Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Final Thoughts

Here are the final thoughts from the guys....REALLY cool how God worked in their lives! Thanks so much for keeping them and their families in your prayers. We all really appreciate it!

(Scott) Wow.  In the last 24 hours we've experienced waking up in the middle of the night by a "Ra Ra" street festival complete with brass ensembles and hundreds (maybe thousands) of people walking, a great church service, spending time saying goodbye to the kids at the Children's Home, taking a very long walk to the ocean, and having a hair-raising adventure drive early this morning getting back to the Port-au-Prince airport.  I leave a piece of my heart behind in this challenging and somewhat 'forsaken' land.  The rebuilding is daunting, and the quest for Jesus as the One and Only must continue for this country to be truly rescued.  While I ventured to Haiti with the intention of leaving a mark of productivity behind, perhaps the most important impact is the impression it leaves in my heart and the importance to continue to dedicate the people of this country to prayer.

(Darcy) The last ten days have been truly amazing. When I arrived in Haiti 10 days ago I was really overwhelmed with the sights and smells around me. In a very short time though I have fallen in love with the people and with this country. The people of Haiti have suffered so much but there is hope in those that have searched for Christ and have accepted Him as their saviour. A new generation is being rasied up and they are the hope of this country. I saw that generation in the eyes of the children at the Lamb Center. The work being done there to raise these children in the way of the Lord will continue and I feel privledge to have been a small part. There is still much for them to overcome but with Christ as the ruler of the nation they will overcome. Even though I might never see any of the children or other Haitian nationals again there is the assurance for those in Christ that we will met again on that glorious day when Christ brings His followers home. Until that day I will continue to pray for Haiti and it's people.

(Dave) As I reflect on the last ten days the best word to describe them was amazing.  However, I feel like i left something behind.  Of course the building was tough and taxing on the body however the chance to see God working in this country was so enriching.  The last day was probably the most difficult.  We all thought that our wives would be marshmallows, well it was extremely heart breaking to have two boys that grew fond of me, and I of them, cry on my shoulder.  They were beautiful and full of joy and my prayer is that they continue to follow God's direction for their lives and that some day we can be re-united either here on earth or in Glory with God.  We must all pray for Haiti, that the power of the Holy Spirit will be heard over the loud cries of voodoo and evil.  I know God has already won the battle in Haiti now it is our turn to pray for the people of Haiti and for the people of Haiti to rise up and cease the victory.  Goodbye Haiti you have left an enduring mark on my life and revealed God's presence to me. 

 (PAUL) This ten day adventure has been a roller coaster of emotions: from the intensity of arriving in Haiti Airport with the chaos going through immigration and finding our luggage and our transportation, the fear travelling through the streets, the excitement of seeing the kids at the Children's Home for the first time, the fun of playing with the kids, the exhaustion after a long day's work in the hot sun, the peace watching the ocean, the joy in aiding the kids and the community, to the sadness of leaving the kids behind at the home on Sunday - one of the toughest things we had to do.  It has been truly rewarding and as a team, we know that, as the song says, our God is the Lord of this nation, the Light in the Darkness, and has things in store for Haiti - Greater things are still to come!  As I fly home to be reunited with my family, whom I have missed so much, I reflect on the highs and lows of this `adventure

(Walter) This has been an amazing 1st mission’s trip. I have to say that the last couple of days were the hardest. Seeing the Kids for the last time, the last church service with the children, and also waking up to the Street festivals going on at Night. The Lord has really blessed me with this great opportunity to help the people in need of endless help. I was blessed with a great Team and also great hosts.....

Unfortunately, Walter had to turn off the computer because of the turn off the electronics rule as we landed in Miami, we stood in the immigration line forever and ran through the airport to make our connection to Chicago.  Walter and Mark are going on to Toronto, so we might see them in Winnipeg later if Canadian custom is as slow as the American.  I will pass the computer along to the rest of the team.  Dan

(Kelly) Visiting the Lamb Centre was very hard. God broke our hearts. We are all fathers and everyone of those children needs a father. We would take them all home if we could. We had a chance to be their dads for only short while, but in the end we knew that we powerless to be their earthly fathers.  We had no other option but to leave them in the warm hands of our Father God to do the things we could never do for them on earth.

God spoke to me on Saturday and gave me Matt 10:42.  Jesus said “Whoever gives a glass of cold water to his little ones, will receive his reward".  Whoever, blesses His little ones, with a glass of cold water blesses Jesus!!!  Guess what we were working on the entire time at the Lamb center.  A building for the water treatment plant!

Wow, all the Winnipeg dads in Haiti, worked in the hot sun so that the Jesus' little ones would have safe clean water.  Ten dads from Winnipeg full of the Spirit of God, were used by God, to bless Jesus by offering a glass of cold water to His little ones.  Wow! 

Thank you so much Father for including us in on your master plan to rescue your little ones in Haiti. It is such am awesome privilege to be working with you God. Thank you, thank you Jesus. 

(Keith) It was exciting being part of God’s plan with 10 guys from Winnipeg. The poverty and destruction was hard to take. But the pride, rebuilding and people was inspiring. The kids at the center were fun to be with, and desired affection so much, the blessings went both ways. And the job site was a good way to put our team to work to further that construction. But I think what surprised me the most was the staff. Judd and Peggy hosted us, fed us, entertained us and made an effort to spend time with us. The stories they both have reaffirms in me that there is a God and He is moving in powerful ways. Their heart for the people is awe-inspiring and their obedience is something I look up too. And I thank them for that. John was our coordinator; he didn’t stay with us, but was working alongside with us the whole time. Giving us projects to do or finding out if we needed anything. I didn’t have a good chance to talk to him for any length of time, but his willingness to do what needs to be done is evident in his life. He is flexible and dependable and it doesn’t hurt that he is originally from Winnipeg ;) Nate joined us on Wednesday (Haiti had a 3 day holiday Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) and he was a hoot. He knows the language and had a type A personality. He made sure our group had the full experience and immersed us into the culture. He knew songs and had stories and made a great batch of Chocolate chip baking ;) Mackenzie was one of the guards, Pastor Kelly connected with him from day one, and threw that we ate at a Haitian restaurant and had a tour to the ocean hike. He loves his country and its people and loved his job and Judd and Peggy.

There were many experiences and the people who worked for SP will always be remembered. Thank You and God bless.

(Dan)   I have read this word a lot over the last blog entry for the Haiti re-build team...WOW... Its so true, that sums up our time the best.  Aside from the fact that all the Haitian kids knew this word too!  It really has been a blessing from God to serve with this group of regular guys from Winnipeg!  I have been called 'the whip' by the speaker at Jack's beach base last night after Kelly told him of a team member who nagged him to come to Haiti.  But I didn’t really need to nag or whip anyone.  It was a calling on their lives and they all carefully considered going and covered it in prayer, God did all the prompting.

I need to send out a big GRACIAS to all the staff we served with, Ian, for the original e-mail and info concerning sending teams to Haiti.  Dawn, for all your work in organizing the team and preparations for travel, you were so appreciated by all of us, even though we slept on park benches at Miami!  Hey, it was under palm trees, all is well!  For Nathanael, you are so great at engaging the group in culture and taking on little adventures that make short term missions so memorable, and especially for arranging the OCC distribution! For Roosevelt, our driver for the airport runs, you made Ecuadorian commuting look like a bunch of grannies on a Sunday drive! For Judd and Peggy, you guys were like mom and dad for us, you took such good care of us and I really hope you will come and visit us soon at Cornerstone.  I will have to kick out our 14 year old daughter for you to have a nice room to sleep in, but that will be no problem at all!

When we left the children’s home, it was hard, although I could tell my Spanish friend, Madouche (14), that I would return to Haiti again.  When we got in the van to leave, all I could hear was sniffling, it was very touching.  But we rest in the assurance that these kids have a much better chance at a successful future in Haiti, they are loved and well taken care of.  The new home will be beautiful and they will have constant spiritual support for their continued growth.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Well the guys are coming to the end of their ten days in Haiti. I (Trish) see that they are playing some tricks and I DID catch on to that last night as I received the blog post from my husband, Dan. I did 'edit' his post because the last part seemed a tad 'NOT LIKE DAN'....and my suspicions were realized this evening. Thanks Keith and Mark.....but I was totally ON to you!!

Tonights post comes from Mark Westman....with a small preamble from my husband in his email....and I am certain the guys will be checking this blog in the morning to see if anything was 'edited out'....

First Dan's email to me...

Hi, This is Marks entertaining contribution, I actually have not read the whole thing but I assured him that you would not edit it this time!

Judd thanked me today for bringing this team, he and Peggy are really enjoying them. Tomorrow is the last day :(   We go to church with the kids, visit a few of the guards families, hopfully have time for a little swim and than have a bbq at Jacks beach and attend their service there for the staff in the evening.

Now a post from Mark Westman...

Feb 25th, 2012   Haiti

Mark Westman

Where to begin?  It's been a great week so far!  Yesterday was especially wonderful as I got to attend my first OCC Shoebox distribution and give a little boy a box prepared by my wife and kids.  I enjoyed watching him take out his stuff and show it excitedly to his friends and also had the privilege of showing him the picture of the Westman clan inside and saying "C'est moi et mon famille!"

Last night I tried to play a little joke on our good leader Dan - he left his computer with his blog post open so I wrote in a little post script hoping he wouldn't catch it and post it to the blog.  Keith and I excitedly checked the blog late last night to see if it was in but sadly it had been taken out (Trish - I believe you must have removed it - shame on you for editing the content of Dan's post without his express permission!) It wasn't even that bad, I believe it said something like this:

                (From Dan)  "On a personal note I'm really starting to miss my wife, especially her warm embraces and tender kisses.  Also, I miss my blankie which due to space constraints I had to leave behind in Winnipeg.  Oh, all these vulnerable emotions!"  (Dan does not talk like this... :) ...dead giveaway!)

Not sure how Trish caught on that this wasn't Dan.

Anyway, today we went by the new orphanage site and removed the forms and admired our handiwork of concrete artistry.  It was fulfilling to see the finished product of our labor for the kids.  Then we headed over to the current orphanage site to dig a septic field and play with the orphans.  Dave, who is now my digging sensei, told us all that he refused to do any more digging (as he has faithfully found himself doing it every single work day) but eventually he couldn't help himself and he joined us in the hole.  Within a few minutes of the work beginning, the kids came over and either attached themselves to us or tried to do the work for us.  As a natural delegator I immediately pawned off the job of wheel barrowing to my children but this actually made more work for me as they insisted that I ride back in the wheelbarrow every time - with them pushing me in it .  The fear I felt as I careened through the site, between holes in the ground (with my feet in the air) was paralyzing. 

For half of our team, this was our first time since sunday actually being with the orphanage kids.  I was impressed that the three kids that I'd connected with still remembered me.  They gave me notes that were both touching and heart wrenching, saying things like "I love you," "I pray for you," but also things like "Please be my father" and "I'll be your son."  I love being able to love these kids for a few days but I wish I could give them what their true heart’s desire is - parents who love them. 

After lunch we had a real treat - a visit to a mountain village outside of town.  The road to the place was up extremely steep roads and several times I wondered if we'd make it up some stretches or if we'd topple down backwards.  Keith was in the back of the van and bravely was terrified for the duration.  When we reached the village we walked through a handful of tin huts, greeting the people as we went.  As we began our hike up a hill overlooking the area the children began to follow us up (I had to hold Dave back as he practically galloped up that hill, so excited to get off the beaten track he was).  From the summit of the hill we could see for miles - over the coast to the sea and even out to some island shrouded in haze.

It was stunningly beautiful but sad. 95% of this tropical island has been deforested by clear cutting and no one is attempting to fix it because of the corrupt government.  As I sat looking over the hill I felt overwhelmed with the problems Haiti has, and I prayed that God would do something miraculous to help this nation.  The kids on the hill were different than those at the orphanage - they rubbed their bellies and begged us for food.  The poverty up here was a l less sanitized and it was hard to say no to their requests to drink from my water bottle.  I really would like to do something more for this village - and hopefully God will show us how.  We have one full day left and though I feel I have so much more building and growing to do here (and would love to stay longer), I also can't wait to see my family again.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Operation Christmas Child

We have two posts today about the shoebox distribution the guys did today! Today are posts from Dan and Darcy...here is part of Dan's email to me...

Two of us wrote today, me and Darcy.  Darcy, Keith and Mark brought their own boxes and I think Mark is blogging tomorrow.  It was a pretty exciting day and we have some amazing pictures.  Some of the guys are sad that we only have two days left.  Tomorrow we are finishing some work at the orphanage and then just hanging out with the kids there.

Sunday we go to church again and then maybe a beach BBQ.  We haven't had a drop of rain this whole time and its been really hot, just the way i like it!  I am having fun with the Spanish family that is here, I was even asked to translate for Walter who wanted to say something to them in front of the whole group, I just laughed and tried my best!

Dan, Friday, OCC day

Today was the day we got to go on our OCC distribution, but not until we had poured the concrete floor by the water pump house.  We got to work at the usual time and had an extra long devotion time with the crew.  Fausto led it, I think he must be a preacher.  He gave the sermon in Spanish and it was translated into English and Creole for all.  Immediately following the sermon, the worship leader of the crew started singing.  He sang a slow song first which was only met with some enthusiasm from the team but then he ran into the middle and started shouting out a happy clapping song and everyone joined in with gusto!  He was spinning in circles and shouting out and the top of his lungs while the other responded to his prompts.  It was a fun song and I'm sure the neighbors could hear it all! 

There were two concrete mixers set up and we had shovelers, wheelbarrow pushers and Kelly the water guy, who probably didn’t know that he was going to be soaked in the process.  Scott was in charge of dumping the cement bags into the hopper which was the dirtiest job of all.  He was completely gray and didn’t need any sunscreen today!  We worked like horses for three hours and it was time to go get cleaned up, and get our lunches, and head out to the distribution site.

The place, which we can’t remember the name of was an hour and a half away.  It was past Petit Gouve, west of here.  It was a school house of two rooms, but one wall was open.  The kids were all waiting there and singing when we arrived.  They were all sitting at their desks which were more like a bench with a 2x8 board in front to rest their books on, it had a dirt floor and a tin roof, but as usual, the kids were all dressed in their best clothes and very happy to see us even though at this point they don’t even know they are receiving a gift.  All of us 'blancs' went and stood at the front and the leader introduced us and a pastor gave a short message.  I gave a greeting from our church and said that we were excited to show God's love to them with the gifts and let them know that it was my lovely wife who suggested we come and share with the children today.

I had packed a box at home and brought it with me.  I had packed a box for a 5-9 girl and while I was standing at the front I was watching for a girl who might smile at me or whatever.  But when the boxes started getting passed out I realized that I would be able to pick a girl because of the cramped space we passed the boxes down the row.  The girl who got my box was a little older but she had a sad face, I gave her the box and she smiled a bit but still didn’t seem to cheer up.  I got a hold of Nate, who speaks Creole and he explained to her that my family had packed the box and I dug the picture I had packed out of the bottom and I showed her the names of the girls and told her how old they were.  After she saw our picture in there she couldn’t get the smile off her face!  After the room cleared out, I met her mother and her brothers and sisters outside.  Her name was Allisondrol. 

It was a short time we spent with them but I think it had a huge impact on the team, we had a great time of blessing and I think Trish will get all the volunteers she needs come November!

The next post is from Darcy Calder...
Darcy, Friday, OCC Day
I want to share my experience from the OCC distribution. I have been looking forward to this part of the trip. Hearing Christianna's stories from your trip last year with OCC to Costa Rica I could hardly wait to be a part of this opportunity. As Dan stated it was a small building and the kids were packed in there. They were all singing and clapping when we go there. I was overwhelmed by the kids and the passion of their pastor and the enthusiasm of the kids in their response. Christianna, I and the kids had packed a box at home to give to a 5-9 year old girl. While standing at the front of the room observing the kids I spotted the girl right away. I'm not sure what brought her to my attention but we did make eye contact and I knew she was the one to get our box. After all the kids got there box I knelt down beside her to help her with the gift. She was so shy and seemed overwhelmed by all that was going on. I grabbed Nate like Dan did to have him translate. She was smiling the whole time I was talking to her. Her name is Edanlyn and she has a very beautiful smile. I could tell she was very happy with the gift as I spotted outside showing her mom the gift and going through all the items in the box.
This was an experience of a lifetime. The whole week has been absolutely amazing from the construction work, the interaction with kids at the orphanage, conversations with the Haitian nationals to the OCC distribution today. My life has been changed by what I have experienced and seen here this week.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 563

This next post comes from Keith Howe....

Day 563

I’m typing this as I sit here… surrounded by the 'gang' (Walter, Scott, Mark, Kelly and the 'others' Paul, Rick, Dan, Dave and Darcy) waiting for supper. Supper has been really good lately.. Chicken with beans and rice, spaghetti with (meat) sauce, and even some local stuff like Fish .. ..

It feels like we've been here for 562 days… but in a good way.. Sure I miss my family and my bed …but Haiti has been a good experience.

...supper was just called, brb...

(1 hr later)

Supper was good yet again.. we had this Chicken goulash with rice and peas and salad. And ice cream for dessert..
After supper each night since we arrived, we had highs and lows. We would gather around and go around the group saying what our high of the day was and our low. (which by the way is great because I get to blog about it ;)
It started with today's devotion. Picture standing outside, on the gravel with us 10 Canadians, about 50 Haitians, and the 3 Ecuadorians all circle around. Judd starts reading Matthew 22 (paying taxes, marriage, and the Greatest Commandment). He reads it in English, and 2 translators translate it to Creole (or French.. ) and Spanish. Very cool. Then one of the Haitians led the group in a song. The first one was unfamiliar, but the second sounded familiar (blessed assurance) but sung in Creole. Then the Haitian motioned to us (the Canadians) to sing. .so we sung the chorus in English.. then he motioned to the Ecuadorians and they sung it in Spanish.. then we all sung the chorus in our own language.. worshipping the same God. how cool is that ;)
That same
Haitian then prayed while it was translated in English.. and he was passionate.  

The rest of the day we were split between putting the stirrups on the columns on the second floor (very time consuming). (Dan, Scott, Marc, Kelly, Walter and myself mostly did that), Paul was helping to straight these columns (and will feel it in the morning ;), Darcy was helping out the locals rebarring the floor that we have been working on all week (the only one in the group that speaks English), and Dave and Rick were working on the plumbing for the new washrooms. (with not enough parts)
One of the highlights was also a low light. One of the columns Dan was working on had to be redone. (meaning taken apart and starting over.. They were 45% done) It was tough and because of that Dan was working on that same column all - day - long. Ask him to show you the picture of him hugging and kissing it at the end of the day.. He had built such a relationship with that column that he wanted to capture the moment ;) The locals where laughing and Scott had to translate because they had puzzled looks … Dan had problems with the column.. He is saying bye-bye … lol
We ended up the day, back at our house. Sipping our Coke (in a bottle) while sitting in the shade on patio chairs.. 28 degrees outside.. ;)

In some sense this trip really started today. It was a holiday Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week (Carnival).. So we have been working by ourselves this week. This was the first time we had a chance to see how life is like on the job site each week. Tomorrow we will work in the morning and OCC distribution in the afternoon and Saturday/Sunday we will be spending time with the kids.. .. Now this is where I say bye-bye to my comfort zone ;)
Hey Lee, Noah, Dora and William. Missing you guys. There are a few times that I would have loved to have all of you down. From the beans and rice for Lee, to a big (big) Cat digger that William would have loved to see. To the crazy drivers that Noah would have thought it was a Disney ride to floating on the salt sea with my favourite daughter ;) It will be good to be home. Loves, Hugs and kisses to you all.

Phil 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
God, thank you for this group of guys. Thank you for Judd and Peggy for hosting us, and thank you for using our hands and feet, for growing us and for flowing through us. Give us chances tomorrow to grow our relationships, and help us finish the projects we started. Shine through us. You are Who is, You are Who was and You are Who will always be. We love you..
In Jesus name, Amen.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

They're Working Hard!

The day sounder harder today for some of the guys. Here is what Dan mentioned to me (Trish) in his email...

Hi, the internet is almost impossible to get on and I am always the last to bed sending in these blogs.  I am the first to get on and they have been trying all evening.  We need prayer for Paul, he has had a headache since we got here.  I hope you are all great.  We are doing shoeboxes on Friday afternoon.

This next post is from Scott Hildebrand...

Feb 22, 2012 (Wednesday). 

This might be the first time I've actually written a blog.  Jenn has a gift with the written word far beyond by own.  But to all who are reading this, I'll just have to do!

First of all, a big HI to Jenn, Mac, Ethan, and Kisae.  I have been thinking about Mac and his time at YQ (hope you had an awesome time bud!).  Thinking about Ethan and missing a few hugs to keep the 'love tank' full.  Thinking about Kisae and hoping she's not confused by Dad being away; hoping she won't 'pull away' for too long when I come home.  And thinking of course about Jenn, praying for adequate rest, minimal loneliness, and I'm feeling badly I can't be shovelling the driveway for you.  Love you all.

Jenn, you'd be proud of me for how diligent I've been at applying my sunscreen!  I don't even think I have a tan yet!  Slip, slap, slop you always say.  I even encouraged one of the guys to keep taking his Malaria meds even though he thought he was suffering from some side effects.  Now the side effects are gone and he's still on them.  Finally, your medicine cabinet of goodies has come in handy once or twice for nighttime relief and better sleep.

Each of us, of course, has similar thoughts throughout each day about all of you at home.  At appears the most frequent texts come to Kelly, Dave, and Darcy.  Too bad the Hildebrands aren't set up for texting!  And the internet is intermittent, at best.  Worse even than Ethiopia.

We also are so grateful for bathing us in prayer.  During our evening discussion of 'highs and lows' we spoke of a book we were given to read about Haiti and its history of spiritual oppression.  We were all given a copy.  How they routinely mix an apparent faith in Jesus with active, but hidden, voodoo practices and worship.  While I was preparing for 'spiritual warfare' here in Haiti, I haven't felt oppressive forces.   This is surely due in part to being bathed in prayer, but also undoubtedly because we have already claimed the victory that is in Jesus, and know the power of God to overcome Satan.

This morning we have 'devos' on site in the front couryard, which provided an opportunity to include both the guards and the Equadorian helpers as well.  Kelly provided a devotional outlining the importance of acknowledging God in our plans - we can't simply become so busy with life, work, entertainment, and so on without a conscious decision to ensure God reigns in it and through it.  It was cool to have each sentence translated into both Creole and Spanish throughout.  Then Dan's friend Jason led us in "Lord I Lift Your Name On High."

Various highs and lows expressed by the guys regarding the jobsite today.  We were all working today all day at the primary building site, but working on various tasks.  A few of us continued with our re-bar tying that we'd been working on for awhile already.  I enjoyed using the chopsaw (quite fun, but you have to stay out of the way of all the sparks as it can burn a whole in your pants or shoes if you're not careful), and cutting and bending re-bar.  Tying the re-bar was pretty tedious work, but it demonstrated to us just how manual this job has to be (the project began Oct 31st and has a long way to still go).  It also provided an opportunity to a few of us to share some good discussions while we worked (this included Keith, Mark, and Kelly).  We became a bit discouraged when we learned that much of what we had just spent several hours putting together was needing to be cut apart and undone.  It felt like a 'waste' of time, but we remain thankful for the opportunity to share some good conversation.  Also, some of our work was useable.  We found out later that they changed their mind midday about the plans for the small building and this forced a change in the design.  We were able to get back on the second floor of the building in the afternoon and work on a different re-bar project.  We were also allowed to take sledge hammers to an existing metal door frame to break it out of the existing concrete wall.  Mark especially enjoyed this demolition work!

Walter was a master on the Bobcat, doing a lot of excavating in the a.m. and then working on various projects in the p.m.  Rick and Dave spent time digging in the a.m. and then got some time to learn plumbing in the p.m.  Paul was working with John and Alfedo (other SP volunteers) on framing around the well getting ready for a concrete pour.  Darcy was digging in the a.m. and then was helping with some of the re-bar in the afternoon - having to work with 2 men from Equador that spoke next-to-no English!  But he enjoyed this learning opportunity.  Dan starting out working with Paul on the pump and the well, and then worked with a few projects like re-bar on the second level in the p.m.

Supper was once again better-than-expected!  Feeding ribs and mashed potatoes to hungry men always goes over well.  We have enjoyed many laughs together, and I'm pleased to have participated in conversations in the past day that have strenthened my bond with many of this band-of-brothers!

Health seems to be strong in every man, and sleep comes quickly for all.  Most are asleep by 9:30 or 10:00, although starting to adjust and stay up 'til as late as 10:30!  Yes, Jenn, even me.  Blessing on all of you.  Thanks again for your love and support.  We are enjoying doing God's work here in Haiti.  We miss you and will see you soon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Some More Words from our Guys!

Following are three more blog posts from the Haiti guys....Darcy, Kelly and Dan...

This is from Darcy Calder:

It is now day three on the ground on Haiti and we are finally getting to do some work. Our day began early with breakfast at 6:30am and leaving for the jobsite at 7:20am. We spent the first little bit getting a tour of the jobsite and where everything is located. Then we had devo's at 8:30am. This week is a national holiday in Haiti so the national workers will not be back until Thursday so it was just our team, Judd and Tom and John (from the Jack's beach compound). John is from Canada actually Winnipeg orginally. He has been here for a week and is helping us

We ended up spliting the group up as half stayed at the jobsite and the other half went to the temporary locaiton of the orphanage. It was Dan, Dave, Paul, Rick and I (Darcy) that went to the location where the kids are. Our job there was to build a roof on the laundry area, install the plumbing for a sink in the kitchen and dig a septic field for all the grey water (kitchen, laundry and showers). Dan and Paul spent the whole day working on the roof (I help at the beginning). Dave and Rick ran the drain plumbing for the kitchen and I joined them in digging the spectic field, which was a dirty and smelly job working between the porta potties and the shower drain in high heat. Speaking of heat it was very hot today and clear sky so very sunny. Really need to be careful to drink enough water and take breaks. Thankfully John (SP worker) is a nurse by training and was giving us constant reminders.

Now one advantage of working at the temporary orpghange is the kids do eventually show up. That was about mid morning during a school break. All the boys swarmed us and stopped our work but I don't think one of us cared. It was great to see them again and those boys that had connected with us on Sunday did so again today. The girls did not show up not sure why as it was mainly the boys. They were playfully wanting to help and just horse around, basically they were being kids. It was great to see and be apart of. Being with the kids and connecting with them really brings forth the reason we are here.

After lunch we returned to the location where the kids are to finish our work for the day. The kids were having lunch but they did show up not to long after. Dan and Paul were able to finsh the roof other then adding the tin but the rafters and supports are complete. Dave, Rick and I did not get the septic field done not much is left, though. In fact we had a lot of help and the kids spent the afternoon with us and were eager to help. They were right in there with the shovels, pick axes and hauling the dirt away in the wheelbarrow. One touching moment for me was receiving a note for a the boy, Louisito, who connected with me. Infact several of the guys received notes today. Louisito wrote a very touching note to me and had a picture he had drawn on there was well. He is a very special boy. They all are special children and each one of them has touched out lives in different ways. It will be tough to leave them at the end of the week.

Also this afternoon Dan's Haitian friend, Jason, joined us at the work site. It has been great to met him and I hope to get to know him a bit more of the next day or so before he leaves to go home.

The time here in Haiti has been really great so far. The guys have been awesome and getting to travel and experience this with them has been a blessing. Our hosts Judd and Peggy have been amazing as well. In addition the food has been delightful and amazingly prepared by Mama and Emily.

Anyways that is Day 3 in Haiti. I just want to give my love to Christianna, Micah, Joshua, Nathan and Ellie. I miss you guys and looking forward to sharing more with you when I return.


This is from our Pastor at our church, Kelly Cochrane:

Hello everyone, this is Kelly.  Our trip to Haiti is turning out to be a real God Send.  We have all had a chance to be used by God to move well beyond our comfort zones and get to know each other better at the same time.
On our first night in Miami we found our that our hotel reservations were cancelled so we ended up sleeping in a park outside the airport on a benches.  We were totally blessed by a homeless woman who had a ministry to lost travelers from the airport.  Wow!
The next day we had a time to catch up on our sleep and get to know our hosts.  The best part was visiting the orphans in their temporary home.  We had the joy of taking them to church.  We were absolutely swamped with love as we had the opportunity to be temporary Dads.
Attending church on Sunday, was awesome, were all honoured guests.  They asked me to pray and bless the church and their pastors.  We made quick friends.   The church now calls us brothers.  The Holy Spirit filled the room and even though we do not speak French, we were all able to communicate through our faith.
Finally, we are now working on 30 degree heat building an orphanage.  This is slow hot work and very labour intensive.  Most of us are very, very, very old and more used to desk jobs than pouring concrete.  Please pray for us...we are praying for you!!!!
We all miss our families, even our cats.

This last one is from Dan Franklin. Some background, he talks about Jason. Jason is a Haitian friend that Dan met when he spent a month there working. Jason is an amazing young man and Dan has kept in touch with him these last two years. He was able to come down to Leogane to visit 'Mr. Dan'....
Today, Jason came to our site around 3 pm.  we were working at the home where the kids are living, the ones that will be living in the new location once it is finished.  It was great to get to work today and build even though the kids were distracting us at times.  Jason shared with the whole group tonight about his experience of the earthquake and the death of his sister.  I think the guys were very moved by it and it brought up memories for me of the first time he told me about it and the emotions that came out, even when i shared the story in church after coming home two years ago, it was hard to even read what I had written about it.
I have been talking with him tonight and he has been showing me some of the videos on the computer he brought and playing some of his songs for the guys.  Jason just told me that one of the team from two years ago, a really crazy Haitian brother named Jude, died of Cholera.  He is in many of my pictures and I remember him well.  The only reason he died was because he didnt realize what he had and was too afraid to admit he was even sick because in this culture, you get teased if you are sick, and he didnt want to be teased.  that is so sad.  Jason said it served as a wake up call for others he knew to get treatment quickly because it is such a fast acting disease.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

First Post from the Men!!

Below are three blog posts that were written by Dan, Dave and Rick. Just so some of you know the background, they talk about a couple, Judd and Peggy. When Dan and his family spent a year in Ecuador, they knew Judd and Peggy from Samaritan's Purse in Ecuador....as well, Dan had worked with Judd on his first visit to Haiti in March of 2010. It's a small world when you are serving one Great and Mighty God!!

I (Trish) have left the blog posts as they were sent to me...hope you can get an idea of what it was like the first days in Haiti for the guys. Keep praying for them and their experience down there!

The first post comes from Dan Franklin:

I'm sitting outside the Miami airport at 1 am!  We phoned for an airport pick up from the hotel but our reservation was lost.  So we are sitting outside by the palm trees, its about 22 degrees and quite pleasant.  The guys are in good spirits even without the prospect of a shower!  Our flights today went really well other than an oxygen mask that couldnt be put away and a couple of luggage bins that popped open during take off!  

It has been a joy to get this team together. After all the preparation, its great to finally be only 800 miles from our destination.

Walter and I are outside sitting upright, Scott, Paul and Rick are sleeping on benches, the others went inside to sleep on concrete with carpet!  We have to wait until 4 to check in.

Saturday night:  We are finally settled in and really enjoying this beautiful house and the location its in.  We are on the main road heading west from Port auPrince.  We can see the ocean from here, it has a lot of large trees in the yards surrounding us as well.  I really surprised Peggy when I came in, I guess Judd didnt tell her I was coming.  Judd was here when we arrived but he had just finished pouring the second floor to the lamb center and had been working since 7 am yesterday, they worked through the night.  Need less to say he was very tired and went to bed right away.

Some of us managed to sleep at the airport, we camped outside for a while and then moved in.   We checked in early and had a great breakfast at 5:30!  The flight into Haiti was very smooth.  At the airport, things were crazy, there were so many people and so much luggage all crammed into a small space.  I had to get everyone together and tell them what to expect outside the door.  The Haitians didnt disappoint!  I told the guys not to let anyone take their bags,as soon as the SP driver recognized my shirt, he identified himself as our driver and took my bag!  Rick came up and asked what happened to my bag, i just thought, nothing here happens as you might plan or think.  We had two vehicles and race through the streets of Port au Prince.  We stopped at the palace to take a few pictures and immediately we were approached by merchants with stuff to sell.  Kelly ended up buying a painting!  We were only out of the van for 30 seconds!

The guys were pretty quiet as we drove, there is a lot to take in along the road.  As we left the city, you cant acctually tell where it ends but the number of trees goes up.  It is quite different here than at the other base I was at in March 2010.  We have Judd and Peggy living in this house and also one of Judd's workers from Quito, Manuel, and another spanish family from Ecuador.  I get to use spanish here, it is awesome!  Actually, just because I am in a tropical location, my spanish comes out naturally, I wish some french would come out...that would be more usefull!


The next post is from Dave Fidler:

Sunday Feb 19th, 2012
The days start early here we set the alarm for 6 am, yes 6am.  Peggy our gracious host here at the house had a wonderful breakfast for us and we enjoyed the meal on the upper level balcony.  It's Sunday so like you we are off to church, but this will be in a Haiti church, where the local language of creole is spoken.  But the icing on the cake is that we get to escort the children of the Lamb Centre orphange to church.  Nervously, 10 guys drive up to the home where the kids are staying, and are greeted by the Asst Director Caralou ( I hope I spelt that right).  He invites us in and the kids are waiting behind the compound walls....Wow is all I can say as we come in they all rush out at us and with smiling faces they pick us at random some girls some boys.  When I say picked us I mean hug us, grab our arms and put them over their shoulders, they are so beautiful, loving and innocent.  After a few minutes of awkward conversation because we don't speak much French, all we could give them was a loving touch or smile and this is reflected back to us ten fold by these children. 

We leave compound, and like a conga line we head down the road with the kids to the church.  As we approach the church, an over whelming chorus of voices can be heard praising the Lord with joyous music.  We enter the church and are greeted as guest and seated near the front.  Pastor Kelly is asked to make a opening remark and greeting from Cornerstone to the congregation, what an honour.  The service was about an hour and half and the best part from my perspective was listening to the people sing, all 200+ of them in such sweet sound God must have been smiling.  This was a communion Sunday and we shared this moment with our brothers and sisters in Haiti.  After the service the Pastor invited us to have a Coke with him and Pastor Kelly was blessed again by being able to pray a blessing over their Pastor.  The kids had to return to their compound and left cheerfully with the staff.  All of us agree this was the biggest high for our day. 

Sundays are an off day for Samaritian's Purse and we were offered to go to SP other location at Jack's Beach about 20 min down the highway from us.  The compound is located on the ocean so we spent the day in the ocean floating and swimming.  Keith even took his first plunge into sea water.  After an hour of that we head down the beach for a long walk together to explore the coast line, and give Mark an opportunity to explore.  As we returned we had about an hour before heading back as was able to sit down and talk with SP staff about what they are doing in Haiti and themselves for SP.  They are inspiring people who have such passion for missions they have committed themseleves for many years of service all over the world. 

We head back to the house and Peg and Judd (our house mom and dad) had arranged for us to go to a traditional Haitian resturant.  So we head out again, and took along a special guest with us.  The home here has guards, one of whom Pastor Kelly got to know and he invite Mackenzie to join us.  He is a Haitian man who lived in the US for 18 years but came back to live in his home country and survived the earthquake and is best described as big cuddly bear of man.  In an open aired resturant we ate some fish, chicken, and beef, awseome rice and potato dishes and a very spicy coleslaw.  One of the more interesting items on the menu we had was conch shell muscle..taste like chicken, best of all for all that food we only paid $13 including a tip.  The food was different, but so tasty.

Well the day has to come to an end and when we get back to the compound, Judd groups us together and we have a time of sharing our highs and lows for the day and following this, we find ourselves ministering to Judd and praying over him...its amazing how God put you in the weirdest places for His purposes.  Tomorrow we start the task of working,  which will be new for most of us but we go knowing that God is using us in this small way to bolster His love and message here in Haiti

Blessing from Haiti


This next one is from Rick Reimer....his first reactions that he emailed to his wife Laura:

hi,  this is sure third world at its finest.  it seems like the whole economy is performed at the roadside in dirty little stalls.  infrastructure is spotty at best with power outages , no apparent garbage collection, only the main roads are paved in the country and the rest are made of rubble. we've got a guy guarding our solid metal driveway gate armed with a shotgun so you dont have to worry about our safety.  everyone we've met is really great and the director is an amazing guy.  tomorrow we start work.  sounds like we'll do some maintenance and improvements at the orphanage as the new structure has a lot of new concrete that has to cure before we can do any more building.  went to church and the beach today and went out for supper.