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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Greetings from Haiti!

Just wanted to post a short update. Almost everyone woke up this morning feeling refreshed and well rested. We went out for prayer and Bible reading with the Haitian workers here at the water project and then had breakfast and devotions. The breakfast consisting of rolls, cereal, and coffee was great! After breakfast we loaded up the vehicles and everyone (except for me) headed to do clinics at a school near St. Marc. I spent the morning working on a project for Chris. He is growing some type of cactus that produces passion fruit. So I built a type of rack to support them as they get larger. It turned out pretty well!

Later this afternoon, Chris has agreed to take a few of us on a hike. Apparently it is a rather strenuous trip...but a few of us are really excited for some serious exercise.

Continued prayer for health and strength would be greatly appreciated!

Hope all is well back in the states!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Water Project

I haven't posted anything yet so far on this trip so I decided to take a few minutes now to share with you all some of what's going on.

Yesterday we got to walk with Sue's kids to their school and say our goodbyes. Although I plan to be back sometime, it's still so hard to say goodbyes! We then loaded up the bus and headed off to the Rollings. After arriving and unloading the bus we enjoyed a relaxing early afternoon and later got to up the mountain to the natural spring with Chris! It was so much fun! We all had a blast! Supper was amazing as well! We ended the day visiting and playing some games (yatzee and skip-bo).

Jeff left for the airport this morning and we are already missing him. He was an amazing addition to our group! I'm missing him the most cuz I'm now the only guy in the group. Thankfully I have Chris and Ryan to hang out with when I need a guy to talk to! I'm really enjoying getting to know both of them better. While Chris and Lori took Jeff to the airport, the rest of us got some projects done here at the water project. We mowed the lawn, raked leaves and grass, cleaned out the banana tree canals, painted filters, washed sand, etc. It was really fun to help out! Lunch was delicious as is all the food we get here. We seriously are treated so well! All of us appreciate the hospitality that we have received from Chris, Leslie, Ryan, and Sheena! This afternoon, I helped setup a computer for a friend of the Rollings while the rest of the team went to set up the medical supplies for tomorrow's clinics. It's been an amazing day!

God bless!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

After a long, exciting day we are all very exhausted and enjoying oreo's :) We started off this amazing day leaving Sue's orphanage after a hectic morning. Alarm clocks sounded at 4:45 am and the bus arrived at 6:30. It was very difficult trying to get 14 people ready for church. (we are very limited to bathrooms, mirrors, and lights, etc.) Upon arriving at the church we were able to have some down time for about an hour. We utilized this time to talk with other people attending church that day. The church service was incredibly moving and powerful. The Haitian culture speak with with compassion and their words truly come from their heart. After the Haitian pastor spoke and we all received communion, pastor Jeff had the opportunity to lead the sermon while Michel translated for him. Pastor Jeff preached about spiritual complacency and the people attending church really enjoyed his word of the Lord. The church service lasted about 2 and 1/2 hours and it was now time to bond with the youth.

First all 14 of us, translators, and numerous Haitian youths piled onto the bus to visit Felix's house. Lydia and her family sponsor him so she had some gifts to give to him and his family. Felix showed us in and introduced us to a few of his sisters, then brought us into the house to meet his mom. There were chairs set up for us and everything. They were so sweet! We visited for a while then everyone headed back to the bus while Lydia handed out the gifts. A highlight was definitely seeing Felix's face when she handed him his new mp3 player! His smile was SO unforgettable. People were definitely tearing up as they said goodbye there.

Next we piled back into the bus to find food, since we hadn't eaten since breakfast at 6:00. It was now 1:30. Mind you, some of us didn't even time to get breakfast. The bus arrived at a fast food restaurant and our faces lit up we were so excited. The youth group that traveled with us stayed on the bus thinking they were not able to come with us into the restaurant. Michel explained to them that this food is our gift to them. It was a blessing to be able to feed them with this delicious food. The bathrooms here were exactly like the bathrooms in America (they were clean, the toilets flushed, there was soap, and an electric hand dryer). The Haitian girls were very entertained and amazed by these high tech bathrooms. When we walked into the restaurant called "Epi dor" we saw over 20 Americans (what a good representation of America). These were some of the first Americans weve seen in Haiti so far on this trip. Michel ordered us each a HEAPING plate full of good Haitian food. We were served rice, beans, vegetables, and a choice of chicken, beef, or fish. The food tasted absolutely phenomenal and we definitely stuffed ourselves too full. Lets just say we were all full beyond belief.

After our delicious meal (and COLD soda & limeade!!!), we all joyfully piled back into the bus to continue our tour of Port Au Prince. We stopped and took some group pictures at the capital and enjoyed other sights along the way. Spending time with the Haitian youth was SO amazingly fun! We spent time memorizing their names, singing songs together, watching them enjoy using our cameras to take pictures and videos, and asking for the creole names for the things we saw. Our attempts to repeat the words generally prompted enormous amounts of laughter and everyone had an immense amount of fun.

When we returned to the church around, most of the Haitians went home to get ready for the evening youth event. We used the time to practice our group song ("All In All" sung in a round) and work out the parts of our skit. Around 5:30pm everyone sat down and the service began. Our evening worship was filled with special numbers performed by the Haitian youth, words of challenge and encouragement shared by Pastor Jeff, Carey S., Deborah, & Matt, impressively talented dance numbers, jokes, and our skit. Eventually, the whole of Haiti will recognize LESPWA by "one-two, one-two!" [If you don't know what that means, you will have to come to Haiti to find out. ;)] We had such a great night that no one wanted to leave.

Saying goodbye for the last time was extremely hard on all of us. We exchanged contact information, gave tons of hugs, and shed some tears. Over all, God blessed us with an incredible day. Tomorrow we get to sleep in until 6am and then leave Sue's to head to the water project...

G'night. :) God bless you!
Alisha, Carrie R., Lydia, and Sarah

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The group was out practicing their skit for Sunday night. It gets a lot of laughs no matter where we are. The timing is quite difficult but we should be ready. We are joining up with the church for a celebration with singing and other talents as shown above.

The children either love having a picture taken or else or shy or refuse. This little girl have obviously found joy in posing for us. After that she really liked riding on Jeff's tall shoulders.

Group photo on the journey...we are all still smiling and able to stand still for a few moments without children jumping up to be held. It is a great time together!

We renewed friendships as the nursing and dental clinics went on today at the church. Everyone was very happy to have time together.

On the way back to Sue's orphanage we stopped at the market that Americans shop at. It was a surprise to see something so familiar from home in the cooler. Most people here would go to market outside, along every road, and down each alley. We picked up a soda for everyone and it seemed like the greatest reward of the day.

Friday, January 6, 2012

January 6th

Well, this is the first time I am posting on the blog, so we will see how it goes....Today was pretty hot out, got a nice tan! =) We went to a new spot today that not even Lori had been to, so that was interesting!! We did a medical clinic there, and I helped with that for the first time.... I counted pills, and put them in bags for a few hours, and although I LOVE the kids, it was nice to get a break, and kind of see how the clinics work. We also had big bags of rice and beans and oil that we passed out to the patients along with small bible tracts. It was also our first day doing an outside clinic, it has always been in a building, so it was a little more exhausting because of the sun. I must say, I absolutely love Haiti, and definately want to come back, but I am VERY sick of the bumpy roads, and no shocks in the bus!! Its getting kind of old, because the rides are usually long, but its definately better than walking, so I am thankful in that aspect! As much of a great time as I have had, I have seen a lot of sad things, and the living conditions just break my heart, and I wonder why I am so blessed to come home to America and such a wonderful roof over my head. I think the most difficult thing I have had to see and experience is saying "no" to people. I can't explain the breaking in my heart when a little child with no shoes points at mine, and then at thier feet. Or when they simply ask me for water..... I feel like crying just thinking about it. The kids at Sue's orphanage are sooo sweet, and I will be sad to leave them. It is a great thing that Sue has commited to, and I totally give her credit. Living in Haiti it not always the easiest thing, and I have only been here a week!! Love to all my family and friends at home!!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

January 5th

Well today was very similar to yesterday. We did start a bit earlier. Lori woke us up (very nicely of course. ;) at about 4:50 a.m.... and we were on the road by about quarter after 6. Clinics went very well, ending a little earlier today at about 1. Those of us who are not medically inclined, had another great day playing with all of our new little friends! Much to our delight (well for those of us who have come on previous trips) some kids from another orphanage that we have stayed at previously stopped in for a visit! It was so great to see old faces again and be reunited once again. :) But alas all good things must come to an end and after some tearful goodbyes, we headed over to Michel's house for a truly Haitian lunch provided by friends of his. Fried plantains (yum!), conch, and picklese (very spicy.... :P) oh and of course some great coca-cola! :D

From there we headed to the land that we have a building project going on. It was beautiful out there as usual and we had a great time meeting all the kids (and some adults) that came running after our bus and followed us all the way up there! On our way out we threw candy out the window for them all. :D Needless to say that only increased our following. ;)

Now we're back at Sue's orphanage in PAP relaxing! But it'll be back to work again packing bags of rice for the rice feeding we'll be doing tomorrow.

It's only been 2 days into it, and I'm already so amazed by God's goodness in bringing us here and using us to accomplish His purposes! Please continue to pray for us here as we do our best to honor Christ, by reaching out to the Haitians. :) Pray that the medicines will do their work for the people who are sick. Pray that we will continue to be united as a team and that there would be no division. And most of all, pray that the people we encounter will see and hear the gospel message through us, and that it would change them forever! :)

Till another time,
Lydia :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hello from Haiti!

We have internet (for now, anyway) and Matt got the blog back up and running! Hooray!

Jan. 2nd: After travelling to Chicago, the team enjoyed an evening in the airport. We talked, played games, and found unique spots to rest. I have some pictures to prove our resourcefulness. ;)

Jan. 3rd: Our travel adventure really began around 4am. Much to our surprise, when checking in, we were informed that a current embargo limited checked baggage to only two bags per person! Problem: We had five more suitcases than they would allow us to take. Solution: We began our first major team building exercise - fitting the important contents of those large suitcases into the other already full pieces of luggage. With the Lord's help,we successfully re-shifted everything and our luggage made it on the plane in time!

The rest of our travel was virtually uneventful, and we arrived in Haiti to be greeted by hoards of people! We politely, yet firmly practiced saying "NO" to the much too helpful Haitians, and loaded our luggage onto the bus that Ruth, Michelle, and Wendy had waiting for us.

Riding from Port Au Prince to Sue's place was the first of many, many exciting bus rides that we will enjoy while down here. We are all amply impressed by our bus drivers' talent. With sometimes inches to spare, they have capably driven us around, entered gated communities, and backed out of tight places, without bumping anything!

Jan 4th: Today we spent the day at Michelle's school (he's the principal there) where Lori and some of the others did clinical work helping the people with their different ailments. The rest of the group played with the energetic kids... ENERGETIC being the understatement of a century. :) The kids were not the least bit shy and we were immediately surrounded by them wanting to be held and hugged. We played soccer, drew pictures, and just played with them. They did get a little jealous if one kid was getting to much attention, but otherwise they were happy energetic kids and it was hard to say good-bye at the end of the day.

As for the clinic aspect, 5 of us organized many different medications on the stairs of the church making this our pharmacy. The patients were given numbers and called when it was their turn. Four different stations were set up and the patients sat down and told us their symptoms, of course with the help of a translator. Many patients came in with high blood pressure, anemia, flu, respiratory infections, ringworm, fungal infections and various other illnesses. The line of people waiting was long but they were very patient and appreciative. A man had a laceration from using his machete but it didn't require sutures! The gummy vitamins were a real hit with the kids.

Thanks for your continued prayers and God's blessings to you all!
Deborah, Alisha, Mary, & Sarah for the crew