Sunday, July 28, 2013

// day vii

Hello people of Minnesota! This is Maddy here, wow what a week it's been! God has had so much to teach me and our team in Haiti and we are all sad to leave. Although I am slightly eager to bring back all that I've learned to the States. There is so much to say about this beautiful country, but I love how Gods presence is everywhere; from a simple smile to holding naked male toddlers, from hearts breaking from being in City Sole (the poorest city in the world) to getting to provide them their living water for FREE! Even though I have been in one of the most dangerous countries in the world I never felt like I wasn't safe. God had his arms wrapped around us and we had the most incredible translators/bodyguards that watched our every move. This country broke my heart in a million pieces after I help my first sick baby at Mother Theresa's home for the sick and dying. I have never been more grateful for a broken heart in my life! God wanted to make my heart more like his and that's exactly what he did throughout this week! This place is so indescribable and there is so much to say but it really hit me that God works through the one's who have nothing here on earth, but everything in the heavenly kingdom! It has been hard for me the grasp that but God has blessed me so much and I haven't let him take control of his blessings for me. At Grace Village Church these people/children had close to nothing but they gave everything in their pockets to the offering because they knew God has a better plan for their money than they could ever use it for! And I absolutely lost it!!! I couldn't remember the last time I gave up my own hard working money to the offering but there were children younger than me emptying out their pockets! There is so much I have learned about selfless faith this week and I crave to live the lives of these people, even though I have so much more "stuff" than they do. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that I have all this crap and they have barely enough water to survive or a roof over their heads that only lasts as long a it doesn't storm! And most children, the only family they have is The Lord Jesus Christ. This country stole my heart and I hope when I go to YWAM I get the blessing of having the same experience only longer :) We can't wait to see you all tomorrow night! God bless everyone!!!
-Maddy Turner
P.S. I bruised my butt
P.S.S. I probably will never eat trail mix again 
Dear Friends and Family,
Today has been one heck of a day. I was awoken by Annette clanking pots and pans in my face to wake me up. So naturally I fell back asleep. I was then awoken by Hannah and Maddy jumping on my bed, flicking my ears, and massaging my butt. I guess you could say we really turned into a big happy family! Once I finally got up we were able to go back to Grace Village for sunday church. Boy it was sure different! I got to hold the cutest baby girl during the service who then fell asleep on me. I'm starting to become the baby whisper(;  We got to go shopping and it was a crazy experience! We had to bargain which was difficult because whenever I had to bargain I had my sister to do it for me. So i really missed her today to help me! The view from the shops were so breath taking. It was gorgeous!!! Gods beauty is just amazing and it keeps taking my breath away! But I have to say my favorite part of the day was when it started to down pour rain and we all ran outside to dance in it! I finally got to check dancing in the rain off my summer bucket list! Then someone came up with the idea of going to the upstairs patio and turning it into a slip-in-slide! I had the time of my life. We all lost ourselves in the moment and we didnt care what people thought of us. It was such a cool thing to experience. This trip has been both physically and emotionally challenging for me. It broke my heart to see Gods people in horrible living conditions and without food and water. No one should ever have to live like that, but if theres one thing God has thought me throughout this week it is that the people who have the most in the world need to get down off their throne of wealth and help those who have nothing. God also showed me that just because the people down here dont have anything that doesnt have anything to do with their faith. These people have some of the strongest faith I have ever witnessed and when in reality Americans have so much but the one thing they dont have is faith. Its crazy to think about! I fell in love with this country and I honestly cant wait to be able to come back(: These people have truly touched my heart.
-Emily Eichelberger

Today has been absolutely fantastic! We stared the day off with our family style breakfast, which is one of may favorite things that we do here. After that, we all loaded up into the tap tap and headed back to Grace Village for our Sunday morning church service. This service was so amazing and it really reminded me of the church that I used to go to, Speak the Work Church International. The service was so lively and energetic! I loved it so much!!! When we were done with church, we all got back up into the tap tap and headed up to the top of the mountain to go to the village markets. This was such an awesome experience! As we were just getting off of the tap tap people rushed up to us trying to sell us their bracelets and what not. This was one of the first times I have had to barter with people, and it was pretty exciting! When we were done buying souvenirs or gifts for others, we headed back down the mountain. When we got back to the guest house we all relaxed a bit. It started to rain when I was outside with a few other people and then it really started to come down. I headed up to the balcony with some people and then pretty soon everyone was up there. We had a great time running on the balcony and having in a way a huge slip n slide. This was one of the most energetic and carefree times we have had on this trip! I wish it could've lasted longer, but I am so thankful for the opportunity God has blessed me with to come to Haiti. I am also so thankful for all of the relationships that I have built with the others on this team. God has blessed me so abundantly and I am so grateful for this! I still have a hard time believing that we are leaving tomorrow morning already. It is sad to think about, but at the same time, I am happy that I get to see my family again and tell them all about how God has worked on this trip. To close up the night, we all shared our word of the day and watched a slide show of the pictures that were taking throughout the day. Then we played zoo and hung out. Tonight was fantastic and I wish that every night could be like this was. 
-Abigail Paige Stigsell

I know that everyone has said how amazing this day was, but that's honestly all I can say. Today was amazing. Starting out the day, we went to church at Grace Village. By the way, all the girls looked super spiffy in dresses and skirts, and the boys in khakis. Once we got to the orphanage, we were bombarded by kids (as usual) which I love. The orphans looked beautiful in their Sunday clothes, and all of us oohed and ahhed as we drove up. This boy named Andy, who is 13, held my hand the entire morning. Another boy, who is 9, also sat with me throughout the service. (I've gained a lot of boyfriends throughout this week! :) Church was incredible, and I absolutely loved it! The pastor was so energetic, and I love listening to Creole. The combination made me smile the whole time. My favorite part, though, was when Justin was called up to teach a song, and our whole team went up with him. We all sang Justin's song "We Believe" while we looked out over all the Haitian faces and out the door to the beautiful blue ocean. That was a breathtaking moment that I can't describe. After the service ended and everyone unpacked the little church, we all loaded up the Tap-tap and headed up the mountain for some shopping. We stopped at a market on the way up, and then at the market at the top of the mountain. Bartering was a new experience, and I can say that I definitely do not have the knack my dad has for it. We all bought amazing gifts, and most of us ran out of money. After we all realized we were broke, we all just looked out over the valley below us. The sight was the most amazing scene I have ever seen. The ocean, the city, the mountains...everything was an incredible creation from our amazing Father. I loved just chilling with our team and being so relaxed...just looking. When we got back to the guesthouse we hung out and packed up (sadly). Jean took me, Abby, and the Emilys to get our pizza, and we all rode in the back of the pickup on the way home which was A BLAST! After we returned and ate our delicious last meal, it started raining and we all had so much fun acting like idiots. We all were soaked to the bone after we ran and slid on the tile patio. We played in our "hot tub" in the corner of the patio and just hung out enjoying each other's company. Tonight, after debriefing and looking at pictures, we're all doing our own thing. We're finishing up writing affirmations in our journals and watching Despicable Me as I type here. And now, Jean is throwing away our dead mouse that snuck in the other night. Sorry, that was probably too much information. Well, we're asking for your prayers tomorrow as we travel home to all of our friends and family. Just know that we love you all and are excited to tell you all of our incredible stories! God bless and we'll see you soon!
~Kenzie Korsi

// and so, tomorrow we head back home... how the people of this beautiful country have stolen our hearts as we've learned more of how & what it means to love God & neighbor, amidst being loved by The One True God & neighbor...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

// day vi

Today. Saturday, July 27th, 2013 was an amazing day. I loved having the chance to go back to City Soliel and deliver water to all of the families. It was an awesome experience, just like it was when we went on Wednesday. I held kids, sang, and danced with them. When we were done delivering water, we went to Juno's orphanage to play with the kids. That was an awesome time! I played soccer with a few of the kids, did some puzzles with them, and sang and prayed as well. I wish we didn't have to leave them there and that I could take all of them home with me. Tonight was different. We talked about Jesus washing the disciples feet at the last supper. When we were done talking about that, we all went up to the balcony and Annette, Justin, Timmy, Hannah, Maddy, and Emily washed everyone's feet. After that we went into a time of prayer and talked about forgiveness. This was by far the absolute best part of the trip. I felt the presence of God all around us and I know that I have been forgiven. Sometimes I don't think that God could forgive me, but He ALWAYS does. His love for us is amazing and it is sometimes hard to believe one person could love me so much. 
-Abigail Paige Stigsell

It is hard for me to put today into words, because so many different and emotional things have happened. Starting off the day we got the privilege to deliver water from the water truck for a second time this week. I love seeing the smiling faces of the children as we sing and dance with them in the streets. For the afternoon we visited Juno's orphanage, and I will never forget the faces that I met there. One beautiful girl named Giovanna stole my heart, and I wish I could have taken her home with me. For debrief we talked and had word of the day, then we went up to the balcony and washed each others feet. I found it to be an extremely amazing experience. We then talked about being forgiven and giving forgiveness. We prayed for each other, and I will never forget those moments that we shared as a family. I want to say Happy Birthday to my amazing and beautiful Doni and Auntie Roni. I love you two to the moon and back times one million. I am so blessed to have both of you in my life.
-Morgan Kate Abbott

When I think this trip can't get any better, it always does. I was so excited for today because we got to go back to Cite Soliel and deliver water again. This experience was a little different, however, because at our first stop we had to leave without emptying the truck. After we were done, we went and filled the truck again, then headed off to our last stop. At this stop, a girl named Shelly came and asked me my name and just stayed with me. At one point I had a bunch of kids around me and I just danced and smiled with all of them. After this stop we headed off to Juno's orphanage. Literally before my feet hit the ground when getting out of the Tap-Tap a girl grabbed me and pulled me into a hug. I couldn't pronounce her name but I found out she was 14. We put together a puzzle, blew bubbles, played soccer, and just hung out together. I loved how calm and peaceful being there was. After we got a tour, we sang and danced with the kids which was so much fun. Leaving was so hard, and we all took pictures and gave kisses and hugs. When we got back to the guesthouse we all showered, a lot of us napped, and we all just hung out till dinner. After pictures and debrief, Annette read from the Bible and told us to go up to the roof. Annette and Justin washed the graduated seniors' feet, and they washed all of the younger students'. Emily Johnson washed mine and prayed for me after, which was one of the coolest moments of my life. I also had the privilege of washing Annette's feet, as I felt God was calling me to do. I loved that moment with one of my biggest role models and I will never forget it. During worship, Annette challenged us to know we are forgiven and to accept God's forgiveness. This was really hard for a lot of us, but I feel that The Lord helped me understand His forgiveness tonight. This day was absolutely beautiful and one I will carry with me forever. The Lord our Father is here with all of us and we can always feel Him working. We send love back home and ask for prayers as we finish up here in Haiti and head back to all of you on Monday. Hope all is well!
~Kenzie Korsi

// tomorrow, we head to grace village for 
their church gathering & then we head into the mountains to catch some breath-taking views...

Friday, July 26, 2013

// day v

Today, while visiting the General Hospital in Port Au Prince, we met a woman who had just given birth. She was out on the streets trying to get money to buy baby formula to feed her newborn.  The hospital staff would not let her nurse her baby because she was HIV positive.  A small group of us were able to pray for her and get her phone number to give to Healing Haiti.  Many people are in desperate situations here but God is working through his people.  The students have been amazing in their maturity and boldness with doing things that are out of their comfort zone and embracing the moments God has given us. They have been a blessing to me!  
Melissa Tripps

This morning the team I was with went to a special needs orphanage. We hung out with the kids and played with them and it brought joy to them and also to us. The kids just love to be held and to be shown love. After a fast morning there we went to the hospital, the hardest part of the trip for me. It isn't anything like what you could imagine. I felt sick to my stomach seeing the conditions of the hospital. It felt wrong to me. I couldn't stay inside the hospital I had to step outside with a group of people. I am thankful that I got to go to the hospital and to be able to see how great we actually have it.
Tim Lush

Today my word was "hard." That's really the only way I know how to describe it. I went to The Home for the Sick and Dying this morning to hold the babies. When I walked in, a man from another organization that was there handed me a small boy that just rested his head on my shoulder. He was so sad and I loved comforting him. I also held a 7 month old girl that was absolutely tiny but so sweet. The hardest part for me was when all the visiting moms had to leave and we needed to comfort the crying kids. After we got them mostly calm we got to feed them their lunch, which was amazing. Overall, that was a great experience even though seeing the conditions some of the children were in was hard to handle. This afternoon we went to a general hospital in Port-au-Prince. This hospital is like nothing any of us have ever seen before and I can't really explain it because it's nothing we'd consider a hospital back home. It is made up of only wooden walls and tin roofs, with cribs everywhere inside. Babies suffering from all kinds of things lay there and look around and cry. I thought it was beautiful how all of the mothers were with their babies. There were moms feeding, bathing, even just sleeping on the floor next to their sick children. It was amazing to see how much they cared. I felt awkward and sad that we couldn't really do anything except look, but I'm glad I got to see the conditions these people are dealing with. This hospital really gave me a new perspective on how blessed we truly are for all of the trained professionals, effective medications, and sterile conditions we have when we need to be taken care of. I have a hard time even comprehending what I saw today and I really can't describe it. I just know that tomorrow we go back to Cite Soleil to deliver water and I am so excited! Water truck days are by far my favorite days and I can't wait to wake up and be off! I hope everyone at home is doing well and knows that they are all in our thoughts and prayers. Please keep us in yours!
~Kenzie Korsi

 It's Becca again! I can't believe how fast this trip is going. It is astonishing how close our team has grown through the things we have experienced together. Coming back to the guesthouse every night is like coming home to family. At the end of every day, whether it was filled with joy or sadness, I look forward eagerly to the laughter-filled dinners, worship on the porch, and of course the spontaneous outbreaks of the game "zoo" (even though those happen throughout the day haha). Today was one of those harder days. The morning brought me so much joy as I had the opportunity to return to the Home for Sick and Dying Children. It was much more peaceful this time because another missions group was there so all of the kids were being held! Yay! The parents who were holding their kids during family visiting hours had to leave and many kids started crying. I ended up picking up 3 kids at once, and though one was always crying, it was one of the most peaceful and joyful times on this trip so far. In addition, I got to see my  friend Rebecca again at the Home! I met her last time we were there. She is a parent to her single daughter, Alancia, who is sick and staying at the Home right now. Despite the fact that I speak no Creole and she speaks no english, we were still able to discover that we share the same name, and I enjoyed sitting in her company even if we weren't able to speak with words. What a joy that so much can be said when nothing is said! The afternoon today was very difficult. We visited the 'general hospital' for Port-Au-Prince, and let me tell you, there was not much hospital to this 'hospital'. It was literally 4 plywood shacks next to each other filled with dying children, babies, and a few adults. It was incredibly frustrating how useless I felt being there. I feel as if we were only getting in the way, and they wouldn't let us even pick up or hold the children. I wanted to help or serve, yet there was just nothing we could do. All of a sudden this complete feeling of hopelessness and despair about the hospital, the city, the country even washed over me and I was very overwhelmed. It was then when we met a young mother who was not allowed to feed her child because the mother was HIV positive. Our translator was able to give her a small amount of money so that she would be able to buy formula for her baby. We got to pray for her, and Fan-Fan led her in a prayer of restoration as she explained that she knew The Lord but had strayed from his path. I know that she was the reason we had to go to the hospital at that place and time, yet it was hard to see beforehand why in the world it was God's plan for us to go to a place where I felt like we couldn't do anything. Tomorrow will be a trying day physically as we are doing more water deliveries and also visiting another orphanage to run a sports camp. Please pray that we will make the most of our last day of serving/ministry! God is good!

Wow. Today was very hard, but also so good! I went to Gertrude's this morning, which is basically an orphanage for kids who are mentally handicapped. We just spent time with the kids, pushed them on the swings, and held them. I had such a strong desire to go to Gertrude's and my experience was amazing. After Gertrude's, we came back for lunch and took a break. When we were done, we all loaded up into the tap tap and headed over to the hospital to see what it was like in Haiti. This was the hard part of the day. Seeing these kids, knowing that I can't do anything to help them just broke my heart. I saw a couple of babies that couldn't have weighed over 3 pounds. There was another baby girl who was born without arms and one of her legs hadn't formed completely.  I had a hard time staying inside the hospital, so I went outside with a couple of other people. The whole time I was here I was thinking what it would be like if this was my family here, sick and not getting much help. My heart really went out to these families. Ending the night in worship helped me relax and just thank The Lord for all he has given me and my family. I can't even explain how incredibly blessed I am. 
-Abigail Stigsell  

My word today was "smile". Smiling seems to be the universal language. I felt so lucky when I got to go back to the home for sick and dying children. I immediately went and looked for my sweet Johanna. When I saw her she had the biggest smile on her face! I had been waiting all morning to go see her bright face. At the home there was another group from America there to hold the children as well. It was cool to talk to people who spoke perfect English :) I got to share my experiences with one lady, and she told me this was her groups first day in Haiti. It warmed my heart to see all the volunteers there to love on the children along with many of their parents. The parents have visiting hours where many just come hold and feed their babies. After lunch we went to the general hospital. The worst part about it was I wasn't doing anything to help. All I wanted to do was hold the crying babies, but we couldn't. But it made me so happy when I saw a girl fanning her little brother who was in his crib to keep him cool. I just kept smiling at them and the little boy smiled at his sister then at me. I love all the smiling children and I can't wait to smile at more throughout the week!
-Gabrielle Tripps

Everyday I think "This was the best day of my life." Then the next day comes and it's even better! This morning half of our team went to Gertrude's Orphanage, a home for mentally and physically disabled children. It was awesome to hangout the kids and see how happy they were just to have us there with them. Our time there went by so fast! I felt like I could've stayed there all day. Later this afternoon after Gertrude's, we went to a general hospital in Port Au Prince. This was such a difficult experience for many of us. The hospital is multiple little buildings that are crazy crowded with people, desperate for medical attention that they most likely cannot afford. I felt like I was in a zoo. All I wanted to do was pick up all of the crying babies but we couldn't do anything to help them. One thing that made our trip to the hospital worthwhile for me was the ability to pray for a woman who had just delivered a baby, and had somehow left the hospital even though she wasn't supposed to, in search of anyone who could give her money to buy formula to feed her newborn baby. This woman had just tested positive for HIV and wasn't allowed to breastfeed her baby. Even though this was really hard for most of our team I think that I was important for us to go there. It was a really eye-opening experience for all us.

Today it finally hit me how hard it will be for me to return home. I fell in love with this country and its people. My heart just breaks for all the orphanages and the sick babies. Before I left for Haiti I had a totally different outlook at children due to the fact that I work at daycare. The home for the sick and dying has definitely changed my original view of children that I had from working in a daycare. In the US we have rules about touching the children and feeding them too much, etc. But here in haiti these kids just want to be loved. They want to be hugged, kissed, and held. Its crazy how different these worlds are apart from one another. After spending 2 days holding kids at the home for the sick and dying I have had my heart melted in ways that I never thought was possible. Tonight I have come to the conclusion that when the time is right for me to start a family, I will be adopting a child from Haiti. It will just be so hard for me to come back to the USA and see all these kids who have everything when I know for a fact that there are people in Haiti dying because they don't have water or food. There is no possible way for me to explain how much I have grown in my faith and as in a person on this trip. Our God is so crazy!
-Emily Eichelberger  

// tomorrow, we head back to citi soleil to hang out & play with kids amidst partnering with the water-truck...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

// day iv

hey everyone! hope you're enjoying Minnesota. Haiti is my new love and I'm having the most incredible time. today was a very emotional day. we went to visit the elderly and they are so happy and so joyful but their living situations are awful. we met one woman, Marie, who was 103 years old and so joyful. right when we got there she made sure to give us all hugs and a beautiful smile! she told us stories of how she loved to dance and on sundays at church thats what she did. she had such a lively spirit and a giving heart! i could have spent all day with her!! After we were done visiting with the elderly, we went to the mass graves up on the hills and it was hard for many people. A couple of us hiked up to the top where the crosses were. We could see all of the beautiful creation God has made including the ocean!! (my favorite) I am so excited to experience the rest of our trip and see what God has in store for us. I love you all (:  -Hannah! 

Wow. I am in love with this place! There's no way I can describe my day today without going on for about 10 pages. So I'll cut short and just say that it was incredible. We spent most of the day visiting different elderly people who live close to Grace Village in Titanyen. I loved being able to see the joy that was brought to them simply by rubbing lotion on their feet and hands or by singing them songs. One of my favorite parts of today was actually tonight when we had worship. It was so much fun just to jam out with the team in the rain up on the balcony of the guesthouse. Definitely the best worship experience I have ever had.
Also I want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sister, Emmers! I think I'm a day late but I'm slighty disorientated and kind of lost the ability to keep track of what day it is. haha but I LOVE YOU and hope you had an AMAZING day yesterday :) -Liz

Visiting with the children at Grace Village and then going to see the elderly in their homes was absolutely fantastic! I loved getting to know the kids. Going out of my comfort zone a little bit to rub Meme's feet was great! I loved every second of today. Loving on these people fills me with joy. I met a girl named Julie who sat by me, held my hand, and kissed my cheek a few times. When we were taking her back to Grace Village, she whispered in my ear "I love you, I love you so much". That brought a huge smile to my face and then she kissed me again. Then we hugged each other and when she was walking away, she kept turning around and waving at me. This was one of the saddest, yet most amazing moments of this trip so far. I have loved every thing that I have experienced so far and I can't wait to see what God will be doing in the days to come! God bless!!
-Abigail Stigsell 

tomorrow we go back to the home for children that are sick & dying, and to gertrude's special needs
orphanage...  later in the day, we will visit a hospital...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

// day iii

This is Becca! Yesterday was such a culture shock. In american society we always are 'doing' stuff. We have to get something done or accomplished to feel like we are helping, but yesterday changed my thinking about that! At the home for sick and dying children all the kids wanted was your love. Just to simply be held, hugged, and payed attention to was all they needed. That's why my word was 'present'. Just being present in the moment was how we could serve the Haitian people yesterday, and also today too while doing water truck. When the people were filling up buckets from the truck, the kids would run into your arms and innocently tug at your shorts just begging to be loved. Today I learned that serving God's children can be as simple as giving people water and a hug. Today we also took some neighborhood kids in the tap-tap to play soccer on the fields where the Haitian World Cup Team practices. You would never guess that these dirt fields would be used by common kids and worldwide superstars alike. That is something that is so different from back home; People are less focused on what is 'mine'. This trip has definitely been very trying of my faith and has for sure changed much of my thinking. I praise God; he has provided for us and kept us safe!   

This trip has been absolutely incredible so far and we've only done ministry for two days. I'm writing this from the upstairs patio of the guest house and we just finished worshipping with Fan-Fan (one of the coolest men I've ever met) and the other group that is here doing ministry. Because I didn't talk about yesterday I want to now. I went to water therapy in the morning and worked with disabled kids. That was an amazing start to the week, because all we had to do was hold the kids and try to make them smile while wading around in one of the best pools in Haiti. It was so awesome to hear how water therapy had helped each of the six individual children. I loved holding each child and hearing his or her story and just being fully present with them. Who gets to say they had that experience?! Not many people, but let me just say everyone that hasn't is missing out. We also went to an orphanage yesterday and I loved interacting with all the kids, especially this thirteen year old boy that was very attached to me. I loved how he asked for a picture with me and held my hand. Again, it was perfect to just be in that moment. So, getting to today, we went to Cite Soliel, which is one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the world. It's amazing to say how safe I felt with our interpreters because they were always watching us. My favorite part of the day was right after we got out of the tap-tap and stepped down into a sea of children with raised arms just waiting for love by a touch and a smile. Each child chose one of us and clung on to us as long as we were there. I love how far a smile can go. I can't even explain how life-changing that experience was, because no one honestly understands how beautifully heartbreaking delivering water and loving children is in that environment until they're there. I've been continually in prayer both of these days and just keep asking God to help me love like him. I can't believe how perfect this experience is. I'm loving every single moment and can't see where the rest of the week takes us. ~Kenzie Korsi

Hello Woodridge Church!! Emily Johnson here! I am here on the porch looking out at the poorest country in the world, but yet you still hear people praise our lord Jesus Christ! It has always been my dream mission trip to come to Haiti! It has been 8 years that I have been praying for the opportunity to come here. And with patience and thanks to my lovely father it finally happened! And the ironic thing is it was  my last opportunity to go with Woodridge because I am going to college in the fall at Eau Claire. CRAZY HOW OUR GOD IS/WORKS! My cousin Kayleen went last summer to Haiti with Healing Haiti and ever since she told me about this incredible organization, so again I prayed that if I were to ever go to Haiti that it would be awesome to go with healing haiti!! Two months later it was announced that we were going to Haiti with healing haiti! WHAT?! I was amazed! What are the chances! God answers 
prayers. Now being here I know why he put it on my heart all these years to come to this country. Its beautiful here... I want all my friends and family to experience the joy that I have experienced. I have never experienced so much. For the last 5 years I have struggled with anxiety. Today was the first day in the last 5 years I have felt complete peace in my life. Glory to God for that! And the amazing thing was we were experiencing the most stressful and tragic day we will ever have in our lives being in Cite Soliell. You see pictures and videos of poverty but seeing it live makes my heart ache even more for God's people. At the water truck there were naked kids with smiles on their faces. They were drinking the drips of the water hose. Just little drips of water! They even put buckets up to the drips so no water was wasted!! Seeing that made me think even though it was one drop of water to them it brought every joy and  smile to their faces. All the children would try to talk to me, and I couldn't understand them. But one way we did communicate was through smiles. Because we all smile in the same language! Thats one thing that we will always understand no matter where we are in this world. And I think how cool it is that God created something that we can all understand. I could go on and on but 
everyone wants to write! Thank you to all that supported us! I can't thank you enough. I love you all! God Bless! -Emily Johnson 

Water truck Wednesday was absolutely amazing. Driving up to the first stop in City Soliel and seeing all of the children jumping up and down saying "hey you!" put a huge smile on my face. When the truck honked its horn, people came flooding into the street with their buckets and whatever else they could find that would hold water. Right away when we were all getting off of the tap tap children came running to us with smiling faces, holding their arms up waiting for us to pick them up and hold them. I held a little girl who wouldn't let me put her down. She didn't want to share me with anyone else either. When I put her down she started crying, so I couldn't help but pick her up again. At the next stop, I had 3 kids at one time holding them and smiling at them. Then a lot of us sat down and sang Jesus loves me with them. I absolutely loved experiencing today and seeing how much joy one hug can bring to a child. I wish this trip would never end. Also, these Haitian kids are amazing at soccer. I don't think they needed us on their team!
-Abigail Stigsell 

Yesterday I got the privilege to go to the home for sick and dying children. The rooms were just lined with cribs with little children in them. But at the end of the room I saw a bigger girl who looked like she was 5 or 6. It seemed like everyone was picking up the crying babies and I felt like this little girl never got attention. So I took her out of her crib (which was way to small for her) and I walked around and talked to her and she wouldn't let go of my hand. Her name was Johanna, and it turns out she was 10 years old! 10 years old and I thought she was 6! That just goes to show you how small these children are. All I could think about was my 10 year old sister back at home and the differences between their lives. I was just so thankful to be able to spend time with her and make her smile. Today I also got to make children smile as we delivered water. We all played many roles, from holding the powerful hose that the water came gushing out of, to quickly moving buckets that needed to be filled, to holding the beautiful children shouting "hey you". This experience was nothing like I imagined and I couldn't have asked for anything better. I loved being able to communicate through smiles and laughter with the kids. There were even some children that spoke a little English. Many children from our neighborhood spoke English. It was an awesome experience when we took them to go played soccer...where they kicked our butts! But I was able to talk with a 15 year old named Dickenson about his life here in Haiti. It is just so awesome they way God enables us to connect with others from the moment we met them.
-Gabrielle Tripps 

// tomorrow we head to grace village (healing haiti's orphanage) to play with the kids & we will also visit visit with the elderly in their homes that healing haiti supports...

// day vii word of the day

Tim Lush
"humbling"..."joy"..."compassion"..."heart breaking"..."uncomfortable"..."laughter"..."yum"

Hannah Bottiger 

Kenzie Korsi 

Katy Kalleberg 

Mason Hallada 
"poverty"..."tiring"..."work out"..."young"..."saddening"..."exhausting"..."chill"

Morgan Abbott 
"whirlwind"..."melancholy"..."astonishment"..."heartfelt"..."roller coaster"..."flabbergasted"..."perfection"

Lizzie McMillen 

Emily Eichelberger "beauty"..."overwhelming"..."friendship"..."uncomfortable"..."emotional"..."joy"..."speechless"

Melissa Tripps 

Maddy Turner 

Justin Lansdowne 

Emily Johnson 

Abby Stigsell 

Gabrielle Tripps 

Becca Schoen 

Anet Jackson 
"anticipation"..."cared for"..."protective"..."fulfillment"..."home"..."partnership"..."unbridled enthusiasm"

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

// day ii

// word of the day

Tim Lush "humbling"..."joy"

Hannah Bottiger "overwhelming"..."love"

Kenzie Korsi "hectic"..."prayer"

Katy Kalleberg "joy"..."thankful"

Mason Hallada "poverty"..."tiring"

Morgan Abbott "whirlwind"..."melancholy"

Lizzie McMillen "crazy"..."challenging"

Emily Eichelberger "beauty"..."overwhelming"

Melissa Tripps "thankful"..."emotional"

Maddy Turner "peaceful"..."hard"

Justin Lansdowne "learner"..."harmony"

Emily Johnson "finally"..."happiness"

Abby Stigsell "trust"..."blessed"

Gabrielle Tripps "excited"..."touch"

Becca Schoen "Awe"..."present"

Anet Jackson "anticipation"..."cared for"

Today we were able to go to the Home for the Sick and dying. It was such an emotional day. It was so hard to be able to touch every child. I was holding two little toddlers and then had one tugging at my leg crying. It broke my heart to not be able to hold all the kids crying out. We also had a worship time tonight where one of the workers; Fan Fan. joined us. He prayed for us and that we would be blessed in every aspect of our lives. I was so blown away that a guy who came from having nothing was praying to God that we would be blessed even more then we already are. It was truly amazing. This will always be a day that I will remember forever.
-Emily Eichelberger

This  morning I went to the Home for the sick and dying children. Being here was one of the hardest yet most amazing things I have ever experienced. I picked up a little girl and in a matter of seconds another child was tapping on my side wanting me to hold him. After I put the girl down, I picked up the little boy. He put his arms out to me and when I picked him up, he wrapped his arms around me and put his head on my shoulder. I couldn't help but cry because all he wanted was to be held and loved. I take so much for granted, even as much as someone giving me a hug. These kids are filled with joy even when someone touches their hand. Having this experience makes me realize how blessed I am.
-Abigail Stigsell

For the first part of the day I went to the Home for sick and dying children. We got there and received no direction. We walked into the rooms housing the children with no expectations or idea of what was about to hit us. After spending our morning holding, changing, and feeding the children Justin came over to let me know, while I was holding two babies and standing at one's crib holding her hand, that it was about time to leave. Hearing that we had to leave broke my heart.  I was full of so much joy and peace giving my love and attention to the children I really never waned to leave. All the children craved was our love and attention, and that is all I wanted to do. For the second part of the day we went and spent time at an orphanage. Seeing the happiness and glee that the kids had while hanging out with us put a huge smile on my face. Today was challenging but the way that it has affected me will change me for the rest of my life. Junebugs. -Morgan Abbott

Today was both the best and most challenging day of my life. Being at the Home for Sick and Dying children was undoubtedly the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. However, our visit there was very eye-opening for me and I will never forget my experience there. It was so hard to see all of these babies so desperate for love and attention, and hearing them sobbing as soon as you put them down to go pick up another crying child. At one point I had two kids on my lap, one on my back, and was holding the hand of another baby at the same time. I feel so privileged and blessed to be here and I cannot wait to see how God works through the rest of our trip. -Lizzie McMillen

I have only been in this beautiful place for two days and I already know that this is just the beginning of a long journey of missions for me. This morning I went to the Home for Sick and Dying and it was heart  wrenching and so joyful all at the same time. The moment i stepped into the hospital I had this over whelming feeling of emotion and almost broke down but the first kid i saw was just smiling at me and held his arms out to me and It was okay because this beautiful child was so happy to see me. At one point I had two kids in my arms and a little girl in the crib next to me was holding my finger and i had a little boy pulling on my skirt crying because I couldn't pick him up and i couldn't help but cry because i wasn't able to hold all of these kids who desperately needed affection and love. Another time in the hospital i held a baby girl for about 20 minutes who had no emotion on her face, and i did everything i could to get her to laugh and i was only able to crack a smile out of her for about five seconds. Moments after i put her back in her crib, her mother walked in with a huge smile on her face and she picked up her baby girl and the girl got the biggest smile on her face and the mother smothered her with kisses and it was the most beautiful thing i have ever seen. This place is just filled with God and i can feel him everywhere i go. I have always wanted to do missions at a place like this and God is just telling me that this is his plan for me. I am so blessed. -katy kalleberg

tomorrow we head to citi solei, one of the poorest areas in Port Au Prince, to hang out with kids in the community and travel with a water-truck, loaded with thousands of gallons of water...

Monday, July 22, 2013

// word of the day...

Every night during team-time we share a "word"  that summarizes our experience that day.
We will blog these words each night!

Tim Lush "humbling"
Hannah Bottiger "overwhelming"
Kenzie Korsi "hectic"
Katy Kalleberg "joy"
Mason Hallada "poverty"
Morgan Abbott "whirlwind"
Lizzie McMillen "crazy"
Emily Eichelberger "beauty"
Melissa Tripps "thankful"
Maddy Turner "peaceful"
Justin Lansdowne "learner"
Emily Johnson "finally"
Abby Stigsell "trust"
Gabrielle Tripps "excited"
Becca Schoen "Awe"
Anet Jackson "anticipation"

Tomorrow, some of us are going to do water therapy with some of the orphans who have lived their lives in wheelchairs, some of them have not been able to move. The others are going to the home of sick and dying childen. After that, all of us are going to Isaiah's orphanage to host activities and play with the kids. 

This is Mason - and when I got here I was stunned about how much poverty  there was after getting to the guest house. I was goin around the side of the house and I saw a tent city, I felt bad for all of them because they don't have power but we do. I was talking to Tim about how if we bring one of the Haitian people back to the US and then bring them back here and show them what the other part of the world is like and how spoiled first world countries are. 

These are some things to think about...

// journey (beginnings)

and so, our journey begins as we hang-out in Miami awaiting to board the flight to Haiti... 

our prayer is that we might take the posture of opening our eyes & ears, our minds & hearts, as we encounter new relationships in our movings about, continuing the life-long journey of loving God & neighbor...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Saturday reflections on Sunday morning

Sorry we didn't have a blog post yesterday. I (Drew) totally forgot. Yesterday we did a half day of water truck delivery (2 stops) in Cite Soleil. The guys and Stacy spent some time maximizing our water distribution process after watching the Haitian guys who drive the water truck. It was fun to see how much better we've gotten as a team on delivering water after 5 deliveries over 2 days. While some of us were distributing water the rest of us held and played with kids. We danced and sang, played simple games and tried to communicate as best we could with each other.

After the water truck we had lunch at the guest house then we visited an orphanage called Isaiah's near Grace Village (Healing Haiti's orphanage). The kids sang to us, then we sang to them. They asked us if we knew Chris Tomlin's song "Our God" and so we sang it to them. After we finished they started singing it to us in English. Then we did the limbo, kicked the soccer ball, colored and played with them. Some of us went up to Grace Village to pick up some Feed My Starving Children food. It was fun to be on the other end of the Feed My Starving Children food since many of us have packed it back in Minnesota. After we loaded up the food we delivered it to a school/church and to the first orphanage we visited called Juno's.

Our team loved being able to go back to Juno's and visit the kids we made such a cool connection with earlier in the week. It was a great last day of ministry in Haiti. Today we are off to church at Grace Village in 15 minutes and then after lunch we are going shopping at a few stops along the way up a mountain right outside Port au a Prince that has a cool view of the city that we have spent the last week as temporary residents.

We are praying for your Sunday worship gatherings today and thinking about our friends and family. All of us are dreading leaving and excited to go home at the same time.

More reflections from Friday

The General Hospital

"At the General Hospital, I saw this teenage boy just a bit younger than us crouched around his sick infant brother. There were no parents in the kids life and he was left to tend for his sibling. On this trip it has been eye-opening to see the responsibilities that children are left to fulfill." Hannah Seitz

Friday, July 19, 2013


This morning the team was split in two. Some of us went to Gertrude's orphanage for kids with disabilities. The rest went to the home for sick and dying children. In both spots our main focus was simply loving the kids and being present with them - holding them, feeding them, playing with them and changing them. After lunch our team came back together and we went to the general hospital. We visited with Mom's waiting to get their kids into the doctor and with families who didn't have money for medicines and were trying to figure out what to do next. We listened to their stories and prayed with them.

Here are some specific reflections from each location:


At Gertrude's we were able to hold kids and play in the playground with them. My favorite part is while sitting next to Stacy and we sang worship songs to the kids in our arms.
Chris Olson

The Home for Sick and Dying Children:

It was heartbreaking to walk into the room full of crying babies with no parents to comfort them. I held a couple different babies and was overcome with how much they need love and physical touch. I just wanted to hold all of them.
Ariana van Dyck

Today I'm pretty sure I changed the first diaper of my life. Cole Thayer

When I tried to set the little girl that I was holding down, she just started crying and crying. She had tears running down her face. It broke my heart knowing that she probably doesn't have a mother or father to comfort her, and that she is constantly being let down because people keep leaving her, and not coming back seeing as they aren't her parents and just volunteers.
Kenzie Sapletal

The General Hospital:

Seeing the genral hospital today was shocking, I got sick to my stomach and had to leave after the first room. Because I'm not good with death I wasn't able to handle seeing death in process, so I just sat on the truck and watched the people of Haiti do their thing. It was incredible to see how different this place is from the United States.
Danny Nyquist

Today was my first time going to the general hospital, and it was very eye opening. As I held one child I realized that I wanted to do more specifically for that hospital. It was so sad seeing all those children in so much pain. It made me realize how privileged I really am.
Kenzi Hunn

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thursday evening reflection

Here are some reflections on our Grace Village tour and our elderly care stops today:

While at Grace Village, I was carrying around a little boy. He was about 6. Occasionally he would look at me and then kiss my cheek, and tell me he loved me. He was the sweetest. Then, while on the bus, a little girl came up to me and told me that she loved me and that Jesus loved me and that we were sisters. Both of these kids were amazing.
-Kenzie Sapletal

I loved visiting the elderly today even though I wasn't sure how I'd feel about massaging their feet. Once I did it, to an elder named Marie, I was so glad I did. It felt good to serve someone who had lived through so much.
Ariana van Dyck

It was great to serve the elderly today. It was an amazing experience to sing with them, pray for them, and give them a foot massage. While at the mass grave there was an overwhelming feeling of care for the people and love for those who were lost.
Chris Olson

It was so cool to visit Grace Village and see the amazing things that Healing Haiti is doing! What amazing ministry!!! I also loved visiting with the elderly and being able to love on them.
Stacy Johnson

Thursday morning prayer requests

Today we are off for a tour of Grace Village (Healing Haiti's orphanage) and an afternoon of elderly care. We will be singing songs to them, bringing them food and washing their feet.

Here is how you can pray for us specifically today and the rest of this week:

As many if our hearts have been broken, i think we could all use a prayer to help us continue to be the hands and feet and god and continue to have the strength to love and care on all the precious people we meet.

After delivering water to different neighborhoods in Cite Solei

It would be great if we could have prayer support from back home, in wisdom and for the will to share the love of The Lord.

A big thing that I think could use some prayer would be that we would trust in God to emotionally equip us to spread our love more than we could know and that we trust Him with everything we are doing.

Physically and emotionaly we are all exhausted after the day of the water truck so please pray for energy to sustain us.

A prayer that is much needed is for me to remember to trust God. Yesterday, doing the water truck, I held naked babies and I saw a boy with a cut on his leg. It broke my heart because I just wanted to fill their need, but I need to remember to trust God that he has me where he wants me.
Ariana van Dyck

If you could pray for the strength of going outside of our comfort zone while we help the elderly it would be important that I can show them love without being uncomfortable.
Chris Olson

It would be awesome for all of you to pray that God just blows our minds while we are down here, and also for Him to keep moving like he is. Danny Nyquist

Today I am going to be leading worship and I ask that you guys pray for me... Cole

Yesterday I wasn't feeling super great but today I am feeling much better.  I just pray that I continue to feel better so I can be in a good mood.  Kenzie

Pray that God would stretch us outside of our comfort zone and for continue strength and health for our team.  Stacy Johnson

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Water Truck Wednesday

We had a very full day today. We delivered water in City Soleil at 3 different stops. Students ran the hose that dispenses free water to the people in Haiti who need free water the most. It is a tough job where we need to work hard and fast and communicate God's love and directions to people who don't speak our language. The team did a great job!
After the water truck we picked up a group of boys who live near our Guest house and played soccer with them. We lost 6-2. They are good at soccer and full of energy while only a few of us play soccer and all of us were drained by the long day and. Hot sun.
We had pizza and French fries for dinner.
One of the highlights of the trip so far has been the friendships that are forming and the connection all 11 students have made with each other - it is a really fun atmosphere to be a part of. As a group they are so adaptable, caring and thoughtful.

Here are some individual memories:

Today we were blessed to give water to the people of Cite Soleil. It was good to see the logistical side by filling buckets, but it was also important to love the kids and talk to the people. This trip is made so much easier by the kids who love to be with us.
Chris Olson

After our soccer game with the kids in the neighborhood, we all rode together in the tap tap. I sat next to a little boy who was tired and put his head on my shoulder and it reminded me that even though I was hot and sweaty and dehydrated, being present in the moment was the most important thing.
Ariana van Dyck

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday Afternoon

After lunch at the guest house we went to an orphanage called Juno's. It was a really fun time. We played soccer, colored pictures, painted nails, sang songs in English and French and danced. The kids were so fun and they were great singers and dancers. Our students made an in instant and significant connection with them.

Here are some individual memories:

"I cried listening to these little orphans sing, 'bless the Lord oh my soul, oh my soul. I will worship His holy name. Sing like never before, oh my soul, I will worship Your holy name.' What joy they have! What lessons to be learned from these little precious people."
Stacy Johnson

"Today at Juno's I was drawing pictures with my new friend Kenderson. He started singing worship songs to himself and a few other children and I started to sing. This was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen I was just in absolute awe."
Cole Thayer

Tonight we are eating spaghetti and hanging out at the guest house. Tomorrow we are delivering water in City Soleil. Please pray for health, energy, relationships between our team, that we would be aware of God and obedient to follow His leading.

Tuesday morning stories

Breakfast, as usual, was amazing in Haiti this morning. We split our team in two this morning. Drew, Stacy, Chris, Adi, Meghan, Makenzi and Jaison went to the home for sick and dying children. Lea, Austin, Lizzy, Ariana, Hannah, Kenzie, Danny and Cole went to a pool and did water therapy for disabled children from an orphanage called Gertrude's.

Here are some highlights and stories:

At the Home for sick and dying we were able to hold some kids and feed them. It was reassuring  that some mothers of the children were there and that they love their kids.
Chris Olson

Being in the Home for Sick and Dying Kids was heart-breaking, but fulfilling being able to help kids who really just need some love and attention. I loved being able to make that difference.
Addie Taylor

The Home for Sick and Dying was really sad, but at the same time, a great experience. I couldn't help but to cry for the first couple minutes as it was heartbreaking to see such delicate, beautiful children that are so sick. I loved holding the babies; you put your arms in their crib and they reach up to you and just cling to you. I held a shy, mellow little girl named Kermie for a really long time. I'd definitely love to go back.
Meghan Swanson

I went to a pool to do water therapy with kids from Gertrude's. They were all so happy for to be in the water and we did exercises with them. I had a girl named Christine, who worked on strengthening her legs by kicking in the water. She smiled and held onto me. I could've spent the whole day holding her and showing her love.
Ariana van Dyck

At the water therapy with the Gertrude's children, I had the opportunity to swim with an adorable child named Maxim. He recently had surgery on his eyes, and is just learning how to see. It was so rewarding to be to bring some excitement into his life. -Hannah Seitz

Also at water therapy, the first kid I picked up peed on me, it was awesome. I then splashed around with her and played with her the whole time and helped her socialize because she didn't need any therapy because she was able to walk, although she did have Down Syndrome.
-Danny Nyquist

I played with Maxium during water therapy as well. All he wanted to do was hug me and it was so sweet. He kept giving me kisses on my hands or cheeks and it was amazing. I also had the opportunity to help with Christine, and she held my neck super close to her, and she thought it was so funny, and it was so cute and sweet.
-Kenzie Sapletal

Monday, July 15, 2013

We're in Haiti

Hello everyone. Our team has safely made it into Haiti. The team is getting along amazingly well, we can already see new and significant friendships forming. Our flight from Miami to Port au Prince was delayed but both of our flights went well and getting through customs and immigration was a breeze.

We had tacos for dinner tonight and, unlike every other moment of the day, the only sound that was heard was the clicking of forks and knives on plates.

Here are a few travel day memories:

"Best breakfast ever at French meadow bakery in msp. Started the day off right!"  
-Lizzy Pate

"Being delayed brought out the best in us, especially Meghan."
-Hannah Seitz

"On the plane ride to miami, a lady asked me to pray for her and her son because they were nervous about flying. It was really cool because I had an opportunity to do Gods will."
-Ariana van Dyck

"Loved meeting another team from Barbados who was coming to Haiti to do relief work as well. Love to see how God is mobilizing His people all over the world to do His work."
-Stacy Johnson

"Someone next to me on the plane in the beginning asked me what I was most nervous about, and in the end he asked me if he could pray for me, and prayed for what I was most nervous for and it was awesome. "
-Kenzie Sapletal