Saturday, October 19, 2013

Isaiah's Orphanage is a REFLECTION of God's HEART...

     After learning Isaiah's story, one cannot deny his willingness to lay down his life for others.  At 33 years old, Isaiah along with his brother, Jean Gerry, have embraced the role as father, mentor, provider, caregiver, and teacher for 16 children, orphaned after the earthquake of 2010.  Being orphaned themselves at a young age, they answered God's call to become the fathers they never had.
     The love that exists between each child and Isaiah is like God's love ... complete and unconditional. We spent the morning with his children reading a story and doing an edible art project that reminds us that "God isn't finished with us yet." He has a unique plan for each and every one of us, just like Isaiah does for all of his children.  He shared with us specifically the story of his youngest, Ketty.  She was left without parents after the earthquake and brought to him by her aunt.  The daunting task of raising a three year old girl as a 29 year old bachelor seemed too great.  However, it was placed on his heart by God to bring Ketty "home."  Three years later, it is obvious to see these children are HOME.
     As we ended our visit at the orphanage, Isaiah and the children had a special treat for us.  The children sang Jesus Loves Me and If You're Happy and You Know It and Ketty did a solo of Lord, I Lift Your Name on High.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  1 Peter 5:6-7

By Wuela & Kristine

Friday, October 18, 2013

Loaves and Fish are the words of the day.

We had a very early start this morning.  We left for Morning Star Church at 6 a.m.  We were touched by the beautiful service and could sense God's presence through the Holy Spirit, as a lot of the service was in Creole.  It was beautiful to see so many young people at the early service giving their day to the Lord and we were blessed by the experience.

After breakfast, we visited The Home For Sick and Dying Adults.  We were each given a small bottle of lotion, and were blessed to be able to apply it to those who were there.  The women were extremely grateful, because in Haitian hospitals you have to pay for someone to provide this service. Therefore most go without. The team split into two groups, and we had used up the majority of the lotion in the first several rooms.  We were concerned that we were going to run out of lotion, before we could get to everyone. Each time the bottles ran dry, someone else from the team would show up that had more lotion.  When we were finished, and everyone had been cared for we realized that we had half a bottle of lotion remaining.

In the afternoon, we headed to General Hospital in Cite Soleil.  We stopped on the way and purchased water, crackers, juice and protein shakes to hand out to the families and patients there.  We were not sure how many were needed.  We finished distributing the care packages in the designated wards, and realized that we had one left. God had given us exactly what was needed.  While we were there, we were able to hold and feed several abandoned special needs children.  A beautiful baby named Degregory, was left because he had a leg deformity.  He was adorable and stole our hearts.  Our friend Dana, danced with another young girl named Clara.  We all enjoyed watching her smile and giggle.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:25-26, 34

Diane and Kelly

P.S. I want to wish a happy 14th birthday to my number 1 son C.J. I hope you had an amazing day and I am sorry I missed it.  Miss you and see you soon, love mom

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My word for the day was Instruments. I love how with every team God brings different varieties of gifts and talents. It is an honor to watch when a team member is obedient and open to God's promptings and operates in their giftings. At times it may be simple and overlooked but it is beautiful regardless. Today was one of those days where God used a team member in a powerful way as His instrument and it was beautiful.

My good friend Anne is here for the first time. She has five darling children. Three of those children have special needs. I have watched her through the years as she and her husband have lovingly and tirelessly navigated through the world of special needs.

Today we visited Jude Jean Paul who was a typical child until epilepsy rocked his world along with his mother's world. He is now 20 years old.  He can not eat on his own, sit up on his own, or walk on his own. He can not speak. He wears diapers. He is confined to his bed. His mother tirelessly and lovingly tends to his very demanding needs every day. When you look into her eyes you see the weariness. What must it be like in a 3rd world country to care for a child like Jude? In Haiti, it is very common to abandon a child with special needs. Jude's mother acknowledges through her actions that all are created in the image of God. Jude is a child of God. She would not abandon him.

My dear friend Anne, tenderly stroked Jude's arms and face while our group sang worship songs. His mother who had distanced herself from us by escaping outdoors inched her way to stand in the door way directly across from me as we were singing. Her eyes were closed and I could sense the heaviness of the burden she carries.


Anne and I stayed back with our translator to talk with Jude's mother. Anne shared about her own 3 children with special needs and how difficult it has been as a mother to care for their needs. She shared how tired she gets and the many sleepless nights that she has endured. She told her that she understands the difficult task that she was enduring. All the while Jude's mother listened intently as tears streamed down her face. She asked Anne questions. And they communicated with each other on a level that very few people could. All cultural barriers were torn down. In that moment Jude's mother was not alone. She had someone who understood her. Anne encouraged her and praised her for her commitment and loving care of Jude. It was one of the most beautiful moments I have witnessed.

God says that He will use every circumstance that we endure in our lives for good and for His purposes. This was beautifully displayed in living form today in a tiny house in Haiti. While a young boy lay paralyzed and mute, covered in bed sores, snapping his jaws to communicate his hunger, his exhausted, spent, and weary mother was receiving an embrace from her loving heavenly Father through my friend Anne. Anne has spent years enduring hardship and exhaustion of her own. Today God used her to be His instrument. To be a soothing ointment to a weary soul. Isn't our God amazing?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of living water welling up to eternal life."  John 4:13-14

Today was water truck day!  We delivered water at two different stops in Cite Soleil.  As soon as we stepped out of the tap-tap, we were greeted with smiling faces, empty buckets, and children's arms reaching toward us.  The children were so excited to be held and snuggled while others waited in line for water.  It was amazing to see the joy on the people's faces as the water flowed out of the truck.

Our second stop for the day was Elder's School.  This is a school for primary to high school aged students that Healing Haiti helped to rebuild after the earthquake.  The classrooms looked very different from what we are used to seeing in Minnesota, but there was a lot of learning going on.  The students were very excited to see us walking through the 3-story building.  They appeared so proud of their school!

Our last activity for the day was to visit the Haitian Initiative Soccer Program.  We saw the fields where they practice as well as the building where they eat their practice-day meal.  We were even brave enough to play a short game against some of the players who had competed in the USA Cup in Minnesota last July.  It was not a surprise that they beat us, but it was fun to play anyway.

Some of our words for the day were survival, joy, trust and possibilities.  As God's love was flowing through the water we delivered today, we felt His love and joy spreading to the people we are serving here in Haiti as well as back to us.  The reality is that we are being impacted as much if not more than they are.  Glory to God!  

Submitted by Lynnae and Dana

Our first day in the field

     We had a wonderful day and were very blessed by the children and adults that we had the opportunity to meet.  At the home for sick and dying children, I stayed with the very sick, newly admitted babies.  I mostly held two babies.  I thought this part of the trip would be so hard for me, but I knew that just holding and singing to the babies was helping, even for just the few hours we were there.  Someone else who was also visiting and serving there for a few weeks was telling us that the baby she was holding just wouldn't stop crying, no matter what anyone had tried.  It warmed my heart to help by holding and singing to this very snugly baby.  He didn't cry with me and he eventually slept.  All he wanted was to snuggle and listen to my heartbeat and be walked around.  The facility was so nice and new and bright and clean.  The caretakers were so caring and on top of everything that was going on.  They work so hard day in and day out and are so dedicated to serving God by serving those dear children.  You can tell that they love what they do.  What a beautiful picture of being the hands and feet of Christ.  

     Apparent Project started when a woman adopted 2 children and moved down to Haiti, but saw the need was so great for parents to be able to afford to care for and feed their children, rather than give them up for adoption.  She started teaching 4 women how to make simple things.

Now the organization has 200 employees, 90% of them are head of their household.  The neatest part is that you know that the money the organization earns is helping to keep these families together.  We even had a quick tour of their facilities and saw the employees sewing, making paper beads, making ceramic beads, making necklaces, ornaments and metal crafts.  So very cool!  Their work was beautiful and they took great care in what they did.

      Gertrude is a woman with a big heart.  She has taken on the care of kids with special needs in her community.  What I really loved about our time there was the joy on the children's faces at simply being taken outside to play and enjoy the breeze.  One of the boys I spent time with was just happy watching other kids laugh and play.  Smiling when I rubbed his head and his legs, he laughed when other kids did something funny.  Another little boy just enjoyed sitting on my lap and happily tore up little leaves and placed them in my hand. 

      What is God trying to teach me?  Simple joy, a caring touch, dedication to an amazing work ethic.  One life can make a huge impact on those God places in their path.  I saw many beautiful living examples of that today.

Written by Tracy

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

God is so good!  In Miami all of us met (9 from Minnesota, 1 from Arkansas, and another from West Virginia) with joyful anticipation.  We had lunch together, fellowshipped and boarded the plane for Haiti.  By the time we reached our destination, we were greeted with sheets of rain, but all 17 pieces of luggage (and our spirits) arrived in tact!  How gracious it was for God to bring the team and all of the supplies without a single hiccup...

A few carts of luggage and their inspections later, the tap-tap ride to the guest house was quite an adventure, taking in all of the interesting sights!  Everything from crowded intersections, honking cars, with no stop lights; steep bumpy roads where it felt as though we were all going to tip over (or slide down the hill backwards), to goats and chickens strolling down the sidewalk.  Upon arrival at the guest house, we were so thankful to see a beautiful table set and dinner prepared for us by the cooking staff!  Those who have come to serve were served so wonderfully, what an inspiration those women were for us as God used them to prepare our hearts for service this week.

Praise the Lord for safety, hospitality, and Christ-like examples!  So excited to see what God will do through willing vessels in the days to come!

Written by Anne-Marie

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Today we went to visit Grace Village and 5 of the elderly. When we were at GV we played some sports with the kids and afterwards we were given a tour of GV. On the tour, we saw all of the new facilities, and we got to see how they produce their food and get water.  We also saw the fish that they harvest and eat. In each one of the fish tanks there were 300 talapia fish. They also had a school there that had 303 kids from grades k-9.
            After GV we went to visit the elderly and one disabled man.  The first  elderly we visited was Edmund. He is mostly blind, but he still has a lot of joy that he gets from God. On our second stop we saw Izna, who has a bad back and eye problems. Healing Haiti gave a mattress to Izna, but about a month later it was stolen at gunpoint.  We rubbed lotion on her skin and sang two worships songs in Haitian.  Our third stop brought us to Jude, who is a disabled 21 year old. His mom does a good job at supporting him and getting him food and water.  At our last stop we went to see Marie, she is sponsored by some of the kids in our group. Marie is the oldest in the elderly program, she is approximately 104 years old. She is very lively, loves to talk, and loves the Lord.  At each of their homes we had time to visit with them, sing to them and pray over them.  The best part of our day was being able to see the elderly have so much joy even though they live in awful conditions. 

Written by: Charlie and Logan

Today we went to visit Grace Village and 5 of the elderly. When we were at GV we played some sports with the kids and afterwards we were given a tour of GV. On the tour, we saw all of the new facilities, and we got to see how they produce their food and get water.  We also saw the fish that they harvest and eat. In each one of the fish tanks there were 300 talapia fish. They also had a school there that had 303 kids from grades k-9.
            After GV we went to visit the elderly and one disabled man.  The first  elderly we visited was Edmund. He is mostly blind, but he still has a lot of joy that he gets from God. On our second stop we saw Izna, who has a bad back and eye problems. Healing Haiti gave a mattress to Izna, but about a month later it was stolen at gunpoint.  We rubbed lotion on her skin and sang two worships songs in Haitian.  Our third stop brought us to Jude, who is a disabled 21 year old. His mom does a good job at supporting him and getting him food and water.  At our last stop we went to see Marie, she is sponsored by some of the kids in our group. Marie is the oldest in the elderly program, she is approximately 104 years old. She is very lively, loves to talk, and loves the Lord.  At each of their homes we had time to visit with them, sing to them and pray over them.  The best part of our day was being able to see the elderly have so much joy even though they live in awful conditions.  

Written by: Charlie and Logan

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

            Today was physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting.  However the Lord gave us grace to press on.  It was our team`s water truck day. We traveled to different parts of Cite Soliel in the tap-tap (our transportation). When we got to the stops, we were bombarded by children. All the kids loved to be held and were excited to see us. As soon as we started distributing the water, the kids started pouring water on every member of our team.  It was great to see such joy in the children even though they had so little.  There was not any team member that held back from the task at hand. God gave us grace to show His love through all of us, and in turn we were blessed by the Haitians.

 Written by: Braedyn and Rachel

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today we started by going to a beautiful pool to do "pool therapy" with children from Gertrudes Orphanage.  Gertrudes Orphanage is a home for disabled children.  One of the children, Gabrielle, (if I understand right) hadn't been in the water like that before.  She clung, I mean clung, to me.  Picture legs wrapped around my waist, hands around my neck, and face buried in the side of my neck.  And then every once in a while she would laugh and it would make me laugh right along with her.  She eventually went to Trey and bear hugged him for awhile, and then other members of our team.  By the end of our time, she was able to splash a little and feel comfortable enough to be turned around and held.  What a gift to share this time with her!  There were about 6 other children that we were able to work with in the water and then afterwards we brought them back to Gertrudes.  I am amazed by the smiles on the children's faces- even when they have to be fed, can't walk, and can't speak.  My heart was full when we left them at Gertrudes.  Our afternoon was filled with holding babies at the Children's Home.  It is hard to put into words the suffering that we saw and the inadequacy I feel to help them.  What a gift to hold these sweet babies and sing songs in their ear.  I feel grateful for all that God has given me and for the gift of touch from these little ones.  There were many other sights, sounds, and experiences.  It's hard to even process through all that we have seen and yet we see just a hint at the whole picture.  Thank you to everyone reading this and supporting our team!

Written by: Michlyn

Monday, June 24, 2013

Travel day is always a long day of sitting, mixed with some nervous anticipation, but excitement and laughter have followed this team from Minneapolis to the guest house. It's great having such a youthful energetic team. I can't wait to see how God chooses to work in and through this group as we work as His hands and feet this week. 

Thank you in advance for your prayers of strength, protection and open willing hearts. May the excitement and laughter last another 6 days. :)

          Today was a day filled with travel and excitement.  First, everyone in our group had to get to the airport by 4 AM! We all looked and felt exhausted.

     As we boarded the plane it felt like we had finally made it to the trip! We were actually going to Haiti! After a stop in Miami, the plane eventually landed in Haiti. As we were beginning our descent, almost all of us looked out the window in wonder and awe at the amazing features that stood out before us. Vast mountains and blue sea were everywhere! It was beautiful. Then as we got closer to land, we began to see some of the destruction that Haiti has encountered. We saw tent houses and shacks that people were calling their homes. After we landed, we took a bumpy drive over to our guest house. At the guesthouse, you could look over the porch and you could see a group of boys playing soccer! We had lots of fun talking with them even though we didn't have the chance to go play with them. Right at the end of the night, we had a short worship service so that we could praise God for allowing us the chance to travel to Haiti! It was a long and tiring day, but it got us excited for what lies ahead.

Written by Trey Newman

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Today was another "stretch" day for many of us.  We went to Gertrude's Home for Special Needs Children, and loved up some of Port-au-Prince's most needy.  The morning was spent playing and wheel-chairing them in the sunshine, communicating through smiles and touch, feeding and loving them. It was hard and uncomfortable, given the severity of their handicaps, their needs for love, and their inability to communicate or even do very much for themselves.

Perhaps it was good this day was our last, as our earlier experiences this week undoubtedly helped prepare our hearts. These were some of God's most vulnerable children -- and some of us felt vulnerable ourselves, unsure of how to deal with the depth of their issues. During reflection time tonight we discussed how important it is to recognize and respond to that vulnerability. The more vulnerable we are, the more we can lean into Him!  These children blessed our hearts with their squeals of laughter and shy, sweet smiles.

After helping feed the children their lunches,  we said our goodbyes (which we have learned to do --keep saying goodbye to people we love) and left for our tour of Port-au-Prince. We drove through the city in the open-sided taptap, smelling the smells, seeing the faces, watching all the street vendors. There is so much devastation and rubble from the 2010 earthquake -- 4 story buildings leaning and crumbling, yet a street vendor has set up shop underneath the overhang. We understand that the infrastructure has improved, but there is so much more to do. We spent much time talking to our translators as we drove through, asking things from "do you come to this market?" or  "Where were you when the earthquake hit?"  One of our translators was actually downtown when it happened and he laid down in front of the palace, as it collapsed. We felt very close to people and scenes who were living their lives daily in the aftermath of such a tragedy.

The experiences that we have had this past week, with our seven daughters from Mounds View High School, have been unforgettable to say the least.  Seeing the sweet Haitian eyes yearning for love, arms stretched high, bloated tummies, lack of adequate clothing, hungry and thirsty for more.  More of the things that we take for granted in our everyday lives.  Waking up in the middle of the night thinking about the little ones with empty buckets in hand, gesturing for help fill it.  Then the hose stops and the water truck starts and we are signaled to move on to the next stop.  How can these realities for many impact us every day going forward?  How will our daughters be impacted by this trip within their areas of influence?  What will become of the ones we leave behind?  Our prayer for all of us is to listen to that small voice from within that prompts us to following that nudging, to reach out to another in need, to share the love of Christ.  May we all respond more lovingly to those around us and consider this as a gift we shared together.

~ Julie, Lisa & Judy

Friday, March 22, 2013

Today was a great day filled with love, lessons, joy and tears.  The days we spend here are teaching me so much.  We have seen extreme poverty, desperate need, horrific living conditions, and yet everywhere we go we see happy, happy children!  We spent this morning at Isaiah's Orphanage.  Judy, our team member shared the Easter Story (with our Translator) to the children.  Then we spent time decorating Easter Eggs, making collages with stickers, and lots of glitter, and playing games like soccer, and jump rope.  These were delightful, happy kids, that have their basic needs met.  I wish we could do so much more!  I met a sweet girl named Ketty, who sat on my lap, held my hand and played with me all morning.  I wanted to take her home.  I cried when I left her, and several times today, thinking about her in her cute little red plaid dress playing in the dusty, primitive school yard.    The afternoon was spent at The Home for Sick and Dying Children.  This is a clean, well run Orphanage. Not all the kids here are ill, and we spent time with the kids who could be held and play. There were 30 babies in cribs that we all fed, changed, held and prayed over.  There were also older children who we could play with outside.  These kids were very sweet, and it was so hard to leave them.  When it was time to go we put all the babies back in their numbered cribs and listened to them cry as we walked away.  There is so much need, and not enough resources!     Wendy

Friday- Day Five of our amazing trip to Haiti! Our leaders,  Laura and Deb have done a wonderful job of organizing our group, getting us where we need to be and preparing our hearts and minds for our daily experiences.  Tonight was especially emotional as five days of meeting, helping, delivering water, praying and loving Haitians, as children of God, really tugged at our hearts. Our teenage girls have been so loving to all the infants, children and elderly that they have met. Also, the parents continue to amaze me with their unconditional love for all the people of Haiti. I continue to wonder how we can do more? We met some other missions groups from Tennessee and Atlanta and they were great people.  If you would like more detail about today, read Wendy's comments above.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Greetings everyone!  Today, Thursday March 21, 2013, was another day in which we learned much about the "hope" of Believers despite their incredibly trying circumstances.  Yes, our group enjoyed another great breakfast together before shoving off to another day of activity.  We went to Grace Village and spent a long while with the children from their orphanage.   These activities included pushing them on Haiti's very, very rare swing-set, playing volleyball, and just sitting together and "talking" despite speaking a different language.  I'll never forget  (and i'm sure my spelling is wrong) Miko, Mikale, and Isak.  Unlike the kids from "City Solei" yesterday these kids feel at least cared for at Grace Village because they get fed, educated, and a nice bedroom to sleep in.  So, they weren't as desperate to be held and cuddled with. However, had we not experienced yesterday in "Solei" first we would have thought these kids were desperate for affection as well.  These kids still loved the individual hand holding and being cuddled with.  Izak had a coat hanger straightened out into as long of a stick as possible with just the "hook" on the other end.  With it he ran a circular disc along the ground but ran with it to keep the "wheel" along the sidewalk.  That's about as good as toys seem to get in Haiti!  Amazing how much more earthly hope these kids have because of the blessings they have been given through Grace Village's orphanage care-givers.  The best part of the day was visiting several very, very "senior" citizens in their own "homes" (most of them in a home no better than the best tent you've ever been in but with a dirt floor).  One of the women we visited was 103 years old!  But she so loved the Lord and because of it had great hope.  She said she had prayed we would visit soon and sure enough we came today as did another group from Healing Haiti yesterday!  We even went after we visited her to a water pumping station to bring her 10 gallons of fresh water.  She was very happy.  To see these people find joy in their circumstances demands of us to find joy in our circumstances as well.

Steve Parupsky

Bonswa from Haiti!

Today we all woke up extremely tired. It is pretty much mid-week and yesterday, water truck day was was exhausting! But then we all remembered what our mission was here and began again refreshed on a good note! We drove to Grace Village and were able to play with the amazing kids there. It was just so wonderful seeing how different they were from the kids yesterday, how nourished and healthy looking they were. They simply wanted you to just wrap your arms around them and be loved! Then we got a tour of the amazing construction that has been done there! We then rode and in the Tap Tap and sang our songs, Glory to God and 10000 Reasons! When visiting the elderly, we sang these songs to them after praying over them! It gave me shivers seeing how happy they all were to see us. God's light was really shining on them in these moments and I could feel the joyfulness everyone was feeling. It was overall a wonderful day to be spending the most blessed day with my friends! :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Today was our first day truly experiencing what Haiti was all about. We started the day off with church. I stood in awe of these people. They had so much pride in their faith, and I was embarrassed that I wasn't able to get up and be as confident in my faith as they were. Soon though i felt right at home, singing along to the songs and praying just as much as they were. Then was the water truck stops. We had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with the children from the tent village. Teaching them songs, dances, and new games. You could tell this was a big treat for all the kids and the happiness it brought out in them was unbelievable. Soon we had to leave and go to Cite Soleil to start passing out the water.
Cite Soleil was about as shocking as it gets. The trash was everywhere, and most children were either naked or in a shirt. One thing was true though, they were happy. Happy to be living and happy to see us. With big smiles on their faces they would exclaim "Portem" (Which means hold me)and hold their little arms out. I would give them a smile, pick them up and just start talking. It didn't matter that we didn't speak the same language, we communicated through hand motions and pointing. Most the time though we just smiled and laughed. At some point i think it kinda hit everyone that you cant hold everyone, and that was really tough on me personally. It broke my heart when i would see a child just starving for some attention, and there wasn't an extra hand to hold them. It wasn't until a small Haitian girl bent down to re buckle my shoe and dust off the sand, that i understood the love these children feel towards all people. It didn't matter the color of my skin or the color of my hair. They loved me because I showed love to them. It showed me that love is unconditional. No exceptions.

~ Zibby

                                       Some of the kids at the water truck stop in Cite Solei.

So far this trip has been an unforgettable experience, and we are only two days in! Going into this day I didn't know what to expect. To start off we had the blessing of going to a church that happens everyday at 6 am. Throughout the service we were able to see the difference in how the Haitians worship and how us as Americans worship. The Haitians where up walking the aisle and shouting praises to God. It was a great way to start our day and get our mind in the right spot for the day. As we traveled to our water truck stop in Cite Soleil I was very apprehensive, I had no idea what to expect or what to prepare myself for. As we came down the street I heard the shouts of joy of the children "Hey you!" at that moment all my worries washed away because I knew that God held these children in his palms and filled them with joy and love. The kids where amazing, smiling, giggling, and always happy. All we wanted to do was love on them and keep loving on them. This day as we gave them the gift of water and love, the Haitians shared with us the biggest gift of all. They showed us that in order to be happy we don't have to have iphones, cars, designer clothes, etc. All we need is to have appreciation for what the Lord has given us and love.

Silly Group photo at the water fill-up station

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

the beauty of haiti

This morning we woke up to a big beautiful breakfast. Together we enjoyed the avocados, eggs, and fresh mangoes!  We put on our swimsuits and packed our bags with tons of sunscreen and extra clothes. We jumped into the tap tap and headed to Grace Village where we picked up some of the Haitian workers.  We had a few gaps in our schedule so we were blessed with a beach day to share with the staff who work for Healing Haiti.  While we were driving, we past many towns and civilizations.  This was a little glimpse of what is to come the rest of the trip.  We passed the little tarp houses, and we passed the many vendors selling their goods on the street.  Today every ones eyes were opened to the beauty of this country.  The beautiful turquoise water and white sand, the mountains and hills in the distance and the glowing smiles coming from the people as we drive by.  It's really moving to see such joy come from the children and people here, they have so much love.  I am so excited for the rest of this trip, I can already tell how powerful and eye-opening this all will be.
 -Cadrian Axelson

Today I was really impressed by all the beautiful things Haiti has to offer. We could see as we were flying yesterday the crystal clear water, but we didn't realize the true color until we arrived at the beach. As we rushed in, we noticed how that even when we were swimming out deep, we could still see the very bottom! Then all of the girls and some of the parents decided to go snorkeling out in the reefs. The coral was so interesting and we loved to see God's handiwork in the depths of the sea. Some people were even lucky enough to see a squid! We could also see His perfection in the weather. Yesterday we were stuck in a perfect blizzard, today, it was 90 and sunny. I personally saw God today through the people here. Even in their desperation, they were able to laugh and smile. As we stopped at Grace Village, we saw all of the joy and exuberance of the children, even though they have nothing, no family, home, or belongings. I was truly delighted to see God work through nature and His Haitian children today.
-Kylie Monson

Monday, March 18, 2013

Today was by far the most shocking, eye-opening day of my life. I had been hearing about what Haiti was like long before I agreed to go on this trip, yet nothing could have prepared me for what we passed driving from the airport to the guesthouse. And that was only a 15 minute drive. Today I was humbled beyond words as I thought about every single little detail of my life that I worry about daily, and then I saw how these people live their lives. I have life made compared to the living conditions here. I am so blessed and even after just a few hours of being here, I know I will never look at life the same ever again. Despite the rough conditions, the children all seem so happy and I could not be more excited about the upcoming week getting to love these kids!

                                  This is the group taking a tour of the neighborhood with Max.

When we arrived in Haiti I was overcome with feelings of joy and happiness. This is my third trip to Haiti and it feels like home. The smells, the people, and the sounds were so welcoming. Even though it smells really bad, I have come to embrace it because I have come to love this country. The streets were so much cleaner than when I was here last and I can see God is answering this country's cry for help. I am looking forward to loving on the Haitian children and spreading the love of Christ this week.
--Olivia F.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Tonight our team gathered together to pack up all the items that friends, family, neighbors and co-workers generously donated for Haiti. I've lead numerous teams to Haiti and every time my socks are blown off by the way the Holy Spirit perfectly orchestrates the size of each suitcase, weight restrictions, and donation amounts.

Our team is made up of 7 Mounds View High School Juniors, 1 MVHS volleyball Coach (my co-lead), and 8 parents (including me). I'm so blessed by how these girls and their parents are choosing to spend their Spring Break. Instead of partying it up on a beach these girls will be pouring their hearts out in Haiti serving the "least of these". 

Our God is the God of increase, overflow & blessing! 
"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38



Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 6 The Hands and Feet of Jesus

Our internet went down on our last night in Haiti. Our team was unable to blog but I asked Bob to please put in to words what he had shared during our team sharing so that we could add it to the blog after the fact. Here is what he wrote:

Haiti Day 6 ~ January 12, 2013

Cold shower, hot tea and breakfast. I made pancakes this morning and they looked (and tasted) pretty good. We spent this day at Grace Village attending to the elderly from Titanyen. They were all brought to Grace Village for their quarterly visit with Dr. Sem, a Haitian doctor who was sponsored through medical school by a couple from Wayzata, Minnesota.  He brings his gift of healing in God’s name to the poor and elderly in Titanyen and the orphans in Grace Village.

I and one of the other men on our team took each of the men who wanted a shower to the boy’s dorm showers and helped them to clean up. Some were able to shower themselves and others needed a lot of help as they were frail and unsure of themselves in the wet and slippery shower stall. Edmond, a 69 year old blind man, required a lot of help ~ I had to lift him off the floor so he could get out of his shoes and over the curb into the shower. I was in the shower with him and assisted him in shampooing his full head of hair and parts of his body he could not reach. We then applied lotion to their skin and some baby powder as well.  They reveled in this treatment and left feeling very good about themselves ~ we even kidded them about smelling good and being more attractive to the ladies. It was a very rewarding experience for me and helped me to see God as He blessed these men through our work. Edmond, in particular, is a man of incredible faith and gratitude. While the others thanked us profusely for what we had done for them, Edmond never thanked us but could not stop saying “thank you Jesus”.  While I certainly felt blessed to be in the company of these men of faith, Edmond brought it clearly home to me as he recognized that we were truly Jesus' hands and feet doing His work and delivering His love. Edmond and the others had allowed us to open our hearts and hands to the Holy Spirit and, as always, God waits for the open heart and never fails to respond with love.
As we were gathered in prayer and recollection later that evening at the guest house I was reminded of the difficulty I had in seeing God’s hand the day before at San Fil, the Home for Sick and Dying Adults. Today’s experience with these men, and Edmond in particular, revealed to me that God’s love for each of us is unconditional ~ whether we are old or young, at the beginning of life or at the end of life, soft skinned or wrinkled and dry, rich or poor, athletic or clumsy, beautiful or plain ~ we are all precious in His sight and valued above all in His heart. God loves equally the beautiful smiling children, the elderly and lame, even those near death ~ it was only I that was troubled by their plight, God knew He was calling them home, and so did they.

Written by Bob

Friday, January 11, 2013

Compassion in Action

We reached the point in our week that stretched us to dig deep beyond ourselves.  It was our longest day and one of the most difficult emotionally, physically and mentally.  II Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness, therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me."  That verse says it all!

We woke up at 5:30AM to attend church nearby.  Wow, it was an amazing experience to see people worshiping with complete abandon.  These people who have so little but are so thankful for everything.  They were jumping around in joy with arms wide towards heaven.  I felt the presence of God the minute I stepped into the tent.  We were standing on holy ground and the holy spirit was at work.  I prayed and worshiped right along with them with tears falling.  What's wonderful is that the church meets six days out of the week for two hours.  I wish I lived closer and could join them every morning to worship and pray.  It was a beautiful way to start my day and definitely gave me strength for what was ahead.

We did two water truck deliveries and spent our time singing and dancing with the children.  Their joy is infectious and so pure.  To see them so excited to see us. I had a different perspective this time because I was taking pictures.  So many children wanted their photo taken.  I was constantly being pulled by different children trying to get my attention.  There was a moment at the end of each stop when Bill Tapler sprayed the water over the children.  I did my best to capture the moment because the kids were so excited.  It is so hot and humid here in Haiti.  How wonderful it must feel to be sprayed with cool water.

We did a quick change of clothes before heading to San Fil to visit the sick and dying.  San Fil is a home for teenagers through elderly that is run by Nuns.  There are two floors, one for the women and one for the men.  We spent our time there rubbing lotion into their dry, parched skin.  It was a very humbling experience as many completely undressed before us, but I knew it was a wonderful way to bless them.  These are people at the end of their lives and we were showing them compassion and grace through our personal sacrifice.  I know that we provided them some joy and comfort today.  I can only imagine how wonderful it must have felt to be rubbed and touched.  Lotion is something that is a luxury in Haiti.  We in America put lotion on everyday, but could you imagine not having lotion for your dry skin?  Junior, one of our translators was along with us and he was playing his guitar and we were all singing and worshiping while we rubbed lotion on their bodies.  It was a very holy moment and wonderful to hear them singing with us.  There were so many words of thanks and praise for what we were doing for them.  I want to give all the glory to God for using  us to be His hands to touch their lives.  I hope to see them in Heaven where their pain and suffering will be no more...Where we can dance together on streets of gold and worship our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ!

Written by Sara Luther


How can I begin to describe the power of Haiti.  The power to pull your heart and show you a world so removed from your own, that it seems surreal.  But that feeling quickly passes as you look into the faces of children that are dirty, hungry and seemingly hopeless.  But no, they are not dirty - their spirits are pure;  they are not hungry, but have a joy that satisfies; and they are not hopeless, they spread their message of hope with their smile and their ever present touch.

I come among them a white stranger.  I don't look like them, speak like them or act like them.  Yet they crave my attention.  They want me to hold them, touch them, play with them and sing with them.  Yes, they want me, they can't wait for me to depart from the taptap for our dance of connectedness to begin.  And so we dance, and our barriers don't matter, our differences fall away.  They embrace me just the way that I am, and I them.

Today I held a little girl.  She "chose" me and would not let me go.  We danced, we sang, and I prayed for her.  We never said one word to each other -- she never spoke to me.  But there was a bond formed between us that I will never forget.  She will become for me the face of Haiti.  Her eyes were matted with green slop, her nose was constantly running, but when we looked into each others eyes, we spoke to each other a love that needed no words.  We quietly would turn and our eyes would lock, over and over again, and I fell in love with her.  I don't know her name, but I will never forget her sweet face.  It was a holy moment and I felt God's unconditional love in those great big brown eyes.

I will ever be changed -- in that one brief moment I felt God's overwhelming love for the people of Haiti and how his heart must grieve for their suffering.  I thank God for giving me a glimpse of his heart in the eyes of a beautiful little girl that I will not see again this side of heaven.  But she has my heart and the heart of God.  I will keep her in my prayers and maybe, one day, we will meet again.  We will worship the God who created us - her to a life of want and me to a life of plenty - and yet, one in Him.

Bonnie Weber

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday Jan. 10th Pure Joy & Renewed Hope!!

Today we traveled along the beautiful coastline of Haiti to the town of Tetanyen. Nestled in the crest of the mountain, above the city, looking out to the open sea we visited Healing Haiti's pet project: "Grace Village". Grace Village is an orphanage, school, and a church, with church services and education opportunities open to the locals of Tetanyen. Over three hundred local Haitian children attend the school, from kindergarten thru high school. The grounds were very impressive, including an advanced agricultural project, a Talapia fish farm, and 'three' Italian, wood-burning ovens appropriately named "Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego". The idea behind developing these resources, is that they would not only feed and benefit Grace Village, but the surrounding village and locals. The plan is to provide employment to locals by teaching them the skills they will need to keep these programs operating. The goods that will be produced on sight will include fresh produce, fish, and bread. We were informed that those employed will be able to keep one third of the goods for their own use, be able to sell one third of the goods, and the remaining third would go back to the community at Grace Village. Also on the grounds, a new medical and dental facility was under construction.

Grace Village is like an oasis for local children who have found a beautiful, safe, loving environment where they can grow and thrive without worrying where there next meal is coming from. It is the goal of Grace Village to reach out to the community, empower the people, and give them the resources so that they can live, grow, and thrive as a community. This experience renewed our hope in bringing hope to the Haitian people.

Following our visit to Grace Village, we went to visit and deliver a care package to a few of the elderly Haitians sponsored by Healing Haiti. Our first stop was at Edmond's humble home. Edmond is a blind sixty-nine year old, living alone in a small, one room hut. He had no physical belonging besides his single bed and a chair, but oh did he have the pure joy of the Lord!! He asked for nothing, simply stating: "I don't need anything... I have Jesus." When we gathered around him and showered him with song and prayer, he embraced our hands and pressed his cheek against our group leader, Laura. At the end of our visit, he threw up his hands, waving his arms and looking up to the heavens he praised: "Thank you Jesus." Besides the love and attention he received that afternoon, he may have been particularly thankful for the supply of "applesauce"... which was apparently his favorite!!

What we discovered as we visited the other local elderly and disabled, was that they felt blessed and loved regardless of the daily hardships, lack of food, clean water, and other possessions we, as Americans, take for granted.

"Greatness is measured by your gifts, not by your possessions" ~Unknown.
Susan & Suzanne :~))  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 4 January 9, 2013

What is God trying to teach me?  Alyn's question echoes through my memories of this day.  Why is my life so full of blessings and those that we serve in Haiti seem not to be so full.  Our team spent the first half of our day at a nursery for sick and dying infants and children.  We were all able to spend time playing in the open court with one or two or more.  Gradually we all made special connections with one precious child ~ it seemed almost like they selected us and came to us for touch and comfort. I chased one rambunctious boy around for 30 minutes, taking great joy in his endless energy and enthusiasm for activity and play. Then in an instant he was clinging to me and shortly fell asleep on my chest. As I laid on my back with his steady breathing whispering in my ear I again asked the question ~ what is God trying to teach me? He awoke some 45 minutes later (I think I might have napped a bit as well) and was off to his own ramblings.  We were called in to feed the children and I was given a young girl of five or six years who appeared to be 3 or 4.  She was malnourished, with a distended belly and protruding naval, and appeared listless.  She had penetrating and seeking eyes but she did not frown or smile once.  She seemed to have an appetite but ate next to nothing.  Yet, as I laid her in her assigned crib she reached out for me, without a smile or a frown, but with clear and penetrating eyes that seemed to say "I need you". We had to leave, and the question lingered.

We had a lunch of snacks at the guest house and traveled to Gertude's orphanage for special needs children.  Many of the children were in wheelchairs as they were not able to walk.  Others were "walkers" but struggled with cognitive skills and motor skills.  All were eager to be held and touched and moved and paid attention to. We began by pushing some of them around the large sunlit courtyard, caressing them and humming with them and even pushing them in a chair race across the courtyard.  Many connections were made. Many smiles and much laughter. I saw a beautiful but sad faced girl of around 4 or 5 years, sitting on the concrete in a far corner of the courtyard, chewing on a piece of plastic film and mumbling to herself.  As I picked her up I noticed that she had wet herself and her underwear and her dress were soaked.  My first thought was to go ask if she could have a new outfit, mostly because I knew that she had soiled me as well.  It was then that the question rose up again in my mind.  What is God trying to teach me? So silly of me to worry about a little moisture when I was holding in my arms a precious child of God and had precious little time to bring some measure of joy, and worth, into her world.  If only for an our or two I had the God given power to bring some light and laughter into a world filled with mumbling and chewing on plastic film.  I held her close and began mimicking her mumbling.  It didn't take at first, but after a few tries she began to respond.  She would begin by taunting me with her mumbles and smile when I responded in kind.  Then she began to clap for me when I seemed to do an adequate job of duplicating her sounds. The question was still there but the fog was lifting on the answer.  What is God trying to teach me? After some joy filled play and song under the rainbow umbrella we finished our time at Gertrude's and headed back to the guest house for pizza and french fries.

As we met for prayer and reflection after dinner the question still lingered unanswered in my mind. We each choose a word for reflection that describes our day and the impact it had on us. I recalled a poignant note penned to my wife after years she had spent mentoring and providing emotional support and friendship for a Puerto Rican single mom and her three children. It was a short note, but she closed by thanking my wife for all of the friendship, support and "worth" that my wife had brought to her and her family. That word has stuck with me over the years and it became my word for the day. I know in my heart that God loves me unconditionally and believe that He loves all of his precious children with the same depth and conviction. Why then is my life so blessed and theirs is seemingly not? What is God trying to teach me today? Perhaps that He needs a little bit of help in conveying His love to those who may not feel His blessings.  After all, are not these precious souls the least of our brethren? We are called by God to bring His love and a sense of true worth to all of His precious children. I sense that we all felt, as a team, that this day brought us immeasurable blessings and required very little sacrifice from us. God has blessed us richly this day and has moved us to continue to ask the question "What is God trying to teach me?" Thank you, Alyn, for your vision, your compassion, your faith and your wisdom.

Submitted by Bob Timperley

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My word for today was BEAUTIFUL!  How else could I describe the children of Haiti?  There was a moment at our second stop delivering water in city soleil when I was holding a small girl in my arms.  She had these beautiful brown eyes and hair that was all done up in pink barettes and ribbons.  She kept touching my face, neck, and hair.  She would smile and wrap her little arms around my neck.  I held her for a very long time and if I tried to set her down to help with the water she would cry and latch on to me tighter.  At one moment another little girl in this blue dress came running up to me smiling with perfect white teeth and big brown eyes surrounded by these long eye lashes.  My first thought was how beautiful she is... She had on cute black shoes with stockings that were framed in blue ribbon at the top and ribbons were braided into her hair.  "Porte Mai" she said to me which means pick me up.  I somehow managed to bend down and take her into my other arm. So there I stood with two perfect angels in my arms feeling overwelmed as they hugged me and held my face or neck.  I felt like I wasn't doing my part to haul and distribute buckets of water truck, but then I realized that this was my small part.  I could love on these little girls and show them affection just by holding them and smiling into their eyes.  I don't know their story or what life is really like for them, but someone took the time to dress them up pretty and put those ribbons in their hair.  I pray and hope that my kindness made an impact on them just as I know that their little faces will always be remembered by me.  My little angel blessings!

Written by Sara Luther