Sunday, July 19, 2015
Today we woke up for breakfast at 8 am. We made the trip to Titanyen, we then went to a church service at Grace Village church. The church service was in creole, and it was a beautiful service. We then made the 45 minute trip back to Port au Prince in the tap-tap. Our crazy interpreter Maxim (The Mad Max)drove us up the mountain to go buy goods from the local craftsmen. First we made a stop at the bottom of the mountain. The bottom of the mountain had many hand crafted items including; wooden bowls, cross necklaces, and many items made with medal. We then piled in the tap tap and went back to the guest house. On the way we stopped at one of the local grocery stores and looked around at the Haitian goods. After arriving back at the guest house some of us went and played soccer with the neighborhood boys and the rest of us just hung out and took refreshing naps. This week has been very touching to all. It has been a great time to form and build new friendships. Ryan and Jake Thank you for reading our blogs and facebook. Thank you also especially for your prayers and support for our young people on mission trips this summer. The trips have impacted their lives in ways that the Lord will surely reveal in their futures. Love and Blessings. Martin and Jessica.
Howdy yall! Today started out with Grace Village. We split the group into 2, and did letter writing to their sponsors and playing outside. The playing consisted of kites (which the kids loved), jump rope, and fútbol (soccer). Most of the kids spoke English so it was fun speaking with them. We took 4 of the Grace Village kids (Shedley, Ronaldo, Richford, Esdras) out to Elder Visits. Elder visits consist of providing/bringing a meal and two drinks to each elder, washing and rubbing lotion on their hands and feet, singing to them, and praying for them. Our first visit was to a man named Olthane. He is missing digits on his hands and feet, yet maintains a springiness uncharacteristic to most of the elders we have visited. Diefort, the second elder on our list, seemed to enjoy having his hands and feet washed as well as having songs sung to him. Next on our list of elders was Vertilla. She was taking care of two grandchildren, one being special needs, because the father had left them. She had us pray for pain all over her body and that the children’s father would return to help raise his kids. Next, on the way home, we decided to stop at the beach. It was Dana’s first time at the beach. We looked for shells, watched baby pigs frolic, and a couple of us (Jacob and Eric) swam. The swimming was unplanned, yet occurred due to the challenge of a Haitian boy who wanted to see who could swim out farther. Unluckily, SOMEBODY (Martin), prevented the acceptance of the challenge (which by the way killed me because I’m competitive) by imposing strict boundaries on our ocean adventure. It was a bit strange when all the local Haitians saw us swimming in the water, but then again, it was strange for them to see a group of white Americans in their ocean. Our next stop after this salty excursion was the mass grave site where thousands of Haitians were buried after the earthquake. The government has erected a nice memorial to all the people buried there and an inscription reading “12 Janvier 2010 nou pap jamn bliyew,” which translates to January 12th, 2010 we will not forget you. Our translator, Valerie, gave an emotional account of what the earthquake was like to him. We were quite surprised to hear him tell this story and still say how great God was during that time. Since the earthquake happened around 4:30, more people were in spots where they were safer than they would be if the earthquake had been at any other time. It was amazing to see how someone who experienced something as horrible and traumatic as this catastrophe praises God so enthusiastically. Right outside the memorial is a poor community that has limited jobs, few opportunities, and not much food. We had brought along some packs of Feed My Starving Children food to hand out to these people. We handed out food to all the children first, and started giving out food to the adults. Then the adults started shoving each other so we had to leave without giving out all the packs. It was quite frustrating knowing how much these people need food, yet not being able to provide them this necessity that we consider basic in the US. We travelled home, and spent time showering and getting ready for Pizza Amour. Pizza Amour is a pizza restaurant owned by Americans, that employs Haitians. We ordered 6 pizzas, and cake for Valerie’s birthday. He has given conflicting answers to the question of how old he is turning (21, 55, 36, 28), we think he is turning 28. We ate all of our food. As the night crept in, we headed home. We had devotions, worship time, and reflecting time. T’was a brilliant day, and we are looking forward to our last day in Haiti. Orevwa! (goodbye)
Friday, July 17, 2015
Bonjou! (That means good morning in Creole. This morning was not so good for us). We left the house at 5:50 am (that's 4:50 Minnesota time) to make it to church by 6 am. We are not a group of early risers, so the actual getting up was somewhat like pulling teeth, but it was all worth it to experience the joy and praise happening in that church. The service we attended was actually a pre-service worship time that consisted of singing and prayer, both together and individually. It was unlike anything we had ever seen. Stoic, white, Minnesota Lutherans did not blend in very well. Everywhere we looked, Haitians on their way to work were singing and dancing with their hands in the air. One woman even let us in on her 6:30 am salsa dancing. Everyone agreed it was an incredible experience. After church, we headed back to the guest house for a quick nap and breakfast, and then it was back out into City Soleil for futbol and water truck stops. At our first stop, the Haitian Initiative, some of us played soccer while others played with kids. We felt that our soccer skills and arm wrestling abilities were pretty inadequate, but we had a ton of fun regardless. Our first water truck stop was cut short by a women's rock band on parade. However, we did have time to carry a few buckets and love on a few kids first. Refilling the water truck after that stop took about an hour and a half. Let me tell you, you have not really bonded with anyone until you've sat in a 90 degree metal cage (tap-tap) and eaten melted trail mix with them. We're all a bit closer than we'd like to be after that experience. Our next water truck stop was one of the highlights of the trip for many of us. Long before we stopped the truck, kids were chasing after it, trying to climb onto it and yelling "ayou", which they seem to think is a more casual way of saying hello. The joy on their faces was truly precious and something none of us will forget for a very long time. A few of us (Andreley) have decided that they are bringing approximately 2 million children home with them. We were hoping to do one more stop, but it started to rain, so we had to go home in case the streets flooded. Eventually the rain slowed down, and we made an excursion to a lovely little boutique that sold shoes and jewelry made in Haiti by Haitians. The shoes are made with rubber from recycled tires and leather from a local tannery, but they are nicer than most flip flops sold in the states. We also saw some pigs near the store, which caused great excitement, and had a run in with a giant spider in the tap-tap. By this time, we all thought it was probably time for bed, but actually it was only 3 pm. Island time is nothing like American time. We swam at the hotel pool, which is probably 90 degrees but even that feels cold in this humidity. The cold showers are more appreciated than we could have ever imagined. After a fantastic dinner of spaghetti, we had a surprise visit from Jeff Gacek, the founder of Healing Haiti. He talked to us about the importance of looking for purpose in life as opposed to material success. That really hit hard for all of us as Haiti has made us realize just how truly privileged we are and how often we tend to look towards the material for happiness. We ended the night with devotions and worship and are now going to bed so we can turn on the AC. Au revoir, Andreley and Maddie
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Hi this is Josh Cornes and Ryan Haupt coming to you from Haiti on our 4th night, we think, and will be telling you about our journey today. First, like every day, we woke up at normal time. We had an unexpected surprise of French toast. As well as eggs, oatmeal, fruits, and freshly squashed juice by our wonderful Haitian kitchen staff. Soon after we got ready we piled into the tap tap which is our mode of transportation. For those who don't know, it’s pretty much a pickup truck with a cage and some seats, but a few people have to stand. It sounds different to American standards but it’s relatively safe. To start off our day we embarked on some elder visits, first lovely woman named Maria, who has denied the odds and reached the age of 105, which even for America is pretty impressive. Then after visiting her we visited two other men who were both blind and partially deaf, who were in their late 70s, which is still very old for Haiti. During our visits, we washed their hands and feet, rubbed lotion on them, gave them a hot meal and a variety of drinks. We also brought the guitar along and sang worship songs with them and prayed with and for them. We were inspired by their joy in the difficult situations they were in, whether it be family, health issues, and living conditions. After the elderly visits, we stayed in titanyen, and a tour of the grace village orphanage and school, which is run by Healing Haiti. There have been many improvements since my visit 2 years ago(Josh). They already had a fantastic lunch hall, which used to be the main church, with a big kitchen. They also already had a play area, a school with many classrooms, hydroponic agriculture system containing fresh crops and fish, and half the living spaces for the children. The new developments consist of more living spaces, a medical facility, and improvements on the kitchen, like a few giant stone ovens. We then made a quick ride in the tap tap to Shalom, a much smaller orphanage compared to grace village where we just visited. This had 10 children, 5 girls, 5 boys, and was also a school for the younger kids. We brought the guitar and did some more worship and singing which the children all sang along and enjoyed. We played with them, brought them toys, like bubbles and jump ropes etc and gave out Bibles. We also brought the parachute to play games with them. We then took the long 45 minute drive back to the guest house in Port au Prince, and arrived to the lovely smell of authentic Haitian food for dinner which was delicious!!! Some of us then went to play soccer with the neighborhood boys next to the guest in a dusty plot of land with make shift soccer goals. This was very fun but tiring because the local boys were all running circles around us. We then ended the day with devotions and worship joint with the other mission team staying in the other guest house, which was very moving and inspiring, and was a great way to end the day. Now Ryan and I are going to go bed now because we have to wake up at 5:30 for worship tomorrow morning, but we're not complaining.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Today the group split up, one went to the home of sick and dying babies and the other group went to Christian light house.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Today was water truck day and we visited the Haitian Initiative. We all woke up and had breakfast, and left around 9am. First, we went to the Haitian Initiative, and we played around with the kids there. The Haitian Initiative is a program where kids get trained to play soccer, and get fed after practice. The boys ran around, and the girls played hand games. After visiting Haitian Initiative we walked around the corner of the street to start working at the water truck. The first thing that we noticed was the huge line of people, all waiting in the line with buckets. Some of us helped fill up the buckets while others of us helped carry buckets and play with the children. After the truck ran out of water we went to the refill station. While the truck was being filled some kids came up to the top-top and we talked to them. Before we knew it we were playing games with them. The next stop was City Soleil. As the top-top arrived in City Solei
Monday, July 13, 2015
Today we were ready to travel. Six hours on a plane and we all got along. In Minneapolis every thing went well with no issues. We had a three hour flight to Atlanta. In Atlanta we ate at the pecan bistro. Then we took a 2.5 hour flight to Haiti. The first impression was nice but it seemed like it was meant to show a beautiful airport and a dirty background. The people outside the airport were really eager to take our stuff and get tipped. They argued over the money after they were done and you could see that they don't make much and need the tips they get. On our way to the Haiti house we stopped at a intersection there was a boy around the age of 7 or 8 that was asking for food and drinking water out of a plastic bag. the depression in this country is strange to see and understand. When we got to the house the ladies were making dinner, shepherds pie it was amazing and after words we got to relax and play with the dogs. Jake