Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 7 in Haiti

First things first, my word for today is blessings.

I woke up this morning to the song "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)" running through my mind. It would serve as a fitting soundtrack as today was filled with nothing but blessings......

The blessing of sleeping in.

The blessing of waking up to a warm breakfast with multiple options when just 20 yards down the road children were waking up hungry with nothing to satisfy.

The blessing that was the water delivered to Cite Soleil.

The blessing of laughter with team members.

The blessing of wonderful translators and drivers who work hard to keep us safe and take care of us.

The blessing of blowing bubbles with Diversen and giving piggy back rides to Fetsen.

The blessing of giggles as I spun kids in circles at the water truck stop .... And then we all fell down laughing from dizziness.

The blessing of antibiotic ointment.

The blessing of spaghetti for dinner.

The blessing of friendships, old and new.

The blessing of a cold shower.

The blessing of hugs from Dickinson and Jean as we walked down the road by the guest house.

I know this is nowhere near 10,000 blessings, but I'm confident that if Facebook allowed longer comments, I could have thousands more in no time.

"You're rich in love and You're slow to anger, Your name is great and Your heart is kind. For all Your goodness I will keep on singing, ten thousand reasons for my heart to find."

Written by Debbie

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Week With The Elderly

I love the children at Grace Village and feel so blessed to have been able to spend the week staying with them. I have watched them grow the past three years and it's been a wonderful experience. I got to meet the new additions to Grace Village this week and spend time getting to know them.

I also got to spend a lot of time with the Elderly of Titanyen. They stole my heart.
There were a few I really wanted to check on the first day so I am happy to report that they are doing well.
Antonia's bedsores are healing, Angeline said she felt better, Edmond is always full of love.

Thursday the kids went to the beach and I stayed behind to have a spa day with some of the elderly at Grace Village.  I first picked up 4 of them and brought them up to take a shower.  I could hear the men laughing while they were showering. Then I fed them peanut butter sandwiches and gave them some juice.
Then it was Marie's turn. She is about 103 years old. I had to help her a little, but she was singing and laughing. Then I dropped them off and picked up another 3 to do the same. After they ate I rubbed lotion on their skin and wish I knew Creole to ask them about their lives. What they have seen, how they have survived. With the average life span being about 53 I can't imagine the stories I would hear. One day I will come down here only to sit and listen.
Then I got to go deliver the meals on wheels to the 10 elderly Healing Haiti feeds everyday.Henry Claude, our Haitian elderly worker let me go deliver the meals myself.  I loved it. I blessed each one as I delivered the food.
Then I went back to Grace Village and Henry Claude went to check on some of the elderly we did not feed.
I thought my day was finished until he came back and said some of them were not feeling well. So off we went to deliver pain meds and cough syrup and other things to those who needed it.
My heart just breaks for them. What do they do when they are sick? Who will take care of them? Most of their families are already gone. They have lived through so much. Are they ready to move on from this place and meet their Savior? What keeps them here?
One of my top priorities of being down here was to get a man named Dieufort to the lab for tests. He has been waiting for a month to get this done. So I told him I would bring him on Friday morning, be ready at 7am because we had to go downtown Port Au Prince.
Friday morning Fanfan and I picked him up we arrived at the lab about 8:30, I gave the receptionist his papers and she asked him if he ate anything in the morning. He said yes and she said then no test. My heart sank. The look on his face was so sad. She said come back tomorrow. Oh how that hurt.
So we planned to bring him again on Saturday. I told him he could eat but not in the morning.
Saturday morning we picked him up again and off to the lab. We arrived around 9am, got our number and waited. Dieufort told us he didn't eat or sleep, he was so worried he wouldn't be able to have the test again.
After 2 hours he finally got in. When he came out they told us, come back Monday for the results.
Everything in Haiti is hard. I wish I could stay to bring him back and be with him when he finds out the results but I have to be obediant to what God's plans are.
I went with the team to do the elderly visits when we got back. One of the stops was Marie's house. Some of the kids who were with us sponser Marie. I asked her how she liked her shower. She said she never slept so well as the night after she had it. The sad thing about it was after the showers, I had to dress them in their dirty clothes. The kids all prayed over Marie before we left and she cried. We asked her if she needed anything and she wanted candy and cookies to sell so she could make a little money. Remember she is 103.
Sunday, Laura and I decided to bring Edmond, one of the elderly, up to Grace Village for the service.
Edmond is blind and very weak but we got him there. This was the blessing to end my week here. He was so happy.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The last few days we have done LOTS of stuff.  On Wednesday we visited Gertrude's orphanage for handicapped kids and The Children's Home for the sick and dying babies.  At The children's Home we got to hold lots of babies and played with some younger boys.  We brought jump ropes and bubbles.  One kid was determined to hold onto me the entire time at there and would not let go.  When I would let go, he would cry, so I held him for two hours.  It was fun, but tiring.  My word for the day was thankfulness.  For my family and my life back home.

Thursday was our day to take all the Grace Village kids to the beach.  The kids were loaded up into two large buses and some of the volunteers were in a third bus.  I rode with Fanfan (a super fun guy who is a pastor there) and a bunch of kids.  The kids sang worship songs for all of us in Creole.  A Haitian at the beach climbed up a tree, grabbed a coconut and let us drink the water out of it.  I really liked bringing the big kids into the water.  The like to hold onto you, since they can't swim.  I was also baptized by Fanfan.  My word for the day was wet.  

Friday we woke up at 5:45 to experience a Haitian church service.  Even though I didn't know what they were saying, I knew some of the songs.  I saw how they would come in and get on their knees to pray and then they would walk around praying and singing.  Even though it was early, I liked it.  After breakfast we went to Grace Village to see all the Healing Haiti kids.  They have a very nice home and a fun playground.  We played for a long time, sang songs and had a lesson about India.  After they had to go take their rest hour. From there we went to visit 4 elderly people.  We prayed over them and sang to them with Junior on the guitar.  We went from house to house.  In their homes they only have a tarp covering over them and they each have a talking bible.  I and the other kids here who sponsor Marie were able to pray for her.  She was crying as the interpreter told her what he were saying.  My word for the day was fun.

Written by Logan (age 12)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 5 written by Marci

Our fifth day in Haiti began for many of us with a morning worship service. Our morning walk took us to a large open space with a huge tent on the grounds of a private school.  We could hear the service even before we got there.  What a beautiful, touching, moving experience!  A number of beautiful Haitian people were gathering and singing praises to God.  Some sat on or knelt beside benches, others walked, singing and raising their hands to the glory of God.  A pastor was leading the songs, along with several other singers.  Although I could not understand all the words of their songs, I was able to tell that they were thanking and praising Jesu (Jesus).  The worship space looked over the mountainside, covered with crumbled buildings and tents, but men and women were down on their knees thanking God for what He has given them.  It was very humbling, and I too thanked God for the many gifts he has given me and for strength and health for the Haitian people.

After breakfast, we headed back to Grace Village to spend more time with the children we were lucky enough to meet yesterday.  It was wonderful to see their smiling faces again and interact with them.  We got there during their "free time" and were able to play with them.  We colored, jumped rope, threw the football, played on the swings and talked with our new friends.  As a physical education teacher, I loved when we took out a parachute that I brought and played games with it.

When it was time to get back to "school", Laura and Beth, along with a few Grace Village young girls gave visual aides to the lesson on India.  They were dressed in everyday Indian garb (sari's) and special Indian clothes, often worn to weddings.  Laura led the lesson on Indian culture, geography and religion.
Christine taught the children about the 7 continents of the world, and enlisted our teens to help teach a song, accompanied on the guitar by Junior.

After leaving the young (we didn't want to go), we went to visit the elderly in Titanyen, the village surrounding Grace Village.  This was interesting because we actually went into some of the "homes" in the village to meet and talk to the elderly.  Shelley brought us to four of the elderly that Healing Haiti helps and at each stop we were first greeted by little children.  They wanted to hold our hands, and be held by us.  They loved having their pictures taken and then looking at themselves.  The elderly we visited ranged in age from around 70 to over 103!  Edmund, our first visitor is blind and very hard of hearing, but he was so happy to see us.  With Brunet interpreting, Shelley was able to ask him what he needed, show him the food that we brought and find out what he needed us to pray for.  He was so gracious, sharing his small space with us and was touched when we all laid hands on him to pray over him.

We all enjoyed visiting with Marie who is over 103 years old.  She was lively, talkative and loved to have her picture taken!  She is sponsored by some of the youth in the group, so they were all able to gather around her for a picture.  When asked what she needed, she responded that she wants things (candy, etc.) to sell to earn money :-)
Marie was so moved by the prayers that all of the teens offered for her, she wiped away the tears as our hearts and hands surrounded her.

God's grace and goodness was very evident not only in the people who reach out to help the elders, but also in the elders themselves.  My words can not even begin to describe the conditions they live in and yet the joy they had and that they shared with us.  They were very inspiring.  I know we will keep each and every one of them in our daily prayers from now on!

Our last stop before heading "home" for the day was at the mass burial site outside of Cite Soleil.  After the earthquake, many of the dead were buried in a huge area on the side of a mountain.  It now has a memorial there and the hillside is still covered with several large and many small black crosses.  It is a holy site and we couldn't help but offer prayers for the souls of the departed, and for their family and friends who miss them terribly.

We are tired, emotionally and physically drained, yet eager to await God's plans for our day tomorrow.
Bondye Beni'ou!

Gratefully written by Marci Wills

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beach Day written by Kristen

June 28, 2012

Today my day was filled with absolute joy!  My eldest son was baptized with three of his friends by Fanfan, children's pastor at Grace Village.  The short testimony Fanfan shared with the kids was so fitting for the commitment they were about to make with their Heavenly Father.  The look on Logan's face as he came up said it all.  Priceless.  Thank you Lord for such times as these.  I just wish the rest of my family was here to experience it with us.  After the baptism all the kids and staff delved into the refreshing water.  All you could here were giggles and shouts of laughter as everyone was enjoying this special treat.  Beach balls were flying and all the kids were looking for someone to take them out to deeper water.  Most of us had two or sometimes even three kids holding on. :)

One boy, whom I was able to send a birthday gift to earlier this month was there at the beach with my photo in his hand.  I also have held his picture near me everyday, since getting his name a few months ago.  He was just as I anticipated, huge smile and lots of love to share.  He and I connected quickly and my favorite moment was taking him out into the deep water to just lie on his back resting in the peaceful waters.  We stayed there for at least 20 minutes, not saying much, but connecting in a way that I cannot put words to.  I hope to continue a relationship with him in the months ahead.  I look forward to spending more time with him tomorrow.  Thank you God for putting him in my life.

As I look back on our past few days here in Haiti, I can feel the Lord nudging me to draw closer to Him for his guidance and wisdom on how to best serve the people here.  However most days, it feels like they are blessing me more.  I guess you can say it is a two way street.  A place I do not want to leave and will without a doubt come back to often.


Teens in Haiti

It has been so fun watching our 5 teens bond together and serve "the Least of These". The children here adore our kids and can't get enough of them. Every night the street kids at our Guest Home look forward to the soccer game that Danny, Logan and Olivia will participate in. More importantly provide the soccer ball for :) They take their soccer serious here and are really good players. It is fun to see these three right in there with the Haitian kids. Emily, Katie and Sophie are on the sidelines loving on the kids. I love that the individual giftings of these 5 teens shine so brightly here in Haiti. My prayer is that the Lord will capture their hearts through all that they are experiencing. They will never be the same. Praise God for His love endures forever.

Prayer written by Beth and Fun written by Debbie

My word for the day is Prayer. We spent yesterday morning at a home for physically and mentally handicapped children and the afternoon at the home for sick and dying children. It was awesome to hold, cuddle, feed, play with and love the children. But at times you couldn't communicate with a child or get to every child to hold, so in those moments all I could do was put my hand on them and pray for them. So grateful for the moments I had to spend with each precious child of God! And it was so fun to watch Emily hold sick babies and Katie, who fell in love with a "precious" (her word of the day) little baby girl, that she held most of the afternoon.

Written by Beth Tastad

Today Nick (one of our drivers/translators) asked me if I had fun. I had to think for a minute because "fun" is not the first word that I would use to describe the places we visited today. For as much Fun as water truck days are, Gertrude's and the Children's Home are borderline the exact opposite. Don't get me wrong, I love going to both places, but my mindset entering today was one of preparing for battle: somewhat guarded, expecting the worse, "just survive".

We took balloons for balloon animals to Gertrude's - the pumps didn't work, the kids chewed on the balloons, and the ones Danny did manage to inflate via lungs of steel popped within about 15 minutes. Yup, expect the worse. But then I was able to take a moment to see the team members that were with me - REALLY SEE them. Logan giving piggy back rides to boys twice his size. Danny swinging with kids on his lap. Sophie pushing kids on bikes. Beth reading to a boy that didn't speak English. Olivia playing "soccer". Katie pushing kids on swings. Emily holding one kid after another. Each person's face was beaming, radiating joy.

This afternoon my group went to the Children's Home for the Sick and Dying - a place that ripped my heart wide open a year ago on my first trip and continues to do so with each return visit. I was able to hold the same boy for much of the time today and I quickly realized that he was "my boy". He was somewhat of an instigator/trouble-maker - pinching the girl next to him and then playing innocent, popping the other kids' bubbles (literally since we had taken bubbles along for blowing) - but oh how he loved to giggle. Everything was funny, including my attempts at talking Creole with him. I loved tickling him simply to hear him giggle. And as prepared for battle as I was, the more he giggled, the more I giggled, and then he'd giggle more, until soon the only language we needed was laughter.

The one thing that was evident at both places was the hopeful looks in the each child's eyes as we entered the room and walked past their cribs. They desperately craved the loving touch and hugs that they knew we could give them. My hope and prayer tonight is for each of those precious little ones to know and experience the only true Hope that one can have, of everlasting love and hugs with their proud Father.

Written by Debbie Peterson


The kids are going to the beach today. It's 6:30am, they are awake and their rooms are almost clean. They are so excited, they ask every day, beach today?
It's so nice to wake up here at Grace Village. The kids are so sweet. Hugs & Kisses and "gooood morning Shelley".
We will send more about the beach later

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Norm written by Debbie

Water truck day is always one of my favorite days. Even though it can be frustrating or seem like we're not doing enough, I take confidence in the fact that that 5 gallon bucket of water I carried for a little kid made a difference to her in that moment. The 15 minutes I spent holding a little boy and teaching him to count in Hmong were 15 minutes of love he probably wouldn't have had otherwise. I loved seeing familiar faces at the stops today ... and having some of the kids recognize my face as one that was familiar. I loved shouting "Hey you!" and trying to teach them the Macarena with Olivia Fixsen and Sophie Fixsen. I loved seeing the smiles on the faces of everyone on our team as they immersed themselves in the people. I cherished singing "God is so good" with them on our trash heap. My word for today is "norm", and not because that was some little boy's name (although that would've been pretty sweet). It's actually the word that kept entering my mind as we wound our way along the narrow pathways between the small metal huts, carefully chose our steps across a trash heap, straddle-walked along a sewage culvert, and cringed as children walked barefoot along a "road" of shells with us. This is the "norm" here in Cite Soleil - trash, dirt, sewage, poverty. The question came to my mind as we strolled along the trash heap "would I ever do this in Shoreview, Minnesota?" Yet this is the "norm" here. In a lot of ways, life is like Haiti - dirty, smelly, with lots of trash and poverty. MY life is like Haiti. But although that's what's come to be accepted as "normal", it's not what God ultimately intended. Yes, Cite Soleil is in rough shape, but there are glimpses of the Garden if you look - older boys helping younger children carry buckets, proud moms and grandmas showing off their little ones, laughter and singing of God's greatness, kindness and love overflowing in hugs and kisses and high fives. The challenge is now for there to become more and more glimpses of God's original intention in my life. Less dirt, filth, and trash. More caring, generosity, and love.

Written by Debbie Peterson

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The First Days by Logan

On day 1 I woke up at 3:30am to leave for the airport.  My flight left at 6.  It took us 3 1/2 hours to get to Miami and 1 hour to Port-Au-Prince.  When at the airport it was hot and muggy while we waited for the bags.  On the car ride to our place, I saw how run down and dirty, which surprised me since it was not even in the slums.  Right when we got to our home, we put our bags down and had a taco dinner.  Afterwards we went directly to the pool across the street (hotel let's us use it :)).  We then interacted with some of the locals in our neighborhood. Then we all crashed.  

Day 2  I woke up at 7:30, ate breakfast and got on the truck.  We went to the water truck station and from there we went to a district of Cite Soleil "worst slum in Haiti".  When some of the adults helped fill buckets of water, some of the younger kids, like me, hugged and played with the younger kids.  I especially liked how all the kids were happy even though they lived in one of the worst places.  Even though I can't do everything the Lord has helped me give what I can.  

Written by Logan Beale (age 12)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Today we started our day at San Fil the home for the dying and destitude adults. It's so peaceful there. With Junior and Brunet singing and we got to pray over people and rub lotion on them.
When you look at these women whose bodies are nothing but skin and bones and see the scars on them, you wonder what their lives have been like to end up where they are. They are so beautiful. A few of them had tears in their eyes as Jeff prayed over them. We were able to touch every woman there, some young, some old, and each of them touched us back in our hearts.

Next we visited Elder at his school. It was fun to see some of the same kids you see on the water truck. I'm happy to see that they are in school. The kids are all so well behaved and Elder does a wonderful job educating them.

Then we went to visit Dr. Sem at his clinic. He was so happy that we would come to see him. He proudly showed us what he does there.

It was a busy day. Next we went to the home for the sick & dying babies. When we got there the sister's said that they needed help at the wound clinic. That's not my favorite place. Two of our team members have never experienced the babies so Jeff and I said we would go to the wound clinic. My favorite part is the drive there.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Random things

We have a new addition to the Healing Haiti Family.
Princess had 3 babies last night.

This place is a magnet, once you've been here it always pulls you back.

We are so blessed to have such a wonderful staff down here taking care of us.
Each one of them are so loving, caring, and giving. I have to wear a neck brace and can't lift anything this time so I've been seeing things differenly this time. It's good to take a step back sometimes and just observe the things going on instead of being a part of them. The tenderness of the staff on the water truck is amazing.

God is at work in a big way with this team. We are a small team 4 people. Myself, Jeff, Ann & Joyce.
Ann & Joyce are Father Reiser's nieces. They have taken positions on the Reiser Relief board since their uncle and my dear friend Father Reiser passed away. Just watching them as they see the things that touched their uncle's heart years ago enough to set up a relief effort for Haiti breaks my heart.
Please keep us in your prayers as they continue on this journey here and make decisions on how to carry on the Reiser legacy.

We are off to San Fil, visit Elder, and the Home for the sick & dying babies today
God Bless Haiti

Monday, February 13, 2012

Saying Goodbye

Last day in Haiti is so bittersweet. It means one more day with the kids at Grace Village. But it also means the end is here and I must leave this country with its people I have grown to love deeply. Church service with Fanfan Larame is always a treat. He is a gifted man and so good with the kids. He is in the right place! Watching James surrounded by kids, including one who fell asleep on his lap... during the service is a tender memory I will always cherish. And watching him use his giftings of music all day and through out the week melts my heart. After church we went out to visit 4 of the elderly. This is always a special treat. They are so kind and gracious. We were able to ask them some questions about their health, concerns etc. The best part was giving them their Talking Bibles. They each lit up with joy with this gift even more than the gifts of food and medicines. We were able to lay hands on each and pray over them. They are so grateful for what Healing Haiti is doing for them. It is a rich ministry. 

We than ventured back to Grace Village and divided the kids into groups and taught on Good Touch/Bad Touch. It went well. I had the older group of girls and wasn't sure what to expect. When we opened it up for questions they had a lot. After about 15 minutes of good questions I suggested we all go out to play. They all unanimously said, "No! Let's talk more!" They were very open and vulnerable and asked questions that most 11-16 year olds ask. They are such good and sweet girls. I really feel that Shelley, Marci and I really established a deeper bond with them. They feel as though they are my own daughters. After being here 3 times I can honestly say all the kids feel like they are my own. It was so sweet. All day Ronaldo and several of the other kids kept saying over and over that they were my babies. Yep... they are. I didn't want to leave them. Yet at the same time I can't wait to get home and love on my 3 kids at home. Today as I smothered the kids with kisses and hugs, it was never enough, for them or for me, it gave me a glimpse into our heavenly Father's heart. We are adopted in to His family. He loves me as his own daughter. After experienceing the deep and passionate love I now have for these kids I have a measuring device as to how God feels about us. Its overwhelming really. The only thing that keeps me from having a break down about leaving tomorrow is knowing I will be back in June!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reiser Heights by Bob and Geri

Blessings of this day began early - 6:00 A.M. Haitian morning service - 90 minutes of joy filled song, prayer and praise attended by most of our team. After a hearty breakfast we boarded the Healing Haiti "tap tap" for the two hour trip to Reiser Heights primary school, located high in the foothills south and east of Port a Prince. The ride was an adventure in itself - two hours of typical Haitian "daredevil" driving combined with traversing some of the rockiest, rutted roads on the face of the planet. Humor saved the day as the team regaled each other with stories, pranks and good natured jabs. Arriving at Reiser Heights in the middle of the school day the team immediately went to work distributing pencils, pencil sharpeners, tooth brushes, toothpaste and, of course, candy. The students were joyful, but well behaved recipients - some classrooms sang for their guests, while all smiled with the joy of innocent childhood. Medical supplies were delivered and plans for future needs were assessed. Our team leaders met with the headmaster of the school and the school nurse. The joyful smiles and exuberance of these beautiful children of God is always irrefutable evidence of His hand in our lives.
Next came a quite significant event. Two of our team members, Gerri and Marie, had felt God move in their hearts to provide a gift of life to some of the nearby residents. They set about to enlist the support of fellow parishioners at Epiphany Catholic Church in Coon Rapids and managed to raise enough funds to purchase two pigs and eight goats. The presentation was made by Marie and Gerri to ten women selected by the headmaster of the school. It was a brief ceremony and the women took their leave. As we watched them disappear down the rocky trail we knew that God had provided these women with the lifegiving gift of sustainable providence for their families. It was as if we had taught them to fish rather than giving them a fish. May God be held high in praise for this gift and may Gerri and Marie be recognized for answering God's call to "feed the least of My brethren".
The ride back to the guest house included a lunch and shopping stop at the Baptist Mission, an unscheduled stop to check out a flat tire, a second shopping stop along the road, a photo opportunity at the collapsed presidential palace and continued joy and humor shared by the team. Shortly after arriving at the guest house a few of the team joined some local neighborhood children in a spirited game of street soccer. A delicious spaghetti dinner was followed by our "word of the day" reflections - clue (nail in Creole), frustration, fish, doing-it-right, goat, in-awe, English, futbol, humor, excellent and humbling-honor. We also christened Gerri and Marie as the "goat sisters" for their role in the gift of goats and pigs. At the end of this day we have given little and received much. We have been enormously blessed by the enduring spirit of the people of this troubled island, who, while they may be incredibly poor in many ways they are incredibly rich in the Spirit of God.

Compassion by Debbie Peterson

I started this morning at the Children's Home for the Sick & Dying. It's the place that holds some of my most vivid and haunting memories from the June trip. I was very unsure of how it would go. But immediately upon walking in, I was hugged and clung to by little Kendy, a sweet & cuddly 3 year old boy. The next 2 hours were spent rocking him, tickling him, singing to him, and praying over him. Not too long into the morning, I was joined by 8 year old Berlina, who really liked the "Cut the pickle .. tickle! tickle! tickle!" game. Soon it was me, Kendy, and Berlina cuddling on the bench. Kendy fell asleep and was soon DRENCHED with sweat. Berlina tenderly wiped the sweat from his forehead during his entire nap (using my shorts to help with her efforts :) The love and compassion in her touch was refreshing. So simple. So sweet. This afternoon I ventured to the wound clinic with Laura and Bob. Even watching the countless hours of "Trauma: Life in the ER" that I have, could not have prepared me for it. I started dressing one elderly man's wound - a nasty gash in his lower leg (doesn't begin to describe it). As I was finishing putting the new dressing on, one of the ladies that works there came out and asked me to help her inside the clinic. The remainder of the time I helped her drain pus, clean, and bandage absysses on women with advanced breast cancer. Again, I was struck by the tenderness & compassion of Angelique (the lady I was assisting). A gentle touch. Caring words. I know that I spent this afternoon working alongside a true angel.


My word for today is courage. Attending the 6:00 AM Haitian worship and prayer service was moving and centering. It was a perfect way to get my heart in line with the Lord's. I left filled with a peace that passes all understanding and ready to serve in anyway the Lord would call for today. Our group spent the morning at a Children's Home for the Sick and Dying Children. Walking through the rooms and seeing all the rows of cribs of babies and the nuns scurrying busily around cleaning, cooking, changing diapers, scolding an errant child and then smiling affectionately at them, patting a baby as they walk by, singing with one, tickling another, changing an IV, encouraging a mother, sweating, always serving, always loving. The courage they have to commit their lives to this kind of service is very humbling. It was a blessing to watch a little boy "choose" my Uncle Al and refuse to be put down the entire time we were there. And to watch my husband play the guitar and sing for the children and than allow them to strum with him which gave them much pleasure. In the afternoon Debbie, Bob and I went to the Wound Clinic. I wasn't sure what to expect. If my stomach could handle what we would encounter. The wounds were indeed grotesque beyond description. A nun quickly trained us in and we immediately were given patients. Praise God, He gave me the courage to do something I wasn't sure I could do. Unwrapping an oozing, gaping, deep leg wound. Scrubbing it with saline solution and putting penicilian powder on it and gauzing and wrapping it again. Bob was next to me and had a man with an abcessed knee the size of a baseball. There were holes on each side of the knee which were oozing infection. The previous doctor had pack the inside of the wound with absorbant gauze and Bob had to pull it out inch by excruciating inch. The man was writhing in pain. Bob was gentle and confident. My patient almost fainted watching and had to leave the room. I went to comfort the man. He squeezed my hand to the point that I thought 3 of my fingers would fall off. I prayed over him and rubbed his back. His brother supported him on the other side and looked between Bob and I with grateful eyes. How the man managed to stay conscious is a mystery to me. Bob and I ended our evening with an elderly woman with a huge abcess in her armpit. While it was lanced and the puss squeezed from it Bob and I supported and comforted her. Her cries pierced my heart. She was shaking and near fainting. We finally layed her on the floor with her head in my lap as I supported her arm in the air and stroked her face. Bob held her other hand offering comfort. The courage these people have to overcome the pain they have to endure each day is unfathomable. The courage they have to let us touch their wounds is beyond my own capacity. They were so grateful for our inexperienced help. It was truly a fullfilling evening. Bob shared tonight that he actually has a very weak stomach and was praying the whole way their trusting Jesus to give him the strenght to deal with what he may face. God is an awesome Father. Not only did he give Bob a steal stomach for this evening but he gave him the worst patient to prove to Bob and the rest of us that HE IS ABLE! He meets our needs. He gives us what we need for each day. He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Isn't our God good?!


Sorrow filled with Faith

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

day 2, 2-8-2012

Day 2 Bonswa from Marie, Gerri and the team. Our day began bright and early with a sunrise church service. With combined efforts a scrumptious breakfast was cooked up and consumed and by 9am we were off and running. Half the team went to Gertrude's place a home for special needs children while the other half of the team went to an orphanage in Port Au Prince. It was an amazing experience playing with the children at Gertrudes. It was such a blessing to be able to share smile stickers, starburst candies and jump ropes with the children. In a short time what we gave them was evidendent by the smiles on their faces and what we received in return will forever stay deep in our hearts. The experience at the other orphanage was just as heart-warming. There were 22 cribs side-by-side each with a needy child waiting to be held, changed or fed. We did our best to take care of each of their needs and bless them with the love of Christ, through our hugs and embraces. It was very hard emotionally to leave the children and we're sure part of our hearts stayed with them. After cleaning up, we enjoyed a pizza dinner. After dinner, we had group prayer which includes word of the day. Today the words were starfish, choose,courage, music, share, orange shirt, movement, compassion, fragile and light. Each member of the team explained their word to sum up the culmination of the experiences we had today. All in all, it was a wonderfully HOT sunny day enjoyed by all. Praise God!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

First Day in Haiti

We started the day off praying with our group with the warm sunshine and praise to God. Some of us went to visit a place with sick and dying children. The second you walk into the room you hear crying babies wanting to be held. The feeling of love you receive from holding each sick child confirms there is a God! It was also a gift to see my son holding these babies so tenderely and playing games with the children. It was very hard to leave when they start crying for you when you put them in their cribs. The other group went to a place that took care of children with special needs or have been abandoned. They were able to hold these children to give them Gods love and have fun playing games. That afternoon we went to Cite Soleil to give out water to the people who live in tents, the poorest of the poor. Although poor, their eyes sparkled like diamonds, their smiles melted your heart, and their hugs gave you love like you never felt before. Mostly young girls and children came running with their buckets to be filled. The kids just jumped into your arms and smiled. You saw kids, mostly half dressed, playing in the dirty water, but with so much joy! Wow, we learned a lot today. We also went down to the ocean where they throw all of their garbage and go to the bathroom. So many of the kids were walking barefoot on glass and sewage but were determined to walk with us just to be close. Like I said earlier, they were the ones giving us a gift, a gift of LOVE!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Arriving in Haiti by Debbie peterson

Travel days are always long. Today was made longer by a 4 hour layover in Miami (although the people watching was FANTASTIC!). The 90-minute flight to Haiti felt at least twice that long. I was so excited to be back, and no, I couldn't have... stopped smiling if I tried. In the months leading up to this trip the verse from 1 Thessalonians kept coming to mind- "God is faithful." I have always known this to be true, but today I felt it and saw it. God was faithful in granting the desires of my heart to return to Haiti. And, as we drove from the airport to the guest house, evidence of His faithfulness was abundant: where once there were tents packed around the airport, there was now cleaned up dirt (it looked very nice); streets that had previously been covered on trash were now being cleaned up. Little by little, life is being restored. Hope filled my heart with joy as I soaked in the signs of progress. Arrival here is still a shock to the system- I'll admit that I really love my cushy American lifestyle. But unlike my first day last time, I see hope. I see joy. I see God's faithfulness. "Excited" doesn't even begin to describe my feelings for tomorrow. I'm excited to love on the kids at Gertrude's. I'm SUPER PUMPED to get back on the water truck and play with the mob of kids!!! I'm excited to see how God works in the lives of the team, and to watch as some of them experience Haiti for the first time. All the while, experiencing God's faithfulness with the beautiful people of Haiti.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


There is a lot of talk these past few days about The Big Game. I know they are talking about the Super Bowl.
As these two teams are preparing for the big football game where one loses and the other wins I want to tell you about a team preparing to go out of their comfort zone and let God lead them on a journey that will most likely change their lives.
This is God's team. 11 people, all winners. We packed our bags this afternoon. Now it's a waiting game. We have one more day to tie up things at home and say "good-bye" to our families, then we are off to Haiti. God is our coach, protecting us and guiding us and teaching us the plays along the way.
I am so excited to see familiar faces and places and to share this incredible journey with old and new friends.
We will try our best to keep everyone updated on our days in Haiti. Thank you everyone for your donations and prayers.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Our team of 11 are preparing to leave for Haiti on Monday Feb. 6th. We have been preparing ourselves these past few month for this mission. Some of us have been there before and are looking forward to seeing the people who touched our hearts on previous trips and to making new friends. Some have never been there and we are excited to share Haiti with them. As I was looking for things to prepare the team for the trip I came across this message of John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus and the setting of his mission is the desert. I read it and found it fit changing the word desert to Haiti. (I by no means compare myself to John the Baptist) Haiti is a place of severity and beauty. It's severe but there's also a certain beauty, especially when the light of the sun strikes it from a certain angle, and different colors are there. Haiti is a place of sweetness and pain. It's gentle, quiet, peaceful.....and difficult. It can be a place of great testing-with its earthquakes, heat and thirst. The Christian life is like Haiti-sometimes beautiful and sometimes severe. It is a mixture of sweetness and pain. Sometimes gentle, quiet, peaceful....and sometimes difficult. It can be a life of great great testing. Jesus was always honest with his followers about the kind of life they could expect as his disciples. He told them there would be good times and there would be bad times. He told them that anyone who followed Him would gain a hundredfold in this life and in the next. He also told them that this life would be extremely difficult at times. It takes a lot of discipline to walk in the footsteps of the Lord. It's like walking in Haiti-difficult yet beautiful. Please keep us in your prayers as we walk in Haiti-difficult yet beautiful.