Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Badio House

First Christian Church had sent money to Lifeline in order for a house to be built for the Badio family. Initially we thought we would be building it but that was not what God had planned. We asked if we could see his house since we can't participate in building it and Gretchen made arrangements for Bobby to drive us there in his truck. All of us piled in the extended cab four-wheeler. I am so glad we were able to ride in the front with air conditioning. We left Grand Goave and turned into what looked like a gravel driveway. The terrain was rough and bumpy. It is very dry and tropical but not rainy like Honduras. The mountains have been stripped of their trees; which allows the rain to take the soil down to the ocean. Hurricane Noel went through last October, three months ago and caused mud slides that wiped out bridges, roads and some houses. I am sure the road we were traveling on was better before. Surely it was. But now the land was dry and hard. Several times Bobby had to switch over to 4 wheel drive to make it up the mountain.

The Haitians have harvested so many of their trees and the mountains are bare and not plush at all. Banana and mango trees are abundant but trees for houses do not exist. What trees they do have left they burn to make charcoal. It's a long process that still has me wondering how they do it. Somehow they burn the tree and cover it with dirt and then burn it some more. It smells horrible.

The Haitians are very resourceful people. There is an electric line that runs through the area. The government provides it for a fee. The Haitians can't afford to pay for the electricity so they slice into the wire and take it to their homes. Many have been electrocuted trying to find a way to give light to their dark world. I guess the government looks the other way and doesn't turn the power off.

As we drove through the countryside we asked Bobby lots of questions…I am sure he thought we were quite amusing. We would travel a ways without seeing a single person and then all of a sudden there would be a man with two cows. It was like the man popped out of nowhere. Bobby told us that if we were to walk through the mountains in the middle of the night we would probably run into people doing the same thing. The Haitians are scattered all through the forest in little communities.

A small stream of water appeared at the side of the road and we were curious as to where it began. We spotted a few houses and realized we were in a village. Off to the right was a voodoo temple. A young boy was perched in a tree picking mangoes. I thought Bobby had stopped the truck because of the children in the road, but then I saw the concrete blocks being carried to the house where men were working. The village people gathered around to see what we were doing. I asked if I could take their picture and they smiled. They love having their "photo" taken. I wasn't sure if they knew they were looking at themselves in the picture but they recognized the other children with them.

The adults along with the children would giggle at the "photo." Such simple pleasures. Children here laugh and have joy over water, food and dollar toys. Children in the US hate drinking plain water and only want to eat certain food. I guess in reality I am the same way. One sponsor sent her child US$250. That is probably more than her father makes in four months. The average annual income is US$600. That makes me wonder how much I waste on "stuff" that I don't need or even desire. I have been shopping with other ladies and because of their desire for me to buy something, I did. That won't happen again.

The men were working so diligently and it was so hot and dry. Mr. Badio was there putting his sweat equity into his house. We did not know that at the time or we would have talked to him. Glenda did talk to one of the men who was the foreman. He was from the area but had moved to New York and worked there as a taxi cab driver. In New York he began to drink and eventually drank himself out of a job. So he returned to Grand Guave and asked Mr. DeVoe for his job back. Because of the kindness and grace extended to him, he wanted Jesus in his life. WOW!

Friday, December 18, 2009

This morning like every morning, we started out in prayer.  Diane and I went to the rooftop...our favorite place!  You can see the mountains on one side and the ocean on the other.  The morning brings cooler weather and my head doesn't seem as clogged up.  I am so glad my sinuses aren't bothering me as much as I thought they would.  God is so good.


Today we were runners and our job was to greet the children and take them through the checkpoints in order to get their sponsors gifts. If their sponsor didn't send them a gift, money or rice and beans, they were given a pantry gift. So much organization goes into the record keeping which I appreciate. When you send gifts or money you want to make sure your child receives it. So there were several checkpoints to take the child through. My heart went out to those children that didn't get anything from their sponsors. It certainly made me want to do a better job at sending cards and extra gifts to my sponsored child in Guatemala through World Vision.


I took the hand of the next child and their parent and we walked from checkpoint to checkpoint.  I always wonder what they are thinking of me.  Do they see that I want to help them, or do they look at me as someone who is trying to make myself feel better by giving them a handout?  People in America would think that...but the people here seem so pure.  I think the Haitians are thankful for whatever they receive.  One little boy was surprised when he found out that his sponsor had sent him a pair of fun sun glasses.  They were big, bright green plastic glasses that covered most of his small face.  He wore them proudly. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The church in the back country of Haiti

My first church service in the back country of Haiti

Tonight we piled in the school bus and were told we were going to a small church in the country for their service. We were also told to take flash lights as we would have to walk a small distance. It was very dark and the road was so narrow. The air seemed to be sucked out of the bus and I prayed my asthma would not act up. I sat near the window and every now and then a tree limb would brush past making a screeching noise. My mind raced a little thinking of things that could happen in the middle of the back country where there are no street lights, no businesses, and no gas stations….nothing. What would we do if I had an asthma attack and my inhaler didn't help? What would we do if we were attacked? What would we do if another vehicle wanted to pass us?

Francois, our driver drove slowly and carefully pulled over into a clearing, turning the bus at an angle where the headlights shone on a path leading into the village. It was so dark and even though we had flashlights I could not make out a path. All of a sudden I saw a set of white teeth. The children had come out to meet us. Then we were told to turn off our flashlights. I am not really sure why. There were a few light bulbs hanging from what I thought were trees. The church was made from poles covered with banana leaves. A single light bulb danced on a wire above the podium where the preacher delivered his message. The Haitians welcomed us with open arms. I must admit I was a little nervous with these people I didn't know and the people I couldn't understand.

The service had already begun before we arrived and the people were singing their hearts out to the Lord. Several of the Haitians got up and offered their seats to us. We were sitting so close and it seemed there was not enough air in the small church for everyone. I had to pray not to panic but to stay calm and breathe. I sat on the last row and could hear the Haitians behind me praying and talking. The grass roof was beautiful, the dirt floor looked velvety and the hardness of the seats reminded me of the hard life these wonderful Christians were suffering. I was fortunate to have a seat.

Even though I couldn't understand the words to the song, I knew they were praising God and clapping loudly to the beat of the drums. It was very rhythmic. All of the blancs (white Americans) quickly caught on and the small village church exploded in praise. I wondered what the heavenly realm was seeing. Here Christ followers were together in spirit worshiping the Almighty.

I turned on my camcorder just to get the message and music. I felt odd videotaping the church service but we do it at home. Gary interpreted the message for us and what a blessing it was. The message was God loves us all, the white Americans and the Haitians. God made us all. He loves us all! Then we sang in Creole and English…. "Lord I Lift Your Name on High, Lord I love to sing Your praises, I'm so glad You're in my life, I'm so glad You came to save us. You came from heaven to earth, to show the way, from the earth to the grave, my debt to pay. From the grave to the sky, Lord I lift Your Name on high." It was awesome.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

First Time To See A White Person Would Be Scary!

A toddler came with her mother to pick up her pantry gift and she started crying…well, maybe wailing. I was startled that this little thing was in such distress. Fear was all over her face and the interpreters quickly explained that she thought Bertie was a ghost. This was the first time she had seen a white person who also happened to have white hair. I guess that would be frightening. But oh how happy she was as she was carrying her doll home.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shoes Needed!

Today was a hard day; very hot plus we were working in the pantry in the sun. Our job was to sort toys and hand out the packets to children that did not have a sponsor. They would get a packet containing an outfit, a toy, toothbrush, hygiene items, a Barbie doll or stuffed animal.

Most of the girls were very small and petite, so what a ten year old in the US would wear would fit a twelve-fourteen year old in Haiti. Although I was built like that when I was younger, always wearing clothes too big

There was a box that had been shipped and delayed in port costing Lifeline $40 a day and since our group (the six of us and Judy from Iowa) were called the "Prayers" we decided it was our job to start praying for that box to be found. It was full of packets that we needed for the children. Later that night we received a call that it was found in Port-au-Prince and would be brought to the compound just in time to hand gifts out to the boys on Friday. Bertie, (Gretchen's sister-in-law) was in charge of the pantry. When we told Bertie that Diane was a relatively new Christian she was so excited and said God answered our prayer to show Diane prayer works. It was so cool.

We were working next to the pavilion where children were lining up to receive 'newer' shoes. I say 'newer' because most of the shoes were used but still in good condition. I have never seen children patiently waiting for hours, sitting on hard benches in the heat and still have smiles on their faces. As I looked down at their feet, some of their little toes were sticking out due to the shoes being too small or the shoes being totally worn out. A volunteer walked over to the child and then took their hand and guided them to an open chair. She would then remove their shoes and socks and measure their feet. A runner would then go through the hundreds of shoes piled on the table to find an exact fit. Tennis shoes were a big hit and some tears were shed when they didn't get what that had dreamed of.

It was heartbreaking when we did not have shoes for every child. Some had to leave with nothing or instead of tennis shoes they had to take flip flops which really don't help when you walk miles to get to school.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Why is there so much poverty?

As we walked back to the compound I just wanted to understand, understand why there is so much poverty. It is nothing they did, for they did not ask to be born into this way of life. I did not ask to born an American but I am so grateful to have been born to wonderful parents in a country where they could start their own business and provide well for their six children. How I wish every parent could provide for their little ones.

I have been writing in my journal holding a small flashlight sitting on the top bunk of the dorm bed I was assigned. The fans are humming and a gentle breeze flows through. And I feel cramped. Shame on me. Tamara and Johanne live in a one room house. The bed Wanda’s class purchased for Tamara is the only thing in the two room house. Johanne when asked if she got the bed, smiled from ear to ear and said yes, yes. Oh what I take for granted.

Before letting Bhen go on his way, we prayed for him to be a bold witness for Christ when he preaches on Sunday; at all times he preaches. Lord, make him a bold witness! Lord please bless Bhen and his family. Thank You Lord for the ways You have moved in my life. I didn’t do anything to be born to Carl and Helen. But WOW! What fantastic parents they are. They clothed me and my 5 siblings. They worked hard on the farm and at building houses. They always took me to church and they taught me how to share. I watched how my mother took food to the family that lived in the woods beyond our house. She never made a big deal about it, in fact, I learned about it when I was a teenager and she needed me to take the food because my little brother was an infant.

The Haitian children see how the missionaries take care of them and they in turn take care of others.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our interpreter, Bhen, was an extraordinary young man. He was thirty three, married with two children. He is studying to be a preacher. In fact he was to preach on Sunday at the Lifeline church. We would be attending. He helped us as we met with the sponsored children. Wanda and her school children sponsor Tamara by sending her thirty dollars a month and sending her toys, clothes, school supplies and food.

Meeting Tamara and her sister, Johanne, was one of the highlights of the trip. What a beautiful teenager Johanne is. Her ebony skin and her very detailed hair style made her stand out among the rest. Her spirit was gentle and kind and she accompanied her sister to the compound because her mother was working. They have no father in the home and their older brother is twenty one. We asked if we could visit their home and they were delighted to show us the way. We did ask how far they were from the compound. From the story Judy Rand had told us about her trip to see her sponsored child we thought it would be wise to have an idea of how much time it would take. Judy’s interpreter said it wasn’t far but after walking three hours over the mountainous terrain, she thought she would have a heart attack. Then she had to walk three hours back to the compound. Plus, she did not know if she was in a safe environment.

The girls lead us down a narrow dirt path through a small neighborhood of houses that were put together with twigs, cement and patched roofs. There is no running water or electricity. There are windows with no glass and doors made of shower curtains. Little children ran around with no clothes on. We passed a toddler with a shirt on but no pants. He reminded me of my grandson, Hayden. I am sure he was being potty trained and there was no use to put underpants on him. Once in awhile I would get a whiff of fresh urine and be reminded of my grandparent’s outhouse on the farm.

Just as I was getting used to seeing people going nowhere and living in despair, we walked by a broken down hut where a woman was sitting in her chair reading a book as she watched the food cooking on the outdoor stove. A few houses later was a man listening to music as time passed by.
When we made it to Tamara and Johanne’s house we were greeted by several of their relatives. A man was holding what appeared to be an infant of no more than three months while several toddlers were watching us with anticipation. The father didn’t care if we took pictures and Diane went over and asked to hold the baby. It was so precious. When the American missionaries visit from Lifeline they bring gifts of food and clothing and more important to the children are toys.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Haitian children love to go to school.

When we got back to the compound we were able to go through the school. Starting at the school kitchen where three ladies were working hard getting lunch ready for the children and ending walking through the school to the playground. Lunch looked like a thick yellow soup that would be poured into the bowls the children brought from home. The children crowded the window and gave us big smiles. Some sat patiently on the ground talking, laughing and you would not know that for many this may be the only meal they would receive for the day.

The school was an open air building; literally. It was basically a roof over 4 poles with hard benches and a blackboard. And the children didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact they seemed thrilled to be at school and eager to learn how to read and write. The girls had green bows in their hair and both the boys and girls wore uniforms. They carried book bags just like the school children at home except of course, they each had their own bowls for lunch.

Our tour ended at the toddler nutrition clinic on Lifeline’s compound. The parents brought their toddlers to the pavilion and listen to a devotion. Peggy, the only African American with the group, was a beautiful woman who spoke to the Haitians about God’s love. She used John 3:16 and Wanda and Glenda did the hand signals they taught our children. The children sat so still and listened. Then the awaited moment came when the parents took their empty buckets and stood in line for what looked like porridge. It was a thick soup filled with nutrients. Before the mother could take her child and leave the sight of the missionaries two things would happen. First, the child had to eat a good portion of the soup; it was for their benefit. As soon as they left the pavilion they joined the rest of the families and sat underneath the tree sharing the food.

Second, they were prayed over. It didn’t matter that they did not know what we were saying for they understood "in the name of Jesus". I had to hold back the tears. There were times I didn’t know what to pray or say. I felt incapable of knowing what their needs were. I prayed they would know the love of Christ. Now I know why Paul prayed for us to know the love of Christ…some earthly needs may never get met. Some will go hungry night after night. Some will die from malnutrition. Malnutrition, when there is a food surplus in the United States. WHY!!?? Maybe this will get me fired up to do something about it.

A young mother stopped me and wanted me to take a picture of her two little boys. They each had on white sock caps, which surprised me because it was so hot. Then she pulled off her youngest son’s hat and his air was orange. I really didn’t know until later that the little guy was malnourished and that is why is hair had turned orange.

After the toddlers were fed their parents had to attend a class where a local nutritionist taught them about the feeding their children. Most do not know their children need food regularly or if they nurse them the child rarely gets the nutrients because the mother’s can’t produce enough milk because of their own malnourished bodies. There was a very young mother who brought her twin infants to the clinic. The nurses were teaching her how to feed them. She looked young but so did the nurse and she was thirty three and just getting married. Diane picked up one of the twins. It was so awesome to see Diane’s heart.

At lunch, I felt bad eating so much food. It just doesn’t seem fair that I should have plenty, while those around me have so little. I have some extra weight because of eating too much and moving too little. I noticed the other missionaries were in the same boat. There were a few ladies that were thin, but not many. In Haiti if someone comments on how thin you are, it is not a compliment. If you are heavy, you are blessed.

Monday, May 4, 2009

More on Grand Guave

We meandered through the dirt streets and falling down houses and just when I was convinced no one must have any money, we would stumble upon a very nice house, it was weird. It was out of place. We were told those were the houses of the missionaries.

There was a group of children on a porch of a house that appeared to be at the end of an alley. Diane took Fred, the stuffed pink flamingo Jan asked us to take to Haiti, up to the children. It was a good opener especially since they couldn’t understand us nor us them. Diane gently rubbed Fred across the face of one little boy, saying “Soft.” They seemed to catch on rather quickly and smiled. So I gave it a try and approached a little girl. Children love toys and it was easy to make a new friend. I asked them if I could take their photo and of course they wanted me too. They love seeing themselves.

Gretchen stopped several times and prayed with women whom she knew from church. A blind older woman called out to Gretchen. She was having health problems and Gretchen being a Registered Nurse and director of Lifeline, gave the woman advice. Then she prayed for her. Another time, a woman was making what looked like potato patties and was cooking them outside on a grill. She was preparing them to sell. Gretchen stopped and asked the woman why she had not been in church lately. The lady smiled a pretty smile as if she was happy that someone noticed she was missing. She promised to be there the following Sunday.
We passed the local bakery. Wow, is all I can think to say. Not wow in the sense of it was great, but wow in the sense it was difficult to believe people actually ate something that was made in this barn. Sweat from the bakers, fell into the dough and acting as if this was just normal, the men didn’t stop to wipe their brows. Gretchen said the bread was very good. I just couldn’t imagine eating it.

A young man stopped and greeted us in English. He had graduated from Lifeline school and was in college. He was studying to be an eye doctor. It was rather surprising to find this very well educated and well dressed young man in the village. I soon discovered there are several men that are being educated in order to help their community. This young man was also a translator for the women missionaries and had a craft booth where I purchased some souvenirs to remind me of Haiti.

The Catholic Church stood stately among the ruins and beckoned me to take pictures. I could feel the presence of the Almighty. A school was attached to the church where several thousand children were being served. The hospital was more of the size of a clinic. People were sitting patiently waiting to be helped. The banks were not banks but lotteries. The hair salon looked just like ours and there were several kindergartens brightly painted and welcoming the children in.

We came across two boys playing soccer. The little guy was born with a birth defect and his legs never grew but that didn’t seem to stop him though as he dribbled well passed the bigger and stronger player. Both stopped for a photo and gave us big smiles.

Even though times are tough in Haiti there was still construction taking place. We saw several men building a block house or business. It was hot and they had on long sleeved shirts. We passed a hair salon and a few small stores. The most colorful building was the kindergarten school.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Our tour of Grand Guave, Haiti

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Morning came quickly and Diane and I met on the rooftop for prayer. She wanted to pray for us to accept the fact that we were not going to build James Peter’s house as we thought we were. The news was discouraging and some in our group told us that was the only reason they agreed to come. Our leader, felt like she had let us down and she was concerned about handling the situation in a godly way. Yes, we were disappointed but…God is in control.

Today after breakfast we had a devotional about Rahab, the Harlot. Ruth Ann is a wonderful teacher and I tried to focus on the lesson but it was difficult when the beautiful sky was beckoning me to look up. You could hear the birds singing and the view of the mountains was breathtaking. After the ending prayer the newcomers were going on a little walk.

Gretchen gave us an interesting tour of this little village that time had forgotten. It truly seemed as if we were in Biblical times. There were ditches on either side of the street to catch the rain water. During this visit Haiti was very, very dusty and dry. Rain would have been very welcomed. Although just two months ago, Hurricane Noel caused mud slides and did considerable damage.

As we walked through Grand Guave it was obvious that in spite of their living conditions, they still had a joy that was noticeable. We began our journey to the left of the compound as we meandered through the cemetery. Haitians spend more money on the monuments for the dead than they do for the houses they live in. You can see the influence of the French Catholics in the architecture of the stone burials. The cross that hangs above the monuments are voodoo signs, not signs of Christianity. A very tiny lady walked through the cemetery and stopped to talk to Madame Bob (Gretchen) and posed for a photo. She was so small and old and very dark skinned. I would venture to say she was close to 90 years old, yet in very good health. Several people passed us on the narrow walkway that led to a main road. We could hear the sounds of a beating drum and monotone chanting coming from a Voodoo service, called a Ra-Ra. The drums were beating loudly and rhythmically and the people were getting louder and louder. Gretchen told us not to take pictures and in fact not to even look toward the building; just walk on by it. We walked down the street a ways and then had to turn around which made us walk by the Voodoo service again. I was not scared but Gretchen did remind us that, “greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.” Before going to Haiti, I thought being anywhere close to a Voodoo service would scare me…it didn’t.

As we walked through the village, women would walk by us carrying baskets upon their heads with bandanas around their foreheads. Some women with small children would walk past us and smile. I had my mind on taking pictures of mothers for the Mother’s Day brunch. Gretchen told us it was ok to take pictures. When I noticed a mother sitting on the side of the street with her child on her lap, I didn’t hesitate I raised my camera and snapped the picture. Just as I heard the click I saw her face in the view finder. She had quickly turned the child’s face away from me. My heart sank as I realized she did not want to be a photo in my collection. Within an instant I knew I had invaded her privacy. She was a mother protecting her child. I put my camera away…at least I didn’t take any more pictures unless I asked first. After I downloaded the picture on my computer I just sat and looked at her facial expression. Her eyes were saying to me, “Yes, I am poor and my child may be hungry but we are not your project. We are real people with real feelings.” Her movements were quick and she was shielding her child. I would not want my child or grandchildren to be photographed by a complete stranger either. But there was something more in her eyes. It was the look of desperation, hopelessness, and discouragement. She was like a mother hen protecting her chick.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The story continues!

Sorry about the time relapse in my story about Haiti. I hope you will continue to check back. Life in Grand Guave seemed so simple and relaxed yet so devastating at the same time. I have a simple life but it seems that my time is used "doing" instead of "being" and I want to change that. But it is a process. There are so many things I can get involved in and without realizing it, I am overloaded. Not to the point that I am fretful or unfruitful but that I am unsure of what God wants me to do. Every now and then I have to remind myself that God has given me a ministry to take care of and I can get sidetracked. Knowing His will for your life should keep you on track but ....I need Him more and more everyday to renew my mind as He shows me life is ever changing but He does not change and His purpose for me doesn't change but how I am to accomplish those goals become more clear and I more focused.

He is the vine and I am a branch who He is pruning daily. Ouch! That hurts, but oh' it feels better too. So I am encouraged once again to start writing and hopefully I will be able to stay on task. I will update my blog, Living Interpretations every Monday and this blog every Tuesday. This will help my readers to know that I will have something new for them. Thank you investing your time reading this blog. Bless you!

The story continues: January 14, 2008

After we found our room and bed assignment we went for a walk around the compound. Gretchen DeVoe along with her husband, Bob, founded Lifeline. He was in Honduras and she was heading up the Ladies Mission Trip in Haiti.

We met in the dining hall and the leaders explained what our devotions would be about…The Bad Girls of the Bible…they had a little skit about Jezebel.

The first day in Haiti was coming to an end as we gathered on the roof of the lodge. It was a beautiful sight with the mountains on one side and the ocean in the distance on the other side. A cool breeze floated around us and I felt safe and secure and ready to tackle any job Lifeline would have for me. I settled in with my new friends in Dorm 1 and climbed up to the top bunk. Number 11.

I read over my diary entries….

I am preparing my heart and my things for my mission trip to Haiti next week; we leave January 14.

The Internet is full of information regarding Haiti- the unrest and poverty. The violence is overwhelming if I dwell upon it but I have given my fears to the Lord. I’m not sure why I am going other than I know God wants me to. There are several reasons I can write out but I feel I won’t truly grasp why until I return.

First of all when Wanda came back from her earlier trip, and showed the church pictures of the Lifeline compound in Haiti and told us about her mission trip, I was interested but not necessarily provoked to go. She showed a picture of James Peter, a little boy our church, First Christian Church of Roanoke Rapids, sponsors. They have been for 7 years. Our body of believers purchased him a bed where now all of the children in his family sleep. We are hoping we can buy them another bed soon.

Yes my heart went out to the Haitians but seeing pictures of the military standing guard quickly reminded me of the turmoil Haiti had and still does. I was proud of Wanda for stepping out of her comfy world and into the world of these hurting people. I wanted to hear more, but I still didn’t feel called, that was in 2005. So I was surprised when she announced she was going again and asked the congregation if there were any ladies that would want to join her and others from around the US to go for a ladies mission trip, that my heart pounded and I said, yes. I sent my money to Lifeline very quickly; almost so fast so I wouldn’t think of reversing my decision.

What also helped me see the need for missionaries was the message, Jonathon Daniels presented at our church. He was born in Africa and now lives in Raleigh with his wife and works here to send support and take people to Zimbabwe on mission trips. He told how his life had been changed because of a missionary. I want to bring love and support to the missionaries that began Lifeline 25 years ago in Haiti. I realize my ten day visit may bring smiles while I help pass out gifts of new shoes, food, clothes and toys, but the real missionaries are those that have their lives to these people.

I wanted to go to Haiti is to learn-learn from them; humility, gratefulness, love, kindness, and compassion. To be willing to die to myself and give up my comforts – running water, healthy environment, and basic needs. A lot of their children die before their fifth birthday. What a tragedy.

My prayer is to be changed and to reflect more of Jesus when I return. I feel God is showing me He is my Protector, my Provider. IN HIM I WILL TRUST.

Someone said, “The will of God will not take you where the grace of God will not protect you.” If I have correctly discerned His will-He will protect me. Lord, plan my path, my steps according to your will. Empty me of anything that does not reflect you. Fill me up with Your Holy Spirit. Make me into a vessel You can use. Watch over my children while I’m gone, especially Timmy. Even though he is 16, I’ve always been at home after school. This may be a time for him to grow too. Watch over Ron; I know he’ll be ok ‘cause He’s alive in You!

January 8, 2008

Yesterday we looked over the 12 duffel bags we will be taking to Haiti. Wow! People have really been generous. We have piles of shoes, baby cereal, toys. What we didn’t have, Wanda, Glenda and I purchased. The three of us had so much fun gathering things. We were in the Dollar Store and I thought I’d split open with laughter. Lots of laughs!!

The women going to Haiti are such great ladies who love the Lord so much. Linda, Glenda, Judy, Diane, Wanda and me. I don’t know Judy or Linda real well but I’m looking forward to our being great friends.

Today I started the day with reading a devotional and listening to some music. My heart was overflowing with God’s love. I practiced “Alabaster Box” just in case I do it for a devotional in Haiti. I felt like I was washing Jesus’ feet with my tears as I cried. Diane might act it out. I hope so.

Jasa emailed me and said to look at 1Timothy 5:22; it said to not lay hands on people too quickly. In the Living Bible it refers to pastors – not quite sure what she meant. But she reminded me of voodoo that’s practiced in Haiti. GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN ME THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD! I know Jasa will be praying for me continually. I also know Susan, Polly, Joyce, Melanie, Nancy, Jen, Kathy, Connie, my family especially mom and dad.

January 10,

We met at Wanda’s tonight for prayer. Each one of us has something going on. Satan wants to get our focus on other things and off of Jesus going to Haiti. We laughed a lot tonight too. Our group has bonded already. It helped me to look at Wanda’s pictures from her last trip. The people have love all over them.

Perfect love cast out all fear. May my love for the Haitians be perfect as to take away all fear. Perfect love~Christ’s love!!

January 11

Gail, my sister-in-law, called me and said in her time with the Lord this morning He told her to call and pray with me over the phone. The verse He gave her for me was Isaiah 41:10 this is also the verse Lisa sent me on December 13th. Gail did not know I was dealing with fear. Isaiah 41:8-10 reads, “But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend. I told you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said ‘You are my servant.’ I have chosen you and have not rejected you so, do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will up hold you with my righteous right hand.”

I am calm, cool and collected because God has had several give me His reassurance. In His word I have found peace. He will be with me.

January 12

In my quiet time with the Lord this morning before my feet over touched the floor; as I lay in my bed, I felt the comfort of God for this trip. He told me to focus on what His love is doing in Haiti through His people. I am to bring back the good news of His miraculous intervention and call to arms, His soldiers. The harvest is plenty – the workers are few. God is shining in Haiti due to darkness that surrounds the island. People are being drawn to the Light. God assured me the man at the airport that will be checking our passports and papers is a believer and I am to smile and know that he is good. God has our path covered with angels.

In my devotional by Kay Arthur, “Lord I Give You this Day” I read from today through the 23rd since I won’t be here. There were so many words from His Spirit to mine. His grace is with me. His unmerited favor; His grace covers me. All that He is, is inside of me. I am a vessel carrying His grace to others.

We are letters of Christ being sent to the Haitians. Love letters of the Good News that Jesus loves them and died for them. We are to show His kindness and love to them. Love letters not written on stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2Corinthians 2:14. WOW---the verse on the page of my diary read, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you…write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3 NIV

God, You are amazing! Yes, I hear You. Your love and faithfulness will never leave me. Your Spirit wrote my love letter form You on my heart forever!

2Corinthians 2:14 “But thanks be to God, who always lead us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.”
Thank You Lord! Let us (me) be the fragrance of life.

January 13, Sunday

At church this morning Mark had the 6 missionary ladies to come forward and the elders led the congregation in prayer for us. In the 2nd service Mark quoted me from Sunday School Class as saying “We are the letters of love from FCC and the people are the envelope and stamps sending us. Without the church we wouldn’t be able to take so many gifts to the Haitians.

I feel “Safe” in the prayers going up on our behalf. I know they will pray for us and I know God hears their prayers. Today I was re-packing again and I checked the American Airlines website again and…I realized I had packed my liquids in a gallon bag not a quart size bag. So I had to rearrange again. I’m so glad I checked it ~ that could have been embarrassing at the airport. Well Lord, I’m ready!

It gave me comfort to read my journal and know that God told me what was going to happen before it happened. I closed my eyes and to my amazement I fell fast asleep!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The men from Lifeline put our duffle bags in the blue bus and the ladies got on the yellow school bus. The United Nations soldiers stood on guard as we left for Grand Guave. Two off duty policeman rode the bus with us. It did make me feel more secure but I was not prepared for what I saw alongside the road. The internet did not capture the true devastation in Haiti. There were small hills of trash next to tables and booths of fresh vegetables and meats. Next to the food was several pigs routing through the trash for food. It was as if a major war had just happened and the bombs had torn apart houses and businesses leaving roofs off and debris everywhere. People were cramped into the streets and buildings; few were smiling. The stench was overwhelming and I wondered what I was doing there.

It’s really hard to explain what I saw. Water is at a premium as there are few “water stations” where they bring their buckets to fill and then carry back to their homes. It is remarkable how they have a hope in their eyes and are excited over water. I have to force myself to drink enough water at home to stay hydrated. Most Americans do not know the value of water. To the Haitians it is life. This reminds me of the Samaritan Woman in the book of John. Lord, forgive me when I waste water.

We were told not to take pictures as we rode through Port-au-Prince. In fact, we were told to keep our hands inside the bus. If you had a camera in your hand and it was extended outside the window, chances are it would be taken from you. Of course there were some who couldn’t help themselves and they took pictures. I could see the anger in the faces of the young men as their privacy was invaded. One man banged on the door at the back of the bus. I just happened to be sitting in the back seat and my heart was beating fast and my hands were griping the seat in front of me. I don’t remember how long it took but it seemed like Port-au-Prince just went on and on.

The town of Grand Guave was a miniature Port-au-Prince. Mush less traffic and people, but there was still a lot of trash everywhere with broken down buildings. One big difference was the dirt streets that connected to the main cobblestone avenue. The streets were so narrow I am amazed we could make turns. Finally we reached Lifeline Mission and entered through the guarded gate.

On the compound was a lodge, a beautiful courtyard, a pavilion used as a church, and another pavilion used for distribution of shoes. The medical clinic was on the left along with the clothing store and sewing center. The school consisted of several rooms with no outside walls and hard benches for the children to sit on.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

As I sit on the plane waiting for take-off and filling out the information card. I feel a little queasy. There is a missing person but his bag made the plane. So now we are waiting for them to find the bag. I hope the bag is found quickly and I pray the person is ok. Everyone seems real easy going. Judy seems a little anxious. Lord be with her. The airlines found the 2 bags belonging to the person that did not board the plane. I am glad now since the bags could have been left on purpose. And it might not have been a good purpose.

Last night we gathered in our room and we prayed for a good God trip. We are armor bearers for each other. Diane is my prayer partner and she has been fun. I feel like God is surrounding us and we will walk in His covering. Lord in Your name we ask your angels to surround our plane and take us to the mission field safely. I don’t know what to expect. Sometimes different smells can make me sick or trigger my asthma but…I pray my nose won’t react!!

We landed in a rather small airport and had to exit by stairs instead of the ramps like in the US. I stood in line to show my passport and thought of the stories of travelers being pulled over for inspections. I also remembered the words of the lady in charge; “Don’t talk to anyone. Haitians love to touch. Do not be afraid, just move quickly. If asked to have your bag carried firmly reply, “non merci.” The first man that came up to me and said something I just said ‘non merci.’ Then I realized he was being nice and told me I could get a cart for my bags for $1. He worked for the airlines. I felt ignorant. We lined up and walked out in a single file pulling our luggage behind us. Men were lined up beside us constantly yelling out, “help with bag, yes?”

Monday, March 9, 2009

The sun was shining and there was a feeling of expectancy as we gathered at church to pack up the van and head for the airport. We weighed our duffle bags that had been filled with shoes, baby food, lotion, clothes, toys and all kinds of kitchen gadgets for the Badio family in Haiti. James Peter and his family were having their house built. The children of First Christian Church provided the $3,300 from the Vacation Bible School offering of 2005. The house was unable to be constructed earlier due to flooding and shortage of building supplies. But now the time had come and we were on our way to help. It was truly like birthing a baby. With gifts in tow we were going to meet the family and share in their dream come true.
Wanda, Linda, Judy, Glenda, Diane and I were so excited and yet I was a little apprehensive traveling to this third world country. I had read everything I could find on the internet to prepare me for what I would see in Port-au-Prince.
When we arrived in Miami it was very crowded but not chaotic like I thought it would be. We were able to stay in the airport hotel which enabled us to leave our checked baggage on the plane so we would not have to recheck it in the morning. We met our team member Jud, from Iowa whom Wanda had met in 2005 on a Lifeline work mission to Haiti. She was so interesting! She told us how she went to Taiwan on a 2 week mission trip to an orphanage and ended up staying 7 weeks. The conditions were deplorable and she lost 30 pounds.
Sleep did not come as I tossed about thinking of the danger that could be lurking in Haiti. The State Dept. had a travel warning out, reminding US citizens to take all necessary precautions at Port-au-Prince. In fact it said not to travel there. Sixty Americans had been kidnapped in 2006 and 12 in 2207. The thugs were now kidnapping Haitian children for ransom since the mission organizations refused to pay for missionaries.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

These two beautiful girls became so special to me and one day I hope I can return to Haiti to see them. I was with them just ten days, and they taught me so much about humility and gratitude.
I will start from the beginning and tell how I was prompted to go to Haiti, what my journey was like getting to Grand Gauve and the Lifeline Mission, and the trip home with all the emotions searing my thoughts. I never thought I would look at life so differently but I do...and I am so thankful I was able to meet those two precious children of God.