Haiti 2013 Trip Recap (Part 1)

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This past week I had an amazing privilege to go and serve the people of Haiti. I went with a team of 18 other people with a non-profit called Help4Haiti. My trip last year to Haiti made a huge impact on me and I was so excited at the thought of returning. I really fell in love with the people, the sights, the food and even the smells of the country. The morning before we flew there I began to think about all the the things I had missed this past year about Haiti and was filled with anticipation as we drove to the airport.

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After an overnight layover in Ft. Lauderdale we got to Haiti the next morning and were greeted by the Pastor that we were going to stay with again. After getting all of our stuff taken to where we were staying we got all of our tents set up at the compound that we would be staying at the next week. The view from the roof was so beautiful. As I remember it right now I really wish I had a view like that all the time!

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Then we drove out to a new city called Onaville where many people who lost everything have been given new property and a new chance at life. The whole city is being built from the ground up right now. It really is an amazing sight to see and is so uncommon to see nowadays in the West because most cities were established in the 1700 and 1800’s. Help4Haiti is currently helping to build a new orphanage there in that city and we were able to go an see the construction progress and play with the local children until sunset.

I was so glad to be back in Haiti. There is something that I really love about how life is there. I enjoy the pace of life and the uncertainty. I love how the plans have to be flexible and how we were able to just kinda go along with the flow of things. Also I was really glad because the very first meal we had was Chicken, beans and rice and this amazing sauce that was exactly what I was craving when I was on the plane headed there! I knew the trip was going to be an amazing one and we were already off to a great start.

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Canada Winnipeg

Canada Trip part 2

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It was -30 several days that we were there!

The next morning our team split up. Six of us drove on to Canada while three stayed in the states. Around lunch we finally arrived at our destination at the Teen Challenge in downtown Winnipeg. It was well below zero when we arrived and there was snow everywhere. I had never experienced that kind of weather so the new scenery was really intriguing.

After unpacking our stuff we had some lunch and then headed out to a local mission where they feed the needy called “Lighthouse Mission.” There were hundreds of people that came through that place for a meal and to get out of that cold that day. It was an amazing place to minister to the people and get to talk to them. I met a really skeptical atheist named George and spent over an hour talking to him. Eventually he opened up and admitted to numerous addictions, issues with depression and that he had been seriously contemplating suicide the previous 3 days. Before we dropped him off at a hotel that he was staying in we were able to pray for him and he asked Jesus to free him from the issues troubling him and to reveal himself. From the moment we hit the ground in Canada God was opening up doors for us!

One of the important words that God gave us while praying for the trip is to look for “common ground” with the people we were going to encounter. God even gave us names of people beforehand that we could pray for. The man God gave me was named David and when I first looked at the student roster I looked for a guy named David and must have skipped his name. A few days later a guy mentioned to me that one of the guys there was named David. I got really excited when I realized that this was the guy the Lord had given me to pray for.

Our first night at the Teen Challenge we shared during the nighttime devotions that they have. It was another amazing opportunity to share my testimony with a new group of students currently in the program. I love sharing with them so much because I remember so clearly sitting in their same situation just a few years ago.  We had a great chance to share with them and worship together before bed.

The first full day that we had there I worked with two brand new students at a church where we helped set up for this massive missions festival at one of the largest churches in Manitoba. It was a great time for us to build relationships with these guys. This actually paid off the next day when on guy, Harley was cussing people out and wanted to walk off in -30 degree weather. My friend Charley was then able to pull the guy and talk to him and call him down. There’s no doubt that he ended up staying because Charley was able to talk to him based on the report we had built while working at the church.

The second night we were there we had an amazing chance to go out to this youth center in a city about 2 hours away. While there our team got to share testimonies and I was able to preach to the group. It was such a cool facility and such an amazing opportunity to minister to the youth there in that small town called Winkler. The name of the place was called the bunker.

ImageSo then after we left from this youth center called The Bunker we drove home to Winnipeg. The only problem was that our alternator went out in the van and we got stuck about 30 minutes or so away from where we were staying. That was (conveniently) the coldest night we were there and it got down to -40. Our van lost power and we waited over an hour to get someone to come out and rescue us from our messed up van. Thankfully we all made it back and no one got any frostbite!

This is part 2 of 3-4 posts I’m gonna be sharing about my trip to Canada earlier this month. Check back and I’ll post the next one soon!

Haiti school orphans

Haiti Day 3

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Our third day in Haiti was really one of my most memorable days of the entire week that we were there. We got everything packed up and ready and drove back out to the school in Penier as soon as we could that morning. We took games, crafts, my guitar, bracelets to give out and even a story-board that my mom used to tell the Christmas story to all the kids. I was really excited about getting there and we expected over 100 kids to be there. We had six, they had 100 and we didn’t speak creole. I knew it would be an adventure…

Haiti Children Games Ministry

Here we were playing games with the boys on the roof…

When we got there it really was a challenge at first. Trying to describe how to play games without a translator is really hard. In the end its best to just stick to simple things you know they play all the time, like football (soccer). It was probably 90 degrees on the roof that day, a week before Christmas. After playing games we took them all back downstairs and did crafts with all the kids.  After all the crafts and games my mom then shared the Christmas story with them with this amazing flannel board type thing she made. The kids absolutely loved the visual aid as she told the story so candidly for all the kids. It was really fun to watch my mom, it reminded me of the way she read me stories before bed as a kid…

After she was done we gave out Salvation bracelets and shared the gospel to all the kids in the school. To my surprise at least 25-30 kids came up. The pastor who was with us spoke to the kids for a minute and then lead them all in a prayer. I began weeping with joy as I watched all these kids and teenagers receive Salvation!

Haiti Children

Here are some of the kids we prayed with

Afterwards we then were able to feed all of them lunch. Someone had donated $100 specifically to bless the children and when we asked the Pastor what would be best, he said give them a lunch. They do not typically offer food at the school and most of the kids just go without. You could see that it was a big treat for them. As I helped serve the kids I really thought about all the stuff I take for granted… I take a LOT for granted. I thought a lot about how spoiled I am. It was such a blessing to be able to bless them.

That night I got to speak at the Revival service and I shared about God’s love. This was great for me because I could talk on God’s love forever. One thing I didn’t realize though, is how hard it is to adjust to speaking with a translator. You have to pause mid thought and stay focused on what you’re saying while the translator speaks. Part of me wanted to listen to him when he began speaking! Haha, it threw me off a little bit. It was an amazing privilege to share that night and to be able to speak about the depth of God’s love!

In conclusion I want to include an excerpt from my journal.

12/18/12 10pm- Pastors house in Croix De Bouquet

I really do love it here. I love the people and especially the children. I’m so thankful for God bringing me here. He is showing me His heart that He has for everyone. Tonight in worship I watched the little Haitian boys dance and sing and I admired them. God spoke to me and said, “Thats exactly how I see you.” 

He sees us all as children. We are his kids and he finds so much joy in hearing our songs and watching us dance before Him. It makes me want to be even more childlike with Abba and not so big. When kids get like 12-13 they start getting that, “im too cool for school” attitude and it creates such a buffer in trying to relate to them.

That’s exactly what we do so often with God. He wants us to stay as innocent and filled with wonder as kids are… The moment we start becoming too cool or like we know it all is when we lose that connection. God wants us to come to him as kids…