Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Guitar For Jonas

I'm not sure if anyone is following is anymore as Rachael and I are no longer in Haiti. However, if anyone does see this I just wanted to post a need. Jonas, one of the Haitians from our church who is in the beginning stages of starting a school, plays the guitar.

The day I left Haiti, he told me about his guitar. He had an American friend who brought down a guitar for Jonas and flew to the Dominican Republic and went across the boarder to give it to Jonas. Jonas also saved up and worked very hard to purchase this guitar.

Two years later, we come to present time, where he is using his guitar to help teach children through song. One day a friend of his came to him and asked to borrow his guitar. He was torn in the decision but he let him. A few days later the guitar was returned to Jonas. However, a few weeks later Jonas came home to find his guitar was stolen. The very sad part is that his friend he allowed to borrow his guitar was the only person who knew where it was kept. So, Jonas believes it was this person who took it as Jonas has not seen him since his guitar went missing.

In telling me this, Jonas was asking me to try to find a way to get him a guitar. Getting a guitar to him is easy as there are many teams from America going to Foursquare Haiti, and I would just send the guitar to where they live in America, then they could bring it with them to Haiti. However, I don't want to be the only person who can meet this need. I am planning on saving up some money and purchasing a more standard guitar and then sending that to him. If you would like to support me in accomplishing this, it would be greatly appreciated.

Let me know if you have any thoughts.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Last Day In Haiti

I made a joke today that I worked harder my last day in Haiti than my entire time here. This is definitely not a true statement; however, with the end in sight it made the work all the more harder. The Base Camp that we stay at is closed up for the rest of the year, as the missionaries and staff are all leaving for Christmas. There will be a Haitian family that will be staying in the "house" while everyone's gone. We had lots of supplies, equipment, and resources that we had to put away and store. Originally, a team from Beaverton was scheduled to help with the closing process, but because of the "Political Drama" their flight was canceled... which meant more work for us.

It was a blessed day as I received some money from a person in the states who wanted to pay for Huberman's hospital bills concerning his mother. I also gave Huberman one of my dress shirts so that he'd remember me, and he told me that he'd wear it to church on Sunday. (The one he's wearing in the photo is the one I gave him) His mother looked very healthy and she told me that she's eating and continuing to take her medicine.

In this next picture I grabbed a few of the kids who live in the tent camp to join us in this picture. It's an amazing feeling to recognize faces and see people smile when you say their name. On a walk between Base Camp and our church, a few kids from a neighborhood that I've visited often to hand out clothing, school supplies, and benches, walked towards me... I yelled one of the boys names, "Lilly!!!" and when he heard it he came running with the biggest smile.

I will definitely miss this place. It's always hard to leave something once you get in a rhythm and flow of things. Not to say Haiti is easy to adjust to, because daily you run into difficulties through language barriers, a slow moving lifestyle, hurt and broken lives... All the while dealing with the fact that anywhere you look you see trash, tent houses, run down businesses, filthy water systems, pothole filled roads, people walking in mud and dirt. It's beautiful really, because somehow these people continue to live, continue to dream, and continue to give thanks. They are a nation whose people model great and humble hearts. As I leave here and head back to my comforts of the American life, I envy these people's ability to endure, their passion to live, and how they make much out of little.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Follow Up Story on Huberman

This afternoon I called my friend Huberman, who's mom I helped take to the hospital. I asked him to give me some more information about what happened with his mom and how his living situation is. This is what he told me:

"When I was at the hospital I just prayed a lot. The doctor gave me some prescriptions for my mom and they said that she might have an infection in her stomach because she was having acid reflex. She stayed over night in the hospital and it cost me 700 Haitian dollars, which is about 88 US Dollars. The next day I took her to the clinic I work at and we gave her another IV. My mom's taking so many medications, I'm not too smart on medicine, so we gave her pills and vitamins. She doesn't have Cholera, she might have an infection and was very dehydrated the other day. We gave three IV's and now she starting to feel better. I have some more exams to do for my mom, but I don't have the money. She's resting now and trying to eat and drink some good water, but she's not doing it enough.

My house... we are planning to move, but I can't move because I don't have money. We have a deadline to leave the land, and I am planning to put up a tent in my yard where I'm going to go, but we have to move so it's hard right now. I have two properties, I used to live on one of them, but my house fell down there. I've tried to sell it but no one wants to buy property full of rubble. My other property has walls for a house but no covering, and I don't have money to put a covering over it. I'm probably going to get a tarp and cover it, but I have a nice tent that was given to me so I will set it up there as well."

When I met Huberman, he told me about his dream to start a school and study to be a doctor. He told me that Haiti's only real resource is it's children and he wants to help raise up children who are educated and love the Lord. I am amazed by this friend I have because his life is so hard... I can barely comprehend how he is able to live. Yet, everyday or so when he calls me... I ask him how he's doing and he tells me, "I'm doing great by the grace of God." I told him that I am leaving in a few days and he told me that he'd miss me a lot and... this stuck me... his mother wanted to see me again before I left. I hope to see her tomorrow... pray the roads are clear and safe.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Coffee In Haiti

Two weeks ago, the mother of a Haitian friend of mine, Huberman, gave me a great gift.While I've been in Haiti I have searched and talked with many people about finding available land with coffee already grown. With this in mind, this "madam" (woman) traveled up a very long and steep road to find coffee for me. She ended up plucking and cleaning about a pound of coffee beans to show that she had found land with coffee. It was such a surprise and blessing to know that this woman has been thinking about me and wanted to help me.

Today, I went up to the land and met the farmer who I nicknamed, Oregon. I walked throughout the whole land, which we figured out was about 10 acres. It had lots of coffee trees, bananas, oranges, and many other exotic fruits I have never seen. As we journeyed through the coffee jungle I couldn't help but render the thought of how this place could eventually become a great blessing to Haiti, as it would provide many jobs for people. With a bit of cleanup, some training, some communicating, and organization, I pray that this dream would become a reality.

As our time in the coffee land ended, my Haitian friend, Huberman, received a call from a family member that his mother (my "madam") had become very sick... throwing up and not able to hold any food or water down. With this news, Huberman became very distraught. We planned to drop Huberman off at the bottom of the hill, but our plans quickly changed as we drove up to his tent camp and picked up his mom and brought her to the hospital. When we arrived at where his mother lived, five of us huddled into her 5x5 ft. tend and began to pray God's healing for her. After that we loaded her up in our tap-tap, and I witness such awesome community as five or so other woman began to gather and provide pillows and blankets for her ride in the back of the tap-tap. All eyes where turned towards this scene as a woman who has become an overseer, nurturer, and caretaker for this tent camp, become impaired by sickness.

Tonight I pray for a great work to be done, while fully knowing that God can do anything. I pray for deep impact in that hospital as a woman who is covered in prayer enters the atmosphere of a depressing place of sickness and disease. And I pray for healing, healing, healing in Jesus name. It breaks my heart to see someone become so frail that they couldn't walk and that someone so undeserving of sickness would be overtaken by it. Especially, when it's a woman who has cared about me and shown great thankfulness just at my presence. "Lord watch over your children tonight."

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Upcoming Election

There has been a lot of talk in the news about the crazy things going on in Haiti right now with the upcoming elections. Today at lunch I talked with a Haitian who works for us, and he told us that yesterday a student died, supposedly because of political reasons. It's amazing that a country that has suffered so much because of corruption, poor economy and government, and natural disasters, still has people who fight, argue, and hurt each other even more. We heard individual presidential candidates have specific places you can go to vote for them. This is dangerous because secretly, presidential candidates will hire people to go to competitors voting spots and riot, fight, kill... in order to keep people from voting for that candidate.

It's hard to even know how to be praying because in years past, Haiti has experienced coups and riots against presidents. In saying this I mean that we can pray that Haiti will have a good president, who is not corrupt, but that would mean that he is taking a stand against many influential/powerful people who might want otherwise. The other option is seeing a corrupt president come into office and not see much change or very little as the president focuses on his issues rather than the people's.

I think it's appropriate that yesterday was Thanksgiving and this Sunday is the election, because as Americans we have so much to be thankful for. We don't even know what's it like to be hungry, and hungry in a sense that you don't know when you'll be able to eat again. Here in Haiti money is power, and I think that Americans have a lot of just reasons to complain and be upset at the government. But let's be thankful that our government has done a good job of balancing money and power, and have concern about it's people. Let that thankfulness fuel your prayers as you lift up Haiti and the upcoming elections.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Beyond What I Can Do

The other day I helped lead Beaverton Foursquare's Young Adult team, as we went out to a very close neighborhood/small tent camp, to help lay small rocks for the floor of a beginning school. When we arrived, there were at least twenty children under the age of twelve ready to greet us. We said "Hello" and went to work. However; we didn't realize it but soon our team of six multiplied into sixteen as a bunch of the young boys helped scrape up the rock, load the wheel barrows and buckets, and lay it under the building. There was a point where half our Beaverton team stopped working and began to love on and play with the kids. I continued to work, as I focussed on the task at hand. As I pushed a full wheel barrow to where we were putting the rock, I had four kids running along side me the entire way there, and I thought they just wanted to help me. My thinking was right, but their "help" was not what I had in mind. They did help strengthen my muscles, because after I emptied my load of rock, I received another load of three boys who wanted a ride back. They were just as heavy and a lot more "rocky" as they shifted and moved around in the wheel barrow. It was a bit irritating at first when my work got harder and took longer, but the Lord spoke to me and helped me realize the amazing moment that was taking place.

Romans 4:23-24 says: "And when God counted him [Abraham] as righteous, it wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. It was recorded for our benefit too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead."

When I read this verse it made me think about how Abraham had a promise and (3:18) even when there was no reason to hope, Abraham kept hoping - believing that he would become the father of many nations. So... because of Abraham's choice to believe and have faith in the Lord, he was counted as righteous. But his righteousness wasn't fully for him, it was for us too. His life and the way he lived it, impacts me and my life, here and now. With all the things I am doing here in Haiti, I believe that what I do can be so much more impacting if I choose to hope, live by faith, and love as I am commanded. Even when I have a day like the last two where I am involved in building/lackering/giving away benches, making almost 200 cement pavers, building the foundation for a chicken coup and talapia farm, putting up tents at a clinic, filtering 1000 gallons of water, driving a stick shift on the streets of Haiti, helping organize a mass clothing give away, and keeping a team I just met, focussed... none if it matters, if I don't seek and listen to the Lord. But when I do seek His face, those things I do, do impact and change lives beyond what see or imagine.

Paul says something along the line of how, if anyone has reason to boast about the things they have done, he does, because he followed the Law flawlessly. However, he realizes none of it matters when compared to knowing the Lord. When I came to Haiti in May, I saw how God can give people strength beyond what they have when they allow themselves to depend completely on God. Now I see that I have to continue to desire this heart, because if I ever move in my own strength, it will lead to frustration and irritation, as things don't go my way. But as I listen to the Lord and obey, I will begin to receive a greater strength and He will be able to do greater things through me, beyond what I can do.

Monday, November 15, 2010


It's been awhile since we've been able to write about something that we've noticed or about something that has happened to us. However, I felt like I'd shed some light on what I've observed concerning the hearts of Haitians. For all the people who have not been to Haiti, one of the first things that will impact you (if you're there on a Sunday) is seeing their thankfulness and worship. During most teams (that are here for a short time) debriefing meetings on Sunday night, I always hear them talk about the how they are amazed by the Haitian's grateful hearts and how much they love to worship. They watch in awe as a people who have lost so much and live with so little are so 'stinking' thankful and joyful. It almost makes the American jealous, because they have so much and continue to need more in order to feel some joy. Like the little boy who is happy playing with a cardboard box, while the girl who has her own pony continues to whine and cry about how she never gets what she wants.

When I have had the opportunity to meet some Haitians, one of the first things they always say to me is, "Thank you." They are so thankful that I would give up everything that I have in America and pay to come help out this country. They don't even know what I'm really doing here or how I am helping, but their attitude is of gladness, not resentment (which I think I'd feel if someone came to my neighborhood to help make it better).

Today a team here went out to a neighborhood about a block away and put on a little church service for mostly children. While I was there I talked with two brothers and they shared with me about how they appreciate that we came and did that service. One of the boys (who is 26 years old) explained to me that he would not be able to put on a service like we did, yet he knows that people need to know about Jesus. I responded by telling him, we aren't coming to Haiti to do anything for them, but help empower them to help each other. He didn't quite understand what I was saying at first so I gave him an example. I leaned over and picked up a rock, and said "I don't need to pick this up. I want to help you be able to pick up this rock." So, I took his hand and helped him bend over and had him pick up the rock. I told him, "This is empowering." He laughed and said, "You are a very good teacher." At that moment, I think it clicked in him what my heart is, and he was very thankful. I was surprised after this, because he kept talking about how he needs us and would not relent about how our assistance is needed. I think his response was coming from appreciation that we were there and he wanted me to know what we were doing was important. He did not want me to feel like I wasn't needed or felt insignificant. To me it seemed like such a thing of beauty for him to give me so much credit and have so much confidence in me, that I was doing good in this country. Definitely a different heart than I have experienced in the states, where their is such a mentality of self gain or self good.

Sorry this is getting long but a couple verse just popped into my head:

"Then he [Jesus] said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?" - Luke 9:23-25

"Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful." - 1 Corinthians 1:27