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Monday, October 3, 2011

I pray for rain almost daily in hopes that it would help decrease the humidity, but when that rain comes it doesn't help and the next day is just as hot as the last. But on the way to church yesterday I realized that praying for rain wasn't helping the heat and only making it harder for the people that live here in Haiti. I thought about all the people still living in a "tent city" and tried imagining what it was like for them as we were driving down the road in what almost looked like small streams as people hurried out of the way to avoid their best Sunday clothes from being soiled from the flying dirty water. The look on people's faces as they turn their backs toward the road to avoid the water, hoping that someone will still come to buy whatever items they have to sell from their stand throughout the day. At one point during the drive to church I saw a man with suit on holding his shoes and socks in one hand, Bible in the other walking through the water with his pants rolled up to his knees determined to make it to Church. I remember the smell that fills the air when the rain starts and think of all the people going without a warm meal because their fire in which they cook on has now gone out, praying that their family may have found something to suppress their hunger. I have no longer prayed for rain to help with the humidity. I have prayed that the rain will help water the soil, benefit the animals, and be used by the people need it be for bathing, cooking, and even drinking.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Where is home

Arrived back in the USA tonight. Thanks to the rides that were available, to the prayers that carried us, and to the Lord who guided and directed the journey. I left Haiti and realized how much of me stays there. It has become so familiar to me that the home away from home comfort and peace of that island instantly hits me ONCE I leave the airport. Anyone reading here can continue to check in on things. Katie has remained with "Grandma Sue" and will be updating often. Words never fully express the things we experience there, but they may capture you for a few moments and take you to a place that seems unreal to many. Our hearts continue to feel for the wonderful people of Haiti. Our hope is their lives are richer because we have been there. Our belief is that God can do even more than we could ever imagine for them. Lori

Monday, September 19, 2011

Only a few more days....

Well we are coming to the end of this trip. And we all agreed that we're starting to feel it in little ways.... it's a little harder to get out of bed, a little harder to keep going during the day, a little harder to stay up at night... etc. ;) But we're definitely still "going" because we are not done here!

Today was another full day of clinics for Lori and Kate. Started at 7 and didn't get done till about 5. I'm always amazed by those 2! They have a whole lot of endurance.

Me and Katie found various other "jobs" to keep ourselves busy. :) Katie painted filters aaaaall morning long while I did my best to keep Olivia occupied. We went on little "walks" (usually around the house) visited at the clinic, took lots of pictures, played with my ipod, etc. ;) Then after lunch Katie took a much deserved rest and I took over painting filters.

Overall a busy day but yet more relaxed than the others have been since we stayed here at the Rollings the whole day.

Tomorrow is our very last full day in Haiti.... definitely mixed emotions for me! Excited to see my family and be home again but I never like leaving. :/ But on the bright side, I know I'll be back! ;) Which definitely makes the goodbyes easier. :D


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday in Haiti

I have just a moment to update before the meeting starts for the missionaries in the area this afternoon. We have returned from a church service where I could understand they were talking from the book of Daniel and had an incredible ride that proves one does not need to go to amusement parks to get a thrill like that! Ok, more later. Lori

Saturday, September 17, 2011

An emotional day....

Well after much thought and discussion, we decided that on our "day off" today we would visit the hospital in St. Marc to visit with the patients and try to bring some encouragement! So we got there around 10:30 and started our "visiting" in the pediatric section of the hospital. Idk how I can paint an accurate picture of how things were... Of course the physical conditions were not at all what they are at a hospital in the states. There was 1 doctor in that section, only a couple nurses, and 1 civilian helping as well. We talked with the doctor who is actually a doctor from the States. He travels back and forth and works 6 months at a Childrens Hospital in Boston and 6 months at the St. Marc Hospital. Idk what they do when he's gone. :/ Anyways we started out with a little boy who the doctor mentioned would like some visitors. After talking and praying with him and his family we came back out to the main hall. There was a burst of activity in the hall and a lady walked by with a new (and I mean like VERY new) baby! At first we were excited and happy to see it... then she pulled back the blanket and our outlook changed pretty quickly. The baby had some MAJOR health problems. Her heart had grown outside of her chest. Not to mention most of her organs were not where they were supposed to be or had not developed fully. They called the doctor and he brought the baby to the table. Kate went over to see if she could help (she works in surgery here in the states) but the doctor explained that there was nothing they could do. :( Even in the states they could not have saved this little girl. The most they could have done would be to do surgery and give her a little more time. The dad and a few other relatives came up to see her and they took a picture of her. I've never felt so helpless in all my life! There's something really crushing about watching a precious little life die. I know this may be a very depressing post... but there is a bright side to it. This baby... that was so unfit to live and survive in this world, is now in the arms of Jesus! Whole and complete and happier than she ever could have been here. She will not have to go through any more pain, or suffering, or any kind of hardship. Jesus wiped away her very last tear!! I don't know about you all, but I know I could not have handled a story like this little babies WITHOUT Christ, and the hope He brings. I'm so thankful to be His child!

Well the rest of our hospital visits were a bit better though still not easy. It was an emotional day and we all had our little "breakdown moments" afterwards.

This afternoon Al and Bev, some friends of Chris and Leslie's who run a Children's Home nearby, brought some of the kids over to go swimming and visit! We had a good time talking and enjoying the wonderful warm ocean water. :) Now we're all relaxing with Chris and Leslie and drinking yuuuuuummy banana shakes! I HAVE to make these again when I get home. ;)

While here at the clean water project we feel very cared for. The meals are amazing and the quiet restful nights are just a great ending to a busy day. Actually at this moment eggs and bacon are cooking and we don't feel like we are in Haiti. For a minute. Then the real life begins. here we go.....

Friday, September 16, 2011

First day at the water project! :)

Well here we are at the Clean Water for Haiti project! :) We got in last night at about 5. This is definitely one of my favorite places to be in Haiti! It's right out on the ocean and also quite a bit cooler than PAP. ;) Our schedule for the next couple of days will be something like this;
Clinics today from 7 to 2 (painting filters, playing with Olivia, etc during this time for those of us who are not medical. ;)
Tomorrow is free time.
Sunday church and free time.
Monday clinics from 7 to 2.
Tuesday clinics from 7 to 2.
Wednesday we leave bright and early for the PAP airport.

The Rollings have an awesome mission going here and it's great to be able to help them with their connections in the community by doing these clinics here. They're able to provide health care for their workers and also the workers families!

More later! :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Last day in Port au Prince

Well Lori wrote something about our last couple of days with the kids. And I'm going to add to it just a little..... well ok maybe a little MORE than a little. ;)
Our "plan" was to leave at about 8 in the morning on Tuesday to go to the land that Lori is hoping to get near Montrouis. Well as most of you know plans don't always work out just as you think they will here in Haiti. :P We got on the road at about 9 only to find that about 30 minutes into the trip, the main highway that we were driving on was blocked by protesters! And no not with cones or tires or signs or anything like that.... they had WELDED some big machinery to the road!! lol wow. So with that being the case, we decided to head back and wait it out for a few hours to see if it would be removed in time to stick with our plan for the sleepover that night. So back to Port au Prince we went to get something to eat and wait to hear news. By 3 o'clock, it was still blocked. :/ Michel called the kids at the church and the guy there told him that all the kids were praying together that the road block would be removed! They were so excited about this trip and we all felt pretty bad that it wasn't going to work. :/ Well we got to the church where they had all met up to leave at about 4, to talk with them and explain the situation. We told them that instead of the sleepover we would just go to Montrouis the next day and go swimming and such, then come back. Well at about 5:30 We got news that the road was un-blocked! Answer to prayer yes but by this time most of our team was exhausted from driving all day and NOT wanting to drive another 2-3 hours depending on traffic. :P But, they were troopers and we all loaded up and headed out! We got there at about 11 and headed to bed as soon as things were ready. :P We got up bright and early in the morning, and had a wonderful time singing and doing devotions with the kids. Michel asked us if one of us would share something so I asked if I shared one of my favorite verses and what it means to me, if some of the kids could do the same. That worked out really well and it was really neat to have that sharing time with them and hear what they had to say. :) :) After breakfast we headed to the ocean!! ahhhh it felt AMAZING to jump into the water and finally cool off!!! :) We swam for 2 hours straight and I had an absolute BLAST! :) :) During the swimming time Kate and Lori had opened it up to the kids that if any of them needed to talk about anything going on in their lives, they could come to them and do that. Many of them did and it was neat/heartbreaking to hear the stories. :( Many of them are my age and when I think about being in those same situations... I cannot imagine. But I am glad we were able to find these things out about them as it gives us a lot more specific ways to pray for them! And pray we will and also ask you all to do the same. They have so many challenges ahead of them as they grow up. So different from the challenges in my own life and in yours. But we serve a big God who is going to use them as they surrender they're lives to Him, to do BIG things for His kingdom!

Today, we're heading to heartline this morning, then to the Rollings water project for the remainder of this trip! Pray for safe travels for us! :)


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Home again Home again jiggety jig....that is how the past two days felt on the journey with the youth from Michel's church. Unexpected is always the norm here. Had a wonderful time at the ocean and learning more about these kids and their lives and hopes and dreams. Such a familiar thing and yet such a hard thing. How many of them will be able to obtain those goals? How hard it is in a place like this. We have to be reminded of the world around us outside our little box called America and what challenges there are for millions. If we can continue to touch one more and reach out to another we have succeeded. Please pray that we can one by one be the hands and feet and heart of Christ. Please pray we do not get discouraged and overwhelmed by the flat tires or the late schedules or the constant changes. We do this as a team with you who follow and uphold us on the journey. We are grateful. Lori

Monday, September 12, 2011

Today started off with Lori doing dental work for the children at Sue's orphanage, workers, and many others. Kate did a medical clinic for them and Lydia entertained the children that weren't having school by painting finger nails and toes enjoying a snack of chocolate covered pretzels. We then made our way up through mountain to the U.N. center enjoying the company of the doctors there from Nepal along with multiple others. They even had an air conditioning which helped cool us off for a few hours. We played a game of pool, at which I lost and were served a Nepal recipe of chicken and rice krispies, fresh carrots, apples and coffee or tea. We even got to meet the 2nd in command. Must have made a great impression, for they invited us back for a "better meal" and/or to go swimming in the waterfall. We got beautiful pictures of the sunset as we came down the mountain making a perfect ending to a wonderful day.

Day 5

Well our previous plans to visit the UN did not work out.... as we were climbing the mountain our tap-tap broke down and we were unable to continue. :( So after walking back down to the bottom they got the tap-tap going and we got a ride home. Not sure if we'll have another chance to go while we're here. I hope so but we'll see!

Yesterday we went to Michel's church in PAP for the service. It was awesome seeing old friends there and worshipping with the Haitians. There was a guest group of about 20 young girls there and they did some special music which was incredible! They were very talented. :) I was also given the opportunity to do some music so we did Held (by Lori's request) and Revelation Song. For the Revelation Song me and Michel sang it in English and then to end it his choir kids, and whoever else knew it, sang it in Creole! How awesome to be able to praise the very same Lord in all different languages!! :) He really is an amazing God.

After church we were hoping to visit Heartline which is a midwifery clinic here in Haiti. Unfortunately the roads were closed to get there because of a water issue but we happened to run into one of the head guys of the ministry on the road, and he brought us to his house to meet his wife Beth who runs the midwifery program. It was great talking with her and learning more about their ministry! They really invest in the women there and change a LOT of lives!

Today, Kate and Lori are doing clinics with the kids here at Sue's. Katie is doing some schoolwork with them, and I'm going to go set up snack time for them and paint the girls nails. ;)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 3 in Haiti-

Hey everyone! Hope you are all doing well! Sounds like you guys have some nice weather there. :P 90+ weather is not my favorite but it's worth it to be here. :)

Yesterday we decided to escape some of the heat for a little bit and head to Montrouis, Haiti which is a whole couple degrees cooler. :P But we'll take it! ;) We stopped first at the Rollings water project to pick up some medical supplies that we left there last trip. It was great to see them again and to hold their beautiful new baby boy! :) We will be heading their way next week to stay there for a few days. After we visited for a bit there, we headed to our next stop, the pink palace orphanage! It was great to see some familiar faces there as well as some new ones too. :) So after playing and talking with the kids for a bit it was time to head to Michel's house so he could grab his guitar and a few other things. For those of you who were with us on the last trip you'll be amused to know that we came across Ich again! lol That little guy shows up faithfully every time we come around. :)

Today, We'll be heading to another orphanage in Port au Prince where Lori is going to do some dental work. Our plan is to be back at Sue's by noon because we're going to the UN base for dinner tonight!!!!!! Everyone is very excited about that. ;) How did we get this invitation?? Well it just so happened that Lori was sitting right next to a UN guy on the plane and he convinced Lori to come for a visit. Of course he didn't have to twist her arm too much... ;) So those are our plans for today!

Hope you are all doing well and we'd appreciate prayer as we continue on here in Haiti.
That God would guide us to the places he wants us to be and to the people he wants us to minister to. And that we would constantly be reminded of why we are here and who it is that we are serving! Our Lord Jesus Christ!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hi from Michel
The team arrived safely. I am doing my best to make them feel as uncomfortable as possible. Hopefully they will all arrive hoHi me in one piece. OK Michel has just wandered away. No surprise to any of you who know him. So now, words of wisdom from Ruth. Hi how are you doing. Misss you guys. Everything is good. And ready to work. Dumb Dumb. We are trying to figure out how to stay cool here. Have any of you taken a moment to step away from the Packer game to look at the temp. here>it is crazy hot....here is from Lori. That is going to be a first and I am still admitting to it! Hot. Hot. Hot. 15 kids at Sues at trying to fall asleep and a few bugs are falling around Lydia. Can't figure our why they like her more than anyone else. The rain came and and it is going to cool off us, but we have some major news. We started a new business tonight. Ruth is going to run it while we are gone. She will be ready to teach each of you how to make the special crayons that are under production at the moment. Yes, you too can melt a hundred crayons after peeling paper off and putting them in bags in the sunshine to melt. Yes, it does work. They melted and then placed in empty toothbrush boxes to form a beautiful new multicolored crayon. A wonderful work of art and quite entertaining for all around. Did I mention mess???? OK, more on that tomorrow. Love to all in the good ole home land.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back from sharing another trip-this time to Joplin Missouri. Certainly felt inqdequate to do enough for a very devestated city. Team accomplished more than most could imagine, and yet our hearts hurt with these people. God bless America!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hello, all!
It's only been like 4 days now that I've been back in the States, but I miss Haiti terribly already! I definitely left part of my heart down there! After talking with Lydia on her return from Haiti the first time, back in November, I couldn't comprehend how anyone could fall so much in love with a country and people like she did in so short a time. However, after going there myself and experiencing what I experienced...I know exactly how she and others felt after leaving that wonderful place! I miss the smells, noises, sights, and sounds...but most of all I miss the many incredible people that I had the privilege of meeting while I was down there. Lord willing I hope to go back very soon! A huge "thank you" to all of you for your prayers...having so many of you lifting us up daily in prayer was a huge encouragement and blessing! Praise the Lord for all He was able to do through us!
Here are a few more photos from our trip...

Who would have guessed that our trusty (lol) old bus would get us part way up a steep hill! Man that was quite the ride...

Making charcoal. It was neat to see how this was done using charcoal ash, water, and flour!

Some finished pieces of charcoal placed on a metal sheet to dry.

Chillaxin at Michel's school!

This little guy came over to see us everytime we visited Michel's school! He was adorable! Miss him a ton!

Friday, March 25, 2011

We have returned!
Just a wee tiny bit off schedule, according to Haitian time, we have indeed returned.
Leaving behind beautiful weather and scenery, palm trees, and people we love twenty four
hours ago, we have arrived to our home state.
Little things like not being able to fuel a plane can sure throw things off schedule!
Actually, after hearing of over 100 flights cancelled in Miami, we are very grateful to have
been able to move out of the airport.
Divine appointments were prayed for and certainly part of the delay.
One day we might know more as we can step back and see a bigger and clearer picture.
For now, many may be asleep or heading to work.
In short order we hope to have new photos posted to prove we were not just laying on the
beach the entire time.
It was a great blessing to be with the team and to share a piece of something very life
changing together.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Haiti - Day... I can't keep track anymore.

Hello loved ones and faithful blog followers. I don't have much time, but I will try and update you on what has been happening in Haiti for the last day or so.

To be completely honest I haven't been reading the blog myself, and this is only the second time I have posted, so I am very sorry if I repeat information that you already have. ;)

Yesterday was yet another fantastic day in Haiti. We're at the water project now and have been completing several jobs around the site that needed to be done. We had a task assigning meeting the first day we got here and delegated jobs. After morning prayer with the staff, team devotions, and breakfast, we were ready to divide and conquer. Lydia and I cleaned the Rolling's van which had been the target of a vicious arson attack 2 years ago. They finally got it back from the repair yard and needed it scrubbed out from top to bottom. Thanks to our upbringing of diligent cleaning, Lydia and I rose to the challenge and the van looks great. It was such a joy to be able to be a blessing to people who devote so much to others by doing something as simple as cleaning their van. While we cleaned the van, Luanne and Ellen cleaned a storage room which needed new organization. They did a wonderful job and you can now see what it all in there again! The boys worked in the work yard painting filters and loading them onto the truck for a delivery. Boy are we glad to have them all here. The completely filters weigh 160 pounds each and they load the truck with 34 of them for each delivery!!! I may like to think that I am strong but that is way beyond my abilities to load even one 160lb filter. I truly believe that this is one of the reasons that God assembled our team to have 4 young strong guys. We would not have been able to many of the things we have this trip without them. Thank you Matt, Tim, Ben and Jake for your willingness to share your muscles with the people of Haiti!!

We worked until noon and then had a lunch break. After lunch we loaded into a Tap-Tap (Yey! Finally!) and headed to Michel's school. Lori did a dental clinic for several teachers there and the rest of us scattered around doing various things. It was kind of a hodge-podge day but it was wonderful nonetheless. Tim flew kites and had one soring high until he offered for me to take it and it took a nosedive within 45 seconds. Opps. :/ Sorry Tim! Needless to say, I abandoned the kite flying station after that. We took on some home improvement projects at Michel's house as well. Ben and Jerry were building shelves and Caleb, Jake, Mallorie, Elizabeth, and I were priming his exterior walls for paint.

We came back and were treated to hamburgers for supper!! Ah! They were so good. Those of you that know me know that for some reason when I am here, the one food I miss is a cheeseburger. It was delicious. We ended the night with some music and dancing. Michel was playing some Latin guitar songs and Wendy and Evans were teaching the girls how to Compa, a Haitian salsa inspired dance. It was so much fun! What a great time to unwind as a team and enjoy the beauty of God creation as the sun set and the waves crashed on the shore behind us. It will be so hard to leave this place.

Well that is the update on the team yesterday. For me personally, the highlight of my day was hanging out with a very special little girl I met. Her name is Michlee and the first day I met her, she grabbed on to my hand and didn't let go. She looked up at me with her huge chocolate brown eyes and flashed me a smile that revealed the wide gap between her two front teeth. Even the coldest of hearts would melt. After I spent some time with her on the soccer field on Friday, she took me to see her mother. I told her mother that she had a beautiful daughter and she thanked me. Then she began to tell me something in creole that I didn't understand. I found Michel and found out that she was asking me to take her daughter as my own daughter. Ugh. My heart just sank to the floor. Lower than I think it has ever fallen. I would take this little precious girl in a heartbeat but the world doesn't work that way. Please don't think badly of this mom, because I don't think that this request came from a lack of love for her daughter but rather out of her extreme abundance of love for her. She knows that I could provide her with a better life, and even if that means she must be separated from her, it would be worth it. Please join me in prayer for this little family. My heart will forever be bonded to them.

I've talked too long again and need to get back to work. Thank you all for following us and continuing to hold us up in prayer. We will be home soon and cannot wait to see you all again.

Much love from Haiti!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We missed a day of blogging because we're staying at a new sight and the internet connection is limited. We're now staying at a missionary family's home in Haiti, Christ, Leslie, and three year old Olivia. We're staying in their home, which is conviently and beautifully located right on the ocean. Yesterday we dropped three of our girls off at the airport, Rachel, Carrie, and Annie. They had to go home early for school, and the rest of our team came to our new location.
When we got here yesterday we were greeted with a beautiful Haitian meal. The food was to die for, and we were all overly grateful for their hospitality and a full stomach. We started working right away, painting water filters that the missionaries distribute. Their mission is called Clean Water for Haiti. They have hired Haitian workers to sort the sand, make the cement, fill the molds, and assemble these filters which bring clean and fresh water to Haitians all over the country. Their mission is truly making an impact on this society. It is humbling to be a part of it.
Yesterday afternoon we had some time to cool down in the water (which is covered in seaweed and rocks, no sea urchins PTL) and relaxed over good conversation, music, laughter, prayer, and more amazing food. The ladies also threw a surprise baby shower for Leslie, who is six months pregnant with a baby boy. The party was a real blast, including lots of presents, decorations, food, pictures, games, prayer, and laughter. It was good to be able to love her and bless her after all of the hard work she does day in and day out for the Lord and for the people in Haiti.

Today we all woke up before the sun was up and started working around the compound. Some of us are cleaning the vans, washing the cars, painting the filters, cleaning out the storage room, doing a medical and dental clinic, and babysitting Olivia :) This afternoon we plan to go back to Michel's school.

We love you all! Thank you for your constant prayers. We need them!

xoxo Mallorie and Elizabeth (and Olivia)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

This Sabbath day ends completely different than we had planned at all.
So glad that the words of Jeremiah echo in my mind....the plans He has for us
are surely better than mine.
With news of some unrest near the original place of worship this morning we
walked to a very nearby church and had a special time there.
This was followed by a fun filled day with the kids at Sue's place. Quite a lot
of laughter and song and crafts. Then-for the first time ever-movie night!
Incredible outdoor viewing of something about meatballs from the sky. Popcorn
and a sheet on the wall and all the kids had a lap to sit upon. It is something to
think this is probably a once in a lifetime experience for them.
(Thanks Jerry and Sharon)
We send a special birthday greeting to Logan and to have Michel call him was
a gift from Haiti.
All in all, we are just knitting together in a special way. We are feeling God in
a real closeness that does not always come through with the busyness of life in the states.
We are aware that for this moment we can give joy and hope to many who have not
felt God's embrace in flesh before. To be here with such a group is humbling. All
praise to Him!
Tomorrow we wake early to say some goodbyes to three of the group. We will drive
to the airport at six am ( and I am the wakeup committee). From there we will head
north to the water project. So much left to do. Can't wait to see how many ways the bags
deliver loaves and fishes and the opportunities that come our way.
Thanks again for sharing this journey.
We stopped at Roberto's house on the beach. What a gorgeous home! We all had a great retreat from the heat and were able to reshresh ourselves in the ocean and had a wonderful time just relaxing and talking. Minus a few minor run-ins with sea urchins and one major one, it was a fabulous day!

It was sooo beautiful. Many of us are feeling the consequences of swimming and being in the sun all day today, but it was completely worth it. :)

Some of the kids from Michel's church choir were able to come along. They had a blast in the water and we loved having them along!

You learn pretty quickly in Haiti to take advantage of sleeping opportunities whenever they come around. We were all really tired from our campfire night and the majority of us zonked out on the bus on the way "home".

We camped out at Michel's school and had a bonfire and just mingled with our new friends. Here we are at our heartfelt morning devotions led by Michel. His passion and love for his kids choked many of us up. What a great time to meet together with believers of a different culture and praise the same God! A morning many of us will not forget.

Ben with some girls that enjoyed his trumpet music. The music is such a great way to bridge the language gap and spread joy around to everyone in ear-shot. Thanks for sharing your talent Ben!

We got a ride in Annie's pick up. Yes we all got in there. Ben and Rachel, standing off to the side for the picture, hopped on the back and held on to the tailgate. As you can probably see, you can't exactly count all 20ish faces.. that's because we all are so crammed in there that some of us were hidden. Sorry Matt! Travel is one of the best ways to experience Haiti... great for team bonding especially because we all have to take care of one another and (quite literally) hold each other on. It's so much fun!

We stopped at the "Pink Palace", Annie's orphanage in Montrouis. She has a fantastic tire swing strung between two palm trees. Here's Jake pushing Giovanni and Mark. Both him and Ben, who was pushing earlier, we actually jumping in the air to push. The kids were going so high! Man is it great to have some tall strong guys along. The kids sure take advantage of their strength and endurance. Thanks guys! We appreciate all you do so much!

The beginnings of Lespwa's building!!! YEY!! Praise the Lord that it is coming along so well. It was so nice to visit and see the progress and stand in the place that God has provided for Lori and the group to continue and further their work here in Haiti. Keep praying for the land and for the safe and effective construction of the building; and that, even now, God would prepare those people whom we will serve there.

While the view is beyond stunning and the breeze is so nice... the road leaves a bit to be desired. It is quite a ride to get up there and the bus "spun out" towards the end. Here we are, after having to get out so the bus could turn around. When it came time to leave, a few of us volunteered to get in and sit in the back to provide weight and traction to get back out. Whew! Who needs roller coasters when you have a Haitian bus on gravel hills!

Haiti - Day 6

Well hello Wisconsin! This is my first time ever posting on a blog so bear with me.

Where to start, where to start? This is my second time coming with Lori to Haiti and I've found that many things are the same and many things are different. I've met up with some friends I made in November and have been surprised to see how many people remember me. I've also been able to make lots of new friends along the way this trip and it is such a blessing. I love the smiles, the laughter, the passion, and the innocence of the people here; especially the children. My heart has been melted so many times that I feel it will permenantly be a jelly - but I am certainly not complaining about that. This place, these people, will do that to you. Its so humbling to see what they don't have and yet see a level of contentment and peace that I envy.

I want to assure you all back home that we are all doing just fine. The weather is beautiful, everyone is healthy and happy. I'm not sure what the news is saying, but from a first hand perspective life in Haiti is good. We walked into town today to get some Coca Cola and were surrounded by the same atmosphere that has been there all week. Tensions rose a bit last night in Port Au Prince but nothing too alarming. Please continue to pray for peace in this difficult election time, and pray that we would be wise in our decisions and that God's will, and not ours, would be done for the remainder of our trip. We can feel your prayers holding us up and we are so grateful. Please don't relent on us! lol.

The team, even though it is large, has been bonded into a sort of family. I will miss each and every person so much when our adventure is over. Its been so awesome to see how God has used our various talents and finally see the puzzle coming together of why he assembled the team the way he did.

Since today is Sunday, we went to a local church up the road from Sue's house. It was such a wonderful service that Michel graciously translated for us. The pastor challenged us all the hold firm to our faith and reminded us that we so often lose sight of the power of God in our lives and too easily forget what he has provided us in the past. We underestimate his ability to handle our problems and instead turn to the world when we face difficulty. We read a Psalm which so perfectly addressed the situation here is Haiti. I think it was 46 but don't quote me on that. In it though it said that even through earthquakes, and pain, and trouble, God is soverign and has the power to deliver us from all our problems and lead us to victory. It was so beautiful. What a wonderful reminder - especially when you are here and see so much destruction and pain, and can easily get overwhelmed and feel discouraged. I find so much peace and joy in remembering that this is not a battle that I am supposed to fight on my own. God is continually reminding me to not attempt anything in my own strength... that only leads to failure. But to rely on him in all things, even the small things. When we are able to do that, we see true victory and God receives the glory. It is the most fufilling feeling in the world because it is in those situations - when you die to yourself and serve others with an unconditional love that we have been given from our Father, that we are fufilling our very purpose. We love because he first loved us. Wendy, a friend of Michel's and a translator for our team led a devotion the other day and he said some very simple words that I will never forget. He was discussing how we can love God. He said that we cannot give God a glass of water, we cannot give God a pair of shoes, we cannot even give God a hug to show our love to Him. But when we give to his children, his beloved people that he died for and loves with a love we cannot even comprehend... that is how we love God. This is our purpose - to love God by loving each other, all others, and bring glory to His name by allowing His perfect love to shine through us and radiate his peace and mercy to all creation.

For some reason, throughout this trip I have been reminded of a quote from The Jungle Book. I used to love that movie.. loved it so much that I eventually couldn't stand it actually. Anyways, the colonel Elephant had a motto that "An elephant never forgets" This is comical in the movie because he forgets his own son while he says this. My point in bringing this up is that we too easily fall into this as well. When something affects us, spiritually, emotionally, physically.. we often vow to "never forget". We become convinced that nothing will ever cause us to let the memory of that experience fade. But it is in that confidence that we do lose them. The Novemeber 2010 Haiti trip rocked my world, in so many ways, and I swore I would never forget the things that God showed me and taught me. But I did. I got off the plane when I arrived and realized just how much I had hardened again. Even in a matter of months, I forgot. But God has used this to teach me that we are prone to forget so easily. We forget peoples faces, we forget inside jokes, we forget painful experiences, and most importantly we forget about God. We forget what He has rescued us from. We forget the penalty he paid to purchase our souls. And we forget his desire for us to share these things with others. It is my prayer that we wake up. That we realize how we have forgotten and we daily ask him to remind us. To mold our hearts to break for what breaks his. To conform our will to desire and actively seek the things that please him. And to daily die to ourselves and be filled a new with him and use the empowerment we have through the Holy Spirit to fufill His purpose for our lives. Whatever that may be. At home, at work, in school, in Haiti.

I've been known to talk way to long.. and I'm afraid I have done so again. Thank you all for listening to my thoughts and I pray that God will use my experiences to speak to your hearts.

Much love from all of us at the equator!!! Can't wait to see your beautiful smiles again soon.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hi again
did everyone wonder where we went?
Well, let me tell you who are on the edge of your seats----
We had so much fun and you will get following this some updates.
The group treated Michel's choir to an outing like they have not had before.
A gathering of us and thirty youth to have maybe the first such adventure like this.
Think of your favorite camp experience combined with your best retreat mixed in
with your most fun people and then stirred up with the Spirit and the Word-
Let Timothy tell you more
hang on for the ride with us.
Thanks all--we know you are with us on the journey.

Hey all, just a few words for you about the trip. We started off the day with a Bus ride to "the land". A piece of property outside Port-au-Prince where our team checked out the progress of their construction efforts. Some of the guys and I were able to play football (soccer) with some of the local boys and the rest flew kites.

After getting the bus unstuck and driving down a mountain :) we drove on a paved road all the way to Montrouis where Michel's school was. We stopped by the "pink palace," an orphanage a few blocks away the team had previous visited a trip ago.

That night, the choir group from Michel's church drove from Port-a-Prince to Montrouis for a sleep over with us. It was a special time for them to be leaving the city and having some fun.
The night continued with skits, campfire, smores, and glow sticks. Oh, and I can't forget the songs the choir sang. This is my favorite memory from the night. A beautiful moonlit night with a crowd of colorful glow sticks gathered around two guitars. Creole accompanied by a few Americans singing in their known tongue the same songs that mean so much to them. "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. Holy Holy is He" (Revelation Song). All I can say is God was glorifed.

Noise... I hear people talking... What time is it? Those were my thoughts as I awoke in amazement. Amazed because it was somewhere around 5am. in the morning and the whole room erupted with voices and chatter. I cleared my eyes and saw the boys next to me going through their morning routines. I asked my friend Matt what was going on, still in disbelief of what I was witnessing. Matt confirmed it. I seriously don't know how they wake up that early.

Today we had a wonderful time of worship with the group and morning devotions. LueAnne gave a heart felt message followed by a teary word in Creole by Mitchel. The students with us were processing, and I pray that someone of them were able to be challenged an encouraged by it. We also were able to pray for the students.

Later, our Choir friends and the team walked down the road to the Roberto's house - In short the Ocean!! Our location was beautiful place, something out of a travel magazine. Palm trees, flowers, bright blue water, and lots of sun. A little too much for some of us. ;) Anyway, after another dose of sunscreen we cautiously climbed down into the warm water below. Unfortunately one of our own stepped on a Sea Urchin within the first few minutes in the water. Elisabeth, had to have her foot worked on by Lori and Kate. We swam till we had our fill and said goodbye to our Choir friends who headed back to Port-au-Prince.

We soon followed in our own Bus, pulling over to check our whobbling front tire, (we now have three out of the four whobbling :) ) and returning to Sue's house to a hot bowl of Pumpkin Soup. Man, they sure can cook!

Proofed and corrected by Lydia ;P :D

Friday, March 18, 2011

Greetings from the team leader! Ha-I think they don't need me,,,but I keep letting them know they really do. What a great team and so much joy they give to the people here. We are learning and growing in ways that we never dreamed of. The days (as you may have noticed) do not always go according to our plan. For whatever reason, they are designed in a way that is even better than the one we thought was on the agenda. In the changes and challenges, each team member rises above it. They are really all doing well and I am mothering them (smothering them) so they will appreciate all you moms back home awaiting the end of this journey. They have been a joy and delight to me personally, and to each place we visit. The Word is alive in them and their actions show it. Thank you for allowing me to have this place in time with them. None of us will ever be the same!
Three of the guys are practicing praise music as I type. Another is gathering the group for morning devotions. We are off to another orphanage to do clinic and soccer and fun and then
to an overnight with the youth from Michel's church.
Continue to pray-we know it is the source of our strength.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pushing the bus to get it started! It was a blast...

A group photo taken at Michel's mom's house.

The nurses busy at work with the clinics.

Caleb and some new friends!

Day 4... What a trip!

Where do we even begin with today's blog? We started our day as just another typical day in Haiti. Going to Michel's church where we set up another day of clinics and dentistry work. There were so many people needing medical and dental attention that we unfortunately didn't have enough time to help out everyone. We handed out a whole suitcase full of bible tracts. All the Haitians were eager to receive our gifts with a smile. Many fingernails were polished, music played, soccer balls kicked, skin burnt, and photos taken. We headed to our last stop--Michel's mother's house. This is where the day really started. One little tid-bit of information... His mom's house is located off of the main road and on a back road (kind of). It was surrounded by palm trees and the road was just dirt (with a few puddles from the rain last night). After spending some time with the family, we decided it was time to head back to Sue's house. Or we thought it was. We all piled into the van when Mishap #1 occurred: dead battery. We spent about 20 minutes trying to get the battery to work again and we went to the old fashioned way of starting the car... push! After pushing for 5 feet, it started immediately (we're going to remember this next time we call Dad because the battery is dead--sorry Dad). Then... backing out of the driveway to get back on track, Mishap #2: knocked down a fence. Michel said it wasn't an "actual fence" but we put it back up anyway. While focusing on the fence, Michel was yelling at the driver "flat tire! flat tire!!," none of us really believed him, but sure enough it was as flat as a pancake. We weren't too worried when Michel told us it would only take roughly 30 minutes to fix it all. After performing skits--Matt's gym teacher squeaky voice, singing songs, Ben's trumpet playing, having a dance off (we got schooled by Haitians), learning that they all know Justin Bieber, holding many children, trying to understand Creole, trying to outweigh the bugs, hunger, and helping a 6 foot wide truck get through a 6 foot one inch opening between the brick wall and our stalled van, the tires were fixed and it was dark--2+ hours later! It was super hard to leave all the children who were clinging onto our hips, but we had to hop back into the van. We got to drive down the streets in the dark while munching on any food in the van. When we arrived at Sue's, a witch pot was full of rice and there was a variety of spicy foods for all of us to experience. Needless to say, today was an adventure in itself and we should all be in bed. Today was definitely the best day by far, for us at least. Hope you all are enjoying the blog site!
<3--Rachel and Carrie
In Port Au Prince 2 days now...Amazing how large the city is. Vendors along the streets for miles and miles....everywhere you look trying to make a living (have food for just the day). Even with their burdens -quick with a smile. No street lights, no road rules, people running between the traffic...yet havent seen an accident yet! As it poured last night thinking about all the people sleeping(or not) in the rain. Parents possibly sitting on crates holding their babies as they try to sleep. Rejoicing with those who welcome the rain and mourning with those whose burdens become greater because of it. Medical clinics and street evangelism today.....truly exciting...Please pray that we will 'step out of the gates' with courage! Everyone needs that solid Rock! To God alone be the glory!! Isaiah 58:1-12 My love to those at home!....I love you all. Praying for safe travels for you my love (Keith:) ) See you soon xoxoxoxo LueAnne P.S. Elly Mae loves you all too! she will blog soon :

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

After a breakfast consisting of eggs, toast, and coffee, our group piled onto the bus and began our journey to Sue's school in Leogane. Upon arriving, members of the group who had previously visited were excited to see that a new building had been put up since the former building had been destroyed in the earthquake. We began the afternoon by leading them in a some fun songs in which many of the students sang along in Creole. While some of the group members led the singing, others had a good time dancing with the energetic kindergarteners. Jerry took some great pictures and videos of the students singing and dancing. Once school was out for the day, we all pitched in to stain the wooden walls (while getting mercilessly attacked by fire ants!). To Matt's delight, we then came home to fabulous meal of mac & cheese, green beans, and mango (a favorite among many...esp Annie!). Our day ended with a relaxing evening filled with music, laughter, a refreshing breeze, and giant raindrops!
Until next time...Matt & Annie
Peter playing soccer...a very popular thing to do around here!

Staining the wooden walls at Sue's school.

Lori and some of the children!

Our group in front of the earthquake damaged Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince.

Sue and little baby Son-Son!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Haiti - DAY 2

On a cloudless, warm, inspiring Haitian day, our team ventured into a twenty passenger van to go to a church in Port Au Prince. Our van ride was an adventure in itself - we dodged bikers, drove on both sides of the road, and bounced every which way over potholes and gravel roads.

Once we got to the church, we set up areas to have a medical and dental clinic for the Haitian people. Children and adults patiently waited for the turns. While Lori was taking care of the dental work and Katie, Rachel, Carrie, Louanne and Annie were doing medical, the rest of the group was playing with the kids. We played a lot of soccer under the hot sun, and the majority of us recieved a good sunburn from it. Ben played disney songs on the trumpet, and Tim played worship songs on the guitar. It was so cool to sing in english and then have the Haitian people sing the same songs in creol and french.
After the day at the church, we were able to drive through downtown Port Au Prince on the way home. We parked the bus and were able to get out and see the capital building. We were shocked by the damage the building still has, but enjoyed our time buying paintings and other souveneirs to bring home.
Once we got back to the orphange we're staying at, we had dinner and then the darkness got the best of us. We all got tired pretty early because of the early start we got on the day. After some good conversations, good fellowship, and an intense game of uno, we're going to bed.
First day in Haiti! :D Everyone is very happy to be here and it was great to see familiar faces again! We tried to get more than the one picture on but ran out of time. Hopefully we'll get some more up tonight. Today we're heading to Michel's church to do clinics and make charcoal! Today is a beautiful day! The sun is shining and the sky is clear! God is an amazing artist and every time I look around me I'm so thankful for His creativity. :) Amazing!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Photo by Jerry Thompson

Our team...pictured here in the O'hara Airport! Our trip has officially begun! Yay!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Below are a few photos from our past packing/planning meetings.

Photo by Jerry Thompson

Some members of our team packing suitcases with medicinal and hygienic products.

Photo by Jerry Thompson

Pictured here is a suitcase filled with various items bound for Haiti...marshmallows (for a fun outreach evening...yay), other food, wash clothes, hand towels, and other personal hygiene necessities!

Photo by Jerry Thompson

Due to the diversity of the needs which the Haitian people currently have, our suitcases have been filled with a wide variety of different items. These tools, which were donated by Eugene Kohlman, will be put to good use!

Photo by Jerry Thompson

Pictured here are seeds that were donated to LESPWA International to be given to the people of Haiti! "Seeds of Hope,"as Jerry called it, is quite the fitting name for this photo because it pretty much sums up our team's mission!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Packing and fellowship-what a great combination!
Well, I am lacking in computer skills and creativity, so I am
passing some time on this blog to Matt. Thanks Matt.
I know he will be able to keep you all up to date and more informed
for the Haiti team.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What a great day of packing supplies. So much to yet sift through and yet a dent has been made. Actually the best part is working together and getting to know each other as part of the group. It is a big group that is quite diverse. The down time and music at the end was like the frosting on the cake. MMM. The best part.
We need to get some photos on here and help everyone see the progress.
Next Sunday 1:00 my house. Someone want to do that from my computer?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Time to focus on the mission at hand. Over the counter medicines and all the supplies are waiting to be packed. Pray for the people of Haiti and for peace in the country as they are
preparing for the final elections to take place. Keep our efforts to work together as a team starting now before we even arrive on the island a priority. Together we CAN make a difference.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

See all trip team members at Mt. Calvary Villa 1:00 pm Sunday afternoon. Will not interfere with the Packer game. Will allow you
all time to change into green and gold and don your cheeseheads.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Together we begin our efforts for the people of Haiti.
Meeting, planning, packing, praying.
The post will be a place you can follow our journey.
You are as much a part of it as we are.
It is a labor of love.