Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 5. Familiar Places

Water Stops--Today we did two water truck stops, one of them we hadn't been there to yet this week. Today the need for water seemed to be more than two days ago as the lines were longer. We also ran out of water at the last stop. We loved on the kids and helped fill buckets. It is always amazing to see the strength of the young girls and women as they carry these 5 gallon buckets to their home, mostly on their heads.

Home for Sick and Dying.
We visited the Home for the Sick and Dying again today. All of us were happy to have the chance to revisit our babies that we made friendships with a few days ago. The babies seemed to recognize us, and reached their arms out right away for us to pick them up, feed them and give them more love.

Day 4. Thursday - A Day of Firsts!

Attended service at the tent church at 6am...a glorious way to start the day!

We were the 1st team ever to visit Redempter School. During our visit, we handed out 600 pieces of bubble was a hit, despite the fact that we were rather disruptive to the entire school.

As you can see, John fit right in with the kindergartners.....

On the back of the Kubato (all terrain ATV) as we prepare to visit the elderly.

The gentleman in the fore front (with the glasses) is Coco, who is the freelance journalist from Paris, France. He has been an "honorary" team member since we arrived in Haiti and is capturing our mission in photo format. He hopes the article he writes from the trip will eventually lead to a book. The best part is, he has agreed to share his photos with the entire team. On an average, he snaps nearly 500 pictures per day!!

We would love to introduce you to Elie. He is the newest addition to the Healing Haiti ElderCare program. He is severly malnourished and dehydrated and sleeps on a sheet on the dirt floor. We delivered his first meals on wheels today. We brought him sardines, applesauce and water. We also, as a team pitched in to purchase him a matress and pillow so he no longer needs to sleep on the dirt floor. Praise God that he allows us to be his hands and feet to this man!!!

Upon arriving at Elie's house John was once again drawn to his granddaughters 7 month old son. The men all later went and filled 7 buckets from a nearby well to provide the family with 35 gallons of fresh water. John's timing was perfect as this young boy later proceeded to pee on Jenna one of our team members.

Team photo at the ocean.

The mass burial memorial. It has been 3 years since the devastating earthquake. It is on this spot where 300,000 Haitian's are buried in a mass grave following the quake.

On the way back to the guest house. Tired, emotionally spent....yet so filled with all the blessings from the day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Haiti Day 3 - San Fill Home for Sick and Dying and the Wound Clinic

Today was day three in Haiti and a day completely out of my comfort zone.

The first stop of the day was the home for sick and dying in San Fill. We separated the team by men and women. Men went to serve the guys in the clinic. Women went upstairs to serve the women.

We brought lotion and nail polish. We spent time in three different rooms. We would massage each woman with lotion and then if she wanted her finger or toe nails painted we would paint them. Since I am not a skilled polisher, I chose to massage. I would massage their arms, legs, hands, feet and back. In some cases the women would roll over and want me to massage her boobies and stomach. I wasn't comfortable with it at first, but then I realized that these women need love. So I would massage the upper part of her chest and then under her breasts. All I kept thinking about was what Jesus said, "What you do for the least of them you do for me".

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday: Day 2--The Water Truck

We woke to the smell of pancakes, oatmeal, mangos...a fabulous start to a day like no other for many of us. This was my first journey into the area devastated by the earthquake three years ago still reeling from the loss of life and home. After a dusty and bumpy ride in the tap tap to the water filling station, we followed the tanker to our first stop, 17, in Cite Soleil. 17 is a shantytown where survival is a daily challenge. Conditions are deplorable, yet our arrival brought many smiles, hugs and thank yous. I helped man the bucket brigade and the hose as we filled many buckets to overflowing while treating some of the young ones to impromptu showers. If I wasn't holding a hose or a bucket, I was holding and hugging a beautiful, smiling child (or two)! The expectation on these water runs is that there will be plenty of loving going around for anyone seeking it.
Brunet and Wilson, two of the staff members, led us on a brief hike to a squalid peninsula in the bay where what might have been a beautiful beach had become a burial ground and garbage dump. Despite the horror around us, the children who had hiked with us responded with smiles, leaps of joy and sheer excitement when Wilson led us all in a song of praise.  The song of praise led into a time of prayer where we asked God to bless these children and their community.

Next, we went back to the water pump station to refill the truck before heading to our next stop--Kat Coffin. More water buckets, more hugs, more love.

Finally we headed to a tent city, a first for even the returnees in our group. It was a different experience as we witnessed men being more involved in carrying the water and caring for the children. A particularly poignant moment was when some of us were summoned to trek up a dusty and rocky corridor up to a shack where a mother had requested prayer for her ailing baby. She was grateful for the prayers lifted up on behalf of her child. The need is so great. We feel so inadequate. But we remind each other often that we are His hands and feet. At our morning devotion, Jeff read a selection from Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling," which stayed with me throughout this heart-wrenching but fulfilling day: "As long as you focus on Me, you are safe. If you gaze too long at the myriad problems around you, you will sink under the weight of your burdens. When you start to sink, simply call out "Help me, Jesus!" and I will lift you up."

After a spaghetti dinner with--are you ready?--hot dog slivers as a topping, we shared in our daily "Word of the Day." My word was "fulfilling." How could I not be challenged, uplifted and blessed by having the opportunity to be a part of Healing Haiti's outreach? 

Some of the group settled in on the guesthouse couch. Others sat outside under the stars. The true soldiers practiced salsa dancing under the tutelage of master salsa teacher, Jean. I am proud to say, that I was one of those soldiers!  

--Ken Holvig

Monday, January 14, 2013

Arriving in Haiti

We made it! Our team is safely in Haiti.

We met this morning at the Minneapolis airport at 3:45 a.m. We had 22 bags we were checking, plus our own personal carry-on bags. The checked bags contain much needed shoes, clothes, baby formula, diapers and medical supplies. After a short time at the airport, we boarded an uneventful flight to Miami.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Almost time to go!

22 checked bags
6 brand new goers
5 returning goers
1 Healing Haiti founder
1 Security advisor
1 Long term missionary
8 days in Haiti
I can't even begin to imagine what God plans on doing in the lives of the team and the Haitians we come into contact with.
Prayers for safety, prayers for surrender, but most of all prayers that God will make us more like him no matter what it takes.