Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kay Angel and it's little angels

Day Four of Ministry
Date Entered Into Journal: March 31, 2011

Today, we were all together.  It was a really happy day for all!  We were able to assist in moving an enitre orphanage from a tent to a new house!  We also were able to put on our programme one last time.

The team and I were blessed by meeting Lia, administrator of Kay Angel Orphanage.
Lia is orginally from Holland, and trained as a pharmacist.  After three years of working as a Pharmacist, she moved to New York City to be a high fashion make up artist.  She became involved in Haiti while she was promoting and holding film festivals on the beach in Haiti.  She volunteered at an orphanage while in Haiti.  After the administrator of the orphanage left Haiti, she took over rather than dispersing the children (who grew to be a family) to other orphanages.  All the children, 15 of them in total, are either diagnosed with HIV (5 of them are) or have been affected by the HIV/AIDs virus (loss of parents, etc).  Lia's goal is to have these cihldren become a family- to have them take over the orphanage when they are old enough to do so.  After they are the age of majority,  the children will not have to leave the orphanage, but are welcomed to stay.  (This is different from other local orphanages.) 

We, the team and I, were able to assist in the moving of  the belonings to a new HOUSE that Lia had rented for $8,000 USD per year.  During that year lease, she will be building a home on a pieceof land that Lia has bought.  We were at the house, moving things into the house, prior to the kids coming home from school. 

We were able to see the earthquake damaged house and hear the amazing story of protection from Lia.  For 15 months, Kay Angel lived on the house property in tents, not being able to use the house.  Using the CCHI trucks, and our manpower, we moved the orphanage's belongings to the new house. 

The children arrived as we were having lunch- the happy squeals, smiles and laughter filled the house and filled our hearts.  We wre able to play with the kids as their meal was being cooked in their new kitchen.  The children are taken care so well, that you can not tell which ones were chronically ill and who was not.  Lia's love of these children is so visible, so tangible, so real.  She has an amazing heart for her kids and for Haiti.  It was a pure pleasure and honor to meet her.

In the mid afternoon leading to early evening, we went back to our first school, and visited a girls only orphanage on the same property.    We were greeted by 24 wonderful girls aged 4 to 16.  We were able to do our Good Samaritian skit, sing with them (even in english) and provide the wordless book with the bracelet! 

After this, the fun times rolled- skipping ropes and soccer balls fun!

These girls are amazing- they are skipping  in gravel, with no shoes on at lightening speed of the rope!  They skipped while Jenn and I turned the rope and counted in broken creole and french, until we counted too hight to either remember or know the numbers!  After a long tim of skipping, Jenn, Thomas and I started to play 'Red Light, Green Light".  Why didn't anyone thing of that before our last full day in Haiti?!?!  It was soooooo much fun!  It was great to play it up and get aninmated with facial expressions, tones of voices, body language.  We played this until it was time for us to go.  There were lots of smiles and hugs as we left.

Supper was chicken and rice casserole.  Ami and I served side by side with some of the other ladies.  I love working and serving with Ami- God's love just abounds within her. 

We had our last group devotions, getting prepared to answer the question: What did you do on your holiday? based on Mathew 6.  How are you going to share what you did was the challenge laid to us.  For who's glory- yours or God's?

I didn't have to sleep on a mattress on the floor that nite.  Joan took the top bunk that I was too scared to get up to (scared that I couldnt get down!!) and she put me on her bunk.  I was getting worn down physically but my spirit was soring!

I love Haiti.  The people here are friendly, loving and very welcoming.  I love the food- spice but not hot, fruit and bean based with lots of rice. (Which I love anyway!)  Am I being called there full time?  Perhaps.  The CCHI is three staff short- and needing someone to host the teams.  I know that I can do that.  What about Jason? The Cat?  Jason burns so easily, Buddy would have to be shaved to keep him from being so hot.  Something to pray about, that's for sure.  It is only a year's committment.  I know my job at the DI can live without me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

One of the hardest days...

Date Entered into Journal: March 30, 2011
Ministry Day Three

Today we were seperated into two ministry teams, as everyone was able to participate in the children ministry.  My team was sent to a school this morning, where our class had children aged 10 to 12 years old and some of their parents. ( My team consisted of Justine, Pastor Les, Joan, Katrina, Heather, Don, Doug and myself.)  We performed our Good Samartian skit, followed by Pastor Les sharing the lesson on Joy.  Katrina went through the wordless book so professionally and lovingly and we ended with the salvation bracelet.  I was touched by the parents, they wanted to be involved in everything that was going on in the classroom.  The children in our class today were well behaved, followed instructions that we were giving them and asking for assistance when needed.  I loved their manners.  My heart jumped when I asked a child what the bracelet meant and he went through each of the colors: Yellow for Heaven, Black for sin, Red for the Blood of Jesus, White for a clean heart, Green to grow in Jesus.  Our team lucked out with Brisso and Sam  as our translators! They have such a way and love for those kids... the faces of the children that they interact with shine with smiles and love. 

After this school, we went to an orphanage called Sisters of Mercy.  This one was founded by Mother Theresa... and her spirit of humility, love and concern is still present there.  We met up with the other team there.  Our sole purpose of being here: to love those children, to interact with them, to hold them.  We were there over the lunch hour and were able to assist in the feeding and caring of the children at lunch.  I was able to feed a small girl, about 18 months old and feed her the meal of rice and bean paste.  She was a good eater! She was so thirsty though- she gulped down her water, never taking a breath between swallows.  Each time I attempted to assist her with that need for oxygen, she would cry, thinking that I am taking the water away.  She appeared to have a slight case of hip dysplasia, something so correctable at home, that in Haiti, will be a hardship her entire life.  She is a little girl that I could have easily taken home with me, to be my daughter.  This was a good experience for everyone- we could really sense the lack of workers and how the children needed to feel loved.  Leaving this orphanage was hard on the team members:  one of the youngest girls of our team completely broke down as she listened to her child scream and cry when she put him down.  It was hard to watch and to listen to.... those children need love and interaction so much!  The need is so very dear and to be able to share that love with them- be it only an hour and a half to 2 hours- they had more love than they had the morning prior.  We were not allowed to take pictures and it was a well enforced rule.  The conditions were clean, but sterile, and needs were being met.  There were Nuns in their uniforms as well as nursey maids.  The cribs were all matching and had matressess with rubber sheet and cotton sheets on.  There were more children  than workers.

We had a wonderful lunch by the water afterwards.  The beach was a nice place to debrieft, eat and rejevinate our spirits.  The water was a seafoam blue, with big palm trees all around.  The entertainment was watching a man riding his donkey down the beach, off to do business somewhere in town. 

After lunch, we went to a CARE Plan orphanage/school, sponsored by the Australian Care Plan.  We had everyone with us and really just had fun being with the kids.  I was able to sit among the children and before I knew it, I had a whole crowd around me and a girl on each knee!  All the children were already in the gazebo- about three times the size of a regular gazebo. This school was one of the cleanest and nicest schools that we had the priviledge of being at.  The uniforms and shoes were in burgundy and white, and everyone (even the teachers) was just so happy!!  Brisso had them singing and praying, and the best part of that?  Brisso had them singing in english so that we can join in as well!!  What a shock it was for me to hear my name during an improv skit of Meeshak, Shadrack and Abendigo- I was being called up to act out the evil King Nebeccnezar!  I was comfortable, loving my adopted girls... however, I did enjoy the skit and it was a instant classic! It was great to just exaggerate and play up the story.   I really had fun watching the children replaying our skit in their own ways.  We also did the Good Samatian.  Making these stories from the Bible come alive was not only fun but rewarding as well.  We had to suddenly cut it short as we were late and had kept the kids too long as it was.  This is when we learned that Pastor Les, who had not been feeling well all week, was being taken to a Haitian Doctor.  Our love for this servant of God poured out as we prayed and left him in God's hands. 

We had another bumpy ride back to the team house in the back of pick up trucks.  Once there, and hydrated, we got ready for a soccer outreach.  This is when we take soccer balls and go to an empty field and invite all to come and play soccer, using it as a tool to be able to share the gospel message.  I was so ready for this!  I was pumping up soccer balls and gettting socks and shoes on (I know! ME in socks!)....  however, we never got there.  Pastor Les came home and told us all about the doctor's visit ( I was so into the details of what the nurse did and what the office looked like,etc) and that it was a diagnosis of cerebal malaria.  That was a shocker.  Instead of our outreach, Sam took us on a 15 min. hike to the nearby beach.  It wasn't as nice as the one on Sunday, as it was rocky, but still very beatiful!  It was a cove that had a rock formation worn in by the ocean that was so interesting to look at.  Looking up, we could see some rental properties that were HUGE!  The ocean was so warm- even late in the afternoon as it was!  I was able to hang out and just be myself and talk to a few team members that I didn't know so well.  I really enjoyed the entire moment of time.  It was a nice touch and really appreciated by all who went.  (picture on  right side, labelled cove, taken by Jenn Roach)

Reflections: the sky is so blue here. Always.  The clouds were just placed perfectly- God's little cotton balls.  I loved the weather- humid, warm, sunny.  It was a good reminder of the mid July days of my youth- our hottest weather of year is their coldest!

Our team was definately God-ordained and chosen.  Whenever, whoever,  the needs were met.  People at home were praying for us, and I could sense it. 

This was day three of our ministry- and we had some bumps and bruises, Pastor Les was ill.  A powerful thought came about by the team- we are doing God's work and his enemy, Satan was trying his best to keep us down.  Our wonderfully tight group prayed together that night a prayer of overcoming, of protection, of thanksgiving.

 God is working in each one's heart.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Meat and Potatoes of Why I Am Here

Date Entered Into Journal: March 29, 2011
Days One and Two of Ministry

Today was the first full day of our children's ministry!  We went to two schools and an orphanage in the afternoon.

 Our first school was a Christian private school, class of about 24 darling little ones.  We shared the story of Zacheus, showed our wordless book and did our salvation bracelet craft, after our interpreters engaged the kids in song and prayer. 
After the craft, we were able to spend time sitting among the darlings in their blue and white uniforms.  I sure got inspected!  My ears were turned back to see the backings of my earrings, my sunglasses were removed from the top of my head and put on each one's face, and the hugs!  Those hugs were the best! 
They appeared to like the fact that I could understand and talk back to them in French.  I tried  and they were visibly impressed when I could point to my body parts that   they listed in french and creole.  It was a surreal experience.

Our second school was listed on the sign as a Montessori Preschool, but down here that means that it was founded by them, not necessairly of that program.  It was a school/orphange and a quite poor one.  It smelled of stale urine and burning trash. The kids were thirsty, and it showed when they attempted to drink from our water bottles.  It was located in a back alley.  Instantaneously when we arrived the little ones- 2 and 3 year olds wanted to be held in our arms.  Their were so small- one little boy came to me and held his arms up and  went "eh- eh" to me until I picked him up and put him on my hip.  ( it was mere nano seconds!!  and for me not being a kid person, it was a big move!)  He was so adorable, curly dark hair, big brown eyes, runny nose. 
We did our program and craft.  The craft was so hard as they were so young and small.  They were grabbing beads jsut to have beads! 

We debriefed at lunch, back at the team house.  It was a fabulous homemade lunch of peanut butter and grape jelly.  We also changed up the program in order to enagage the children more, coming up with a skit to illustrate our stories instead of just talking.  This was a good idea as then more team members were involved, and the engagement of the kids would be priceless!

Our orphanage school,  after lunch,  had children aged four up to ten years. We had to walk up the side of a hill, winding path that took my breath away!  We had a lot more time here and preformed our skit as well as played with the kids. We came up with a skit about the Good Samartian.  I was assigned to play the Proud Man.... I over emphasized, over acted it and all I heard was laughter! My soul's nectar!!    We were able to play soccer and skipping rope with the children.  It was good... so good that when we attempted to leave, the kids wanted to follow us!  Sam, our full time Children Ministry Leader, had to stop the truck and instruct the kids to stop!

While we were doing this, the men were building bunk beds for an orphanage. 

For supper, we experienced a daily meal of the locals- beans and rice.  However, we were spoiled as ours came with a salami sauce on top and a coconut coleslaw.  It was absolutley DELISH!!  Totally what I was expecting and more! 

We were able to have share and care, a time of worship and group devotions.  My shower never felt so good for only cold water and three minutes in length!  It was all good once I figured out how to work the shower!

Tuesday came so fast... hardly felt like I was asleep!  Up at 0630, devotions at 0700 and Breakfast soon followed that.  Before you knew it, our chores were over and off we were to our ministries.  The men continued to work at the woodshop and we went off to two schools and an orphanage. 

Our first school of the days was older kids, I would easily call them tweens.We had fun watching Brisso, our male interpreter bring the children alive with music that we knew in english and they sung in Haitian Creole and or french, his use of word games to engage was so perfect!  He has such a talent at what he does... his love shines through all that he does!  We threw in another skit that we came up with- we illustrated the Zacheus story that Jenn was already teaching as an example of joy that comes from the Lord.  I play Zacheus... and not because I was short!  The wordless book was shared, we prayed with the kids and did our bracelet craft.  The kids were totally behaved and full of good manners.  They said, "Thank You" in english when assisted.

Our second school was a high school, where we participated in the second year class's chapel.  It was at the church that we attended on Sunday Am.  As it was an older crowd, I was able to have more fun.  We added a skit, the parable of the seeds.  It is so fun to just let go and be wild.  The chapel leader was Pastor Zamor, who is a loving Christian man.  We were thanked for coming by one of the student leaders.  During our time at  Hosanna, we also shared a testimony that was relevant to their age group.  Pastor Zamore shook each one of our hands and thanked us personally for coming to Haiti.  He said something that has really stood out to me and I find repeating...  "the future of Haiti is our children.  They need two things: Jesus and education."  I pray that the Lord continues to bless him and his work as he attempts to do both.

After our homemade lunch of , you guessed it. peanut butter and grape jelly, we went to an orphanage where the children were aged 2 to 14.  We were greeted by the house matron who was very welcoming and warm to us.  She invited us to come into the living room/sitting room area and as we sitting down, the kids came barreling in.  They were so cute as they joined us on the couches, snuggling beside us, in our laps, all around us.  The kids crawelled all over us and engaged us all.  Nerlande, our fabulous female translator, led the kids into song and engaged the girls who were obviously looking up at her.  You can see how some imitate her.  Both Nerlande and Brisso LOVE these kids and love being with them.  As we were singing, the men came in.  They had finished their wood working and had delivered it to the orphange.  (side note:  it was Hands and Feet, an orphange supported by the Christian Rock Band Audio Adreline)  It was the first time that they got to see what we do and play with the kids.  We added something else in: after we did the Good Samaratin skit, we had the kids act it out.  They needed no proding and actually just went and did the story without the narration!  It was so adorable watching our previous actions being done by the kids.  Craft time was quite cute- one of the guys had two little boys in his lap and I worked on each one of their bracelets with them.  We were able to play outside with the kids and interact with them: skipping, soccer, toy cars, twirling them around and just hanging out.  The little girls sometimes jumped rope with no shoes on, in the loose gravel... something I have never had to do!  We all interacted differently: one guy sat beside a little boy playing with tiny hot wheels and without a moments notice- that little budding engineer had a two/ three level ramp going and was playing with his cars on it.  Another male member of the team, picked up the kids and twirled them around in a circle, getting them dizzy!  The photographer was playing with her camera and having the kids take pictures with her.  Digital cameras are a blessing for this... as then they can see what they just snapped!    It was just good to be outside with these darlings.  We were able to leave the skipping ropes and soccer balls with the house matron.  She is so loving and the kids appear to really listen.

We had chicken chili on baked potatoes with garlic bread and carrot-raisin salad for supper.  Very filling and fiberous!

Our evening was already planned to be a movie outreach night.  We packed up the needed technology, the movie screen, projecter, sound system and went off to find the predestined spot.  Pastor Zamore joined us for this, and was the one that found the spot that we were going to claim for the night.  It was dusk when we got to where we were going, which is about 1830hrs their time.  We used flashlights and torches to get everything set up and running.  Once the p.a. system was running, Sam played Christian Creole Music to draw the people to us.  It worked!  It was pitch black dark when Pastor Zamore started his introduction into the evening.  The movie was just under an hour.  It was "God Man" which was dubbed into Haitian Creole and had subtitles as well.  It was part live action and part animated, and it was a really good explaination on the salvation story.  After it was done, the College and Careers put on a play titled "Everything".  It involved  Jesus and a girl who was tempted by different sins such as seduction, alchohol, money, fashion, self harm.  It's set to the song Everything by Lifehouse and is very powerful.  Following that, Pastor Les and Pastor Zamore presented the gospel message and we had at least two people come to know the Lord, one being a little boy.  We had a few women come forward for prayer and to pray with us.  It was so good to see the Holy Spirit at work there.  Seeds of salvation were planted as at least 30-50 people were there for the movie.

During the start of the movie, it started to spit rain.  I started to pray that it would hold off and it did..... until we were on the way home!  Sitting the pick up truck bed, we got soaked as it poured rain on us, a warm rain.  It was more refreshing than anything.  Everyone in my truck started to laugh and we just enjoyed the experience with each other. 

When we returned to the team house, Dave stated that no two movie ngiht were the same.  We had group devos and off to bed.

These days may have been uncomfortable for me, as I am not a kid person, however, it has blessed me to get out of my comfort zone.  I fell in love with acting and perfoming once again, realizing that my use of animation is a true blessing on trips like these!

God is working in my heart... I love this culture and the people of Haiti.  They are so welcoming and loving.  I love sitting in the back of the truck and waving as I greet those we pass on the road.  The warm sun feels so good! 
Canada?  Where's that?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sundays are meant for this....

Date Entered Into Journal: March 27, 2011

We woke up this morning at 0600am.  I won't tell you what the 0 stands for!  We were gently awaken by worship music playing in the living room, which was a great way to start a Sunday!  It was fun to get dressed for church in sundresses and sandles- as it is still winter at home!  It was kinda wierd to do my personal devotions in a room full of people, however, it was still nice to be able to do it with worship music and the warm sun shinning on me.  Coffee sure tastes different...  it's so much better than Starbucks, and it was soothing to me!  After breakfast of eggs and spam with fresh fruit salad containing mangoes, bananas, pineapple, papya there was lots of free time. (I know it sounds like a horrible meal, however, it tasted so good!) I used this time to think about where I was and about my patient back home- praying for his strength and an opportunity to share with him once I returned home.  I also had moments of feeling really down and pensive due to not feeling like I belonged on the team.  Everyone seemed to know each other so well, and all seemed so close.  I never know how to handle that  other than to pray and make myself more extroverted. 

We went to church at a "Baptist" church that is attached to a seminary school.  Found out that because it was founded by a Baptist Missionary, it took on the Baptist name.  We met an American Missionary who had served in France for 35 years prior and is now teaching for two weeks at the Seminary.  I remember my own Bible College/Seminary days when we had visiting professors... and how they were a blessing to us.  I pray that the students in Jacmel are as blessed by his presence.  The church is a building with doors, windows and roof .  The walls are made out of stucco, and a tin roof.  Lights and fans were going, and it helped with the humidity.  I am able to recognixe the worship music and  able to sing along, especially when Pastor Zamore sang in english!  When I sang, I attempted to do it in Creole, not well, but at least I attempted it.  Romans 12 was the sermon and it brought me to tears to hear the entire congregation read the work of God together in unison. We saw and participated in a baby and child dedication. I caught a few works in French as well.  Psalm 119.9 was hand written in black on a white poster on hung the wall.   The Haitian women and men really dress up!  It was hot! and they wre in hats, suits, Sunday best clothing that we would wear to a wedding or a formal event, with lots of accessories and jewelry! (Jewelry is an export of  Haiti and what they sell to the tourists)  Pastor Zamore is one of the associate Pastors at that church and is one of the Calvary Chapel Haiti Innitative's Evangelism Outreach Pastors.  We will be seeing more of him on Tuesday.  The Haitians really enjoy worshipping our Lord, they are very emotional in their worship.

I am getting used to riding in teh back of pick up trucks!

Lunch was delicious- tuna salad sandwiches!!  It is one of the daily chores to make lunches, which Kirsten and Julia do so well and with much love and attention.
A surprise was that the quick favorite snack food was JellyBelly Jellybeans.  Bless the person that thought of those!  They were a big bonding item, we all have our faorite flavors and strong dislikes- and what one did not l ike, there was another that did!  And the subject of many games!

Beachtime this afternoon!  It was undescribly beautiful! Palm trees with coconuts, trees heavy with plantains and bananas, mango trees with almost ripe mangoes all mainly by the beach.  The water is blue green with the white surf.  The sand is a little golden with some white sand.  Rolling with strong waves and getting knocked down by them was a blessing- as I had forgotten my netti pot, I was given a natural one by the waves!  It was a great afternoon of swimming, playing soccer with the boys and some Haitian children on the beach, and a time of relaxing.  The CCHI provided sodas for us at the beach, which was a really nice touch- Sprite and Cokes.  It was bottled in Port Au Prince, as it was its own flavor, just like how Canadian and American pops are slightly different.  There were a few Haitians there to sell us their artwork and jewelery.  They can be pushy to make a sell, creative in their artwork and in the way that they are selling, and you really have to bargain.  There were so many beautiful carvings, paintings, necklaces, bracelets, hats to choose from.

Crime rate in Jacmel is really low.  Crime, when it does happen, is that of opportunistic.  If you leave something unattended, it will go missing.

Our team house is a true gift from God.  2 levels, balcony, private rooms for the staff, 2 large bedrooms for teams, a gigantic sunken living room which also doubles as our dining room and open kitchen and three bathrooms.
Our schedule continues after  supper meals: to do chores, group devotions that we dubbed as share and care.  Then free time before 1030pm lights out.  It is mandatory quiet time from 1030 to 0630am.  We have a cook, laundry helper, groundskeeper, all whom are Haitian, and beautiful inside and out.

The ladies of the team serve each other meals.  It is really unique to see the men being served before the women.  I was raised to serve the eldest to the youngest, and that is how I do it... however, I guess it must be a Romanian thing, as everyone reacted when I did that.

I feel so unprepared for tomorrow.  I really hope just now that I don't have give my testimonry- it needs so much work.  I'm not ashamed to share, I just don't know how to say it all, what to include and what to exclude. 

AMI, is the female full time missionary, who is from Fort Lauderdale, FL.  She is tall and beautiful.  She is so helpful and knowledgeable for someone only being here for less than three months.She is the one that updates facebook and shares the work that goes on down here.

 I love how the CCHI involve the Haitian Christians in serving their own.

SAM- is the full time male missionary also from Fort Lauderdale.  He speakes french, Creole.  His heart is so big for the Haitian people- you see the love while he interacts with the people and especially the children.
Super tonight is baked ziti pasta with garlic bread.

No matter what feeling come up, I am here to serve and to be used of God.  Emotions can't be reliable, Satan can attack through that.  I will be strong and try to fall deeper in love with my Lord and the people here I am to serve.  If I can serve my team, the missionaries here, then I will be successful!

Tonight I will be falling alseep to sounds of frogs, goats, puppy dogs while I ponder the natural beauty of the country Haiti and its people.

Friday, April 8, 2011

We have lift off in Canada and Delivery in Jacmel, Haiti!!

Date Entered into Diary: March 26, 2011.  After a day and a bit of travelling through North America to get to Jacmel, Haiti.

We left Calgary, Alberta, Canada at 0700am, being at the airport for 4.45am on Friday, April 25, 2011.  Our first flight took us to Dallas/Fort Worth.  This was a good flight, with no entertainment and a little sleep.  I sat with one of my teammates, Kirsten and got to know her.  It was our youngest team member's birthday and the Flight Attendant annouced it over the intercom on the plane, which resulted in the entire plane singing her "Happy Birthday!"  We had an extraordinare Flight Attendant who blessed us in her caring ways and words. 

At Dallas/Forth Worth, we had a few hours for lay over.  Our luggage was all checked to San Juan, PR so we didn't have to worry about our bags.  As a team we had lunch at the airport that the churched had sponsored.  I had a Fiesta Salad with avacoda, cherry pepsi (made just for me!!) and a shared dessert of chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream and rasperberry sauce.  Good thing we shared that !!  It was a good last meal in North America.  Good Food with Good Company!

We had a mid afternoon flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico- where we would be spending the night.  This flight seem to take forever!!  I was very tired as I had only slept an hour the night before and about 20 mins on the Dallas Flight and only a light doze on this flight.  I was seated in the back of the plane, by the bathroom.  After the first movie was over, I got to see about 65+ people walk back to the washroom and stand right beside me.  As I am short and seats were low, I got to see a lot of buttocks!!  I was getting walked on, bumped into and squished- but THIS DID NOT DAMPER MY SPIRITS!!!  We grabbed our bags and took a cab to the Sheraton Convention Centre- highly recommend this place!!  The rooms are gorgeous and well maintained!  I was able to text message home to find out it was snowing and I was in 79oF weather!!  I attempted to go for a swim, however, the pool was closed ( but it was so beautiful, what I could see!!)  I was fast asleep by midnight, which was a good thing. 

A good thing because.... we were up at 4am and at the aiport for 04.45am to get our flight to Port Au Prince.  I was thrilled to find out that I was seated mid plane!!  We had a stop over in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to let some of our fellow passengers out. What a wild landing!  We were shaken all over our seat from side to side and up and down!! We all were asked to deplane  in order for the airline to spray the interior of the plane with what they called a toxic spray.  I later found out it was mandatory operation for all planes coming into the D.R. to do.  What I could see from the landing strip, the DR is really pretty!!

After thirty minutes in the plane, we were landing in Port Au Prince, Haiti!  Our landing was smooth and easy.  We gathered our bags after clearing immigration- which was a breeze!  We were given green sheets to fill out prior which I am sure helpe ease the work load for all!  After clearing immigration, we were greeted by Nader, our contact in PAP.  He is a joyous, loving Haitian Christian brother, who helped navigate the team through customs and to the national domestic airport.  He had to leave us for a moment just outside of the arrival station of the international airport and told us to 'stay right there'.  And right there is where we stayed!!  Haitian men who wanted to earn money from the 'blancs' (white folks who dont belong) kept asking us if we wanted  or needed anything- one man even brought Pastor Les a cellphone and told him that the call was for him- asking about our transport needs!  We followed our instructions to the key and we made it just fine! 

Upon our arrival to PAP, we prayed prior to going thougfh customs.  I was brought to tears as this has been a life long dream, a life long jouney to here.  I have never felt so close to my purpose in life that I did at that moment.

Our short flight to Jacmel, Haiti was about 15 mins long and adventourous.  We were in  a  20 seater and felt the turbulance quite easily!  It was bumpy going over the Haitian mountains and the view....  what a view! Words cannot describe the destruction of Port Au Prinice- the houses mid mountain- the blue green water- green vegation.  Our pilot was amazing- he was able to fly us out of turbulance and resume a peaceful ride. 

At the Jacmel airport, we were met by Ami and Dave- two of the full time missionaires taht work there at the Calvary Chapel Haiti Innitative.  Dave is the Innitative Coordinator, aka Boss Guy and Ami is the administrative assistant/team hostess/catch all.  Ami is very outgoing and cheerful- you can feel God's love flowing through her.   They drove us to the team house in the offical Haiti transport system- truck beds!  Once at the house, we were introduced to the staff of the house, the cook, the laundry attendant, the ministry leaders and translators.

After a quick orientation of the house rules, a quick q and a session soon developed.  They had questions of the team and we had questions for them.  This all helped us to understand what and how Calvary Chapel is trying to serve the Haitians.  Lunch consisted of hot dogs, buns and picklis- a hot and spicy haitian coleslaw that has cabbage, carrots onions, habanero pepers and few tomatoes.  Just after lunch as we were getting ready to take a tour of the CCHI property (workshops, tents, property, etc), our baggage arrived.  It had to come by truck as there was no space on the our charter nor could the weight be accounted for.  Once that was settled, we went out for our tour.  In our tour, we went to the project site where the benches, the trusses and wood working is done.  Huge tents that were donated from the Hurricane Katrina site are now being used in Haiti to hold services, conferences and meetings. 
  Dave and Ami drove us around the town of Jacmel after this tour.  What an incredible sight- broken homes still being lived in, more than likely not safe.  People washing clothes, their bodies in the river that the animals came by.  This was also their drinking water.  Women carry all kinds of things balanced on their heads, and they smile and wave as they "blanc" people drive by.  Texaco gas station- where mopeds, scooters were all being fueled.  Fried plantains cooking on the street- music being pumped out from houses and businesses.  Passed a physio and psych therapy building.  On the backdrop of beautiful mountains, people are living in the direst of straits.... but they still smile, still wave and interact with us as we drive by.  There are NO RULES on the road... just don't be walking!  The bigger the vehicle, the more right of way on the road.  Horns honked, people waving each other around.  Tons of scooters or motorized bikes with 3 - 4 - or 5 people on them.... these are a form of taxi.  Tap-Taps are a covered 4x4 truck that have people riding along the side of the truck box - another form of taxi- named tap tap as you tap tap the side of the truck box to let the driver know that you want out. 

It is  humid- warm 35oC with puffy white clouds and a beautiful blue sky- totally reminded me of mid July in Ontario.  The plants are all so green- flowers have vibrant white, purple, orange colors.  Mangoes are ripping and coming into season- got to feel one on a tree! I was told not to pick, as it is a form of stealing- the haitians pick fruit as a form of employment.  Beautiful people- wonderous land. 

Stats: 48 % of Haitians are all UNDER the age of 18.  French is the business language, Creole is daily language.  Hot  Sauce and Ketchup are placed on the table for every meal... used like condiments are in North America.

We have arrived.... ready to do God's will.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Good Bye Canada!!!

Well,  tomorrow is the day!  It's FINALLY here!!

I am packed! (and I am under my 50 lbs...  I have 5 lbs to bring pack artwork!!) My carry on is ready to go....  My cellphone now has an international carribean package.

Sunday was our commissioning.  Pastor Glen prayed over us and for us.  I was touched by the laying of hands on me by my friend Chris who is a missionary by trade.  Pastor Glen reminded us of the adversary that lurks around... and to be on the watch for him.  Prior to that, we had a team meeting and got to work on our drama and lesson plan.  I learned a new song all about baby sharks that we have translated into Creole to sing with the children there.

Tuesday was my last day of work.  I did my billlings for one of the doctors I worked with, I cleaned off my desk, I cleared out my email, put my out of office reply to work, and handed off things to those who will attempt to fill my shoes.  My chronic disease nurse, Bronwyn and Dr. H took me out for a Dim Sum lunch to wish me off.  I was able to good bye to those whom I am close to at work.  Everyone is so supportive, and loving...  I do go to work for my clients however I enjoy my work because of whom I work with.

I said good bye to my pallative patient.  This was hard on both of us... he is doing well now, however, things can change forever in an hr for him.  I was able to tell him things that I wanted him to know, and what I couldn't or felt that now isnt the time, I wrote to him in a letter to be given to him only at that time. 

Monday I had to say good bye to two of the gals that I work with as they were either away or on course on my last day of work.  It was an awesome surprise to come to work on Tuesday and have a gift awaiting me.

Wednesday was a day that I struggled with.  I had no energy.  I couldn't sleep.  I tried to rest but my head was spinning.  I was about to not have anything done that I wanted done for the day.  Then, my mother called.  She reminded me that this was not a flesh fight I was having but a spiritual one.  Satan knows of the work that my team and I will be doing and he wanted me to fail.  After a prayer and some positive words, I was able to get done what I needed to get done.  I will always remember my mother for this: she knows her battle ground!

Thursday is a day of last minute stuff.  I had to pop out and get some last minute items, visit the bank and pack. I was able to get a little cleaning done along the way as well.  I made it under my 50 lbs and my carry on has all that I will need.  I was super blessed today when I got an email from one of my small group leaders asking for last minute prayer requests-  I shared my heart and my joy.  This encouraged me.

Our travel plans are long... however, that is good. I will have a chance to write out my testimony and make it simple for the kids and encouraging for the teens and adults.  In our drama I have a simple part that makes the play easy for the Haitians to relate to.  I do have to share a mini lesson, however, I don't have to write it, just share it!  (Thanks Pastor Les!!)  My travel time will be preparation time.  My lay overs will be for rest and enjoying my teammates.  I am excited to add Dallas/Frt Worth, Puerto Rico and Haiti to my passport!!

So, dear readers, I am off to make a difference in this world.  Thank you for supporting me in this adventure.  I plan to post if I can while down there, and if not, I will add entries regarding each day when I return.

God Bless...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

8 Days To Go...

8 days to go.  I think that those will be the longest days ever.

 I am done work in 5  days (with two days being the weekend) and I have left two days prior to being at the airport for 0500am next Friday to pack and pick up any incidentials that I have forgotten until then.

I am getting excited.... 

I am also getting touched emotionally.  Yesterday at work,  our volunteer chiropractor wished me well and adjusted me before going.  His thoughtfulness and caring ways touched me, as he wanted to send me off in his way. 
My church is having a prayer of commission for my team on Sunday Night.  I have been asking my Christian co-workers to attend if they could.  (I hope to see them there!!)  My family lives so far away and cannot be there for that moment, and we are a family at work!  I have been blessed with well wishes and hugs....   My working family has been counting the days down with me!

I have not forgotten the reason why I am going down.  I am going down to serve my living Saviour in any way possible.  I do have a hope and a desire to work in the medical clinic, however, if God does not want me to do that, I am open to that as well.  My goal is to show God's love to the Haitian people... any way He desires.

I have taken my cholera vaccine.  I will remember to take my malaria pills starting tommorrow.  Am I worried about the possibility of cholera's incline in cases? You bet.. but not personally.  I know that I am covered not only with vaccine but with the blood of my Saviour... He will protect me and not cause me harm.  The Haitians have been through so much...  earthquake, hurricane, cholera and just when one item on this list is getting better.... it can get worse. 

I have just learned that our lesson for the Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) that we will be doing for that week is on JOY.  That encourages me.  It will be good to reflect on that fruit of the spirit for the week.  The joy of the Lord is my strength... that song that I learned as a child will hopefully be my theme song while I am in Haiti. 

Whatever is going to happen, will happen.  How I react to it, will be my growing for the week. 

Use Me. Mold Me.  I am Yours.
Thank you for dying the Cross for me.
Thank you for loving a gal like me.
Thank you for never leaving me or forsaking me.
Thank you for having a plan for me, one that will be prosperous and not harmful.
Thank you for sending me.

8 days to go.... excitement is building....