a community championship going on at the high school field (that someone on campus had set up) and the US military is using the other field for their helicopter landing pad. Instead of the sports camp this afternoon, we are going to do it tomorrow morning.

So to fill our time... we counted pills. Yep, we sorts a bag of 25,000 ibuprofen into small bags of 14 (so that the pharmacy can use them a individual prescriptions). We only made it through about 300 little bags (so 300x14=4200 pills, no even a dent, but at least we were doing work that needed to be done, rather than just playing cards or wasting time. :) We will do whatever needs to be done.

Today is also our cleaning day. We have dishes at every meal and cleaning detail (which means bathroom). I did dishes at both breakfast and lunch, so I am hoping that I will be able to get out of dinner duty. We had morning devos - so Andrew was able to get up this morning and give a little 5 minute talk. We have to do it all again on Thursday too. It is strange that they treat all groups the same, no matter the size. For example, the group that came in yesterday is 49 people and we have the same amount of cleaning days and them and we are only 7 people.

I totally forgot to mention, but Andrew has been eating canned fish - gross! He brought lump crab, white crab, and pink salmon. I don't eat it, so I guess I didn't realize that they sold it, but it is in like large soup cans of meat. He said it is because of the protein in it, but I have to say I think it is pretty gross.

Tomorrow night we have evening devos and worship. Brenda has to give the devo, but I think we are all going to get up and do the worship. It should be interesting. Maybe we will have to record it, hehe. None of us play the guitar, but Andrew plays the drums. Maybe we will just sing to the drums.

I have to say I have had a pretty poor attitude towards some of our group the last day or so. I don't know if it is just my lack of patience or what. Some people never seem to be where they should be. We were joking that we should change the name of our group to "Where's Andrew?". I know that people don't mean to run away, but it is just getting on my nerves. I think it is just my personality though. I hate wasting time and I think if people aren't where they should be wen they should be that it is very disrespectful. Hopefully my attitude will change or their actions (but I don't think the later will work and I'd rather take the responsibility to make a change than rely on someone else, especially it they don't know that it is annoying).

The generators have been ordered - whoo hoo!! Grand just told us that they had been ordered and paid for!! They have to be shipped to Kentucky for the container (which only ships once a month) and then they can be on their way! How exciting that the super kitchen will be up and running soon! :) :) :)

So while we were doing dished Alex came up to us and asked if we could be willing to do worship tonight (apparently the group that was scheduled wasn't on campus). Of course we said that we would. The unfortunate thing is that A. we have not much musical talent and B. we sang a song that no one knew (the staff picked the song out). I mean not only had I never heard it before (but got up to sing it) the crowd didn't know it so everyone was just standing and listening to our bad singing. Then the staff members got up and sang a song (because they wanted to hear it). Janiel (the head guy) came out of his office and made fun of the singing, which was quite rude. He thought that it was the staff the whole time, and I am sure he meant it in a joking way, but it hurt since we were just stepping in to help and were criticized for it.

Maybe today was just a funky day. I felt like the group was breaking off into cliches a little bit. Some of the team knew each other beforehand, so it is easier for them to hang out, and then two of them are marries. I sort of feel on the out skirts of the group. Again, maybe it is just me missing my husband and comfort and whatnot or maybe it is just a weird day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

It hasn't rained in 2 days now, which is normal for Haiti, but not normal for us in Haiti :) since it has rained every day since we arrived.

Tomorrow is going to be a miss-mash of things to do. In the morning we are going to go to the high school to play soccer with the younger kids. The rest of the day we are supposed to be doing 'campus construction'. Melonnie said that there are lots of small jobs that thy need done, so that's what we are going to do :)

Last night was the worst night of sleep I've had so far. I think it might be because of the rain. It started to ran at about 11:30 or so. The problem wasn't the noise from the rain, but the lights and commotion from the ones that were sleeping outside coming inside. I think it was because it was a new group and they weren't used to the rain here. You can sleep when you're dead I guess... Hopefully I'm not dead because of the lack of sleep.

7.27.2010

Oh yeah, Bonney just reminded me of something that happened yesterday that I wanted to write about. On the way to the House of Hope we were stopped by a HUGE roadblock of UN soldiers. They came over to talk to us a little (in Spanish). They were from Chile, there for a peace keeping mission. We were asking the translator if the Haitians liked the UN. She said No because I guess when they first came through would 'buy' things but not pay for any of it.

Isaiah 58:6-7 : Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

This passage was read at morning devos today. It was a great piece of scripture because it lays out exactly what we are to do - and it is exactly what we are doing here in Haiti.

I love the kids' kites here. They are just made out of plastic bags, sticks and string, but man can they really get them to fly. Sometimes it is sort of like us - God used the ordinary (discarded) to do extraordinary things. You'll never really know how high you can fly until you let go of your fears and fly in faith.

Tout bagay deja byen! That is the coolest phrase I have learned I think. It means 'everything is already okay' which is because Jesus has already triumphed. Apparently after the earthquake this phrase was being used a lot. It is in a popular Creole song and I guess you could hear the phrase all over after the tragedy. There are so many responses that you can have in the face of disaster, so it is amazing that people realize this world is not their home, that there is more to come and a greater reason for living. I hope that if I was ever put in a position like that I would turn my eyes FIRST to God (not as a last resort if my own plans don't work out). I want to rely on God's goodness first and foremost, not as a safety net when my plans fall through.

I'm so thankful that I have not gotten sick yet on this trip. I was pretty worried before I came. The main reason is because I haven't even meat in about 6 years. I figured I'd probably accidentally eat some on this trip (not knowing that it is in something of course). I don't think my body would have a good time digesting it. I may have ingested some already, but my body has been able to handle everything okay so far.

Tonight we have worship again - hopefully it goes better than last night. We are planning on asking someone to play guitar with us so we at least have an instrument. It is a lot harder to sing a cappella because you don't have any music to know when to come in and start singing (or the beat to keep).

I think the next tattoo I get will be at the base of my neck. I've seen a couple ladies with them there this trip and I really like the way that it looks - now I just need to figure out what I want there :).

Right now I am sitting on the little porch above the medical clinic. The ladies that are waiting to see the doctors have been busting into random song - it is so beautiful. It is so cool to think about the variety in the world and how beautiful all the praises must sound to God - what a joyful noise.

Just in case I don't get a picture of Cinnamon, I have to remember that there was a wiener dog in Haiti. Okay, so it is one of the volunteer's pet (the medical wife and husband team brought her along with them). She is pretty big, but a Dizzy-model nonetheless.

We have 4 more full days here - today, which we are doing the sports camp and construction, tomorrow, which we are going to go to the Port au Paix campus to check out the super kitchen, Thursday, which we are doing hut-to-hut evangelism and a program with the Miriam Center, and then Friday, which we are doing more hut-to-hut evangelism. I think the hut-to-hut is what I am looking forward to least - I'd rather be the silent hands and feet of Christ than His mouthpiece. I also find it hard to share without a relationship as a base (it seems forced). I know God can work through anything that we do (all we have to do is plant the seed), but it is way beyond my comfort zone and I really don't enjoy it.

Wowser!

Today was quite the day. This morning we had a soccer camp. We split the kids (ti moun) into boys and girls and have a game for each.

There were only 4 Haitian girls and 4 American ladies (in our 20s). We split up and played 4-on-4 for about an hour or so. It was really cool because at first the girls didn't want to play (they were complaining of stomach aches), but once we started going they had a great time. We even won 4 to 1. Stefani (one of the girls on our team) took my camera and started photographing all of her friends at the field. There are a lot f really great pictures.

After lunch we had construction day. We weren't sure what it would consist of, so we weren't quite sure how to prepare. It was CRAZY! We were asked to move a mountain - literally. They are going to put in a garden in the back, but they needed to flatten the land. We worked HARD for 3 hours and I don't even know if we made a dent. All we had were shovels and pick axes. I am sure we are all going to be feeling it tomorrow (HOPEFULLY MY FIBROMYALGIA WILL STAY AWAY). I am already starting to feel it now (seeing as I have blister on both of my hands and I'm very shaky from the lack of food).

We definitely needed our showers today after sweating like pigs all day. After our showers we went to the baby orphanage for a little while to hold and play with the kids before dinner.

We have to lead worship tonight again. At least we were able to practice a little before hand and Caitlin is going to play the guitar so it won't be just us and a bongo. Hopefully we chose songs that more people know and will song along with us.

Worship went well tonight - Thank God! I think pinking songs that people knew and having a guitar really helped. Another guy came up and helped out Andrew on the drums too so we had 2 drum players). No one said any negative comments about us tonight so hopefully that means we did well :).

I forgot another interesting thing that happened today. Once we were done playing soccer (the boys were still playing) there was a kid that came up to me (about 16 or 17). He told me that I was very beautiful and asked me where I was from. He kept giving me compliments and I could tell it was leading down a wrong path. First he asked for my phone number, then my address and then my camera. He told me that God would bless me if I gave it to him (I told him that God would bless him whether or not I gave him my camera). I kept saying no, and trying to change the subject. He ended up telling me that Jesus was mad at me because Haiti was a poor country and I could use money to buy another camera to I needed to give him mine. I told him that I was sorry he felt the way he did, but I would not give him my camera. He even asked if he could call my husband and ask him if he could have it. I guess this just shows why I always doubt the compliments that I get (if I get any :) ).

I sure hope that I sleep like a log tonight with all of the physical activity we did today (and have done for the last week and a half), I really don't know how much longer I can do without a good nights sleep (oh yeah, and some food!).

We were talking at dinner about what the food we are looking forward to most when we get back home is. I don't know if it is pizza or chips and salsa, but I know I will be awfully excited to eat with my hubby when I get back on Sunday - YUMMY!

7.28.2010

My hands hurt today! I woke up and checked out my blister on my right hand (it had ripped open and the skin was hanging off so I had Kristina cut it off with fingernail clippers). It looks pretty nasty. The wound was just open, so it is now crusty and dark in color. I loaded up the pain reducing Neosporan and put a bandage on. I'm not really sure what we are doing on the Port au Paix campus today, but hopefully it is something I can do with my left hand and not too labor intensive.

I am really going to need to catch up on sleep when I get home. I don't know if I get more than 3 or 4 hours a night. It seems like all I do is lay in the saggy bed and sweat for hours (not too enjoyable). The snoring all around us doesn't help to fall asleep either. Good thing I am still unemployed and can sleep in for a while.

It seems as though the work started awfully early this morning. When I was laying in bed around 5am the trucks on campus were driving all around (loudly) by our dorm. Not sure why today had an earlier start.

Brenda gave her devo last night. She read a passage from 1 John - Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us (4:11-12). I hope that when people look at me they see love and therefore they see God. I want to exude love. I want to sweat love. I want to breath love. I want to be love. Whether or not I feel like it. Whether or not it is easy.

The rain really came down last night. I don't think it rained for that long, but when it does rain, it really came down hard! The sky looks gray again this morning. We have an hour truck ride each way, so hopefully it just blows over or it isn't really rain in the clouds.

My hands are awfully shaking today. I know know if it is from the food situation or from the labor we were doing yesterday and my hands are just tired. Who knows, hopefully it just goes away soon :).

This morning's devo was on James 1. I really liked verse 27 because it seems to go with what we are doing here quite well: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

This morning we went over to the Port au Paix campus. The campus is awesome. We saw the OTB kitchen - AMAZING! All we need is the generator. There is even food on the shelves, ready to go. It is going to be spectacular when it is all up and running.

This afternoon we went with the Tomoka group to the Bible college to help (or more just watch) their VBS. There were probably 50-75 kids. I was telling Kristina that I wanted to ask the staff that went with us if it was a normal one, or more mellow or hyper (just to get an idea of how the kids normally react to it all).

I took a bunch of pictures and video while on the back of the truck today. I wanted to be able to accurately portray the area, hopefully everyone will be able to get the idea from them all.

So the food situation did not get any better this evening - some sort of canned chicken and dumplings which means another protein bar for me. I think I am down to about 5 or 6 more. Of course, I love helping out and doing God's work, but Miami and food cannot come soon enough.

I miss Ryan so much. I think what makes it 10 times harder is seeing Kristina and Adam being all love-y and touchy. I don't expect them not to be married for the 2 weeks or anything like that, but it just makes it so much harder to see what I am missing. I guess I am just jealous that my hubby is 5,000 miles away... But at least we have the rest of our lives to be together!

Tomorrow is another chore day. I hope I have a great attitude about it (rather than being a negative Nancy - seeing as the other HUGE group could do them the whole time they are here and no one would have to even do them a second time) - but we are called to be servants, right? I have to make sure to keep reminding myself that while I'm doing them.

We already have to give our checked bags to them tomorrow night. It seems super early (since they mentioned it today - Wednesday, and we aren't leaving till Saturday). The reason is because they have to get all of our luggage to Port au Prince before we get there. The small planes can't take our stuff and us (they have weight restrictions), so they have to drive it there and give them all day Friday to get it there. Thankfully I don't have anything to check, but I think it will give me an excuse to re-pack everything better tomorrow so that it fits well and neat (even if it smells like BUTT).

One thing I was pleasantly surprised about with Haiti was the small. I was expecting it to be so much worse (especially with my strong sniffer and bad gag reflex). The only place I thought it was close to unbearable was at the market where they were selling the dead fish, other than that it has been fin (I mean better than what you would expect the poorest of the poor areas to smell like).

Another praise - the bugs gave mostly stayed away from me. I have had a few bites, but nothing like what I was preparing myself for. Bugs seems to love me, so I was really worried. I guess loading on all of these chemicals 24 hours a day has a few benefits (even if it isn't the health of my skin being one of them :) ).

7.29.2010

Last night was the best night of sleep I have had so far while I've been here. It's funny because Kristina rolled over this morning and asked how I slept and she said the same thing. Maybe it was cooler last night so we slept better. Whatever the reason - praise God!

So for some messed up reason I seem to be starting my period. Not strong, but all I know is that I don't appreciate it! Hopefully it is just a one day thing.

I walked by the kitchen this morning and saw them rolling a very large cinnamon roll (or at least that is what it looked like). I also saw paper plates, which means less dishes - I hope!! The less dishes the less time it will take for us to wash them :).

This morning we went hut-to-hut. Josh was the staffer that we went with. It was super awesome because he left us go with him to a voodoo priest/ witch doctor's house. They have been friends for the last 10 years. Josh normally doesn't take groups there, so it was really awesome. The man was very nice to welcome us into his home. Josh said he was probably drunk because he kept mumbling on and on. He has 12 kids, and only 1 girl. The daughter was sitting on my chair with me while we were visiting. Josh had been visiting him for 10 years and just the time before he asked Josh for a Bible. When we sat down we asked him what he had found interesting from what he read. He had us read Matthew 4 about the temptation of Christ. It was very ironic that he found it interesting that Jesus wouldn't bow to Satan even after he offered everything to Him. I thought it was interesting because he kept saying that he was only a voodoo priest to provide for his family. He didn't want to be a thief, he wanted to provide an honest living for his family. He kept saying that he knew voodoo was wrong and that he knew one day God would judge him, but that it is all he can do to provide for his family. He has us go in his voodoo temple. There were human skulls on the floor and lots of things hanging from the ceiling (sacrifices like bones from animals and food offerings). He said that he wanted to show us to that it was not a secret what he did (although he didn't answer a lot of the questions we had asked him).

I think what was most heart wrenching was the fact that he said he didn't think anyone cared for them up on the hill. We were climbing up goat paths in the hills, so it is very desolate and not well traveled. He said that people didn't love them or pray for them. I felt like I got a glimpse of God's heart for others and the pain that He feels when people don't know Him. I hope that after we left he know that at least we would pray for him and love him and his family.

After we left their home we decided to hike further up the mountain (and actually went to the top). We saw a hut and asked Josh if we could go speak with them. The woman opened up her home to us. She invited us in and told us a little about her family. She said that it has been 21 YEARS since they have any 'blancs' up to visit. Stories like that just make you want to hike the hills daily just to meet with people. It was quite a hike for use, but I would rather make it than force them to come down the hill if they wanted community - meet people where they are at!

While we were doing dishes this morning I was telling Adam and Kristina about my lack of enthusiasm for hut-to-huts (I find it more effective to have a relationship with the people first). I was so thankful that before we went Josh was explaining that we are just there to ask them about their lives, not forcing the gospel down their throats..

This afternoon we baked cookies and then took them to the Miriam Center. When we first went down most of them were sleeping, but they started waking up when they smelled the cookies. They got chocolate all over, but they really seemed to love them. After we fed them all, we took the high functioning kids into their play room and started finger painting. The few that were able to do it really enjoyed themselves and were very happy with the paintings that they created.

The market day was in the cafe area this afternoon. I bought a wooden platter with what looks like a carrot on it. It may be a yam or some other root type thing :) Carrot ranchers!!

Oh my goodness. Tonight after devos we had so much fun. Brenda had brought glow sticks with her. We have been going on the roof in the evenings because it is cooler up there and there is normally a breeze. Tonight we decided to have a glow stick rave. We danced around with the glow sticks and had so much fun. We got some of it on video, so hopefully when we exchange pictures we will be able to see it. I'm sure we looked ridiculous, but man was it fun!

Tonight was spaghetti again. We were all so excited. The cheese bread/ biscuit things are so good. I think I had about 5 or 6. I know when I get home I won't be able to eat much ride or carbs in general since I have been overrun with protein bars and carbs since landing here. I can't wait for yummy food - like Breakwater pizza or Ceja's quesadilla.

It will also be nice not to have to load on the bug spray and sun screen 24-7. I'd love to let my skin breath for more than the 5 minutes I am air drying after the shower before I load up the sprays again :).

Before I forget, the guys thing I remind them of the girl from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I need to watch it again to see if I should take it as a compliment or not :).

7.30.2010

Another bad night of sleeping down. I am so excited for my firm and COLD bed when we get back. I don't think there has been a night that I haven't felt like I was laying in a pool of my own sweat - yuck!

I get to see my husband tomorrow night - YAY! I'm even pumped to call him when we get into Miami and I hate the phone :). It's like the longest we have gone without speaking since we've been married. I know I was back in Michigan visiting my family for 2 weeks, but I could at least hear his voice on the phone and send emails (and we were constantly communicating because we were doing all of the condo stuff).

Today we are doing more hut-to-huts. After that we have meals on feet. The mission has a nutrition program for the community, but some folks are unable to make it down (because of their age, ailments, etc), so what meals on feet is, we take the meals to the people that aren't able to make it down. We get to bring food to them in their homes. I'm excited to see how we are received (if the people are used to it, still excited and appreciative, etc). It will be nice to see another area of the community as well.

Last night the staff had a water balloon fight with the marines. It was fun to watch but a few of the balloons hit me, so I had to hope that my skirt dried out for this morning (it was the last clean one I had).

We found out that we are leaving for the airport tomorrow morning at 4am. That should be interesting. No only will it be early, but it will be DARK. And we ride in the back of trucks with no security, just holding on to the edge :). It is scary enough in the sunlight. But life is all about the adventures, right?

The only thing that I haven't done that I was looking forward to was riding on a moto. We thought that because we are a smaller group we may be able to, but once you add in security, translators, and staff members, the truck is the only way we can really go. It's okay, I'll have a scooter of my own soon enough (or so I hope).

I don't think I wrote about it yet, so I didn't want to forget the trucks that we ride in are called 'tap taps'. The reason is because they are similar to taxis, but you TAP on the side of the truck when you are ready to get off (since there are so many people that ride in the back, they couldn't just tell the driver where they are going ahead of time).

I thought the period thing was just a one day sort of thing, but it doesn't seem to be the case - THE FUN - especially when you weren't expecting it or planning on it.

This morning we did hut-to-hut evangelism again. We decided to scale the mountain again. On the way up we stopped at the hotel. We asked the 2 women that were working if we could look around. They showed us some of the rooms and then we hung out with them. They were so thankful because they said that on one ever really stops to talk with them (they just get a tour and leave). We prayed with them and then just chatted (they were asking if we were married, had kids, etc.

On the way back down the mountain, some of the kids ran off the goat path. There was a large mango tree, so some of them started throwing rocks to try and rock them down. Low and behold, one of the rocks smoked a kid in the head. He was bleeding all over so Adam picked him up and we all booked it down the mountain. Josh called Melonnie to let her know to get one of the medical staff ready. Thankfully he didn't need stitches (we think the rock hit him flat side, rather than sharp side) - but head wounds bleed a lot anyway.

This afternoon we have some down time until meals on feet (although we changed the name to 'meals on heels' so that t rhymes). We played cards a little. The rest of the time we will use to relax, pack, journal, read, etc.

I miss Ryan. I am so excited to see him tomorrow. I hope that he has a great time while his dad was out visiting. I also hope that he had some days of great surf so that he doesn't miss me too much :). It is almost our 2 year anniversary. It seems like the last 2 years have really flown by. I'm so lucky to have married my best friend!

'I'm Hungry' could be one of my themes for the week. We had more meat for lunch, which means another bar for me. Only one more meal here on campus. Hopefully we will make the first flight out of Port au Paix tomorrow so that we will be in the air conditioned airport longer than the open-air HOT one. We probably won't get another meal after tonight until we get into Miami tomorrow (not sure what time that it), so hopefully dinner tonight has something I can eat (seeing as I am down to 4 more bars and some trail mix of raisins and nuts).

I lost my watch today. Well, not lost it, but a kid took it. He was one of the security guys that was with it. While we were at the hotel chatting with the women he was scratching at the film that the bug spray had left on the face. He asked to see it (which I took as he was going to try and clean it for me) and then he kept it. At least it was at the end of the trip (and I was planning on leaving it tomorrow anyway).

7.31.2010

Last night we did meals on feet. It was cool to go around to the different huts and bring them their meals for the day. They were very appreciative.

We also had testimony night last night. I actually got up and spoke. I told everyone about the most memorable experience that I have had - when we visited the voodoo priest. It wasn't because of what he was or what he did, but something he said. He felt that they were forgotten and that no one prayed for them. I hope after sitting with him and his family that he knows that we care about him, love him, and are praying for him and his.

So our group got split into 2 for the flights. We all thought we would be leaving together at 4am this morning. Plans changed slightly. The Haitian that was making the flight arrangements just went down the list to make the flights and it split us into 2. Andrew, Brenda and Bonney left with the other groups this morning at 4am. They are going to catch the 6am flight to Port au Prince. Silver, Adam, Kristina, and I are leaving at 1am to catch the 11am flight. We will all meet up in the Port au Prince airport to catch our 3pm flight to Miami (if all goes according to these new plans) At least the Port au Prince airport is air conditioned. I will be even happier when we are in the Miami airport eating :). I thought that last night would be my last 'bar' meal, but alas it was this morning. I have another one (and some trail mix) to last me till Miami.

We watched a sweet lightning storm last night on the roof. Actually I think it was three separate ones. They kept lighting up the dark clouds in the night sky - it was so cool. I think it was God's way of showing us His rave party :)

Adam said something really cool yesterday when we were talking about what we might share last night. He said that he wanted his relationship with God to be more like the street kids relationship with us. Yes, some of them want a dollar or to have your shoes, but most of them just wanted to be with you, in your presence. They were content just walking for miles holding your hand. Even if we can't communicate with one another, they are excited just to be with us. If only we had that joy and fervor to spend time with out God.

I forgot everyone said that I did a really great job sharing last night. Not saying it to toot my own horn, but because I normally don't like public speaking so I was very surprised. They said it seemed like it flowed very well (even though I felt very shaky and like I was going to cry, but at least others found it powerful :) ).

Holy crapoly - that was close. We left the mission this morning at 9am (we were very surprised that we left on time). We got to the Port au Paix airport by about 9:45 or 10. We were told we would be taking the 11am flight to Port au Prince. 11 o'clock came and went, then so did 12 and 12:30pm. The airlines finally told us that we would be taking the flight back that was landing around 12:45pm back to Port au Prince. The plane finally got there. We took off by 1pm . We landed in Port au Prince at about 1:45pm. Then we had to wait for our carry-ons to get off the flight (because it only fits 19 people, the carry-ons go under the plane in little compartments). We had our stuff and were on the truck to shuttle us over to the actual airport by 2pm. Then we show up and the lines are HUGE. We started asking the employees if any of them spoke English. We finally found some employees and told them that we had to catch our 3pm flight. They rushed us through the first set of security. Then we had to go to the ticket counter to get our tickets through LAX. Then they rushed us through customs / immigration. Then they rushed us through the next set of security (the first set was for "Haiti" and the second set was more for the "USA" or TSA officers). If we would have waited in all of the lines (without being rushed and cutting a LOT of people off) it probably would have added about 2 hours and we would have WAY missed out flight. Praise God that we hound people willing to help us and get us through the lines. We ended up at the gate to meet up with everyone else after we already started boarding. CRAZY. I hate rushing, but man, I think Kristina hates it even more. She was very freaked out along the way. I had more of an 'Oh well, what can we do about it' attitude - because honestly there was nothing we could do. The one thing that I was most worried/ sad about was having to wait another day to see Ryan.

As we were waiting for our flight Josh told us a 'funny' story. He said that one of the groups that left this morning never told the mission that 4 of their group members never even came to Haiti. With that being said we could have taken the earlier flight with the rest of our group - Oh those silly blancs! Also,he told us that last week he was taking a group to the airport. When they got there, they had 23 people for a 19 passenger flight. They started freaking out, trying to buy tickets for another flight, etc. Just as they were getting ready to buy 4 extra tickets, 4 of the people said that they were just there to say goodbye - how frustrating! Communication is key and it seems like it is often lacking in Haiti.

I am so thankful that we made the flight. Thankfully we will be in Miami in about an hour and a half - and then we can eat (and change out of these dirty, dusty clothes). The Office is on the plane right now. It is the episode where they go out to happy hour after work and Michael starts dating the bar lady. The part that Kevin was fake crying was just on - he said that when new mothers hear crying it makes then lactate - hehe. Oh - and 'Date Mike' with the Kangol hat.

Sweet! It looks like we are getting food soon! Whoo hoo. Any food that isn't ride or Cliff bars is well welcomes :)

**Reminder - email Josh the picture of his friend and daughter (maybe he can get him a copy when he goes in the spring ) - and then maybe he'll remember people love him, care about them, and are praying for the community.

Apple juice is good! This is the first thing other than water that I have had in the last 2 weeks. I think I will give up soda totally. I mean I haven't had it in 2 weeks, might as well keep it going. I mean it's cheaper to have free water - and healthier too, huh? I guess I will probably have it every once in a while, like when we go out to eat, but I don't want to stock it in the house anymore.

I want to remember to look up Osprey bags. Maybe I could get one for my birthday. Kristina and Adam had them and they seem much easier than my carry-on. They hold so much stuff and can be a book bag too!

I forgot to write that some of the Haitian workers did worship last night. It was awesome. The first song they sang was in Creole. The second song that the sang was 'Light the Fire'. They had some sweet rapping in the middle of it too. We all really liked it. They did much better a cappella than we did, hehe. One of them made a comment that I really liked - "When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live a life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice." I thought it was really great!

We made the flight to LAX - yay! We did have to get all of our bag, go through immigration, then through customs, then recheck the bags, and then through security again. I am glad we had a 2.5 hour lay over. After all of that and grabbing sandwiches to go, we were really only at the gate for about 20 minutes before boarding. At least we didn't have to run through the airport this leg of the trip.

I was so excited for some sort of yummy sit-down meal and all I got was a bagel and cream cheese. Like I said, I would rather be safe than sorry, so we decided to grab something quick on the way to the gate. I guess I'll have to wait till tomorrow to get an actual meal.

We were supposed to be doing some debriefing activities while we were in the airports, but since our plans didn't work out 100% it seems like we weren't able to do that. We will have a wrap up meeting in a few weeks (once the Carrigans are back from their Canada family trip). Hopefully we will be able to trade photos then too. We thought we could do a meal too, seeing the lack of food we had on this trip :). Hopefully it won't land on our anniversary weekend (although I'm not sure id we have anything planned yet anyway).

My throat is starting to hurt. I am not sure if it is because of the acid in the apple juice I had on the last flight or if it is because I am getting a big from the planes and such. I am just happy that it is at the end of the trip and not at the beginning.

Oh yeah, Silver told us something cool while we were waiting for our first flight. He said that one of the guys that had arrive with one of the new groups (I think he'd been on campus a few days by today when he talked to Silver). Anyway, he told Silver that he just wanted to let us know that when he thought of our Outside the Bowl group he always thought of the scripture that says that you will be able to tell who is a follower of Jesus by their love for others. How amazing that when people look at us, even among 100 some other missionaries, they see us emitting love, embodying it. I was so stoked to hear that.

It is so nice to be cool. Normally on plane rides I am so cold and it's no fun. After being sweaty and HOT for 2 weeks, it is nice to not sweat. I mean we are still pretty nasty, but at least we aren't sweating just sitting still :). We were joking that we'd be cold going back to our 70 degree weather (I don't think it got below 85 or so, even at night and that was with the tropical depression and storms).

Things I am excited for at home:

- hugging Ryan
- taking a shower without having to turn the water off after 10 seconds
- flushing toilets with toilet paper
- doing laundry (and getting my nasty clothes clean)
- sleeping
- laying by the pool
- going to the movies with Ryan (Despicable Me, The Other Guys, Dinner for Schmucks, etc)
- seeing all the projects that Ryan finished while his dad was visiting
- happy hour with the ladies and catching up on what has been going on in their lives
- eating
- drying and straightening my hair
- sleeping with a fan (and not sweating)
- not having to coat myself with bug spray or sun screen 24-7
- nightly walks

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pictures

I have posted my pictures on Facebook and my Google account. I haven't put up any of the captions yet, but at least you can get an idea of what went on for the past 2 weeks. I hope to put up captions later this week (before I forget what the pictures are of and the stories that go along with them), so feel free to keep checking back to see if the captions are up.

Also, we will be having a debrief meeting in a couple weeks, where we are planning on exchanging pictures, so I will have lots more in a few weeks!! :)

Videos

I took a few videos while I was in Haiti and wanted to post them here.

Waterfall -



Waterfall 2 -



Washing pig -



Streets of Haiti 1 -



Streets of Haiti 2 -



Streets of Haiti 3 -



Streets of Haiti 4 -



Super Kitchen -



Port de Paix -



Burning Trash -



Sailboats -



Military in Haiti -



Vacation Bible School Singing -



Vacation Bible School Feeding -

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hot & Sticky



Thankfully I was able to talk Ryan into getting me a tiny personal fan :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Prayer Calendar

6 Months Ago

Haiti's New Normal: You Get Up, You Sit Back Down

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (July 12) -- Along the fault line that caused this disaster in Haiti, there are now more than 1,300 camps. They are filled with 700,000 tarps and 100,000 tents. They are tied up alongside 8,000 cubic yards of rubble and 190,000 destroyed houses. There are 1.5 million people, including half a million children, in the streets.

But ask folks what they've been doing lately and there is only one answer: "Nou leve chak jou, epi nou chita." We get up every day, and we sit back down.

Life is like that, they say, six months after the Jan. 12 earthquake. What can we do?

Days start early. By 5:30 a.m., the sun has risen. By 6 a.m. tents and shacks are unbearably hot. There may be breakfast. Or there may not be.


The rest of the article here.

1 Week To Go

I will be leaving next Monday - wowser. It seems like it came a lot quicker than I was thinking. We had a team meeting yesterday and got a schedule.

Monday, July 19 - Travel to LAX and leave in the evening
Tuesday, July 20 - Team arrives in Port au Prince, Haiti and travels (by bus) to St. Louis, Haiti
Wednesday, July 21 - Campus day at St. Louis, visit jail
Thursday, July 22 - Tortuga Island, sports camp
Friday, July 23 - Visit Ansefelour (voodoo temple)
Saturday, July 24 - Market and waterfall trip
Sunday, July 25 - Church
Monday, July 26 - Visit House of Hope (orphanage), sports camp
Tuesday, July 27 - Community projects (construction)
Wednesday, July 28 - Visit OTB super kitchen in Port de Paix
Thursday, July 29 - Hut to hut evangelism, Miriam Center (mentally handicapped children) cookies and fingerpainting
Friday, July 30 - Hut to hut evangelism, meals on feet
Saturday, July 31 - Travel back to USA


Of course the schedule is just tentative - if things come up we will roll with it and do what they need - but at least this gives you all an idea of specifics to pray for on a daily basis.

Our team - Kristina, Adam, Bonney, Brenda, Silver, Andrew and myself. Please keep us all in your prayers!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

99 Cent Store

Today the 99 Cent Store was my friend. I walked down and stocked up on all of my travel things.

A few of the things I picked up:

**Shampoo
**Conditioner
**Hair spray
**Body wash
**Shower sandals


I think I am 99% packed. I am trying to keep everything in my carry on (I think the last time I didn't travel in only carry-ons was when I moved out to California in 2 suit cases that I had to check). I think the last few things are mostly food items that I have to pick up at the grocery store in the next week or so.

Monday, July 5, 2010

2 Weeks

Two weeks until we leave!! I am all up to date on my shots and vaccines. I have about $300 left to support raise. I have to pack, but hopefully that won't be to difficult. There are a few things that I still need to get before I go (like bug spray and packable food), but we are getting there!! We will have another meeting on Sunday - and hopefully this time we will get a full schedule of what we are doing on a daily basis (that way you know specifics of what to pray for).

THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT - BUT FINANCIALLY AND PRAYERFULLY!!