Friday, April 12, 2013

Haiti-A Breath of Fresh Air

Hello Again - From Shawna

You have to have had visited Haiti to know that a breath of fresh air is the last way one would describe Haiti.  The scent of garbage, sewage and feces permeates the air.  So, why choose this title?

I am comfortable here.  Meeting ultimate need and physical acts of service is what I am wired to do.  We just finished our second day of water trucking and our last grueling day of service; I'm still wanting more.  I will be wanting to find this comfort when I return to life as I know it in Minnesota.

Unforeseen Kiss

Kenny Bristol here… Today we were honored to provide some very intimate worship times for some of the elderly up in the community called Titanye.  It was such a meaningful time of worship for our elders and a lot of our team.  At one of the stops we decided to sing the song, How He Loves, which contains the lyric, “And Heaven meets earth with an unforeseen kiss”  store that in your memory bank as I tell you a story:

One year ago, part of our current team had the honor to bring a child to Grace Village for the first time.  She was in a low place, treated as a nobody, and enslaved to her masters.  I remember that day so vividly still, watching this little girl set free and coming to live in a place called Grace.  On that same day, we had planned baptisms for some of the kids and staff.  It turned into a beautiful day of worship, the deep and emotional kind.  And then we baptized 37 people including the kids, some Grace Village staff, and this little one on the same day she entered “Grace”… A beautiful picture of a death, burial, and resurrection to a new life.

One thing of note, before we left that day she began calling me her God-Father, maybe because I had the privilege to baptize her and lead the whole gathering in worship.  I was honored to carry that title in her life.

Fast forward to yesterday.  We came again to visit Grace Village.  And I soon found this great little girl, now so filled with joy and life.  It brought all the emotion from last year back to the surface.  I spoke with her to see if she remembered me.  As our translator recounted the events of the previous year and reminded her about baptism day, she lit up and gave me the tightest hug ever.  Then she said it, “You’re my God-Father”

We spent the afternoon doing a little singing and just hanging out with all these great kids.  It was a really fun, we thoroughly enjoyed our time there.  As it was time to leave, we were giving a few hugs and saying our good-byes.  I was the last one to hop into the truck, but before I did this beautiful little girl again squeezed me so tight and as I set her down, she turned and gave me a big smooch on my cheek!

…And Heaven meets earth with an unforeseen kiss!


"Lost" (dave holvig)

if you've ever seen the show lost, you know that if they even thought they heard a plane or helicopter, that was grounds for a major celebration. that's the goal when you're stranded on a deserted island with no hope, no clean water to drink and no place to go to the bathroom. (palm trees only look nice when you are sure that survival is in place)

at the second stop, as we were filling buckets with water and watching a father bathe his son on the sidewalk next to us - a plane flew over head. a big plane, 747 style and my thought was, "they found us! -they know we're here." as if we were stranded and the coast guard just spotted us from above. 

but we've known about the plight of haiti for years. that plane comes and goes all the time, but that is not a rescue plane. 

later in the trip i mentioned that thought, wondering if the hatian people ever feel that way when planes fly by -and kev asked a good question. he said, "how many of them do you think would even want to go?" 

the truth is there are a lot of things about the way they live that are vastly superior to us. they are in a constant community, their kids are raised by the whole village. they watch out for each other. sure they commiserate, but they laugh too! 

would a busy lifestyle, starbucks and a stressful job feel like rescue to them? or would it be better if we could simply find ways to help clean up the water right here in haiti. 

God is good, but man is bad. haiti is what it is because of us, not God. there's plenty of food in this world for everyone. but we have burned down our store houses to build bigger ones! i should say, i have. goodnight nurse!

journal day 2

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dancing with Rejuvenation

Hey, it's Shawna!

After one heavy day layered on top of another to the extent of witnessing a freak incident causing a skull fracture, a day filled with rejuvenating experiences was welcomed.
A 5am wake up call allowed us to attend an encouraging church service.  Visiting a school filled with jumping and dancing students followed. I couldn't tell you how many times my blonde curls were pulled by the students.  Then, one by one, five elderly individuals received a fresh meal and an individualized, intimate worship set.  I'll never forget taking the hands of one man we served while he sat, unable to see, and danced with him.

For me, the most rejuvenating visit was to Grace Village, an orphanage run by Healing Haiti. These children were healthy - meaning, they did not smile for money or food and they did not ask for a single article of clothing.  They had their basic needs met and were able to embrace our visit filled with yet more singing and dancing.

Pure joy in such a desolate place.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

God's timing

Hello from Haiti! This is Ali!

Today was a wonderful, eventful, joy filled day. Sitting around in group time tonight-we found ourselves standing in awe over all that had taken place since our beautiful sunny wake up call. We have talked about timing a lot this trip-what time are we leaving, how much time we have at each place, how neat the timing for the trip is for each of us in our lives and in relation to our experiences today, how incredible God's timing is...
This morning we went to a home for sick and dying adults. We approached the gate, welcomed by the single man that holds the key to let us in. Before we had the chance to stand up, exit the top top and start our time of singing together, we were interrupted by a crashing sound that came from over by the gate entrance. Through people crying out, crowds rushing around and moments of feeling completely numb-we came to the conclusion that the same man that had just let us in, had just been crushed by the heavy metal gate door. Some of us went rushing to lift it off of him, some stood still unable to move, some of us grabbed gloves and ran along side of him as he was carried away. The next thirty minutes were some I personally will never forget. This man-with tears in his eyes, laying in so much pain, was able to say with pure confidence " Jesus loves me and because of that I know that I will not die today". After making him as comfortable as we could with what we were given, we had Brunet (one of Healing Haiti staff members) pray with him as the rest of the team played music in the room in front of us. It was incredible. After sending him away it really began to hit us ladies that were with him during that time. Our fears were strengthened by the power of Christ, without a doubt he was with us. We pray that this man is pain free tonight and comforted with the peace of Christ.
Next we went to Gertrude's: A home for children that have special needs, as well as an orphanage to a group of regular needs in kids. These kids definitely brought a contagious joy! We were able to help feed them their lunch, play outside and sing and dance to music created by our team. Outside they have a swing set that has this awesome handmade swing that has a ramp/gate so that the children can swing-in their wheel chairs :) amazing! Watching them sing and dance was also incredible-they were loving every minute. Some were clapping, some loving the air guitar and others were fully embracing the drummer durning the set!
Last stop of the day was at a home for sick and dying babies. There are two rooms: one for babies that are more sick and another for the babies that are in the healing stages. We all got feed and hold these babies throughout our entire time there. For me, it was the best way to fulfill my "baby fix"! It was neat to see mothers learning how to care for their babies, breastfeeding and simply being there with them. It was very hard to set them back in their cribs, knowing how much they loved being held and cuddled.
All three of these experiences went hand in hand with one another. We truly got to be the hands and feet of Christ as we touched the sick and held those that needed love.

On the water truck

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

hard to put into words, but i will try. 

as soon as our feet hit the ground in the 'tent city' which seemed more like an apocalyptic junk yard, a little girl came up to me and held out her hand. i'm not sure if she lived in the rusted car she stood near, but nevertheless, she waited for me to respond. it was decision time. do i grab her hand, knowing i haven't completed my typhoid vaccination or do i politely distract her towards something or someone else? 

when i grabbed her hand it was like i had jumped over an invisible wall, and quickly picked her up to give her the embrace that she deserves. 

soon after we began handing out 'feed my starving children' food. when everyone is hungry, you can imagine things can get ugly pretty quick. we walked the food to their tents (homes) and tried to give food only to the parents, but that wasn't always possible. we had a couple scary moments where suddenly kev and i were outnumbered by hungry hatians, and we had to decide who was the 'best' person to give the food to. it was an artificial, unnatural place of power that felt wrong. 

after that, we pulled out the box drum and guitars, threw a 2x4 on the ground to symbolize a no pass zone, and did a few worship songs. the kids clapped and sang and smiled. what if we had stayed home?

Lord, you give each of us the strength to make it through the day. give us enough energy to see these people the way you do always, and to love them the way you love us. Amen. 

(dave holvig)
journal day 1

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hello from Haiti

Hi Family and Friends:
We are excited to report that we have arrived!  It has been a long day that began at 2:30am, but worth every minute.  We have an incredible team of 15 (including Fan-Fan! - we miss you Julie!) ready for whatever lies before us.  This team was ready to dive in right away.  After moving into the guesthouse, the music-guys/gal did a quick acoustic rehearsal (which sounds amazing in the confines of the living room) while the rest of the team divided donations and packed Feed-My-Starving Children Food to be distributed to the tent city down the block.

The experience of delivering the Feed-My-Starving-Children packs to the tent city was amazing.  Most of us have volunteered packing food back in Minnesota.  However, to see that the food actually makes it and gets delivered is an incredible experience.  The need is so great and the people are so grateful.

Once we ran out of food to deliver, the band led the tent city in a worship set.  There were no lack of unknowns going into this.  How would the people react?  What was this going to look like??  Our drummer Kevin brought his "box" out of the tap-tap and started tapping.  The kids went crazy!  They danced, sang, and worshiped alongside us in a way that overwhelmed our team.

On the water truck tomorrow.  Can't wait.  Thank you all for your support and prayers.

Jeff Moen

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Follow Us Here... April 2013 worship team trip

Well a new team of musicians is set to embark on an adventure to Haiti.  This is the blog where you can follow our team, read blogs, see pictures, and be reminded to keep us in your prayers!  We'll try to post here each day, and pasted links on facebook for all to see.

We have an exceptional team this year including a young Chris Mason, a couple Holvigs, Tommy Lindquist on the keys, and a few other awesome team members.  Can't wait to share our journey with you all.

Above is a picture from last April.  A little guy named Geebay from Cite Soliel.  Hoping to see him again and certainly pray he's doing alright.

Stay tuned...