Heidy takes some really awesome photos.

I don't.

But none the less, our photos are uploaded for the world to see.

And hopefully more will be posted from other members.

Heidi's pics.

Charlie's pics.

But not until we had:

Rode in the back of 2 trucks 4 hours up-country on a rocky dirt road, which they call Hwy 3.
Never before have I seen a highway that runs through two rivers and everyone's okay with that.
This is not to say it was incredibly fun and a gorgeous drive.
It totally was.
My backside was worse for it. Especially considering that when we arrived at the Citadelle, we all rode horses up the mountain to see it.

I won't say much about the much there is to say about the horse/horseman conundrum we all experienced. Only that for a country that struggles to bring in tourists, those guys...not helping. Somebody call PETA.

If you're like me, and you've never pondered the greatest fortification in all of Hispanola, I'll give you the skinny on it. (If you're a history lover like me, you can just click here)
It was built by a crazy general of the Haitian army who was convinced that the French would attack him and he would need protection.
Alot of protection.
So he enslaved many many people to build this huge castle-like structure only to never be attacked and later killing himself.

The best part of the tour was the lack of safety.
In the US or even in Europe, if you visit a major site like this, they'll say you can't go here and you can't touch that, and they'll have all kinds of ropes and guardrails to keep visitors in line.
Not so at the Citadelle!!
All of us could have fallen to our doom several times-- and it was great.

After our full color history lesson, we got back in the truck beds and checked into our hotel in Cape Haitian.

This is what the city really looked like as we drove through town.

And then from out of nowhere, our hotel popped up, that looked like this.

Which to me, was BIZARRE.
And made me feel squidgey.

But I was tired and incredibly dirty, so I just rolled with it. I felt cowboy solidarity that day because I, and everyone else, had never had so much road dirt caked on my face and hair, and eyelashes and braces ever before in my life.

Even though, our shower didn't work and our toilet didn't flush.
No complaints.
I was happy because there was a pool.

Even though, the food took two hours to come out of the kitchen,
No complaints.
I was happy because there was food (in a country which has serious food shortages).

Even though, right after we went to bed, the power went out and the A/C turned off.
No complaints.
Kevin and I had our own room, our own separate beds (50's style!) and there was so much to be thankful for otherwise.

We all swam in the pool, hung out with Kristie and JeanJean and their kids once more and then loaded up to go home the next morning.

Funny tidbit: The airline that we had scheduled our flight with went out of business between the time we booked our tickets and the time of departure.
So! JeanJean in his infinite and amazing resourcefulness transferred our tickets to TortugAir .

(Turtle airlines, they're slow, but they'll get you there!)

We flew on the big turtle plane (19 of us, Joel went ahead on another flight, poor guy) to Port Au Prince, then bussed over to the other airport to fly the friendly skies back to Miami and then finally to SFO at around 10:45 last night.

Most of us were running low on health-angels on the final flight home. Poor Stacy got the brunt of it, but Tom and Kevin and Kacie and probably several others that I didn't talk to were feeling ill.
I was only sickened by the completely terrible and horrible movie that I couldn't stop watching.

I wish I could express to you all the internal spiritual stuff that bumped around inside of us during the week and the culmination of it all.
I can't speak for anyone else, because we all respond in different ways.
I know that I have to go out again, whether in Haiti-- or in Sri Lanka, or Pakistan, or Mongolia or Jakarta.
I know that we lived in REALITY for those 10 days. Our american lives here are a facade or illusion or scrim that keeps me out of the loop.
I wish I could say definitely that I know I'm supposed to pick up our family and be an overseas missionary
that I'm positive my calling is here serving who I serve now, doing what I do.

I really don't know. I'm waiting on God to give me a big sign, I guess.
Kacie said she thinks God takes volunteers in addition to those he gives big signs. And I think she's right, and I don't know what to think about that now.

But I know that it felt really right to be in Bohoc, feeding the hungry kids rice, giving them clothes, and showing them that I love them the best I can (which comes out awkwardly I'm sure).

I'll try to keep my ears and mind open, and I'll let you know...

We're packing up and readying ourselves for our 4am departure. In the process we're sorting through our clothes, deciding what to leave behind, and sifting through the choice ones to present as gifts for our dear translators. I have to shake off the societal norms I'm used to, where secondhand clothes cannot and should not be regifted. In actuality, our throwaways are of better quality then any of the clothes you can barter for at the local market. Yet I feel guilty, because what we will offer is really our worst, the tossouts of yester's fashions, at least for me anyway. I tell myself, I wish I had known these clothes would be gifts, because I would have brought clothes of finer material and design. Further down from my altruistic front, I know I wouldn't truly do so. I'd limit myself to what they would be cool with, thus bringing us back to our current sifting. I could probably fault the hefty consumerism I'm used to in the States, or maybe burrow myself in my pillow and wallow in the guilt of brutal truth. I'll settle for an appreciation for our God who doesn't hold back His best in redeeming us for Himself - a standard of giving only He can truly attain. What a blessing we can cling to eternally.

"There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all Christians - you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28

Tom: Today we were blessed with the oppurtunity to join our brothers and sisters in the church service at the Church Maranatha which in English means Church of Jesus is coming.

Kacie: Well, we actually went to two church services today - the first one at the church in town and the second one the "Come as You Are" service here at the compound.

Tom: Fine, you coulda let me finish as I was going to say that next but yes, we did attend two services today. The second service is intended for the locals who can not travel into town or who can not afford to dress up for church.

Kacie: Our fearless leader Joel gave a message at both services (translated by JeanJean), taken from Romans 5:1-5. I was especially touched by the worship we experienced alongside our Haitian brothers and sisters - such enthusiasm, joy, and passion in their singing.

Tom: Today the beautiful, amazing cooks that have been preparing our meals this week and washing our dishes had the day off. So we were left to our own devices for food. We all pitched in and washed the dishes and then we began preparing lunch. Let me just say that i'm glad that we had those cooks this week.

Kacie: After lunch a family came to the compound with a little boy (maybe 4 years old) who had just burned his hand. The little boy, Woobie, had bad 3rd degree burns to one of his hands and on his arm. As a theme from this week, it was once again overwhelming to be a firsthand witness of the needs here in Haiti and our own inadequacies to meet those needs. As we have all been learning, we give or do what we can and commit the rest into the hands of our loving, just and merciful Father God. Woobie left the compound with a bandaged "boxing glove" hand, medicines, and love and toys given from the team. We'll see him tomorrow to check up on his burns.

While we were in the midst of our 2nd service, JeanJean recieved word that a local witch doctor, Price, who we had given food to on one of our previous prayer walks wanted us to come back so he could pray to recieve Christ. We once again made the 20 minute trek to his house and found him ready and eager to pray with us. It was an experience I will never forget. Price has been a witch doctor and worshipper of voodoo for 40 years now. His wife knows Christ and has been a witness to him by going to the "Come As You Are" services and his children are fed at the Mompremier's nutrition center. As a short cultural lesson, when you become a voodoo worshiper it is said that satan "mounts" you and is able to comtrol you as a master controls a horse with a bit in its mouth. The beauty of the Gospel is that is a message of love, mercy, freedom in Christ. For Price, today was the day he was freed from the chains of sin and became a son of God. He asks us to continue to pray for him and his family: for food and clothes, for his eyesight (he is almost completely blind) and for his new faith in Christ.

Tom: I have to say that on this trip this team has been amazing. God has placed people that work fantastically together on this team. Everone has an amazing heart for God, seeking to do his will wherever that may take him. The compassion that fills the hearts of my team members amazes me. We all work together to help these kids, and put a smile on their face with Kacie working on little Woobie with his 3rd degree burns and Chaz carrying little peter in a game of limbo. who suffered from protein deficiency and so now he has the limbs of a 1 year old though he is 5 years old. I can not fully articulate the compassion that fills the hearts of this team. As I was sitting and thinking about how much i will miss being here in haiti I realized that it is not only being here in Haiti that i will miss. I will miss this team. I will miss the way we work together as one body in Christ working for the will of the Lord. I will miss the way we constantly watch out for eachother. I will miss this team.

Joels salutes incorrectly on July 4th.

We hike up to mountain to see the voodoo cave.

Stephanie showcases the voodoo skull altar.

Trina Merry here today... reporting to you LIVE from Haiti!

We just got totally spoiled. Some guys from the Jean-Jean and Kristie's church came by in their scrubbed best to sing and play accordian for us tonight. Many of us tried to clap or sing along, but we got some amused smiles in return. They told us to send our love to you all and convey their greetings. They have given their Haitian promise (which means its absolute) that they will pray for us and our families when we return and appreciate the work that we are doing to share love in Haiti with the Mompremiers. I find it humbling to have such a promise given to me. Their songs were filled with joy and the hope of heaven which is something I see on many of the Christians faces. The Haitians have so little yet they are very generous with their spirits and the little they have.

As team filmmaker, I had the opportunity to capture our "elective project day". Myself and 4 others teammates (Kacie, Holly, Katie A., and Tom) began the day ESTATIC to plant grafted orange trees alongside Haitian farmers at Jean-Jean's mother's house. Those of you in Cali know how much fruit a single orange tree can produce. We planned to plant 30, but, out of our enthusiasm, we started digging more holes with this long iron stick and our orange camo gloves. We planted all the orange trees they had grafted. You can imagine the amount of fruit and, God-willing, money that will bring in for the family. The ground used to be curse so it was wonderful to have the privellege to bless it to grow.

The other teammates worked very hard all day. Stephanie and Katie W. were picking up rocks and Stephanie ended up with a HUGE tarantula on her flip=flop wearing foot!!! She has been such a rockstar worker on this trip! She has earned the name "boss lady" from the locals as she keeps pushing hard to do the most good. Donalyn discovered yesterday that she is passionate about rocks. Sounds weird I know, but it is a way for her to connect with a few boys over a long period of time and invest in them. Ashley and Joanna also got to bond with D and they boys by picking weeds and carrying rocks to the worship center. Shawna, Heidy and Joel made an assembly line and were throwing rocks into the worship center foundation so the Haitians can save money on concrete (very expensive). *Joel says "HI ALL!* Nate helped Charlie paint a mural in the dorm. Stacy and Cathie helped Kristy do some data entry. Chaz, Kevin and Laura worked on a few random projects. (Kevin is a SUPER handy engineer of pretty much anything). They put up rain gutters on the dorm. The water didn't come today so we "fasted" from showers until the evening. I saw Chaz carry water pink bowlful by pink bowlful from the cistern to test the gutters. He gave a moving devotional this morning telling us all that he came to Haiti with the mission to tell each and every child "ou bel" (you're beautiful). But God's been telling him (Chaz) the words "ou bel" and that he should individually tell us all that. The girls have all been hitting their "feeling ugly mark" and it was a well timed message. When he walked around touching each of our faces and telling us, forehead to forehead "ou bel", we all shed many tears. So, seeing him all day taking pink bowls of water to test the gutters reminded me that beauty comes in many forms and I can honestly say the people on this trip have shown just how beautiful they REALLY are!

People also showed their beauty today by buying some of the local artisans crafts. The art is very inexpensive for us- a painting is only like $20- but the money goes to give these people's familys food, medicine and tuition money (depending on the story- most of which are SO moving and we will have to share some of them when we return). One of the paintings I bought was by a boy named Fredlyn who prayed with me yesterday to accept Christ. He moved to an orphanage next to Jean-Jean's church after his dad died because his mom was too poor to support him and his brothers. Its got to be a hard reality to be orphaned by poverty. I had him paint Jesus into the market part of the mural (pics later) and I asked, do any of this boys know Christ? Only one did and Fredlyn spoke up and said he wasn't but that he would like us to pray with him so he could become a Christian. I was like "that's it? Uh... ok!" Like many on this trip, I don't consider myself to be a evangelist whatsoever, but I now see why God had me take him under my wing and teach him to paint.

Yesterday we hiked to the mountains to hand out beans and rice to extremely poor houses (POOR!) and at the end we hiked to a cave where there was a voodoo altar and a rope with a skull that I'm sure has some sort of spiritual significance that I'm unaware of (see pic with Steph).

Right before dinner today (almost forgot this!) many of the ladies got their hair braided by the local ladies in braids and cornrows. Kacie who is sitting next to me says she feels cooler and more ethnic. I think I've given up on looking in a mirror, but I'm sure its a vast improvement! Thank you ladies!

(btw, I apologize for spelling errors, but we have limited electricity and I am opting to pass on the lengthy spell check...)



I had to post this video that Nathan took too. :)

-really Charlie

Greetings to all of you who are keeping up to date on all of our adventures.  This blog post is being written by Stacy, for those of you who asked...I was one of the "barfers" on the small plane from Port au Prince to Pignon. Poor Holly followed suit and was as thankful as I was when the plane landed.  I am sure the pilot was thankful that he informed us of the "air-sickness" bags, even though we were "confident" that we would not need to use them.

This is our 5th day here is Haiti and every single day it is amazing to see how God is working in each of us and through us. Each morning generally starts with big daddy Joel being our time clock stating that is is time for either our, "spiritual feeding, or or physical feeding."  Although it may seem that I am being sarcastic, both are important for the day that lies ahead of each of us. Shortly after our morning feedings we take a bus to a location  where we will do a VBS for who knows how many kids.  They have told the pastors to have no more than 100 at each, but if you could see the look in the kids eyes that we see, your heart would break like ours does and you would not help but know that God brought them to this place and we will adjust accordingly.  These kids are so hungry for so may things that we take for granted in the states.  For you to hold a child, means the world to them. Their smile tells a story of joy, that we can't understand, because the conditions they live in, to our standards, are so heartbreaking. I must say that I know I was not fully prepared for what I would encounter here, yet the hearts of the people are so open and their love for one another is so abundant.  Today we made "wordless book bracelets" that tell the gospel story.  You can tell these children cherish the piece of leather with beads on it, and they listened intently as I explained to them what the beads stand for.  Since it costs 8 dollars American to buy a bible in Creole, very few have one.  I was so thankful that I took the time to translate verses into Creole before we left. Thanks to Joanne for making the copies, and thanks to biblegateway for the translation. This scripture may be all they have written down from the bible.

Each evening just before dinner we do a "prayer walk."  We walk the village area passing out food to the houses that we pass.  A typical "house" here consist of 4 walls made out of plywood, a dirt floor or concrete if you are truly blessed, and some curtains to divide the living areas up. I would estimate that the living space is no larger than my 700 sq.ft. condo, yet 12 people will reside in it.  As we walk, and talk with the people the joy and thankfulness that the people in Haiti show for a small bag of rice and a small bag of beans is at times more than I can comprehend.  All I keep saying to myself is that I am a spoiled "white-girl."  I have made a list of "I will think twice before..." and although is is somewhat comical to us team members, it is a reminder of how truly "blessed" each one of us is, yet we often fail to recognize it and give thanks each day for what we have.  In Isaiah 55:11-12, it says "My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the fields will clap their hands." This verse is what we see here. God has revealed himself to these people in so may ways, and I have witnessed first hand the validity of this verse.  Where there seems to be no hope, there lays great joy among a people whom we would declare have nothing....but I must say that they have a richer joy with their "little" than I can say that I have had for my "everything."  

I hope I was able to express in part what God has been doing here.  If you would like to pray for us, you can pray for: continued health, continued unity among our team members, if you are zealous..maybe rain :o) as the heat here gets old pretty fast.

I will close with a final greeting that Paul left the church in Corinth.  "Finally, brothers, good-by.  Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace.  And the God of love and peace will be with you...All the saints send their greetings. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you."

Joel's freakish bus driving.
Prayer walk.
Food Distribution Dance.
joyous haitians.
Kindergarten Promotion.

My camera is officially in a coma. So Heidy was kind enough to offer her photos from her really really nice camera. See her post above! Hooray for Heidy, she's one of my favorites. :)

We went to Kindergarden and 6th grade graduation at the church this morning. It was an entire service.
First of all, who knew other countries did Kindergarten graduation?
Second, I love that they made it into a whole motivational church service.

I'll be honest it was hot.
And it was long only because it was all in Creole and we only caught the words "Bon Jour" and "Jezu" from time to time. But it was great to see the church in action, after seeing it more or less empty all of yesterday. They bring everything in, the music equipment, the microphones, the choir (obviously) and any accessories.
Our team brought them festively wrapped graduation presents, everyone was proud of them-- and then we got out of that hot church!

After lunch we had another round of VBS at our second location, down the very bumpy road in the big yellow schoolbus. We will all need chiropractic care after braving "Hwy 3" everyday in the bus, ha. The location was not as predicted and we, as usual, switched alot of stuff around without the kids being any the wiser about our scramble.
But when they walked out, they had heard the Gospel, four had responded to an "altar call" and everyone had a piece of origami to play with or mangle, depending on the kid. :)

Then we got back to the "compound" and had enough time to load up with more beans and rice to hand out around the "neighborhood." It was good to visit the famous [to us and the locals] ex-witch doctor's house and meet his beautiful family. His kids even walked around with our group to deliver the rest. His son, Wilkinson held mine and Kevin's hand, and Edison held Kacie's hand.
Such good kids, and I loved knowing that their home is a safe place for them to live now, now that their father has turned his life around and become and new man, thanks to God. He came by late last night to speak to us and tell us the extended story of his transformation. Very powerful. Truly anything is possible.

The last house we handed food to, was a current witch doctor. If you want something to pray for (well there's plenty, but...) pray for him and his family because the future looks very bleak for them if he continues down the path he's on.

Today's post will be heavy on my side of things, since Trina and I spent the whole day at the local church painting murals on their walls. I really can't believe they let total strangers that don't even speak their language, just walk in with a bucket of paints and go-to-town on their church walls.

I kept looking over my shoulder waiting for someone to stop me. Especially since people that lived nearby would walk in with the "what is going on in here?!" face, and then look me over with a raised eyebrow.

Well either way, I finished mine by 5pm but Trina's got more to go later this week. I kinda cheated because I made my painting kinda coloring book style, and all I needed was one kid that spoke english and 5 of his friends with paintbrushes to do the work for me!

It was like having an automatic mural machine.

I wish I could show you the final work, but my camera has been in critical condition lately, and it fritzed out. So when I'm not too lazy to track down Trina's camera, I'll post the results.

This is how we traveled to the church. Yes, my family, I shared an ATV with two other women (the driver is taking the photo here) . It was more crazy than riding a horse. It was like Mr. Toad's wild Haiti Ride. I held on with my death grip to the back luggage rack, while donkey and goat poop was flung up onto my skirt and shoes.


Trina on her right-hand wall.

Here I am with my "machine." Very helpful.

As we were taking a water break in the heat of the midday, we heard what sounded like a parade coming down the "highway."

(And by highway, HWY 3, that is about two cars width and rocky and potholed like you wouldn't believe)

I managed to conprehend, with my stupid charade gesturing to one of the kids, that the sound was comign from the school next door.

The photo above is an undercover photo of us crashing their dance rehearsal. Lion King Musical, eat your heart out, these kids were awesome. We thanked them with a bag of RedVines, which was totally against the rules, but hey, too late now.

The others got alot of stuff done today. Another VBS session, some sort of construction. There was much sweating and probably some more crying.

I promise to be more diplomatic tomorrow.

Here's a photo from yesterday that I meant to post.


This morning was our first real day of work.
Our VBS began here at the Momprierre's place, because access was blocked to the original location by lots of sticky mud from last night's storm.
If some of you aren't familiar with what VBS stands for, it stands for "Controlled Chaos of Children that Learn about God and Play like Crazy" Yes, it should be called "CCCLGPC"
As I mentioned in my other blog, I took it upon myself to plan tye-dye for the kids. We *had* a plan. But around here, "plans" are really just basic ideas. And there was alot of alteration. :) They tye-dyed and then rushed off to play sports and jump rope and Sheep Sheep Goat (duck duck goose).
We had tons of extra kids and I can't wait for them come back to make more crafts, espcially since tomorrow's craft won't be insanely messy and complicated.
Beads. Very tidy.
This afternoon we walked around the village and gave big bags of rice and beans to families. 'Highlight of everyone's day I'm sure. One family told us that we were sent by God because they had absolutely no food and had been praying all day long for God to feed them. And then we arrived this afternoon! Hooray!

Here we are walking through the brush to the houses.

This is JeanJean Momprierre and one of the families we gave rice and beans to.

The little boy followed us to the rest of the houses.

I picked him up to carry him for a bit, and then his brother made fun of him and he wanted to get down. ha.
The children of this family were eating ashes from the firepit because they were so malnourished, before they met the Momprierres. Now the mother helps cook and clean for us messy and needy vistors. What that woman cooks on a cement fire pit puts all my food to shame!

There's more to report but we're having a meeting outside, and I'm supposed to be out there! I'm gonna get in trouble! ;)