Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sydney's Day

We dedicated this day in Haiti to Sydney Galleger, on the day of her funeral back in the US. Today turned out to be the happiest, smile-filled day of our trip, just as Syd was every day. Before the trip, Marijo called down to Haiti to have the boys make us all bracelets to say Sydney to remember her kind heart while serving throughout the week. When we got them, we realized they were blue, Sydney's favorite color, and the boys had no idea, which was a chill-sending blessing from God. Bringing the neighborhood boys to the beach showed us what ideal friendships are supposed to look like, which Sydney replicated without ever meeting these boys. I have had the privilege of serving with her, and I have noticed she puts as much passion into being the hands and feet of Jesus as the people of Haiti do about loving the Lord, which is an incredibly enormous amount. The light that radiated from her will never be forgotten. We love you Syd.       Haley Nixon

The doctors did everything they could, but God wanted Sydney with him that day and forever. Sydney, and all the good she did on this Earth, will never be forgotten. The people's lives she touched were precious, and we thank God for the time he gave us with her. We pray for her family and close friends for God to keep his hands on them during this hard time. We pray that they lean not on their own understanding, but trust the Lord with all their hearts, souls, and minds for comfort and strength. We pray for our comfort that we know she is with you happy and loved. We pray that we never forget how temporary our lives are down here on earth and that we dedicate our lives to serving you and loving others. We love you Sydney and your service that made everyone else smile with you. We will miss you. You are alive within our memories and with the lives you saved with your body's organs. Thank you for the lessons you taught us down here.    Revalation 21:4 : "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things was passed away."     Lauren Stich

Sydney Gallager was one of my very best friends. She was the most amazing and beautiful person. It was obvious she had the light of the lord in her heart. You could tell through her contagious laugh and perfect smile. I debated whether or not I should go on this trip, but I knew in my heart that she would have wanted me to go and serve God's people. It has been rough for me, but I have served with her constantly in mind, and the thought that she is watching over me has kept me strong. Although we are in a different country. Sydney's name is now known here. As you read earlier,  some of the neighborhood boys made bracelets in her honor. They made the bracelets blue too, without being told that they needed to make them in a certain color. (blue was Syd's favorite color). God is so good, and works in ways that enlighten and encourage us. Sydney will be missed so much by everyone she has touched in her life.

Love you forever and always Biddy, Maddie

Beach Day


I know this is a completely confusing statement to make, but I truly feel this way.  This is my second time in Haiti and it was an unexpected gift to be able to come this time. I only  jumped in on the trip about 2 weeks prior to leaving when God opened the door.    

One fun blessing is that a neighborhood boy that I am close to (and had heard had moved away) was here.  He is still going to school in the neighborhood and so I have been able to see him in the afternoons.  The best surprise was today, finding out HE was going WITH US for beach day with the neighborhood boys!  So Tulce and I got to spend the day along with all our friends splashing and playing at the beach!. I asked him on the way to the beach which bible story we should read together to the group- as we have a creole and an English Children's Bible.  He chose the story of Zacchaeus who didn't have ANY friends!  So while the kiddos were eating on the beach, my buddy Tulce read part of the story in Creole, then I would read in English. It was such a privilege to read with him out of God's Word.   Another gift to me. Another unexpected blessing was getting to take all the boys on a boat ride. We all got to go up and down the coast to see how things look from the ocean with the boys. On the way home, we visited about school, our families and I told him I would be praying for him.  He told me his favorite verse is John 3:16.  Another gift to me.  I am always way more blessed by the Haitian people than anything I do serving here.  Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to me :)               Kelly Aakhus

Hello from Haiti! Today was our first day not physically serving, instead we took the neighborhood boys to the beach. This, in its own way was a way of serving. These boys don't have much, but they have each other and seeing the bond they share and being able to be a part of it for a little bit was a huge privilege. Their vibrancy and generosity is contagious, and it was so wonderful to spend time with them today. Not to mention the beach and the ocean were beautiful and refreshing after a long week. That beach was honestly a slice of heaven amidst the usually rough looking terrain of Haiti. This entire week has been amazing and I feel wonderfully blessed to witness this beautiful culture and how God is a part of these people.       Laurie Linscott
Today was another beautiful day in Haiti; It is truly amazing how such a poor place could be so beautiful. The people specifically are what makes Haiti so beautiful. They don't have much but live in a more positive and fun loving way than most people in the United States. Today we took the neighborhood boys to the beach which is something they only get to do twice a year. These kids are the kindest, sweetest boys I have ever met. They are a tightly knit family and take care of one another. Some of them are orphaned and most of them only have one parent, but regardless of their circumstances these children have a very strong passion for God. You can see God working through them in everything they do. They even taught us some of the common Creole Christian songs on the way to the beach. It was a very hot day but we were blessed by these children and their love for God. I wouldn't have wanted to spend it any other way.                      Caitlin O'Leary

Friday, June 19, 2015

Its Friday Friday

The day started at the young hour of 5:45, with the sun still sound asleep. We attended a local worship service, unlike anything you can witness in the US. The wee hour did not impact the Haitians ability to praise Bondye (God). The service opened with multiple raps in creole which was then followed by about an hour of singing and dancing. It brought us all great joy to see the Haitians loving Bondye and being so happy.
Once the service was over, we walked back to the guest house through the village of Delmas. On the journey back we happened upon a weathered sign reading, "Thou shalt not park here." We chuckle.
After we had eaten our fill of second breakfast, we departed for another day of water deliveries in Cite Soleil. Today we had two stops. The first was similar to the three we did the other day. At the second, once the water had been distributed, we took a group of kids to the pier. Two boys, who hadn't yet seen their twelfth winter, not only because it is warm here, had a gymnastics dual which could be summarized with one word: nuts. The show consisted of backflips and backbends both done in the nude. It was a great show, the boys did not flop. One of the boys exited the competition in dramatic fashion with a flip off the pier into the ocean's waiting arms.
After the water deliveries, we went to an orphanage for deaf and mute children. Most of these children are suffering for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and were orphaned from the earthquake. We brought the kids soccer balls, jerseys, and foam baseballs. We toured the facility with the kids in tow, many upon our backs and, in Nelson's case, very broad shoulders. This orphanage aims to teach the children life skills such as farming and woodwork, so that they can lead productive lives in Haitian society despite their disabilities. They had cows, pigs, an intricate irrigation system, and copious amounts of crops. After the tour, we played soccer, baseball, and anything in between with the kiddos.
Tonight was the guesthouse staff's night off from cooking, so we went to a pizza place in downtown Delmas. The tap-tap ride turned into a bit of an adventure when a stray SUV, encroached into the tap-taps vehicular bubble. With minimal casualties (a mirror) we arrived at Pizza Amor for some high quality Za featuring lobster, an alfredo sauce, and a "meatza pizza." With satisfied stomachs, we returned to the guesthouse and watched Ben and Lauren kill it on the dance floor. S'Cute. We learned salsa dancing from the best, John. Joe and Karen struggled to master the "Titanic," a move consisting of spins and weaving of arms behind the head. Rain ended the dancing pre-maturely, but this did not spoil the night, as the rain turned the dance floor into a slippery Slip-N-Slide.
We would love to tell you more; however, it is late and Marijo wants us to publish and go to bed. So this Jack and Joe, with minimal help from Nelson, signing off.

*Mic Drop*

Day of Hope


The last two days were both physically and emotionally draining, so we were exhausted today, but somehow God gave us the energy before each place we went to serve as his hands and feet. First we visited elders, and God blessed us by allowing us to see the beloved Marie, who everyone prays to get to visit because of her love and trust in the Lord and her precious graciousness. Getting to see the joy her heart as we played music and the neighborhood kids joined in singing "gwal pou Bondye" (Glory to God) was a bigger blessing to me than it was to her. We then visited Edmund who was blind and partially deaf and it was also a joy to see Laurie wash his feet. We realized how different it is back at home where we need more time to do all the activities and daily duties, and all he has is time and not much to do with it but think and pray. The presence of the Lord here is incredibly powerful, and is making a huge impact on all of our faith lives. Today we also visited another elderly woman named Charletude who was a sweetheart and we really saw Jesus in her as she repeated "Mesi, Mesi" (Thank you). Then we visited Grace village and Shalom orphanage. It was a well needed happy day filled with hope.

Miss you mama and daddy,

Today was a great day,  After two pretty tough days of seeing a lot of hardship in Cite Solei and General Hospital, we saw some very positive things.  Grace Village is an amazing place that is giving an opportunity to a bunch of kids by giving them schooling, food and a family environment in which to live.  It was pretty cool to see the kids and spend time with them.  We then went to an orphanage called Shalom.  The kids there were so excited.  We gave them a few things to play with but I think their smiles did more for us than we did for them.  Again the day closed out with soccer in the streets with the neighborhood kids.  It has been a joy getting to know them.  They are trying to teach me some Creole but I think I am a lost cause. 

Love to Joan, Rachel, Anna and Lydia.  Davis and I miss you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Bon Swa-Good Evening from Haiti, By Angie O and Karen L

What an emotional day.  We started the day with a fantastic breakfast of eggs, pancakes, oatmeal, fresh squeezed juice and mango!  Delish.  These ladies take such good care of us.  They also do our laundry and tidy our beds while we are away for the day. 

We traveled by tap-tap (a truck-bus) to the Home of the Sick and Dying Babies.  It is here that we went bed to bed holding babies that are very ill and needed some loving.  One would cry and we would pick them up only to have another needing to be held.  The home is staffed by wonderful nuns who tirelessly serve.  Their parents, if able, are also visiting daily.  Life is so fragile yet you could see God in their eyes.  It was challenging to leave these little ones behind, but we know they were in God's hands.  "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them.  He delivers them from all their troubles."  Psalm 34:17

After lunch, we did get some shopping in at a place called Apparent Project, a great organization that employs Haitians to make beautiful artesian crafts.  The jewelry was the highlight along with a round of tropic smoothies.  The employ over 200 people with the goal being to provide for their families so they can care for their children and keep them out of orphanages (many orphans in Haiti have parents that are not able to care for them because of the expense.) 

Haiti Blog By Nelson L

My day started out with a delicious breakfast consisting of pancakes with nutella and syrup with some fresh bananas and juice. After washing the dishes and filling up our water bottles for the day, we loaded up the tap tap and headed off for the Home for the sick and dying babies. The morning was an emotional roller coaster for me. For the first part at the home I was holding a three year old boy. He and I grabbed a toy car and pushed it back and forth together for what seemed like hours. We probably would have kept on doing this all day if one of the sisters had not called me on a mission. The home had received a shipment of 100 buckets and we had to fill all of them with rice, spaghetti, and fish. While I was sad I could not be with my little buddy, I got great joy from knowing that families would be able to have dinner because of these buckets. After about half an hour of filling buckets, I went back to the kiddo area. This time I picked up a tiny little girl who would not stop crying. It seemed as if this poor little girl could not be comforted, so I decided to start singing a song in Creole I had learned earlier that day. The lyrics were simple Glwa Pou Bondye just repeated over and over, Glwa Pou Bondye means "Glory to God". Once I started singing this song, the girl immediately calmed down. When I set her down, she started screaming and crying, this was pure heartbreak.

Later we went to the general hospital, the conditions were terrible and it was one of the saddest things I have ever seen. There were a myriad of babies in such a small place. A positive that came from this was handing out bibles to the parents and seeing them indulge in the word of God was one of the many moments that gives me hope in this country.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Water Truck Day

Sak pase! (What's up),

Sorry for the lack of posts so far. Service is pretty scarce here. We are doing well unconnected and sweaty! Today was our water truck day where we stopped in different parts of City Soleil and filled buckets with water. The children have the most beautiful, joy-filled smiles. The biggest job is to be human jungle gyms for the kids to climb on according to Gates, our coordinator of mission teams at the guest house. The sun is not as bad as we all expected. We are tired and ready to take on a new day. Praying for everyone at home and all the amazing Haitians we have met on our trip.

P.S. Mom, I wore plenty of sunscreen, I didn't even burn. Haley made sure of it :)

Love Lauren Stich, typed by Haley cause Lauren is apparently illiterate.

Hey you!!

This was the greeting that we received from dozens of children as we climbed off the tap-tap. For most of them, it was the only English they spoke, and no one in our group, excluding Ben, speaks any creole. Today was incredibly fun, yet exhausting. we spent the day carrying water around City Soleil, carrying little children (I had six on me at one time), relaxing on the roof of the tap-tap, and playing soccer with the neighborhood boys. I quickly discovered my incompetence in the sport. We are all looking forward to getting beaten in soccer again and again. We all appreciate all the prayers that are being sent up for us.

Davis (I typed it myself) then Haley and Laurie edited all the countless mistakes

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

immeasurably more

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more that all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us."  Ephesians 3:20

This has always been one of my favorite verses.   It's just so God.  We have these meek little visions, goals and dreams and He always blows them away with immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.  This trip we are about to embark upon in 5 days has already started out just that way…

Immeasurably more…

Donations - we had our packing party Sunday night and we got so excited packing all of the donations that team members had collected that we packed a few more suitcases than we are allotted for travel :)!

Lemonade Stands - some sweet neighbor friends hosted a lemonade stand this weekend and collected over $120 to bless the sweet kids in Haiti.

Team members - at the last minute, through a series of events that could only be God, we have added Kelly Aakhus to our team and she will be such a blessing to us and the Haitians in many ways.

Trip funds - a few of our goers were apprehensive about raising the necessary money to cover the cost of the trip…as donations from family and friends have come in, their accounts are immeasurably more than they ever anticipated.

Garage Sale - the Linscott family hosted a garage sale a few weekends ago.  We hoped to raise $1000 and ended up raising $1380.

Sorrow and Joy - many of the first time goers on our team don't know it yet, but they are about to experience immeasurably more sorrow and Joy all mixed in to one that they have ever experienced before.  What a blessing it is to cling to the promise that we will have His power working within us as we serve in Haiti.

All of you - So many family and friends that have come along side us in prayer, with donations and with financial support.  There may only be 17 of us physically going to Haiti but there are hundreds of you that we will take along with us in many ways.

So…we hope you will follow along on this blog as we feel so blessed to have the privilege to serve the people of Haiti and experience immeasurably more than we could ever dream up ourselves.

Glwa Pou Bondye!
Glory to God!