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