Sorry it has been so long, but we have had weather conditions that have turned off our internet!
So here is an update on our past couple of days....
Day 4, Sunday:
- We were able to sleep in past 4 am!! Praise God!! We all jumped in the bus after breakfast and visited JeanJean and Kristie's church. It was so amazing to see the church packed and everyone praising and worshiping God! We had the opportunity to sing "Blessed Be Your Name" to the congregation and listen to JeanJean preach on John 3:14-21.
- The Haitians hold the Sabbath as a day of rest therefore we had a wonderful and hilarious time cooking our meals for the day. Jim and Stan did a great job cutting fruit while Dana and Jen cooked pasta for lunch.
- In the afternoon, we went to the second church service where Ryan had the opportunity to preach. He spoke on Isaiah 6 and what it meant to meet God in his way instead of our own where we look upwards, inwards, and outwards.
- That night, our group had an amazing night with worship and testimonies. It started with words of affirmation towards our fellow group members. This led into a time of testimonies by Jim, Lauren, and Stan. This night served as a break through moment for our group. For the first time, we all cried and held each other and shouted out praise and cries to God. This night was all about God and it was refreshing to see what singing to God really looks like.
Day 5, Monday,
- Right after breakfast we had a chance to hand out clothing to the mens and women's choir. From there, we walked to the market place. Since this is the only time where the Haitian community can come and buy food and supplies for the week, it was a awesome experience to see how they lived and interacted with each other. There was everything there, from beans and rice to hair products and shoes, to an animal market. Yes, there were men selling cows, donkeys, goats, horses, etc!! Also, we met at the bread bakery where we were able to try fresh baked bread! SOOOOO GOOD!!!!!
- On the way back we stopped by the ram pump, which is the water project made by UCI... United Christians International. This pump is gravity fed which means they do not need any electricity to supply water.
- After lunch, we had a VBS for the kids. We put together a skit that talked about how God fed the Israelites after they came through the red sea! Then we had a time of arts and crafts! Everyone on the team loved this time of playing with the kids and being able to serve them! They were so excited and happy to make things and receive shoes and clothes.
- After VBS, we hand delivered rice and beans to the poorest part of the community. Some amazing stories came out of this! One being, Dana had slipped in the mudd and the family she was on her way to bring food to brought out a tub of water and washed her feet for her. This was such an amazing act of humility and showed our group the love and thankfulness the Haitians have.
- After dinner, we worked as a team to pull wire through the trenches we have been digging! This turned into a really cool team bonding experience where we could all have a chance to help in this awesome project of supplying 8 times the amount of electricity through the campus than they currently have. Side Note, the girls decided to randomly start an arm wrestling tourney out by the trenches. Ryan and Dave's arms served as the table and Jen, being the personal trainer that she is, dominated all the girls!
- Later that evening, we were again blessed with an ex-witch doctors' testimony. His name is Zourel, and he is such an amazing man of God now. His story startes when JeanJean had overheard a Vodoo ceremony and decided to go out there and talk to them. When JeanJean arrived, he saw about 50 men all drunk and worshiping Voodoo. They looked to him and asked why he was there. JeanJean shared about God and bluntly told them the good news of following Christ along with the bad. After this, the drums stopped and everyone left the ceremony. Zourel was one of the men there and the next day came to JeanJean and wanted to know more about God. About 5 weeks later, Zourel accepted Jesus into his life and completely left Voodoo! PRAISE GOD!!!! Also that night, we listened to our brother and sister in Christ, Karen and Carl, share their testimonies with the group! Again we were blessed by God's presence and grew closer as a group!
Day 6, Tuesday:
- Started the morning as a work day immediately following breakfast, where part of our group went to pour cement and assist in the housing project UCI is currently working on, part of us worked on trenching, and Ryan speaking at UCI's pastors' conference.
- The group pouring cement got to work on a house with five rooms, and got to pray with the woman who was going to be living there. The men (and Karen) back at the compound continued to trench, and Ryan says of the pastors' conference, "It was super humbling. These pastors... some of them walked 11 hours to get there."
- After lunch, though we heard the thunder rolling closer, we hopped on the bus with the youth group and made our way to the marketplace to pick up and burn trash. Unfortunately, the rain pulled in a lot more quickly than we expected, so our time was cut short and we jumped on the bus to get back before the roads were too muddy to drive in. Another unfortunate circumstance (I guess it depends on how you look at it) was that the bus was too heavy to make it all the way up a steep incline with all the rain. Therefore, the majority of us got off the bus and ran the rest of the way in the most crazy downpour of rain EVER!! We couldn't see, like, more than 5 feet in front of us, were slippin' in the mud everywhere... but it was fun. Cold, but fun. Despite the thunder and lightning, the boys decided to play a pick-up basketball game with the youth group boys. This was SO funny to watch, because the way that they did teams was shirts and skins. Obviously, our boys being the skins. We got pictures. They'll be up later.
- In the evening, we had another powerful and amazing night with God through the testimonies of Tim and Emma. Emma is our youngest girl here at the age of 15, and has a heart of gold. Keep her in prayer, that she will draw closer and closer to God in these next couple of days. We were reminded of how personal and how much protection God puts over his children, and once again were blown away by the power of God's divine appointment and timing.
And that was last night. This morning we got to slow down and spend an hour on our own just in prayer, spending time with our personal Savior, and now we're gonna go back to work. Hopefully we'll be able to blog again before we leave to Puerto Rico, but if not... We all love you. Keep our group in prayer in these next couple of days. We look forward to seeing you at the airport on Sunday!
Love to you.
Lauren & Karen
Last night we were blessed with the joy of sharing music with the local men's choir and another local church's choir. The church choir had walked 9 miles (women in heels and beautiful white dresses) from the other side of town just to share their gift of music with us, and there's something about hearing people sing to Jesus in a different language that is simply beautiful. We got to experience the uniting element about music that draws us together as brothers and sisters in Christ in a way that penetrates straight to the heart. The men's choir that's been around for more than 30 years was led by one of the most passionate and joyful men we'd ever seen with the BIGGEST smile and loudest clap, accompanied by an accordian player and 22 other men from ages 8 to 75... It was amazing. Both choirs shared six songs each, many of which were composed by the leaders. We were able to share a few songs of our own, serve them with snacks/drinks, and give them another set of shirts for their choirs.
It was such a reflection of the beauty of the body of Christ last night. One thing that Dave shared near the end was that though we may never see one another again, we have the hope and faith in our Lord and Savior, giving us heaven to look forward to so we can sing and praise God together, in one language, for eternity.
We finished off the night singing Amazing Grace together, each in our own dialects, and then joining hands and praying together. Not gonna lie -- brought me to tears.
Yep, and that was last night.
(Praise the Lord.)
Hey hey hey! Karen and Tim here (:
So we got up before the crack of dawn at 4:30am this morning (for some, 2 days in a row) for a great opportunity to see the countryside of Pignon, Haiti. We took a hike (about 3 miles each way) through corn fields in the mountains to visit a bat cave. The views were spectacular and in terms of difficulty, it was definitely… not Rancho San Antonio. We basically had to make our own trail and all got pretty cut up, but it was SO much fun.
When we entered the bat cave, there was a snake hanging, we could hear the bats hissing, and the rocks were ridiculously slippery. We thought it was slippery due to mud, but what was actually causing it was a layer of bat guano (poop) over everything. Once inside, with our lights we could see thousands of bats swarming around in circles, eating the bugs by our heads. We also got a chance to check out this corner of the cave that had remains of voodoo sacrifices of animals. This was when the more adventurous group went further down into the bat cave and found they had to cross a river of bat guano. Luckily, no one fell in, or else they would’ve had bat guano up to their waist… Anyway, we went back down the mountain on a different route, and some of us got some fresh mangos from a tree to snack on. (The mangos here are aaaaaaaaamazing.) It was incredible.
After lunch (and a nap), we had a chance to sit down with the board of UCI (United Christians International) and hear about their vision for their organization. It was refreshing and encouraging to see their passion for the glory of God in Haiti and their excitement for the future. God is working through their ministry in such powerful ways and the impact they’ve made on this community in the past 5 years alone is just the beginning of what is possible here through God’s people and His grace.
After the meeting, we were supposed to accompany the youth group to clean up the marketplace, but the weather made it so that it wasn’t possible to go. It had started pouring, so instead we had a chance to distribute clothes and shoes to the youth group. The kids were so polite and excited about it, and seeing the joy on their faces as they got to pick out their new clothes and shoes was, as MasterCard (or Jim) says, priceless. Dave even got some of the boys to get ties to wear to church tomorrow.
JeanJean then took us down the road to a sugar cane press. We learned about how they took raw sugar cane and ran it through a homemade press consisting of a large wooden crank and two oxen in order to produce sweet sugary syrup.
We could go on forever, but… Today was awesome, it’s time for dinner, keep praying for God to move, aaaaand that’s it!
P.S. The food here is BOMB.
Hello to All,
This is Lauren here to tell you all about our Day 2 here in Pignon, Haiti.
First off, I want to talk about some things that we did last night :) When we arrived, our amazing cooks had a meal for us which was awesome because we were famished after our journey to Pignon. They cooked goat meat and plantains along with fresh baked bread. YUMMY! After our meal, we had an orientation meeting with the Mompremiers and they gave us a tour of their land. Let me share.... not at all what I expected. We heard that God was doing amazing things to the compound, but they have a beautiful home along with a worship center, nutrition center right there on their land. Also, they are in the process of building a school, which will be ready for the school year in September, and thanks to team 1, there is a newly constructed basketball court. There is a garden and soon to be water tower where the communities around the compound can come and get fresh water! About an hour later, we helped the nutrition center hand out food rice to the kids. They were so thankful and thrilled to eat food!!
That night after dinner, we gathered together and had an amazing worship night. Ryan led with the guitar and we just sang song after song. Tracy and Dave were the first ones to tell their testimonies to the team which were so encouraging. It was awesome being together as a team for one purpose... to honor and glorify our God! Also last night, Ryan and Dave encountered one of Haiti's native creatures.... TARANTULA!!! We were all about to go to bed and all of a sudden we hear screaming for the guy's room! Apparently, Dave yelled at Ryan when he saw a very furry tarantula climb on to Ryan's bed and on to his pillow! Jean Jean came in with a broom and heroically got the spider out of the room! Whew... What a day!!!
Okay, now let me just say this has been such a great day full of activities and some awesome times with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. This morning we had the option of waking up at 4 A.M. and attending a morning worship and service with some of the Haitians in the nearby community. I along with Jennifer, Bonnie, Dana, Palusa, Ryan, Stan, and Tim all sat and listened to the Haitians sing at the top of their lungs to God! Seriously, what I have noticed so far is that worship for them is a constant, ongoing act. When they sing it is loud for everyone to hear! When they work, it is with passion! It is so encouraging and amazing to see! After our church service this morning, we met for breakfast and got ready for our first day of work!
The tasks today....One- digging trenches for the electrical wires which was handled by Carl, Jim, Stan, and Ryan. These guys we have to give props to because they planned the whole layout around the compound and started to dig in hot hot weather!! Good job guys!! Two- laying out concrete and painting doors for for this new house. Here, Bonnie, Jennifer, Catherine, Tracy, Dana, Brandy, and myself painted and played with the kids! The guys, Tim, Dave, and Kris helped out the local guys shovel and carry the concrete! Our two translators, Crazy Animal and Frito were so nice to break the communication barrier with us and the kids! Thanks guys!
3- Organizing and laying out all the donated clothes and shoes for the distributions! Props to Karen, Leslie, Taylor, and Palusa for organizing that for the kids! There will be more to come on how the distributions went!
Well, dinner is almost on the table so that is all I can do for now. There is still so much to say but we will save some stuff to tell in person! I do have a prayer request at the moment though... please pray for physical healing since she has been feeling sick since we have arrived. We have been praying here for her and she is doing better today which is a praise!!
Until next time.... Lauren
So hey this is Tuba Tim signing in for first post of the Team 2 Haiti trip. I'm pretty sure that words won't even come close to being able to describe what we've experienced so far, but I will try. We started out arriving 6 hours early to the San Jose Airport in order to make sure all of our bags got through. This gave us a great chance to hang out with each other, play the name game (at which Ryan excelled) and even learn to play spades with Carl's oh so exciting "electrical supply special edition" playing cards. The rest of our flights were uneventful, save for a few noteworthy things worth mentioning:
-In Miami I cut ahead of Selena Gomez (yes, THAT Selena Gomez) boarding onto our plane to Miami and I didn't even know it was her and that she was on our flight untill after.
-Jim made us a mascot out of a paper bag that would make Jim Henson jealous.
-Tracy survived without any meltdowns .
-Ryan did work and got us 7 carts for our luggage in Port Au Prince for $14 instead of $40.
-Kris was a trooper and flew with all of our luggage by himself on the last leg of our flight in the smallest plane ever.
Upon reaching Port au Prince we were greeted with our first major challenge as the airplane company that was supposed to charter us told us that we had never paid. Our fearless leader Davey came through big as he worked the counter with Jim and Ryan. Our amazing girls at one point all gathered around for an intense prayer session in the middle of the busy airport. Needless to say God (and Jim's Visa Card) came through big in the end and we were finally on our way to Pignon.
Upon touching down in the grassy field that serves as Pignon's Airport, we were greeted by an amzing welcoming committee made up of Jon Jon, Kristie, and a bunch of wide eyed children who seemed just as curious to see us as we were them. We then all piled onto the school bus, or, the Mompremier-mobile, and headed down the road to what will be our new home for over the next week.
Ok I've written enough for now, probably too much...untill next time...
This is it
We are leaving in two hours to head to the airport. This will be the final blog from Haiti. We cannot wait to see our families and friends, yet we will miss the new family and friends we will leave behind.
Yesterday was finishing project day. Jason and Amy painted lines on the basket ball court. The basket ball court is done and Pastor Larry, Donovan, Peter, and Jason played a few games with the boys. Others help put the roof on the house that was in need. Brittany, Karen, Kat, JC, Jessica and Aissa all washed the walls in the worship center and did some much needed painting. Debbie A., Debbie B., Pat and myself organized the church library and got things ready for when the school year starts. Kim, our artist in the group, painted a mural on the roof of the bus.
We had an chance to help the local community. They had a market, just for us, where we could buy hand made things to bring home. At night the boys youth choir came to sing for us.
To all who have been praying, THANK YOU! God is doing great things in Haiti. We will be heading to Miami and debriefing before we come home to San Jose. We will not be returning the same way we left. God has done a work in our hearts and we need time to refelect before we go back to our everyday lives.
We are praying for you. We know God will use you in a mighty way. We trust Him to keep you close as a team and to God Himself. Thank you for your servant hearts.
Praise God for letting us see another day that He has made. Yesterday we went to the weekly farmers market. Quite the experience. You have vendors on both sides of a dirt road. You will see rice next to soap for sale. You will also see goats, cows, donkeys, pigs and chickens. They had a food court of people cooking so you could eat while you were shopping. They had a bakery where you could buy hot bread on the spot; many of us did. You spend much of your time trying to stay clear of animals and motorcycles, yet we complain when there are more than 3 people ahead of us at Safeway:)
We met with the UCI board members yesterday and that was eye opening. The board shared with us what the ministry vision is and how they are going about accomplishing it. How they are empowering people by partnering with them and not just giving hand outs. They shared how God is their sole provider; there is no government assistance. We also learned that the Hation government has sold it's rights to it's natural resources and therefore exporting is not an option.
Many of us left the meeting with heavy hearts, because we see how God is using UCI and how this ministry is making a difference in the life of the people, but sad because so much more could be happening, but the government is a stumbling block. Our team prayer is that God would change the heart of the government officials in Haiti. Despite what is going on in the government our trust is in God and we know that He is in control.
Brother Bob did devotion last night and he shared from 2Timothy 8-12. He reminded us that though we do not have all the answers and often wonder about things going on around us, that it is not about circumstances, but about who we put our trust in. OUR TRUST IS IN GOD ALONE!
Today we will work on a home that needs roof and we will go to another local market. This market will benefit the local community where we have been staying.
We are almost home, see you all soon.