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...)