Monday, April 9, 2012

Thursday, April 12th...the best day ever! Julie, Amy, Shelley, Mary and I had the priviledge of making home visits to the elderly of Titanyen. We visited several adorable seniors, living in their home, all showing us their prized posession, the audio Bible in Kreyole. We LOVED the women who despite their fraility, are still taking walks in the countryside, for meditation, or to look for a few herbs. And the gentleman who proudly showed us his goat and 2 baby kids. We had matchmaking on our minds, and relished the thought of what a little social event might do for the lives of the people we met.

It is obvious, that having a purpose and sense of community, keep these people healthy. And the Lord is front and center in all of their lives. The laying on of hands, and praying got me to a high I hadn't experienced for a long time. In fact, I was so high, so full of the Spirit, that I hardly remember what came out of my mouth. I just wanted to hug everyone and share the love God was putting into my heart.

Then in the afternoon, we had the honor of delivering the first of many meals to come. The delight these respected elders showed, as they ate their warm meal, and drank clean water from a cool metal flask, will never leave my mind. One woman, previously too weak to pull herself round, found the strength to roll over just to dive into her meal. The smile on her face said everything, and so did her attitude! Whereas previously she cared not a lick about her semi-naked body, she now asked about the dress I had offered her, and stated "that's a good color for me"...

We left a solar light bulb from Nokero (no kerosene) with a woman who has no protection at night, and are hopeful it will prove to be a blessing, so more can be dispursed.

The next morning, we met these same people and more, as they came to Grace Village for their physical. While the rest of the team did the "medical stuff", Julie and I started the mini-massage service. Timidly, they accepted this offer to receive some lotion and muscle stimulation, not knowing why these blancs felt it would be good for them. We started at the back of the line, only to find the gentleman going in to see the doctor, fussing because he would miss his turn! What a priviledge, what an honor, to serve these people in this way. And what a blessing, for me to have been in their presence, and to see the joy of God in their eyes.

When can I do this again!!!!

Thanking God for this opportunity and reliving it every day...

Karen Allen Failinger

Sunday, April 8, 2012


We were blessed to have the opportunity to spend a few days up at Grace Village the week leading up to Easter.
It was a wonderful experience to just spend time with the kids seeing how they live day to day.
They are amazing. Gertrude's kids came up for an easter egg hunt and to see the kids interacting with the special needs kids was very touching. It's nice to see the kids at Grace Village giving back to those less fortunate than them now.

Easter morning we woke up to the kids singing as they were getting ready for the church service. They sound like angels. They all received new clothes for Easter and they were so proud to wear them. They looked beautiful. Fanfan had a nice service and many of the kids from the town came to participate. Again opening up Grace Village to the community and the kids welcomed them. We gave the kids of the village a T-shirt or dress as they left. They were so grateful.

It was very hard to leave Grace Village today. Lots of tears. I can't think of a better place to have been for Easter.
Gretchen is doing such a great job with the kids. It's going to be hard to see her leave. Please keep her in your prayers as this will be her last month with them. She is such a natural with the kids and will make a wonderful mother when she has children of her own. If she can raise 42 at once imagine how she will be with less than that.

To me, Grace Village is such a place of peace and joy. It's been amazing watching it being built from digging the footings with a pick ax to the colorful, spiritual home its become. I am looking forward to watching the rest of Jeff and Alyn's dream become reality.

Posted by Shelley

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mother as a verb

The instincts of a mother are never far from home no matter where on earth you may find yourself. As we learned today, the word mother is a powerful word when used as a verb rather than a noun. Today, we travelled a short distance away to visit a home for orphans and sick and dying babies. Most of us were in familiar territory as we stepped into the building and were immediately greeted with outstretched arms and smiles. The need to mother was everywhere we looked. The children who are part of the orphanage, many of whom are being adopted out by Minnesota families, rule the top floor. They love the team visits and kept asking us where our bubbles and balloons were. One young girl, in particular, ruled the roost and somehow had all of us following her Creole directions. I got a big kick out of one young boy who was the "gatekeeper" of the group. He would sit in a chair by the gate, not letting any of the children go downstairs, and would bang on a tambourine for attention.

I headed downstairs, after some fun time with the orphans, as I felt the need to mother some of the sick children. The cribs are lined up end to end, with the sickest child usually in the corner by the oxygen. The sights and smells are not a welcome sight to any person, especially a mother. To see the desperation, to hear the sounds of sadness and to smell the aura of sickness was one that will travel with me even when I depart from here. My instincts kicked in and I dodged the IV lines and picked up a 7 month old who was too weak to cry. We headed outside, sat in the shade and we both held each other tight. No toys, no balloons, no bubbles were needed on the first floor. Just the love of a mother. To mother, was all that was required.

We stayed here for a few hours, holding these children, praying for them while they were in our arms, soaking in every minute to give them some love. We didn't know their future, we only knew what was happening then and for that moment, they were given love.

To be a mother to someone does not have to mean that you have given birth to them. To paraphrase from the book Expecting Adam, "Mothering has little to do with biological reproduction - there are women who bear and raise children without ever mothering them, and there are people who mother all their lives without ever giving birth. Not all of us have the good fortune to be born to our real mothers or to stay with them as long as we need them."

Despite everything that works against these children in this sometimes unpleasant and complicated place, mothering was in abundance today. There was no short supply. We mothered.

Written by Julie Sexson

Monday, April 2, 2012

What an awesome time at Notre Maison! I was lucky enough to spend 3 days with Getrude and the kids, before joining the team today. Delivered a wheelchair for children with cerebral palsy, assessed the 4 new children at Notre Maison, played messenger for the 3 w's who are waiting for ttheir adoption papers to be signed, taught some dyslexia therapy, visited 2 hospitals in Leogane, and played with this kids as much as possible! So great to be back with my friends!

Now time to concentrate on getting to know my care ministry team! I'm so excited to meet people who I can share my passion wtih, and to serve together. Looking forward to getting to know the children at Grace Village better, and seeing all the progress.

And it's Easter week; the festivities have already started, the music is playing, and the kids are off of school. We have an Easter egg hunt planned, and lots of games and singing.

I know the week will end too soon, but excited to see how God will use us for His purpose.

Until tomorrow!

Karen Allen Failinger