Saturday, August 1, 2015

Student Day 6 // Elderly Visits and Shalom Orphanage


Robby // Hand of God  
Lydia //  Feet 
Skylar // Simplicity 
Tyra // Tear 
Annika // Smile   
Michael // Loss 
Sara // Peace 
Megan // Relaxing 
Soph // Joy 
Gabrielle // Solomon 
Chris // Singing      
Sophia // Remembrance 
Mitch // Language  
Steph // Hospitality 
Lea // Overflowing 
Austin // Persistent
Grace // Jolicia 

Dear friends & family,

Today our plans were not how we orginally expected them to be. We planned on going to the beach with some orphans. However, God had something else in mind. Today we went to visit some elderly, a mass grave from the 2010 earthquake, and Shalom Orphanage. 

First we visted Marie, a 105 year old woman. She was not expecting any visitors but had prayed all morning because she was so lonely. Marie was surprised when we came with food, water and lotion. While massaging her arms and legs, we worshiped to one of her favorite songs, 10,000 Reasons, in both Creole and English. In addition she learned a new favorite song, What Joy, which brought her to tears. To our amazement, when we were serving her, she prayed for us. It's so encouraging to see her but others before herself. We left by praying for her health and well-being of her and her daughter. The next elder we visited was Pierre. Upon our arrival we were welcomed by him and his family (consiting of his wife and son). We washed his feet while singing and dancing with his one year old son. He asked us to pray for his family, especially his son and child on the way, and hopes that they will come to know God. 

After our visit with the elders, we got the priviledge to visit the mass grave where people who lost their lives in the earthquake were buried. Valorie, one of our transladors, talked about the lose that everyone suffered, including himself. Even though the earthquake was a tragedy for the country, Valorie kept saying, "God is good, God is good." It was amazing to see that he recognized the good in such a bad situation and stil praised God for it. He left us with some inspiring words, "You never know when God is ready for you, so pray every day." 

Lastly, we went to Shalom Orphanage. There are 10 children in this orphanage, ranging from ages three to sixteen. Amazingly, one lady runs the entire operation on her own. We got to do lots of different activities with the kids like: drawing with chalk, jumping rope, reading books, face painting, playing soccer, and having fun with parachute. Out of all of those activities the kids seemed to enjoy the parachute the most. We would lift the parachute up and down, trapping the kids underneath. It was hard to get them away from it, but a new activity awaited inside. Three of the older girls were running their own hair salon. Almost everyone on the team got their hair tightly braided, including Austin. Overall we had a great time with the kids and would love to do it all over again.

God bless, 
Tyra & Gabrielle

Friday, July 31, 2015

Student Day 5 // Second Water Truck Day!!!

Robby // Energy 
Lydia // Fight 
Skylar // Hunger 
Tyra // Caca 
Annika // Blood  
Michael // Difficult 
Sara // Name 
Megan // Compassion 
Soph // Beauty 
Gabrielle // Love 
Chris // Giggles    
Sophia // Understanding 
Mitch // Callous 
Steph // Physical 
Lea // Jerome  
Austin // Clean
Grace // Connection 

Today was our second water truck day.  Our first stop was in City Solei where we were mobbed with beautiful Haitian kids.  We had a great time dancing with them and singing "head, sholders, knees and toes."  The kids were over joyed to see us but not as excited as we were to be with them.  

On our way to our second water truck stop we stopped at a fishing dock.  Where we got to help the Haitian fishermen bring in a huge fishing net.  It was cool to see the kind of work the fishermen have to do on a daily basis.  Their hands were covered in calluses and bilsters. The net was heavy and far away so it took forever for us to pull it in.  Half of our team pulled in the rope with the three Haitian fishermen, while the rest of us danced on the dock and talked with the kids. It was awesome to experience 30 minutes of a day in the life of a Haitian fisherman. 

At our second water truck stop Steph decided to bandage Haitian kids with open wounds on their bodies.  The kids were so happy to be recieving care from Steph and were very tough when dealing with pain.  It was super cool to watch Steph care for the children and to see the smiles on the children's mothers faces.  While Steph was having a clinic out of the back of the tap-tap.  Tyra was holding a super cute baby that pooped on her.  That made all the Haitians and the team laugh.

On the way to the third stop Megan wasn't feeling the greatest.  So Maxim (our driver/translator) pulled over and bought Megan an ice cold bottle of water from a stand on the street to put behind her neck an was constantly checking on her to make her through out the rest of the day to make sure she was feeling ok. How sweet!!!!!

The third water stop was chaotic but everyone was enjoying themselves.  Especially when we saw a Haitian little boy dancing on the roof.  We had a great time at the third stop.  But at the end of the day everyone was so exhausted that when we got home we all took a nap until it was dinner time.  

Overall the day was great!!  We really came together as a team today.   Thank you Haiti!!!

Megan and Lydia

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Student Day 4 // Grace village and Elderly Visits!

Robby // Eagerness 
Lydia // Lindor 
Skylar // Communication 
Tyra // Cling 
Annika //  Life 
Michael // Growth 
Sara //  Acceptance 
Megan // Content 
Soph // Perspective 
Gabrielle // Beauty 
Chris //  Development 
Sophia // Feeling 
Mitch // Shalom 
Steph // Justice 
Lea // Compassion 
Austin // Pray 
Grace // Vulnerable

Today, although less hectic and more focused, was deeply meaningful. First, we visited Grace Village, a Healing Haiti community home to 39 children. It provides many needed services for these children and their families, including daily meals, school, a family home setting, clinic, bakery, fishery, and garden. They are most interested in empowering the Haitians and have thoughtfully considered all aspects of their organization. For example, if a child is brought into Grace Village, get an education, and return to their families, that child's brothers or sisters also get an education paid for by Grace Village. It is amazing how focused they are in the importance of family structure for the transformation of society. Personally, my favorite moment was when our tour guide, Solomon, showed us the recently built library containing 6,000 donated books. They were in French, Creol, and English. After that, we went out of the school and the other Healing Haiti group (who were much more enthusiastic than us) took a group picture. Our group felt obliged to take one as well, so Solomon snapped a photo of us in front of the beautiful shoreline. 
After that we went to visit elders. The first person we visited was named Eliphant. We went over to her house and started washing her feet and giving her massages. I gave her a back massage, and could feel her breathe deeply with emotion. She was very frail and bony, but happy. The other two elders we visited were Meme and Lindor. They loved the music we played with the keyboard, and neighbors gathered in the houses and were happy for them. When Lindors nails were cut he said now I look like a Christian and everybody thought it was hilarious. He has 3 goats and they all are named the Creole word for God, which I thought was super cool. 
After we visited the elders we went to the ocean to baptize me ( Sophia K). It was a beautiful experience. The only thing that I wish was different is that I wish my mother was there to see it. I was dedicated to Jesus, but never baptized because my mom (Shoutout to Joanna) wanted me to do it when I felt most on fire for God. I had this gut feeling that that moment would come here and it did. Lea and I planned ways to make it possible to do it here. We even concidered bringing a blowup kiddy pool if we had to. Lea and Grace came in the water with me and with the searing temparatures, the cool water felt that much better. I went in my thrift store Hatian looking dress and it was AWESOME! Haiti isn't what you think it is. It's a bittersweet place you can never fully describe without being there, and I'm blessed to be able to come here. Merci Jesus <3

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Student Day 3 // Water Truck Day!

Robby // Personal 
Lydia // Smile 
Skylar // Contact 
Tyra // Offering 
Annika // Chocolate 
Michael // Caretaker 
Sara // Fascination 
Megan // Close 
Soph // Community 
Gabrielle // Copy 
Chris // Eddy 
Sophia // Dirt 
Mitch // Order 
Steph // Eager 
Lea // Lens 
Austin // Hands 
Grace // Honored 

         The taptap crawled to a halt outside of the Haitian Initiative, an organization that feeds, clothes, and teaches Hatian children while incorporating their favorite sport, soccer. Inside the building, 200 rambunctious kids were finishing their brunch of rice, beans and chicken gravy. Upon entry, the atmosphere was awkward, but one outgoing youth stepped forward and conversed with the group. Within minutes, the two groups of people were acting as if they had known each other for years. The friendliness of the children was amazingly inspiring. They brought us a lot of joy by thumb or arm wrestling with us and by playing a hand-slapping game. They were all very interested in our lives, names, ages, and families. 
          After a while, the room full of people migrated to the soccer fields adjacent to the building, where another eighty kids and young adults were finishing up their games. The group met the founder (who doubled as the referee) of the Haiti Initiative. He explained the rules and thanked us for coming. Once jerseys were distributed and teams determined, the game began. While the Hatians carried the team with their amazing skills, the game finished 1-0.
          Once the games concluded, the team reassembled at the taptap. After a short taptap trip, the team arrived at the first water stop. Innumerable children flooded the car, all of them wanting to be held. Once in your arms, the kids asked a boatload of questions in Creole. Adults and older teenagers, buckets in hand, filed towards the water truck, anticipating the gyser of fresh water.
          Immediately once the water began flowing, people flooded to the front, but order was restored by Maxim the translator. The water truck, which pumped 2500 gallons per stop (7500 gallons total), filled hundereds of buckets. Those who were not working with the hose were playing with the kids and carrying buckets for people.

          At the first water stop, one particular boy, no older than five, was quite attatched to me. His name was Kenzi and he enjoyed it when I held him upside down. While I was started to kiss my neck while other kids used my free arm as a jungle gym. I didn't know what to do, so I just let him continue, but once kissing turned to sucking, I realized this kid was giving me a hickey (sorry mom)! A few hours later, someone noticed a bruised ring on my neck, a temporary remnant of Kenzi from Citi Solei. Initially, this gesture seemed quite strange, but it certainly made the trip that much more memorable, which got me thinking about how the kids genuinly cared to know us. 

     - Robby Underdal

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Student Day 2 // A full day of ministry!

Hello! Writing to you tonight is Grace Lukens and Skylar Pierce. Our day of ministry included visitng the home for sick and dying babies, going to Apparent Project, and visitng LaPhare's Orphanage. It was a great day to be filled with God's love through children and to be able to fill God's children with love. 

The home for sick and dying babies is best described as a hospital and temporary home for babies. Parents wait in a line outside to try and get their babies in to see a nurse to hopefully get approved. When we get inside we go striaght to the rooms and pick up a baby (for Grace and Skylar this is heaven!) We help feed and change the babies but most importantly we are there to give them much desired and much needed love and affection. One really cool thing about this place is that parents can and are encouraged to come and hold and feed their babies too! You can tell that the parents are grateful for the care that their babies are recieving. By the end of our time there each and every baby had been held at least twice. What a joy it was to be able to make them smile, sing to them, or just cuddle them for a while. 

Once we left the home for the sick and dying babies, all 17 of us loaded up on to the tap-tap and we headed towards the Apparant Project. The Apparant Project is a way for Hatian men and women to find employment and have free daycare for their childeren while they work. The biggest product they make is jewelery. Everything is hand made, which is very special and requires top notch work provided by the employed Haitians. We got a full tour of the organization and then we had our own time to look around and shop. 

Our last stop of the day was at LaPhare's Orphanage. This was such a fun experience! We brought playdough for the kids to play with and their imaginiations ran wild. What a cool thing to witness the imaginiation of a child taking flight and having the privilage of being present with them. AMAZING! It was also fun trying to figure out how to communicate with the kids with a language barrier. They were so gracious with us and for that we are FOR SURE grateful! We ended our time there by singing a common Haitian kids song "God is so good is so good is so good God is!!" We sang, danced and jumped around and then said our goodbyes. 

God continues to show his faithfulness to us even in the smile of a little child. We are so excited to see what else He does as the week continues! 

Word of the day:

Robby // Edina 
Lydia // Connected 
Skylar // Observing 
Tyra // Smile 
Annika // Cling 
Michael // Impressed 
Sara // Tranquility 
Megan // YES! 
Soph // Inspiring 
Gabrielle // Love 
Chris // Comfort 
Sophia // Individualistic 11
Mitch // Robby 
Steph // Perspectives 
Lea // Song 
Austin // Alive 
Grace // Hum 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Student Day 1 // Travel Day!!!

Word of the day

Robby // platitudinous
Lydia // memorable
Skylar // Anticipation
Tyra // Baby
Annika // Real
Michael // Memory
Sara // Unexpected
Megan // Open
Soph // Beginning
Gabrielle // Happy
Chris // Finally
Sophia // Community
Mitch // Unforeseen
Steph // Uncomfortable
Lea // Dream
Austin // Cart
Grace // Waiting

Hi everyone!  This is Sophia C and Annika C.
The first leg of our trip to Miami went smoothly.  However, our flight to Port-Au-Prince got delayed for more than an hour because of a tray, which broke.  We arrived to Port-Au-Prince, where it was hot and windy.  When we walked inside, Skylar filled out a form with a red pen and red pens aren't allowed, so we got delayed even more.  Finally, we all got our bags and were safely out of the airport.

We all were met by the Haitian staff and boarded onto the "tap-tap"(a truck with a cage around the back).  There will be three Haitian men that will be with us the whole week.  Valerie, Maxim, and Jonas will be our translators, tap-tap drivers, and body guards.

After arriving at the guest house, our team got settled in and ate dinner, family style.  Tonight's dinner was shepard pie and pepper and onion saute, which was delicious.  We all went around the table and shared our favorite/most memorabe childhood memory and how it has shaped us. Today was a great start to our Haiti adventure.  So far so good!

Stuck in the Haiti airport

This is a picture of 1/2 our group waiting in line for their food vouchers since our plane has been delayed 4 hours. Please pray that we will make it to Miami in time for our connecting flight!

Day 7 Word of the Day

Susan H - Ready
Rachelle - Satisfied
Cody - Beautiful
Gabe - Relaxing
Michele - Process
Corrina - WoW
Annette - Daughter
Maddy - Strength
Anna - Missed
Grace - CharacterCounts
Ann - Unexplainable
Susan M - Filled
Allistair - Wonder
Nick - More
Scott - Perseverance
Jenny - Transparent

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A day at the beach with the orphans

Corrina with 2 orphans sleeping on her during the ride home
The team and the orphans before hitting the beach
Cody Madden
The Marsh girls and the sweetest smile in the ocean
The guys playing in the waves
Susan and Anna 
Nick and Ernel the orphanage shepherd
Annette keeping an eye on everybody
Susan's swimming lessons

Day 6 Words of the Day

Susan H - Orphan
Gabe - Playful
Susan M - Smile
Anna - Laughing
Rachelle - Connection
Nick - Open
Michele - Activity
Scott - Contrast
Corrina - Sleepy
Grace - Leader
Cody - Grace
Allistair - Shock
Jenny - Precious
Annette - Notsick
Ann - Salt
Scott - Contrast

Day 5 Words of the Day

Susan H - Whatever
Jenny - Upset
Allistair - Paitence
Nick - Wanting
Gabe - Greedy
Ann - Praise
Michele - Needy
Anna - Yellow
Rachelle - Wonder
Scott - Impaitence
Susan M - Desperation
Grace - Battefield
Corrina - Shock
Annette - Decision
Cody - Sheperd
Maddy - SoulSister

Friday, July 24, 2015

Gabe Engberg crisis management
Corrina Jackson hair salon
Rachelle Flynn's new work out routine
Susan Hasselquist attempting to keep her hair band
Ann Turner had them coming at all sides

Day 5 water truck day

6am church service view

The 4 ladies that left at 5:50am to go to Haiti style church

Waiting by the side of the road for the water truck tire change

Scott Flynn is the white guy manning the hose in this picture

The Jacques men watching the chaos while holding little ones
Maddy Turner kissing noses
Jenny Marsh one for each arm

What we've been up to...

What a fantastic week, even though we are sweating constantly!  We have spent time at Lapherre Orphanage, visited elderly, held babies, picked up garbage, put on a puppet show and delivered much water. Today we will be experiencing our 2nd day of delivering water to Citi Solei. We are so thankful for the opportunity we have to serve and grow in our love for Christ and one another.  
Our translators names are Brunett, Immanuel and Luknare and they are amazing!  The keep us safe and they make us laugh and somehow get us through the traffic with no crashes.
Our cooks are Kisnel, Navia and Berlande and the Haitian meal they took the whole day to prepare for us yesterday was amazing!  They faithfully cook for us every morning and night and when we come home from the day, our shoes are all neatly arranged by the front door.
We are thankful for airconditioning in our rooms during the nighttime and for Susan Hasselquist who wakes up early and makes coffee for the team every morning.

Looking forward to tomorrow for our day at the beach with 19 kiddos from the orphanage!

Citi Solei


Citi Solei

Three Musketeers