Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oh Jesus!

You are sending me home tomorrow, but Lord, let me never forget all that You have taught me here in this country! Let me never forget the children that bathed in the muddy streets. Let me never forget the smell of the dump, where these people of yours came to eat. Let me never forget the pain this country is enduring Father! Let me never lose my compassion for these people Lord! Never let my spirit grow numb to empathy for my brothers and sisters that struggle to survive everyday. Never let me forget how Your Holy Spirit moved in this place..

Lord, let me never live my life in selfishness, but always be looking towards the needs of other around me. Let me continue to be generous to my brothers and sisters with a joyful heart.. Help me to be more humble, loving, compassionate, joyful, and filled only with pure, holy thoughts! Let my soul, along with my spirit WORSHIP only YOU Father! Remove any idols from my life Jesus! If there is something keeping me from Your heavenly presence, then God, tear it from my life! Lord, I only desire YOU! With every breath I desire to EXTOL Your name to whomever I speak!

God, help me to give grace to those back home, which you have blessed immensely, that ungratefully complain in their ignorance. Help me to give grace to the selfish, to the sloth, to the glutton, to the slanderer, to the proud, to the unloving, and to the Christians who don't live in fear of you God!

God, remain with these Haitian people! Heal them, restore them, touch them, fill them with your joy and PEACE! Give them the strength to endure all the hardships of this rough world. Let their sins be covered in your PERFECT grace JESUS! Teach them to turn away from their dark ways that plague their society and only seek YOU Father!

Father, I pray that my work here would not be in vain, but would plant a seed for MANY to discover your love, and everlasting LIFE! I pray that my words to these people would plant seeds that would grow and bloom into a hunger for more of you FATHER.

With my journey coming to a close and as I step off this island, I will with all sincerity exclaim your POWER, LOVE, GRACE and BEAUTY with a resounding..


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FOHO and further updates

Hello again, to all my faithful readers!

Now that the technology is working again, I can update you all on what has been happening!

Sunday morning the group of missionaries from Ohio, left for home.. They were an extremely good group of people! Every single one of them was more then willing to do any sort of work and I never heard any of them complain a single time. I had the pleasure of getting to know several of them well.. I had several really cool, deep conversations with a few of them. They quickly accepted me as part of the group, and we all got along, and worked together really well! Even though most of them battled sickness throughout the week, they were always in good spirits, which made for a pleasant week. :)

From left to right.. Pastor Scott, Terry, Shauna, Me, Tony, Pastor Ted, Daniel, Butch, Andy, Lauretta, Jim, Lucian, and some random guy on the street.

On another note, as I have already mentioned I have been helping clear the rubble from the FOHO building that collapsed. This is what the site looked like right after the earthquake...

This is what the site looked like right after the earthquake...

This is what the site looks like now.. What you see here is the garage, and basement of what was a 4 story building.

Here is another angle from on top of the old FOHO building.

This is the old FOHO building which stood next to the 4 story building.. It lasted the earthquake, but will be demolished due to structural damage.

Tonight God has laid on my heart a burden of compassion. As I write, in this moment there are people right outside this house which I am staying, that are living in tents lined all along the street.

Here I am...



I am equipped with everything I need right here, all the while there they are trying to sleep under a tarp with a dirt floor and water running through their tent... How this fair? Simply because I was born in the US, I am given a life full of everything I want, whereas they have almost nothing.

I pray so fervently that God will bring good from this poverty!

On a more positive note, I had the pleasure of handing out some of our extra ready-to-eat meals to one of the families that live down the road from Me and Larry. Between the last two teams of Missionaries, we were left with more meals then we knew what to do with.. I know that our contribution is extremely minute against the starvation in Haiti, however generosity is contagious and I pray that each Haitian will excel further to look after his brother.

As my trip is winding down to a close, I am constantly reminding myself to live in the moment and soak up every sight, sound, smell and memory. I am continually reminding myself to appreciate every person I am in contact with; for I don't know if I will see any of these people again... But I hope that again I may be blessed enough to return to this country.

Lots of love!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

My heart exposed


So I have been meditating all day about what I would like to write in my blog tonight, and I have been bouncing ideas around in my head unceasingly. I was asked to share more of my heart on how God is speaking to me while I am here, and what sorts of things I have been taught while in this crazy/beautiful/ugly/ amazing/depressing/uplifting/poor/rich-country...

I honestly don't think there are any words to truly describe in full my experiences here. I could show a million pictures, describe every detail, and explain how God is moving, but I truly don't think anyone that has never been here can fully understand what it is like to BE HERE, and to first hand experience Gods presence among the people.

To be fully honest, I don't even know where to begin to try and express my heart.. I almost dread coming back to the States and feeling the pressure to talk about Haiti, and explain as best as I can a whole month of the most intense, life changing experience in my life up to date. But nonetheless I know that part of the reason God sent me here was so that I can spread news about the poverty and pain here, but also the complete overwhelming spiritual warfare here, and how Gods presence is in the air so thick that He naturally rubs off on you.

I have a hard time pointing to one specific area that God has changed me, because I feel like as a whole person He has matured my mind, and progressed my spirit closer to Him. I really am starting to feel like I have been here years, and have grown up here.. Even though I only have been here for the blink of an eye. I feel like I have put away many of my childish ways, and God has replaced them with better ways...

On the other hand, I fear talking about what God is doing in my heart publicly for the fear that I will be judged when I return..

"He doesn't seem any different to ME!"

"Now look, he is returning to the person he was before his trip!"

"Everything he wrote in his blog was fake, and he never genuinely was effected by anything.."

These are the judgments that I am afraid of, cause I know, whether the surface shows it or not, that I am permanently changed in my spirit. I know that God has taught me SO MUCH through conversations with the people here, as well as just time alone with Him, where his whispers are so beautiful.

I know that being here has made me MUCH more accepting of people where they are at in their walk with God, and life. I have been known to be very much a "my way is best, and if you don't agree with me that is because you are wrong!" mentality.. But living in a culture so very different from my own, and meeting people that are both similar and opposite from me has shown me that we are ALL deeply loved equally by God, and regardless of culture or walk in life we are apart of one big family, whether we act like it or not. True fellowship, community, and love is what makes the gospel attractive, not screaming into a bullhorn on a street corner, or telling everyone that you have it all together and they need to be like you.

As the body of Christ we need to draw together and truly treat each other like FAMILY... Time is too valuable to waste arguing amongst ourselves! How can my body EVER do anything constructive if one limb fights the other? If my hand attempted to strangle my throat, how could my lungs breath life into my body? We have one purpose and ONE goal, as being apart of Our Fathers' body; this is to simply love the WHOLE WORLD, without any sort of conditions or dress code, and without and distinction between gender, race, and culture....

Here I go sounding like a hippie don't I?

Well anyways, there is a small bit of my heart for tonight..

I love you guys!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Work projects and courage

Hey everybody!

So I figured it was about time that I update you all on what I have been doing, and how all the work projects down here are going..

Those of you that have been following me closely know that the first few weeks here, I was working with the missionaries from Ransomville, New York, on a school called petite place cazeau.. We all worked together laying brick, welding windows and doors together, painting, and putting a roof on the place.. At last, on tuesday we finished the project!

This is what the site looked like in the middle of May...

..And here is the finished project!

As of right now this building will be used as both a school and a church, until next to it another building can be constructed.

Also, yesterday me and some of the missionaries from from Ohio finished repairing the damaged wall in the Childcare building. It was a lot of work, but after finally bolting the two steel beams on either side of the cracked wall, the damage seemed very secure.

Today, most of us spent the whole day working on building a wall around a school that is down the street from where we are staying.. Me and Pastor Scott from Ohio worked together most of the day. He is a really nice guy, and definitely a pleasure to work with. It was the first time I have laid brick, but I learned how to spread mortar and level the bricks pretty quickly.

I hope to post some pictures in the future, but technology hasn't been cooperating lately..

Reacently I have become friends with a Haitian named Willson.. He doesn't speak hardly any english at all, but for some reason he has taken a liking to me. :) The last few evenings after work he has waved me over to sit around and talk with him and his family.. We do a pretty good job of communicating. Between all his family members and himself they can pick up basic things that I say in english.. Yesterday evening was definitely the most entertaining! I taught him and his family english and they taught me a little creole. Already we have had many conversations about Jesus, politics, and personal beliefs. These people certainly aren't afraid to speak their mind. I find that to be a trait I respect immensely! I find that too many Americans are afraid to be transparent about their beliefs for fear of offending someone, or being disagreed with. This reminds me of a few verses that have been on my mind lately...

"But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but those who believe and are SAVED." Hebrews 10:38-39

"Be on your guard; stand firm in faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love." 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Finally I would like to thank ALL of you guys again for all the prayers and support, there are so many awesome things God is doing here, I am just honored to be apart of it all! I believe in places like Haiti, where life is hard, where people are hurting, where the society is broken, and where there shouldn't be any hope at all, is when God shows his presence even brighter, and changes lives and hearts. God really does work all things together for good. You better believe it!

Lots of love!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Restavek Crisis

Picture this.

You are we were born in the countryside among a small rural community in the country of Haiti.

As a small child you remember that you had a large family of 8 to 13 siblings.

Your family was extremely poor and though your parents loved you they knew they could not take care of even your most basic needs.

A distant relative who lived in Port Au Prince, approached your parents and promised them that you would be well fed, educated, and clothed in their care.

So your parents agreed to release you to them, for hope of a future and better life for you...

You arrived at your new home as a small child of 3 or 4 years old and quickly realized that everything promised to your parents was a lie.

Your "caretakers" forced you to work from dawn to dusk around the house.

You cooked, you cleaned and you took care of the dirtiest chores even as a child when you could barely understand what was happening.

As other children who grew up in the same house went to school, you stayed home, and were never educated, and sometimes never fed.

Often, the people you lived with would abuse you both sexually and violently.

You worked hard throughout the day in fear of your host family beating you with a whip if you didn't complete your chores well enough.

You lived off of food scraps from the rest of the household, and you were kept under the family table at night to sleep.

Until you turned 15 you were kept as a slave, and at that age you legally must be paid for your labor, so the family that kept you throughout your childhood now must set you free on the street.

You were left in the city, on your own without any possessions.
Any education.
Any job.
Any connections to anybody...

Guess what?

There are an estimated 300,000 children in Haiti RIGHT NOW that are being raised like this. They are called restaveks. Child slaves who have no rights, and are often treated like animals or property. Once they finally escape their dark childhood they are then faced with an adulthood filled with no hope of a successful job or any escape from poverty due to never having been educated.

This is the reality of Haiti right now.. With the unemployment rate at such high levels across the country, families are forced to give up their kids to a richer family. However there are no laws which strictly enforce any kind of humane treatment to these kids. The government is ashamed of these cases, so it is shoved under the rug and never dealt with.

However there are organizations such as the Restavec Freedom Foundation, which are fighting this epidemic! Here is a link to their website:

..On Sunday the whole group of missionaries, Larry and Me all took the day off and visited Wahoo beach resort. While me and the missionary Lucian were sitting on the beach, we had the pleasure to meet a woman who was apart of one of these restavek relief organizations. I listened as she told us of her passion for these kids, and how big a crisis this has become for Haiti!

In conclusion, I just want to ask all of you again to step up. Please pray for these beautiful children who suffer far greater then most of us can imagine. For the next 10 days I would like to ask all of you to devote 15 minutes of your day, set aside from all distractions and noise, to completely devote your attention to praying for these kids.. As brothers and sisters in Christ we need to bring the light of Jesus into a dark world, so lets take action and cry out to the One who CAN change and heal Haiti.

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

Lots of love!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Good company.

Hey again y'all!

Our internet works again! The internet here has been down for several days, so for all my avid readers I hope to be posting a blog every day that the wifi here will allow. :)

Except for today, I have continued working in the FOHO building rubble this week. I have made a few friends with the Haitian workers. Since several of them speak english decently I have had many deep conversations about bible doctrine, politics and just just life in general. Though they are all very strong Christian men, many of them have a very different view of the world then I do, but nonetheless it is always interesting to understand different viewpoints and beliefs that might not fully correspond completely with my world-view. And that is okay, because I find that it is more important that in order to reflect Christ to the people around us that we don't get caught up in the little details that ultimately don't matter. 2 Timothy 2:23-24 goes into detail about this. Check it out.

This is Eric, Pierre, Me, and Jean. These three men grew up in an orphanage, and had the opportunity to go to college. Jean graduated from seminary and is looking to become a pastor here. Pierre wants to continue his education by moving to Canada, where he can go for his masters degree in science. Eric is probably one of the most good humored men here, he is always making people laugh. He graduated from bible school, and now wants to go back to school to study music.

Saturday evening Me, Larry and the Missionaries from Ohio all took another sightseeing trip through town, and up the mountain overlooking Port Au Prince. On the way back down the mountain it started POURING rain! And obviously since we were all in the back of the truck we all got soaked. I think that was the first time I have been cold in Haiti. Hehe! But as soon as it started raining everyone started laughing, and we all had a good time even though we were all soaked and cold. Good company is always important to making what could be a bad memory, a good one! =)

Here is Me and Larry on the overlook above Port Au Prince.

I will continue to pray for all you guys! I pray that God is ever present in your lives, always teaching, blessing, and healing you guys.

Lots of love!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Preval and work in the rubble.

Here is a brief lesson on some of the Politics here in Haiti..

Today all over the city of Port Au Prince there was what is called a "manifestation" which slowed traffic in many areas considerably. My understanding is that it was organized to protest their current president Preval. Among the graffiti in the city, which is nearly on every building, you often will see "aba Preval" painted on the wall. While Dinecia was here, she explained to me that this means something along the lines of "Preval we don't like you". I am not sure how harsh this rebuke is intended, but nonetheless it is written seemingly everywhere, to show Haiti's ever growing distaste for its leader.. When I spoke to the Haitian, Emery a while back he mentioned their leader Preval. He said a lot of people don't like him because he is a known alcoholic. But he said many other people don't like him because his political stance is ever-changing depending on who he is talking to..

To give you all an idea how much the general public dislikes their leader, he is already due to complete his term in office in January, but the purpose of todays protest/parade was to get him out of office early.

I decided today that I would like to work right alongside another group of Haitian workers,(whom were also hired FOHO)to help cleanup of the "new" FOHO building which collapsed in the earthquake. The building stood 4 stories tall and was just completed only a few years ago. It stood next to the "old" FOHO building, which still stands intact. Anyways, it was a little confusing at first working with a group of guys that you don't understand but I adapted as best as I could. They had me cutting the re-bar on the cement support columns, smashing cement with a sledgehammer, as well as shoveling the rubble into a dump truck. It is certainly a sobering thought to be amidst the rubble where four good people gave their lives for the Lord.

I eventually discovered that two of the Haitians spoke decent English, and have even been to Michigan on occasion. The wrest of the men communicated to me through hand motions and facial gestures. I learned that several of the men were in college and studying to become pastors. Everyone in the group had high spirits and were often making each other laugh. They were also very accepting and respectful to me. One man even told me that I did good work and that I was like Samson! Haha!

I will try to post more pictures of everything for you guys in the future.

Thank you all for the millionth time for all your continued prayers and support! I appreciate every last bit of it. But more then me, pray for the missionaries who just arrived. Pray for the Haitian workers. Pray for the poor and the homeless in this country. And pray that lives will be brought to the kingdom because of the work that is being done here, since that should be every Christian's ultimate goal!

Lots of love!


Work ethic and new faces.

Hello again to all my awesome readers!

Today me and Larry picked up more supplies for the Haitians working on the school. I have a lot of respect for those hardworking men! They get paid roughly 8$ US, a day for work.. Which is extremely good since the average income for a Haitian is 1$ US, a day.. And only 80 percent of Haiti is officially unemployed.

When we went to drop off another 300 blocks to the work site I unloaded the blocks from the truck and handed them off where each block gets passed from person to person and carried up some steps and stacked by the building. Now my hands are cut up, blistered, and callousing, and my back is as tight as a rock, but every one of the working Haitians has hands as hard as leather and back muscles that put Americans to shame! Some of the men work in shoes that are falling apart to the point that their feet are touching more ground then rubber. They wear the same clothes every day and hardly have much water to drink, yet they work a full day without a complaint(at least that I am aware of). Their work ethic is truly amazing to me.

This afternoon Me, Larry, and Jean went to the airport and picked up a new group of missionaries from New Point Community Church in Ohio. I have talked to a few of them, and they seem like a good group of people! All of them are very flexible and willing to serve in any way. I am looking forward to see all that God will accomplish through them.

I must thank you all AGAIN for the support and prayers. I don't think I could have asked for a better group of people praying for me. I have felt extremely loved and encouraged by you guys!

Finally, I would like to make clear that everything I talk speak of on here is fully to Gods glory. I am never seeking any kind of recognition for anything I do here. It is through GOD that there was even a way for me to be here. He moved mountains to send an insignificant 19 year old to Haiti, who will accomplish part of HIS mission here. Please praise HIM, not me for everything good that happens here.

I love you guys!


Monday, July 12, 2010

A changing heart

Hey guys!

So the first half of today Me and Larry spent running errands around the City. First we picked up a load of bricks and brought them to the school for the hardworking group of Haitians to continue work on the school. After that, I am pretty sure God was just teaching Me and Larry a lesson in patience! Today was the second day this week that we have gone from hardware store, to hardware store looking to buy an air compressor.. Each place recommended another place which recommended another. I think air compressors may be as hard to find as white people in Haiti! ;)

After another failed attempt at that, we began work on the building across from our house. It is an International Child Care building, which handles sponsorships of the children in this country. We are going to be putting up horizontal support beams on either side of a wall which was damaged by the earthquake.

I have found myself extremely spiritually disturbed today.. I was not sure why I felt so uneasy in my spirit, so I spent a lot of time in prayer today, and read a lot of the word tonight.. I feel like God is moving in me a lot.

Changing me. A lot.

I have been reflecting on the person I was before this trip... I feel like so much of my focus before recently has been on fighting my "human" or "sinful" side. But now I feel like God is trying to change my focus to be more then that. Instead of simply trying not to do wrong, I feel like I should be striving ahead towards Christ and not accepting anything less then holiness. REAL holiness. I don't want to just be known as a good or kind person anymore. I want to be known as someone who contagiously overflows the love of Christ! I want to be someone, who doesn't need to explain where he stands, because all his actions scream exactly where he stands! I don't want to see and think about only the physical world anymore. I want to see beyond, into what truly matters, loving the souls and spirit of BOTH those who stand by me, AND those who oppose me.

I can feel my beautiful Savior taking me to the next step in our relationship..
I am humbled and amazed that the Creator of the universe would even give me the time of day to speak to my heart!

Here are some verses which have spoken to me lately.. I hope they impact you as well!

"Do not love the world, or ANYTHING in the world, if anyone loves the world, the love of our Father is not in him." 1John 2:15

"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need and has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?" 1John 3:17

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess, for He who promised is FAITHFUL. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Hebrews 10:23-24

"Avoid godless chatter, cause those who indulge in it become more and more ungodly. Their teachings will spread like gangrene." 2Timothy 2:16-17

"Above all else, love each other DEEPLY, because love covers over a multitude of sins." 1Peter 4:7

"Finally brothers, whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is ADMIRABLE- if anything is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY- think about such things." Philippians 4:8

Once again thank you all for all your guys continued prayers! I am so excited for all the things God has yet to do while I am here in this country.

Lots of love!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Beautiful Haiti.

Hello again everyone!

So today Me and Larry met up with Pastor Rick and his wife Cookie. They are missionaries that are permanently living in Haiti. All four of us went to Puits Blaine, the fastest growing Free Methodist church in Haiti this morning for service. Because Pastor Rick was preaching, we all sat next to the choir in front of possibly 900 Haitians... It was a little awkward at first! But eventually it seemed like everyone was staring at us less and it became more comfortable.. Pastor Rick spoke on forgiveness, and was translated by one of their church members.

Here is the church right after the service, from where we stood.

After church all four of us took a little road trip up the mountain by Port Au Prince to an extremely nice hotel/restaurant called The Lodge. It was so incredibly relaxing! The food was excellent and everyone there was very sophisticated and well spoken. Most of the food there was imported from outside the country.. Which is amazing since the Lodge is a very difficult place to get to from the city. Certainly it was a whole different side of Haiti. I almost felt guilty for having such a high quality meal, knowing people are starving just across the countryside from me.. But nonetheless, I gave thanks to God who for whatever reason has blessed me greatly!

Here is the front of the Lodge.

One of the things me and cookie talked about today was the tremendous contrast in Haiti.. There is the depressing destruction, and poverty side to Haiti, which I spoke of in my last post... And then another whole side of Haiti which is extremely rich, prosperous, and beautiful. There is not very many people in Haiti which are considered "middle class".

Here are some shots I took today while we drove up the mountain...

Almost ALL of the mountain sides are farmed somehow.. Even on insanely steep angles.

These pictures definitely don't do any justice to how amazing the view really WAS. But they at least give you all a taste!

I will continue to pray for you all! And I would like to thank all you guys that have stepped up to my last posts challenge.

Much love!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

A taste of reality.

I was extremely saddened this morning, when it was time for the group of missionaries from Ransenville New York to head home. I have come to be good friends with almost all of them. They were a huge blessing to everyone here, and I miss them already. But I know at least for now their purpose here is served. I hope to stay in contact, and see them again!

This afternoon me Larry, and one of FOHOs Haitian leaders Jean, all took a truckload of garbage to the dump here in Port Au Prince... I think today might have been one of the most heartbreaking days I have had. Larry told me to prepare myself for what I was gonna see, and he also told me to bring my camera so I can share it will all of you guys...

The dump seemed to stretch as far as you could see.. The whole place wreaked of the stench of every kind of filth. I can't even describe the putridity of this place, yet nonetheless, many, many people survive off what is dumped here.

When any truck arrives, people run from every direction to search the waste for anything they can eat or drink.

Here they are lined up and waiting for a truck to unload.

Here is a house right in the middle of the dump, possibly one of the most terrible places on earth.

Keep in mind, as you stare at these pictures, that these are REAL people like you and me. This isn't a movie, or some horrible fantasy. These people really are human with thoughts, feelings, emotions, dreams, family, and friends, that are living in YOUR world. These people are literally forced to eat, sleep, and pee right alongside pigs..

This is real.

As you read this right now you have two options. You can turn away from your computer and continue living and forget all about this.. But I want to challenge all of my readers right now.

Fast for ONE DAY this week. The next day before you eat anything, pray and thank your Heavenly Father for your clean and sanitary food. Give thanks that He blessed you, and that it was not you that he chose to be born into such oppressive poverty. And as you eat, pray for those across the world that are digging through the garbage for their meal at that very moment.

I would also like to challenge all of my readers to go ONE MONTH without throwing away one spec of food... This mean be CAREFUL how much food you take. As followers of Christ we cannot let gluttony to be apart of our lives!

Believe me! This experience has certainly changed my view of this topic permanently.

Today, don't pray for me. Pray for the men, women, and children in those photos.

I love you guys!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Voodoo and culture.

Hey everyone!!

So I have realized that there is a lot about the everyday life and culture here and that I have yet to talk about. There is so much I could talk about, but no matter how many pictures I show and no matter how much detail I describe, I feel like no one will understand fully what it is like to be here. However I will do my best to explain things as best as I can.

There are some times that walking around Haiti, and driving through the slums of the city feels so surreal.. Having grown up in a state with a struggling economy, and a state where there are many crime infested cities, I thought I understood a little bit of the darker sides of life.. Indeed, being here has shown me that even the worst cities back in the states are so much more (at least materially)prosperous then here!
However there is a lot about Haiti that is so much more comfortable then in the US. For example, the people here are in general extremely friendly to a stranger, whereas at home people often completely ignore strangers in public places, and are much more apt to be rude to you if they don't know you.. Granted there are people here and there with a negative perspective on Blancs(white people), but for the most part people here are very respectful and kind.

Me and Dinecia had a conversation last night about her family, Haiti, and the deeply ingrained practice of voudo(voodoo) in the Haitian culture. She told me that as a child her mother used to force her to see a voudo priest often, and she said a lot of her family still practices it, such as her father who she said is often taken over by spirits when he attends the voudo meetings.. We talked for a long time about spiritual warfare, and our own thoughts and experiences. She explained that in Haiti voudo is something that is never advertised, and is often kept under wraps, but almost everyone at some point gets involved with it. She told me how many "christians" in Haiti often to go church, and then secretly also practice voudo. It is so sad to think of the hidden darkness looming over this country that is beyond what is seen by my eyes.

Though these are a thoroughly broken people, I wont give up on them! I know God can transform even the darkest places on earth. There is no corner of this world that cannot be reached and touched my our MIGHTY omnipresent God!

At this point I have taken probably around 200 pictures of the city around me and of some of the amazing people I have had the blessing to know. Here are a few more..

This is a taptap! They are basically Haitian taxis, and they are EVERYWHERE! A lot of times they have either American rappers, or bible verses painted on them. hehe!

These street markets line the roads. Everything you buy, you have to barter for.. I am still working on my bartering abilities. ;)

Here is the tent, where kids meet for school until we finish the school building and where we take breaks during the day. Also we met here for church on Sunday.

One of 1500 tent cities here in Port Au Prince.

Here is yours truly welding the day away!

Here is Me, The missionaries, and the group of Haitians that we have been working with. Behind us is the school which is well on its way to completion.

Also, if any of you are interested, here is the missionaries blog, if you are interested in their perspective of what is happening..

Please continue to hold me and everyone here in your prayers!

Love you guys!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Red bandanas and selfishness.

Hey everyone!

So I just finished an amazing, two and half hour game of chess with Jamie, and my brain is about fried, but I feel like there is a lot I want to talk about. Please bear with me and hopefully my thoughts will make some sense! I apologize in advance if I say something odd.. hehe! It's getting late!

First of all I would like to thank those of you that leave me such encouraging comments. It has definitely given me the motivation to continue to blog as often as I can! =)

On another note, I found out an extremely interesting fact about Haitian culture that could have gotten me in trouble had I not known about it!... I was speaking to a Haitian today (whose name I will undoubtedly butcher) who could speak English very well. We spoke of my home in Michigan, and the weather, as well as my love for snowboarding. He then pointed out my red bandana which I wear everyday while I work, in order to keep the sweat out of my eyes. He then explained to me that there is a Rap group in Haiti. And those who support that group wear red bandanas, while those who support a different Rap group wear black bandanas... He then laughed, as he continued to tell me that many gangs wear red or black bandanas. And to my complete ignorance, he explained that if you are in certain areas of Port Au Prince where there is an opposing gang to the red bandanas, that you could get beaten up.... Needless to say I think I may retire my faithful red sweatband.

I have spent a lot of time thinking lately about my future, and what I am doing here, and if this is what I want my life to be about. I have thought about how I feel extremely satisfied at the end of the day, knowing I have to some degree made a difference to something that actually mattered! I reflect on how I did not spend my day for myself. I did not waste my time seeking what would benefit me more, or what would make me more comfortable.. Then I think about how often my thoughts before arriving here were generally inward focused. Even when I DID do a favor for someone it was only because it would make them more happy towards ME! I did not see a favor for someone worth doing if it would never be noticed.. Oh how self centered my nature IS!... I can't say that I know for a fact that I will spend my whole life as a missionary in foreign countries. BUT! I do know that wherever I go, and whatever My Incredible Lord has me doing, I want to be a missionary in my heart and in my actions 24-7. I know that the ONLY way I will ever lead a satisfying life, is by living it for others.. The funny thing is that I have known that fact probably my whole life, but until you fully and completely give yourself over to an outward focused life, can you see why your life is so often unrewarding, mundane, and frustrating!.. I hope that concept made as much sense in writing as it did in my head. ;)

Lets change gears now... Literally! Larry took me out today to a road in town which doesn't get much traffic, and attempted to teach me how who drive his stick shift. It's harder then I thought it would be! But hopefully by the time I have to drive anywhere, ill have the hang of it.. As if worrying about the crazy traffic here wasn't enough!

Well, sleep is now fighting for my attention, so before I finish I want to thank you all once again for your continuous prayers! I believe God will take what we are doing here and use it in mighty ways to reach out to his children here in Haiti.

I hope God is as real and present in you guys as he is for me!

Lots of love.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New friends.

Hello again everybody!

I apologize to my avid readers for not posting a blog last night. Between the many conversations with people that keep me busy, and the storms that have been knocking out the internet every now and then, it is hard to find time! But nevertheless I will try!

The last few days we have continued our work on the school. It is a very interesting dynamic during our days of work, because FOHO has hired 8-10 Haitians to help work on the school alongside us. However we are all learning to work around the language barrier.

To make it easier, God worked his magic to send Dinesia, along with the missionaries. She was born and raised in Haiti until she was 14, when she moved to the States. Shes 28 now, and amazingly has very little accent at all. It is amazing how God worked it out for her to come, and blessed us all with a translator who speaks both English and Haitian Creole fluently. She has taught everyone a lot about the Haitian culture, which would have been hard to understand otherwise. She also translated for Pastor Bill who was asked to preach to the Haitian church on Sunday. It was the first time I had ever been apart of a church service, that was in two different languages. It is quite the experience!

In one way or another I have formed friendships with everyone in our group. It is cool to see how we have all drawn together, and treat each other like family, despite all of our GREATLY differing personalities.

Craig, a missionary I have been working with a lot on the school, is truly a mans man. He hardly ever is found taking a break no matter how hot it is out. His sense of humor is so good for keeping the mood light. Me, Him, and Dinesia have all worked well together the last two days. We have mostly been cutting, and welding the windows together. Both me and Craig have a lot of burns to show from it!

Jaimie is probably one of the nicest guys I have ever met. He has very much a missionaries heart. He is always playing with the kids in the "school" tent next to where we work. He also found out I like chess, so we have been playing together every night recently. We have had a ball!

Carol, who is the leader of their group, has almost taken the mother figure among us. She is constantly asking everybody if they have drank enough water. Shes a very sweet person, but also very opinionated! =)

Paul is an extremely graceful man. He is also extremely soft spoken, to the point of being hard to understand in noisy places. He has told me MANY stories in just the few conversations we have had.

Ed, who is a very hard worker, used to be in the Army. He also is very much a mans man! He leaves the impression of being very harsh and blunt at times, but as I have gotten to know him I have seen him be extremely caring for everyone around him.

Dot is a woman who often keeps to herself, and doesn't very often sit around and talk with the whole group. She has a very timid personality and seems very unsure of herself at times. But for whatever reason, I seem to have connected with her fairly well. She has an incredibly gentle heart.

I would like to go on and speak of everyone here, but my exhaustion has caught up with me! I am sure I will talk about the rest of the group in the future. I am certainly thankful for everyone here. They have all played important parts in what is happening!

Thank you again to all you guys who are praying and supporting me! I have gotten a lot of peace knowing so many people are behind me.

P.S. Carol has been fighting off sickness all week, so pray for her especially!

I love you guys!


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rest and passion.

Sometimes it seems like the days that you sit and relax are more tiring then when you work all day! Today we took a much needed sabbath day, and we got back around 5PM here and I was so exhausted I could barely keep my eyes open! So now that it is 11:30PM here as I write, I feel as though I have already had a full nights sleep!... But then again, my tiredness could have been due to the HUGE and LOUD party that was going on right outside my window last night, which dragged on apparently until about 3:30, and was finally crashed by some police who unloaded their guns into the air. Needless to say Saturday nights in Port Au Prince are crazy!

Today we went and worshiped God in a tent, right next to the school we have been working on. My understanding is that it is a Haitian free methodist church. The Haitians are so VERY passionate when they worship! I didn't know what to think when a woman up front began praying at the top of her lungs. It sounded as if she was screaming because she was angry. Because of the language barrier, I didn't understand a lot. But I soon realized she was crying out to God... Possibly in desperation? Many of the women in are group were moved to tears by her passionate prayers. I realize this is a different culture then at home, but either way it still got me thinking..

Why are so many Christians back home so scared to show passion for the Lord? Surely it's not because Americans just aren't emotional.. As I say this, I realize that there are "charismatic" churches, which are full of emotion.. But I am not saying our faith should ONLY consist of emotions... However I believe there is a time for sadness, a time for anger, a time for excited-ness, a time for peace, a time for calm, and a time to let loose your heart before God. But it seems our worship services consist of very little WORSHIP! It is as though we have gotten comfortable with watching others worship. Don't you realize that God gave you emotions for a reason? Don't you realize every emotion can give God worship? Why are we ashamed of emotions?.. One of the greatest ironies I have seen, is an entire congregation sing about being free to run and dance...... Yet doing neither. Does it show holiness to act bored? Be aware, that I am speaking to myself as much as anyone else!

On another note, after church today me, Larry and the group of missionaries all went across Port Au Prince, out of town, and through some incredible wilderness, to an extremely nice beach. I swam for the first time in the Caribbean! It was the warmest salt water I have ever experienced. The water was so CLEAR and beautiful!

Here are a few shots I took today..

Outside of Port Au Prince there are long stretches of just prairies, with the occasional "tent city" or small town.

One of the small towns we passed.

We had mountains on one side of us...

And the sea on the other side of us!

Here is the beach we stayed at. =)

I will be praying for you all!
Thank again for all your guys support.
Much love.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bondye ki gen bon kè (God is good)

Since I never got around to mentioning yesterdays events, I will try to cram the last two days together in this post as best as I can, though it would be impossible to talk about everything that has and is happening.

Yesterday morning we all woke up at 5:30Am to head down to the school that we have been working on. Because the sun rises much earlier here then in Michigan, it didn't seem very early at all! Anyways, I began by cutting re-bar for the windows, which are crosshatched instead of having brittle glass windows. After that I had the pleasure to talk to a very educated Haitian man by the name of Emery. He could speak 4 languages fairly fluently, which obviously includes English. He definitely impressed me with his knowledge of America, and American politics. He asked me questions such as what my thoughts were on President Obama, the War in Iraq, and why I agreed or disagreed with things happening in the government. We also spoke of racism, american rap music, soccer (or football), and the earthquake. He told me that he doesn't like to talk about the earthquake because it is something he will never forget, since he lost many friends. But he told me that he was in a school hallway when it struck, and that he was lucky that his parents survived.

After our long day of work we came back to relax. I spent some time and went out on the streets nearby where I am staying. I was able to take lots of pictures!

Today I woke at the same time, so we could go back and work another day at the school. I cut some more re-bar, and helped arc-weld the windows together. Also, a truckload of bricks arrived today to continue constructing the walls. I hauled them from the truck to where they were being stacked until I could no longer even grip the bricks. The heat today didn't seem as bad as yesterday (which was over 100)because there was a little breeze today.

It was also very strange, today while we were working, the city seemed overall quiet... But Suddenly, literally the entire town around us began to ROAR as people ran out from their tents. And I am certainly not embellishing when I say people were dancing down the roads. People cheered and yelled from everywhere around us. It sounded like a whooping cheer of a mighty army! I have never ever, ever, ever heard anything like it... Come to find out that it was because Argentina lost a game vs Germany in the world cup.. There is a great rivalry in Haiti. About 70 percent of the people here are MAJOR Brazil fans, while 30 percent are Argentina fans..

After we quit work around Noon today we came back here, and then headed out for a little sightseeing trip around Port Au Prince. I took almost 150 pictures.. So here are just a few of them...

This was the Presidential palace here in Port Au Prince

This was the biggest, and most beautiful cathedral in the city. It fell, but the cross still stands..

They were selling clothes, which they stacked in piles on the sidewalk.

This picture just doesn't do justice to how terrible the slums are here. The streets are lined with trash and feces. The people have constructed whole cities out of tin sheets and sticks and tarp.

One of the thousands of buildings in Haiti that still remain in rubble..

We drove to the top of the mountain overlooking Port Au Prince.. Amazing view! In the top left corner you can see the Caribbean sea.

Here is most of the team, minus Larry, with a few female soldiers from Nepal.. All standing in front of the amazing view of the city.

Friday, July 2, 2010

In Memory..

First and foremost, before I update you all on the events of the day, I have to talk about some events that occurred before my arrival..

I remember when I first found out about the earthquake in Haiti. I was talking to my good friend on the phone, when she had asked me if I had heard about what appened in Haiti. Immediately after she explained what had happened, my heart went out to the Haitian people. I went and read news stories about the devastation and I knew that there was no where else on earth that I wanted to go more.

But when the disaster really became real for me, and struck close to home was when I learned about the death of two good missionaries who attended my church. One of the men I only knew from a distance. Merle West was a man whom I had seen on several occasions but never actually knew personally. His friend Gene Dufour I had the honor of meeting on one occasion.. While working on my pastors roof a few summers back, I happened to be working with him.

It was towards the end of the day and most of everybody else had already gone home, but me and Gene continued. I remember that I was starting to get tired and slow down, but Gene was still working like a mad man. Of course for the sake of my dignity and pride I couldn't let this old man show me up! So there we were working. We didn't exchange many words however, it seemed like he was surely a man of few words that spoke with his actions.

Gene and Merle had both landed in Haiti on January 12th about an hour before the earthquake struck. They both had been inside a three story FOHO(Friends of Haiti Organization, which I am now apart of) building when it collapsed.

This is their grave, beneath the cement, which I visited today..

I know that they will both be missed by many. I have spoken with several people here in Haiti that spoke well of the both of them for all that they had done on their trips here.

I believe that our Father welcomed them both with a smile and a hug. Beyond all else we must remember that for those of us that live our lives for Him, that death is the greatest and sweetest reward.

I pray just like my life, that my death would have purpose and meaning as well. I don't want to die of old age, or in the comfort of my sleep. I hope that once my Heavenly Father calls me home, that it will be as truly beautiful as breathing my last breath in the rubble in Haiti while serving the LORD!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Welcome to Haiti"...

These aren't exactly the words that greeted me as I landed in Port Au Prince today around 3:00 PM..

But lets rewind a bit.

I woke up this morning around 3:30 AM back in Michigan to my alarm which I almost slept through after only 2 hours of sleep. I wasn't as tired as you would expect, probably because of my growing excitement for the day ahead of me. Me and my older brother then left for Detroit metro airport to catch my flight at 7. Then I was off to Miami, where I waited out my 2 and a half hour layover.

After getting some cat naps in, and some chit chat with the other passengers we finally began to land in the Port Au Prince airport. As we got closer to the ground the rusty roofs on the crude cement building became clearer.

It was strange. My heart began to sink even before the plane touched the ground. The communities looked so impoverished from above that even down town Flint might look attractive.

We finally landed and left the plane. Seeing as this was my first experience out of the US, I had no idea where to go. So I followed everyone else down a flight of stairs, onto a bus, into a large warehouse looking building where my passport was checked and I picked up my bags.

As soon as I stepped past the desk and out the back of the airport I saw a Haitian man with one arm, holding a paper with my name on it. So i followed him past a TON of Haitians. I already felt like I was sticking out like a sore thumb due to my light skin tone. But beyond that, it was sad seeing so many people just standing around, (some with visible scars, and missing limbs) with no place to go.

My Haitian guide then led me to Larry Judy, whom I will be sharing a house, and spending the month with. We both got into his vehicle, and I watched as he navigated through mass chaos. People ran every direction, and there seems to be no rules on the road aside from stopping at red light. He promised to show me how to drive his stick shift later so I can go through town on my own. :O

Port Au Prince almost seems surreal to drive through. It seems like a city that you might only see in the movies. People clutter almost every foot of the streets and traffic is a resounding noise of car horns.

We then made it here to the house that we are both staying, which has been a missionary house for many years apparently. Then Larry took me to meet many people, both Haitian, and other missionaries, of whom I could only remember a few names.

There is a group of missionaries from New York, that arrived here on Monday. Me and Larry will be working with them tomorrow, and most likely until they leave. The plan is to wake up at 5:30 AM tomorrow, so we can go and continue the construction of a nearby school.

After many interesting, and humorous conversations with them, we came home for dinner which was actually normal food! Then, once he had answered all my questions, we went out for a walk through the surrounding area. Port Au Prince is not a quiet city! There are makeshift sales booths on both sides of the roads where Haitians sell everything from DVDs to shoes, to fresh mangos, to fried chicken. Did I mention the streets are crowded?

There are also many buildings through town which still remain in rubble. But the Haitians are learning to live around the messy streets and tent villages that they have created.

The atmosphere is odd. Overall the city seems jolly, and in high spirits, despite their rough living conditions.

On another note.. This trip is so different from any other trip I have been on. Because Larry has given me the freedom to do whatever I wish and go where ever I wish. So it is cool to just feel free to let the Spirit literally be able to guide my steps..

Please pray for me!:

-That my effort wont be waisted.
-That many peoples lives will be effected in a positive way because I came.
-That I would stay focused, and in tune with my sweet Lord.
-That I would work hard no matter how hot it gets or how tired I get.
-That I will keep a good attitude through the rest of the month... Cause no doubt things will get rough.

Anyways, it's getting late and the morning will come fast. For you A.D.D. readers, I will try to keep my posts shorter, and I will also try to post some pictures, so I don't have to describe so much!

Finally, last but not least I would like to thank EVERY ONE of you guys that supported me financially or emotionally to make this trip possible! I love you guys!

I will be praying for you all!

Peace, Love, and a Goodnight sleep!