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.