Sunday, June 16, 2013

More Jesus

We started the day off with the chance to worship at Grace Church in Grace Village. Church there has grown so much that they start off with a children's service, including solo's by the children and a message focused for them.  Then they continue with long, passionate songs praising the Lord and end with a sermon more focused for the adults.  "More Jesus" was the sermon's theme and the Haitian people are truly filled with the spirit of Christ.  At any moment of the service you could see our Healing Haiti team holding the children, worshiping with them or providing a resting spot.  A true blending of spirits!  We were all impressed with the reverence the Haitian people had for church.  From the littlest child to the oldest adult, they all came dressed in their Sunday best carrying their tattered Bibles and worshiped with their whole hearts for the 2 hour service.  Although 2 hours seems like a long time, it seemed to go by quickly because of the joy and passion of the Haitian pastor and people.  A true privilege for us all.

It was also a treat to play with the kids on the playground (Grace Village is home to the biggest playground in Haiti).  Some of the kids recognized our kids from 2 days earlier and others were just happy to have some friends to play with. Swinging, monkey bars and basketball seemed to be the hit.  Not quite sure who had more fun....the Grace Village kids or our team!

Our team then journeyed up the mountain to the markets to test out our bartering skills.  It took a little getting used to but by our third stop most of us were masters!  It was amazing to see a $20 walking stick end up selling in the last seconds for $2.  Wait until you see the treasures we have to bring home.

It was also interesting to see more of the downtown area.  There has been a lot of change in the last year. The partially demolished palace that stood for years after the earthquake is now no longer there and many of the tent cities are now public parks.  It was also neat to see many of the buildings lining the downtown hillside painted in all sorts of bright colors.  These bright colors were a great reminder of the many bright smiles that have blessed our trip to Haiti.  We came on this trip with the hope to serve and bless others, but in the end we realized that we were really the ones to be served and blessed by these beautiful people!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Today was our choice day, so our team decided to go on the water truck for the second time. Although the first time was a great experience, the second time we could be more engaged in the activities because we felt much more comfortable. We could dive right in with the children without doubt or fear about what would happen.

After the first stop on the water truck, our Haitian helpers guided us on a tour of the poorest parts of Cite Soleil. All of the trash, dirt, and filth helped us realize the real conditions that these people were living in. It helped us, as Americans, see how fortunate we are to have the things that we do.

At the second stop, it was on the same street as our previous water truck visit earlier in the week. It was amazing to see that the relationships that we built earlier in the week stuck and impacted them in the ways that it did. They were overjoyed to see our Healing Haiti team come back and meet with them again. At that moment, we realized that the relationships that we built will last a lifetime.

 After our water truck experience, we got the opportunity to play soccer with our Haitian Neighbors at a local soccer stadium. This was such a treat for the kids because they have never got the oppurtunity to play at a facility as nice as this one. We had a total of 32 people that joined in the big soccer game. This was our third day playing soccer with the kids so we have been building strong relationships with each one of them. Words cannot describe how grateful and humble these kids were that we gave them the oppurtunity to bring them to the field and play soccer with them. One of the hardest things of the whole trip to do, will be leaving each individual that we have grown to love.
Matt Carson and John Ose

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Fabulous Friday in Haiti!

 A Friday morning sunrise church service with the people of Haiti, possibly one of the most inspirational experiences of our lives!  I have NEVER seen or heard people worship the Lord so freely or so genuinely before.  What an absolute privilege to be part of something so spirit filled and honest.  A walk back to the guest house through the streets and slums, through garbage and smelly farm animals...this is a day to remember!

After the morning church service, we had the opportunity to visit some Haitian elders. It was a truly inspirational experience. The elders were so content and calm, despite their surroundings and living conditions. When we sang to them, you could sense the overwhelming presence of Christ that poured out through their smiles and tears. What beautiful moments those were. Our favorite elder friend, Marie, was 103 years old! She was spunky, energetic, and had a great sense of humor. Although our mission was to visit the elders, we met some adorable little children along the way.

We finished our day at the mass grave, where 200,000 people were buried after the earthquake in 2010.  The grave was set up on a hillside, and marked with a large rock and several crosses that formed a very humble monument.  Once again we were privileged to pray together as a group, led by Wilson, a member of the healing Haiti team.  Wilson lost so many friends and his father in the earthquake, yet his prayer was filled with gratitude and joy!  The resiliency of the Haitian people is stunning as is their faith.  We are so blessed to be a part of this trip!

As a group, we have been reading the same passage every night, out of a book by Ann Voscamp called One Thousand Blessings.  We read it in hopes of finding different meaning after our day of serving the people of Haiti.  here is the passage..."We who are made in the image of God, being formed in Christ's likeness, our happiness comes, too, not in the having but in the handing over.  Give your life away in exchange for many lives, give away your blessings to multiply blessings, and do it all in the love of God. The servant hearted never serve alone. Spend the whole of your wild and beautiful life investing in many lives, and God simply will not be outdone. God extravagantly pays back everything we give away exactly in the currency that is not of this world but the one we yearn for: JOY IN HIM!"

Maddie and Lori Friedrichs

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fanmi (Family)

"You do not choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them," - Desmond Tutu.  Today we got the opportunity to meet two unique families. The first Grace Village, a large orphanage in the hills of northern Haiti, and the second Isaiah's orphanage, a smaller area behind a school. Although these kids have no moms or dads they live together as a family. Today we went to the beach for the first time with Isaiah's children. As we watched Isaiah stand and watch over these children we were struck by how much he cared for and loved them. It was as if he was their father, watching over them and making sure they were safe. He always knew wear they were as they played with us and their nannies.  At Grace Village we saw another makeshift family. The children have banded together and watch over each other to make sure that everyone felt safe and loved.  They flew homemade kites, taught us to dance, and played sports. We took a tour, saw the aquaponics, and attended to Edmond an elderly man. It was incredible to see the improvements at Grace Village and the new medical center.

On the way home we had the opportunity to ride in the front of the truck with Maxime and see the roads and villages along the way. Driving in Haiti is extremely chaotic, and your horn is your only protection. Although it was terrifying it was very fun to see the villages and people along the way. In all' it was a very fun and exhausting day.
                      - Ben Ose and Nick Beckman

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Empty But Filled

Water, what an incredible and exhausting day!! After a hearty breakfast, we headed down the bumpy road in the tap-tap. Today was the water truck day. Fresh, clean water is delivered to Cite Soleil by Healing Haiti six days a week. The water truck is filled with thousands of gallons of water at the filling station. Our first stop was in the center of the city. Our second stop was the wharf and third stop was the village. All different and distinct. Hundreds of thirsty people came for water and interaction with us! Some of us held the hose, others filled the buckets and helped carry them to their homes and still others played games with the kids. It was challenging at times to keep order in the line. Some arguments broke out among the Haitians but we kept calm and focused. This experience today helps sustain their lives but changed our lives forever.

Haitian Initiative..... this is a program in which the Haitian kids are encouraged to stay in school by being given food and an opportunity to play soccer on a team. This program is working! Over 300 boys and girls are successfully enrolled in the program right now. This afternoon, we headed to the soccer field, a flat gravel surface, but man did we have fun playing soccer with the kids! In Minnesota we had packed supplies full of soccer equipment to give the soccer team for their trip to MN for the Schwanns Cup in July. It was fun to hand those out to the kids. We look forward to cheering the Haitian team in July at home!

We returned to the guesthouse, dirty, grungy, tired and sunburned. We quickly realized we had the opportunity to play soccer again. This time with the neighborhood kids that several of our team had met last year. It was a highlight of the day for many of us.




"The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry, and restoring your strength. You will be like a well watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring."
Isaiah 58:11

Posted by Janie, Libby, Amy and Anne

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day 2 in Haiti

What an amazing day!!  We split our group in two as we went to Gertrude's Orphange and the home for the sick and dying babies.  As we walked into the home for sick and dying babies you could hear the beautiful little babies crying to be picked up.  There were parents in the courtyard as it was visiting hours for them and they all sat in the very hot sun as they cared for their little ones.  Each one of us immediately had babies in our arms and when you picked the children up that would wrap both hands around your neck.  Nick B. and Johnny both had the older kids just grabbing all over them and asking them to hold them.  There were so excited when they picked them up seeing the look on their faces was amazing!  For me watching these teenage boys create loud laughs out of these children as they held them and played with them was awesome. Once you picked them up, they did not want to be put back in their cribs as you can imagine.  Many of these babies are 1 or 2 years old, yet many can sit unsupported or stand or walk at all.  They are lined in cribs while the people who work there and the nuns care for them.  There was at least 3 rooms full of babies that I saw and they were just the most beautiful and wonderful children it was an amazing experience to be able to hold and feel the love they gave to us.  It felt like an amazing honor to be there and to be able to do that. 
When the visiting hours ended for the parents they handed their babies to us to hold.  You could see the hurt in their faces as they had to leave and they did not want to put them back in the cribs but give to us instead.  It is hard to see and believe the poverty and sickness in Haiti
What an amazing group of people I am with, watching them all is so inspiring and amazing and the first two days of this trip have been everything I hoped it would be.
Gertrudes was equally amazing.  These care givers have almost nothing to care for these children with very special needs and the people who do this day in and out are to be admired and cherished for the work they do. 
It is tough to see the poverty and dispair here, people everywhere with hardly any standing buildings that I have seen of any substance.  It is mostly broken down cement walls and some not many tent cities.  I am really looking forward to delivering the water tomorrow and what the rest of the week will bring.

Posted by Susie Kelleher
Today was a wonderful success! We started the day with water therapy for the disabled orphans. They loved the water and we had a great time as well. The afternoon was spent at the home for sick and dying babies.  We held them, fed them and played outside with some of the older kids.  Many tears were had, but we are grateful that they are cared for by the loving staff and volunteers. It was a heart breaker, you cannot prepare for this.  All in all, it was a great day.  We are excited to see what the rest of this week will bring!

Karen and Nick Hansen

Monday, June 10, 2013


We're here, safe and sound!  Early early morning, followed by layover in Miami prior to our arrival in Haiti made it for an extremely long but successful day as all of us and our luggage made it safe and sound.

Perfect entry in "Jesus Calling" today relating to our trip..."Give your mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen. Pray continually, asking My Spirit to take charge of the details of this day. Remember that you are on journey with Me."

How comforting knowing God is control of this entire trip and knows all the details.  What a privilege and honor to be not only His masterpiece, but His ambassadors as well!  We are here not only being the hands and feet of Christ serving but given the power of His Spirit from the inside to do it - in ways that we may not even expect!

We've got a full day tomorrow, so come back and see ways that we'll be able to demonstrate God's love to others!  Thanks for your continued prayers of allowing God to open up our hearts and challenge us to His teachings through our experiences this week.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

God's plan

6 days until our group of 16 will be heading to Haiti!  We just had our packing party last night and I think it is so amazing that as we pack all of the wonderful donations that you all have shared with us, God knows exactly who they will be going to in Haiti and how they will be used.  Our team devotion focused on the verse from Ephesians  "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do the good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" 2:10.   How cool to know that God has it all planned out.  He knows the good works He has planned for us.  He knows who we will be able to serve, when and how.  All He asks us to do is be available and use the gifts He has given us to serve Him.  He also knows ahead of time the good works that will be done for us and how we will be served by the beautiful people in Haiti.

Thank you, Lord for letting us share in this experience and to be the hands and feet of Christ.  Thank you, friends, for your prayers and donations which will all be used for His good works!