Friday, July 20, 2012
This morning was the first morning to wake in Haiti. I was one of the first people up, so I went out to the patio where it was a bit cooler. As I stood and looked around, I was trying to take as much as I could in. I still can not fathom the devastation that this already poor country is going through. If I were to close my eyes, I would be taking something beautiful and peaceful in. The birds were singing and there was a wonderful breeze.
As the morning went on more and more people passed by. The men with work hats on, the women with their barrels on their heads filled with anything from empty coke bottles to bread and eggs and the woman next door sweeping her outside patio. While observing and having some quite time on my own, I heard a man shouting. I got up to see what was going on. The man was about a block away, pacing back in forth, holding a book in his hand. No one was paying him any attention. He started to walk and got closer and closer. That was when I realized he was preaching the word of God with all of his heart. I watched him until he was out of sight.
At the orphanages today we were greeted again by singing and dancing. I had tried to prepare myself for the drive to Carrefour but was unsuccessful. Carrefour is about a 45 minutes drive from the mission house. To get there you have to drive through the poorest area of town. The streets are covered with trash and debris. The tent cities there will break your heart.Thousands and thousands of people live right on top of each other with no sanitation. The people are to scared to return to what they once called home to try to start to rebuild.
With all of that being said please help and continue to pray for this team and all the people involved. Pray that His light shine through us onto these precious children that God has entrusted us with.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
It had been a day like no other since we’ve arrived here in Haiti. We headed out a little earlier this morning to go to the local school. We were setting up five different stations when the children started pouring in. All in all we had around 150 kids to entertain and show the love of God. It was definitely a challenge for our team because we were dividing them into age groups. All the stations were different and the children did not want to stay at one station for more than 20-30 minutes. As we were trying to keep them in one spot we noticed that more children were coming in. Older siblings did not want to be separated from their younger siblings. In Haiti the older siblings help raise the younger siblings. This created somewhat of an obstacle for our team. We got done setting up and loaded the bus around 11:30. I do not think I have seen our group more exhausted thus far.
We got home, got lunch ready, ate and headed off to Carrefour. There were so many things to see here that we never see in America. As we drove we saw our first tragic fatality. The way it was handled was more than disturbing and honestly it hit our group very hard. Pedestrians do NOT get the right of way here and are looked down on. As we continued our drive we got stuck in a traffic jam for roughly 20 minutes. It doesn’t seem like much but when the temperature is in the 90’s and you’re packed in a bus, it’s a long time! Benben, who helps our driver, got out to see what the hold up was. When he came back he stated that there was a man with a broken down car up ahead. No one would stop to help him. Instead, they sped around him honking their horns as they passed. Benben got out to help push. Our driver blocked the rest of traffic to help get the car out of the way (remember the bigger the car the better). Finally after a long, tough ride we made it to Carrefour.
Once at Carrefour we sat down and did arts and crafts with the children. Anything new is the biggest gush of excitement and smiles you’ve ever seen. We did face painting, sticker books and of course a snack and drink. It started to get cloudy and sprinkle just a little. Katie, one of my team members and I noticed that because it had gotten significantly cooler the children were calmer and playing a little bit better together. I’m not sure if this will make sense to those reading, something you may have to see to understand.
One huge thing that made my heart so happy was two young boys, around seven. One of the little boys had taken Ryan, another team member, down to his locker where he had several items. He pulled out a book to read, it was written in English. While I was playing jacks with a couple others little girls, he pulled me aside. He laid his book down that had picture of different animals he wanted me to read. I started reading like I would to my children. He said “no, no,” waving his hand. He pointed at the words for me to read slower. I began to read slower for him and he started repeating words back to me in English. We sat and did this for about 20 minutes. He wanted so badly to read, know and understand the English language. This was an amazing experience for me. Please pray for the team and what we have seen and been through today. We have another big and exciting day full of God will and light.
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Today has been more than interesting. When I boarded the plane in Miami I immediately noticed the lady next to me was going through several pictures of children in a Haitian orphanage. Of course I could not help but ask what she was doing or who she was with. As we talked, I learned that she was in the final months of an almost three year adoption process. Adopting not one but two Haitian children a little girl who is five and a little boy who is nearing three. This woman’s story was amazing, her daughter had been a mission in Haiti for a year and had met her future husband while he was here on a medical mission. This sweet woman has visited her soon to be official children over twenty-five times in the past year. You could see the love in her eyes and hear it in her voice. I could go on and on but there is so much more to our day.
We arrived in Port au Prince today at 12:00 noon. We were greeted by a Haitian band and then piled into the “airport” which was a very different experience. No air, dirty walls, people on top of people, not much organization, etc. Once we got all twenty-one checked bags and all our carry ons, we were off. As we were looking for our bus driver, I noticed that the people did not have much compassion for people of their own country or coworkers but more so for the people coming off the plane. They were doing anything they could to make a dollar to support themselves or their family.
Once we made it to our bus and loaded up, we were off to our mission house. Goodness was that a ride! There is absolutely no driving structure. Drivers pass each other with another car coming from the other direction, play chicken with the other drivers, stop in the middle of the road to wait on another driver who might be following you and lastly they use there horns for any type of warning. If you stop to long you get honked at, if you get too close you get honked out, if your just flat out in the way…you get honked at. The bigger the car the better chance you have. BUT nonetheless we finally made it, safe and sound.
Lastly but most importantly we got to visit Bon Berger which is one of the two orphanages that we will be with this week. I cannot begin to describe the emotions I felt when we were greeted by 20 children from ages 1-10 that were singing and dancing to see us! You have never seen the light and smiles of children who live so different then we do.
I look so forward to the rest of the week to see God’s amazing light shine through the group that God has put together in His name for His glory!
On Wednesday July 18th a group from Faith Promise headed to Atlanta to prepare for their flight to Haiti on Thursday July 19th. They will be gone for one week working with our sponsored orphanages in Port-au-Prince. While they are there they will be working with children, doing crafts, school lessons, games, and VBS type material. Check back daily for updates on their trip.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
So far so good. The van ride to Atlanta was great! I believe I am the only one on the van that has never been on a mission trip and of our van (there are two vans) five team members have been to Haiti at least once. I’ve been learning some of the Haitian language and hearing some very interesting stories. It makes me even more excited to get there tomorrow and to be with a group who has relationship with so many of the people that we will be with.
I truly believe God has formed and brought together an amazing team. Please help us pray throughout the rest of our journey that God’s light pour into our team members and shine for the children and people of Haiti.
Love in Christ,
The following post was written by Kelly Stratton – A Faith Promise College Student heading to do missions in Sweden this Summer!
Hej! For those of you who don’t know, that is how you say hello in Swedish. It’s one of the only words we know how to say, and we’re about to spend 6 weeks there. Courtney and I have been given an incredible opportunity to volunteer with Cru and be apart of summer project. Cru is a campus ministry that focuses on evangelism and ministering to college students.
The team Courtney and I will be apart of will be in Uppsala, Sweden. We will spend most of our time there at the university meeting as many students as possible and having lunch with them. The main point of these lunches is to get to know them and try to talk about Christian thoughts and ideas. Sweden as a whole only has 2% of the population as practicing Christians. Our goal is to try and get students interested in being in a small group where we can share the Gospel with them. We are so excited to be apart of sharing God’s love to the world in a way that is so similar to our home environment at Faith Promise. We would love to share our journey with you all! If you wouldn’t mind praying for us and this trip, it would be really appreciated. We are currently in the process of raising the financial support needed to go. If you’d like to help, you can donate online or by writing a check to Campus Crusade For Christ.
Kelly Stratton: https://give.ccci.org/give/View/5637809;jsessionid=33C6FCD28C7930FDC3FA5911D78AA47C.dss1
Courtney Stratton: https://give.ccci.org/give/View/5637798;jsessionid=3C1CE4E8360BF6E783E144793584424F.dss1