Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday June 22

We woke up this morning and loaded into the tap tap with Michael, the photographer.  We visited the boys soccer program in Cite Soleil and met the U14 team that will be traveling to Blaine for the USA cup in July.  We lost miserably in our scrimmage against them.  The boys were crushing us with their foot skills, despite the gravel field.

Afterwords, we traveled to stop 19 to deliver water to the people in Cite Soleil.  It was complete chaos. People seemed more desperate today and refused to even wait in line.  We created a wall of workers and were shoving and shouting at people to form order.  Stop 21 was less aggressive.  The children were playful and loved dousing us in cups of water.  One crying boy and his mother came to us towards the end.  The boy had a large gash on his head and was bleeding.  We gave first aid on the tap tap, but we weren't able to take him to the hospital.  

After arriving home, we prepared the guesthouse to feed 75.  The younger children from Grace Village came, and we had a big party.  We danced, sang, and played before having a delicious taco dinner.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday June 21st: Elderly, Grace Village & Isaiah's

Friday, June 21

     Today was a very exhausting, emotional, busy and HOT day. We started off by making a trip to the street market to pick up food for the elderly we were going to be visiting, and OH MY was that ever an experience! It can't easily be described in words. It was packed full with people, animals of all sorts, piles of vegetables, fruits, rice, drinks, and everything else anyone could think of to try and sell.  We followed closely and quickly behind Wilson (our translator) on a very, very tiny path.  After we purchased some water, rice and beans, we headed on yet another bumpy, hilly, windy ride. 

At the market in Titanyen
     All of our 4 visits humbled us beyond words.  The living conditions consisted of basically one room with a bed.  Hot, stifling, and dirty.  Yet, they smile.  They sing praises.  They are so thankful for our visit.  We sing with them, pray with them, and rub lotion on their dry skin.  

Visiting Filozia
Jude Jean Paul who is 20 years old and has been paralyzed since he was 8. 
     Next, we got to drive up the mountain to Grace Village, it was the first time for most of us to ever see it.  We were amazed.  It was huge, beautiful, so well thought out, and best of all, filled with happy, happy children.  Again, words and pictures can't describe it very well at all.  We have SEEN pictures, we have heard it described, and yet our jaws hit the ground at the sight of it.  Best of all, was the tour to hear about the big picture plans, and the ways they are looking to BLESS the community, not just be the cool place on the hill. We can't wait to go back on Sunday.
Grace Village kidos playing on the tap-tap

Girls at GV who got a new doll from the donations we brought. 
     Our last stop of the day, was at Isaiah's orphanage.  It was different from the others we have visited.  The majority of the kids there were older, and it was a bit harder to connect with them.  The key word while we were there was HOT.  The place they have to play is in direct sun, and surrounded by cement, and we literally felt like we were in a pizza oven.  Even through that we were still able to get some jump roping, cat's cradle, Jenga, chalk, and badminton time in.  Of course Wilson always ends our time with some fun songs that the kids totally get into.  

     It was great to end the day with a shower (we are spoiled.....they get NO BREAK from the heat) and some great worship along with many laughs from FanFan.  Our time here is getting shorter, and we are not ready for it to be over.  

Kate and Karen (  but mostly Kate:)  )




Thursday June 20th: Apparent Project, Juno's & Soccer!

Today we had an early morning and we got up to go to church at 6am. It was very interesting to see how the Haitian culture worships and expresses their love for God.

After that we went to the Apparent Project and got some cool souvenirs and a refreshing drink. The Apparent Project has Haitians make stuff and then sell it with their story attached to a little tag on the product. They are helping to provide jobs to families so that they don't give up their kids to orphanages.
Maddie, Brianna, Tori, Amanda & Hannah

Later we went to Juno's orphanage and played games like volleyball, made duct tape bracelets and purses, and colored with chalk. The living conditions were bad but, it didn't seem to affect the kids joy and love for God. The kids spent a few minutes at the end performing a few little songs with actions.

Group picture at Juno's

Taite & Tori with FMSC food at Juno's Orphanage

Then we took some of the neighborhood boys to go play soccer at a big soccer field. The boys are very good but us girls still were able to play and we ended up tying 2-2 (with the help of Hannah, Kate, and a few Haitian boys)
Soccer with the boys!!

After that we went for a nice refreshing swim at the Palm Inn Hotel. We had a fun time jumping in and competing with one another.

Taite, Tori & Maddie

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sick and Dying & Gertrude's

Amazing day of heart break and hope...

Our team of 15 people split into two groups - seven of us went to the Home for Sick and Dying Children and the other eight to Gertrude's Special Needs Orphanage. After lunch we switched locations so we could all experience both places.

The Home for Sick and Dying Children housed about 100 babies, plus a waiting room full of people hoping to have their babies admitted. We didn't know where to start, we wanted to hold them all! Some were very sick with fevers, some were attached to IV's, most were malnourished, and some were able to toddle around on their own. The all had something in common, huge brown eyes and the desire to be loved and held. Many of the children appeared much smaller and younger than their actual age. We were able to feed them, change their diapers, give them water, pray for them, and love them for a time that was much too short. We connected with as many babies as we could and wished we could take every last one of them home with us on the plane!

At Gertrude's there were 20 kids with varying ages and different needs ranging from mild to quite severe. But one thing was the same, the quick smiles and joy in the attention the were experiencing. Even though many of them could not speak, they could laugh with a joy that filled the room. We tickled them, pushed them on swings, gave them wheelchair rides, and held them close.

The children at both places were very well cared for, in fact at the Home for Sick and Dying they were turning volunteers away. But it was still so difficult to leave knowing what a hard life these kids have in store for them. We were so thankful for the privilege to hold them and love them for even a short time - we hope the impact they have on us will stay fresh in our minds.

As moms, we have been so thankful to see our daughters rise to the challenge of embracing every opportunity, even when it means going out of their comfort zone. They are truly experiencing what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ!

Beth, Karen, & Kim

Karen & Kate
Taite & Beth
Kim & Maddie

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18th
Water Truck Stops 

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."  Matthew 28:19

Today we all took a leap of faith when we delivered water to the poorest slum in the poorest country in the world.  The poverty in Cite Soleil is indescribable.  We spent our time filling buckets, holding children, and playing games.  Even with all of the poverty and destruction surrounding them, they found joy in us coming to visit them.  We didn't need to speak creole to communicate with them.  Our bright smiles, our playful spirits, our helpful hands, and our many hugs showed our love for them.  At every stop, the kids greeted us with smiles and hands raised.  

On our second stop our plans were changed.  Wilson, one of our translators, lead our team through the shanties to the ocean and many children followed, clinging to our sides.  Standing on a beach of garbage, Wilson led us in song and dance with the Haitian children.  They echoed the chorus while clapping, jumping, and dancing to the beat.  We sang all together, "God is so good, is so good, is so good!" over and over again.  Pure joy was radiating from the kids' faces.  This reminded us how the "things" in our lives are not important; God's unconditional love is enough.  

The hardest part of our day was leaving them behind when the water ran out, knowing that we were going back to the guesthouse and they were staying in their situation.  Fortunately, we will have the opportunity to deliver more water later this week.

 Shelli and Hannah

 Taite and Beth

Maddie and Kim 

BriAnna, Tori, Maddie, Taite, and Kate 

BriAnna and Shelley 

Deb and Tori 


Kate and Karen 

Monday, June 17, 2013

We Arrived!!

We arrived safe and sound in Haiti. Travel went wonderfully!
At the airport after we got all 30 of our bags!

The girls leading the way out of the fear!!

The mom's following close behind.

Brianna, Tori, Maddie, Kate & Taite getting ready to ride the taptap to the guesthouse. 
We had a great taco dinner and toured the Healing Haiti guesthouses. The girls just headed to bed at 8:15 Haitian time. 

Tomorrow we will go to Cite Soleil, the poorest slum in Haiti (currently the poorest country in the world), and help fill buckets of water for the poorest of the poor in Haiti. 
There is no electricity, no running water, no sanitation, no garbage pick up....just shacks and shacks filled with 8-10 people. 

Please pray for our team to stay safe and healthy tomorrow. The smells are strong and nausea comes easily. 

Thanks prayer warriors!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Leaving Monday June 17th

Hello Everyone!

My name is Kari Bristol and I am one of the leaders for this AMAZING Mother-Daughter trip. I am the only mother who is not taking her daughter on the trip. My daughter is only 7 but I can't wait to bring her once she reaches the age requirement.

This will be my 7th trip to Haiti and this is the trip that I have been looking forward to for over a year. I have been leading a youth small group at Eagle Brook Church for 4 years. I started leading when the girls were in 6th grade.

Here is a picture from our 7th grade group:
Taite, Maddie B., & Kate in the left hand corner

And a few great ones from 8th grade:
Kate, Tori, Maddie B. & Taite
Kate & Brianna

And a blurry one from this past year in 9th grade at our Christmas present exchange: 
Taite, Brianna, Maddie B. & Kate
We have had lots of fun times together. I love listening to the girls share stories. Some of my favorites were about their Spanish teacher their 8th grade year. I thought this teachers should have her own reality show because it would be hilarious! ;) Their depth of faith inspires me every time we meet together. 

So I put out the invitation last summer to all the girls and their moms to come to Haiti this summer. Brianna, Kate, Taite, Maddie B. & Tori all got their mom's to accept the invitation. Although it didn't take much arm twisting because each mom shared a similar story about a tugging from God on their heart to go on a missions trip and each of them felt this opportunity to share it with their daughter was perfect timing.

Lastly was my quest to find the perfect co-leader. Over the past few years I have been volunteering with Julie Sexon who is a board member for Healing Haiti and in charge of the care ministry aspects of Healing Haiti. I traveled with her on an advocate trip last October and we were in Bible study all of this past school year together studying James & Nehemiah. 
Julie, Anne & I made a meal for the long-term missionaries serving at Grace Village in October 2012.
I admire Julie so much and think she is one of the BEST people I have ever met so it seemed like a natural fit to ask her to co-lead with me. And she said Yes! :) Her daughter Amanda who is 17 has been to Haiti as many times as me. They invited their friends Shelli & Hannah and the team was set! 

Top Row: Me, Shelley, Karen, Deb, Kim, Shelli, Julie & Beth
Bottom Row: Brianna, Kate, Tori, Maddie, Hannah, Amanda & Taite

So our team is ready to depart from Haiti on Monday June 17th and we would ask for your prayers. Pray that God would break our hearts for what breaks His, pray that these mom's and daughters would continue to build a strong bond with one another, and pray that we would all figure out what God is trying to teach us through this amazing opportunity serving in the poorest country in the world (

Thanks to all of you who have contributed financially to make this trip happen for each of us and for your prayers throughout next week.

Check back here often to hear about how our trip is going.

Bless God,

Saturday, March 16, 2013

On our final day in Haiti we traveled to Grace Village. As we pulled through the purple gates at the top of the mountain, we were greeted by 46 smiling faces. We spent the next several hours with soccer, basketball, frisbee, hard core jungle gyming, and then we began our heart dissection. Shannon did a wonderful job with Wesley to translate the process of blood flow through the heart. The girls were a little disgusted but many of the boys, especially those who want to be doctors, were amazed. They put on their rubber gloves and began pulling apart layers of the bloody black heart.

After the dissection, Amanda and Wesley taught the faith lesson and the team helped the younger kids to make candy-filled hearts. 

-Rhett and Amanda was a little late

Friday, March 15, 2013

It's a Matter of Life and Death by Drew Allen

Ironic isn't it, that while we were trying to breath "life" into the sick and dying today by visiting with, offering healing massages, and the much needed human touch, death was looming there among us, waiting for it's next victim.

Minutes before moving to the next row of beds filled with men waiting for our gift of "life", death beat us there, and took the life of one of the men.  A man nearby, with eyes filling with tears told my son that they had become close friends over the past couple of weeks, indicating that it's easy, when there's nothing else to do but lie there.  As they turned to leave, with heavy hearts, my son looked over his shoulder to see another cloth being placed over the face of another "victim" passing from life into death.
I couldn't help but feel like yelling to the assumed victor, the familiar words...

"Death has been swallowed up in Victory.  Where, oh death, is your victory?  Where oh death, is your sting?" 1 Corinthians 15:54-55

The thought felt all too real that up the stairs and down the hall some of the women we had loved and comforted with much anticipated and desperately needed massages, may also be at deaths door........And then the beautiful words came to me again from 1 Corinthians that says:

"No eye  has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him."  1 Corinthians 2:9

A quick stop by Apparent Project,  provided a timely distraction and reminded us that having meaningful work to do makes life purposeful, hopeful and worthwhile.  Apparent Project employees hundreds of Haitians in hand made jewelry crafting.  Then Moses spoke of a man who is a master craftsman, and expert in working with gold silver and bronze (or in this case cereal boxes!).  We all left with Haitian handmade jewelry to remind us of our visit.

Well they say that all is well that ends well.  So we ended the day with thirteen beautiful Haitian guests who shared dinner, danced in the rain, showed up the Americans in a Happy Birthday song, (theirs far more fun!) and sang "au revoir" on our front steps:

"You hear me when I'm calling, You catch me when I'm falling, You show me who I am.......I am yours!"
                                                        Who Am I? by Casting Crowns


Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Day of Contrasts - by Rich Allen

It's Thursday, just the third day of our team's service experience.  We've all been touched by the many sights, sounds, smells, faces and experiences of our first two days.  And the schedule for day three while uniquely different, proved to be an incredible day of contrasts.  Let me explain.

The morning started early with a 6:00am trip to the Morningstar Church - an open-air tent service for any and all comers who want to start their day by praising their Lord.  We arrived to the sounds of a praise band and many locals singing with arms raised and focused solely on their personal relationship with The Lord.  As we took a seat near the center back of the church, the regulars did not sit but moved in unison to the music singing at the top of their lungs.  Contrast #1 - How uninhibited the Haitian people are in their worship while we often worry more about how we look, how we act and what others think.  Clearly, that was of no concern to them.  It was just pure praise and worship between each individual and their Savior - very inspiring!

Our first stop for the day was a tour of Grace Village.  As we arrived in the town of Titanyen having read the stories of the town's past and learning that Titanyen means "Less than Nothing", it was easy to spot the large walled-in facility located high on the hillside.  From a distance it was not obvious that this was a very different and special place in the town.  But as we approached and entered Grace Village it became clearly evident.  The property was so clean, we'll-maintained, uplifting and alive that is was as if we had just entered a different world.  And I am sure the people of the town who experience Grace Village feel the same every time they walk through the beautiful gate.  Contrast #2 - From the very ground that was known for years as being "Less than Nothing" rises Grace Village which is clearly to the people of Haiti "Greater than Anything" they know on this earth!

We departed Grace Village to visit several of the Elders in the village.  What a special time this was.  Each was so appreciative of the visit, enjoyed the attention they received and even sang with us. While it was so special to visit with each of them, it is hard to imagine anything better than spending time with Ms. Marie - 103 years old and still full of spunk and smiles.  Her stories were captivating and her excitement was contagious.  But the contrast of this part of the day happened as we visited with Ms. Marie-Terez who was quietly sitting on her bed with an infant baby girl lying on a mattress at her bedside.  Contrast #3 - Even in her later years, Marie-Terez was caring for a new life - certain to carry on her legacy with renewed hope and dreams of a Haiti healed from years of abuse and neglect.

Our next stop was Olson's Orphanage.  A small, ill-equipped home with 10 children in their care.  While small and just getting their footing, they has a dream of making a difference in their village - and they were making progress.  Their connection with Healing Haiti was benefitting them and the small kids they were caring for.  We brought them but a few things - including some hand-made dolls from a women's group in Paris Arkansas.  The kids loved their new dolls and it was great to see them cling to them like their most precious gift.  Contrast #4 - Right in the heart of Titanyen, the seeds of a new Haiti are rising like a newly planted tree.  While the soil is not as fertile as one would like, the nourishment, care and feeding by teams from Healing Haiti are making a huge difference.

We ended our day with a stop at the Mass Grave site from the 2010 earthquake.  You only need to view the photos of the site from earlier years to get a glimpse of how awful and painful the memories of this place are for all Haitians.  But the healing and new growth is clear to a new visitor.  Past wounds do heal, and they heal even faster when people from around the world come together with a common goal.  It was uplifting to be a small part of the effort.  Contrast #5 - Like watching a small child grow up, if you are with them everyday it is hard to see the changes that happen along the way. But when you look back over a longer time or visit after an extended absence, the contrasts are clear and obvious.  Haiti is like that child growing and healing every day - and we had a chance to be a small but important part of that growth and change.
I am sure that tomorrow will bring even more reasons for giving thanks to God, but today was a one-of-a-kind day of contrast, and I was glad to be in it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pleasantly Surprised by Sammie Maixner

Today was quite special. It truly was one of those days where one is reminded how out of our control life really is. We really do need to depend on God, and today was a perfect example of how detailed His plan for us really is. Oddly, few things went as we had planned, but looking back I could not be happier with how it ended up. After sleeping through the alarm and barely making it to breakfast I was scrambling to get dressed and get in the truck before heading out for the day. Half the team went to the Home for the Sick and Dying while the others went to Gertrude’s Orphanage. Walking into the Home for the Sick and Dying brought back vivid memories of tiny, helpless babies hooked up to IVs. However, to my surprise the number of children whose lives depended on a bag of fluids had greatly dwindled. We quickly found ourselves in the middle of a room of crying children. There were so many that needed to be held and changed and fed it was overwhelming. We dove right in. It was amazing to watch my team members do so much in such a short time, all the while smiling and laughing. Along the way there were minor hiccups throughout the morning, such as an extra messy diaper, but many ended up shaping a great story to tell the rest of the group. That afternoon some of us were supposed to take our first trip to the wound clinic. Unfortunately we arrived back at Home for the Sick and Dying a little too late and missed the van. At first we were quite discouraged, but soon we found our attention completely captured by the sweet little faces and high-pitched giggles of the orphan children. The afternoon passed quickly and we realized we had hardly thought about the missed opportunity. We incorrectly believed our day was over as we walked back to the guest house. As we arrived we were greeted by kids from the nearby houses anxiously anticipating a pick up game of soccer. We spent the greater part of two hours messing around with the kids and enjoying each other’s company. After countless pictures, nutmegs, and unique celebrations our day was truly over. It proved to be such a exceptional time and most of all we were reminded that God is the one who is truly in control and He has extraordinary plans for each and every one of us.