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!!!
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.
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!
// 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...