Tuesday, June 11, 2013

VBS in Haiti

When I lived in Borger, it was common for dust bowls and dirty rain, but I must say Borger ain't got nothing on Haiti.  This is one of the dirtiest places to which I have ever been.  There is so much dust here there is no way to keep anything clean.  

One of the main highlights of the trip for me was the VBS.  This was going to be the time that we got to share the gospel and see some kids come to Christ. We had everything planned out, had our parts down, and skits practiced.  We were doing VBS for the school kids and it was test day today.  There were about 50 kids that came to school and to our VBS.  One of the big treats for VBS is that the kids get peanut butter sandwiches.  This is a huge treat because peanut butter is so expensive over here.  The kids ranged from 5 years to 14 years old.  This is a huge gap for VBS and they were all together.  Any time you take a discovery trip (going to a place for the first time) you basically learn what not to do.  It is hard if not impossible to come into a new culture and hit a home run right off the bat.  We defiantly learned some lessons today.   The program went off just like we planned it, but we will do it completely different next time.  Unbeknownst to us, this was the kids 3rd VBS in a short amount of time.  I felt like and they acted like they were going through the motions to get to the peanut butter.  Even if this was the case the gospel message did go out.  I think next time for an effective response we need more days to really drive home the concepts of the gospel message.  The kids were suffering from information overload and some of them just checked out.  I don't blame them for that, it was just to much to fast.  We did have a good debriefing meeting in which some planning was noted for the next one.

It is funny how God works.  I was so set on this VBS being the reason for the whole trip, but that wasn't God's agenda at all.  I always look for the supernatural events on the trip.  The ones that make you say, "Ah, That's why we came.  The supernatural event this week has been watching Karlata break through to these girls in the orphanage in a way that has amazed even the directors.  The ministry that she has started with these girls will last long after this trip is over and Karlata's return has already been offered.  Her work with these girls will effect and change each and every one of their lives.  This is a huge success and blessing to me and most defiantly makes the trip worth it.  Every day Karlata as more sessions with the girls so please pray that God would give her strength and wisdom as she ministers to the House of Hope girls.  One of the girls told her today.  If you made and you are O.K. I think I can make it too.  If that's not hope I don't know what is.  God be praised. 

At the same time the team is growing closer together everyday and finding new paths to travel in our own walk with Christ.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Sunday in Haiti

I've attended many church services all over the world and never get tired of seeing the different ways that people praise and worship The Lord.  I had a thought today that I'm still chewing on.  All the different ways of praising The Lord are all being driven by the Holy Spirit.  If he didn't like it he would reveal it to and through is people in all these different countries.  But if we know anything about God we know that he likes diversity, wether it be trees, birds or people he made all different kinds and he made all different kinds of worship.  So here's the cool thing about that thought.  What an awesome site when we are gathered around the throne and the africans are praising in their dance and the Haitians are waving their hands back and forth, and the American are giving the raised fist that God will be sitting on the throne saying, "Yea, now that the way I like it!"  It was a good day a Church today.  I did whoever miss the time of invitation; but I will leave that conversation for another blog. 

After Church we took a walk and surveyed the land to which Paul and Kate are ministering.  That has been the most eye opening thing we have done yet.  If you have been with me on missions trips before you know how I love to get out and meet the people.  I have learned that most people in the world are not radical or even mean for that matter.  They are just trying to make it another day, providing for their family.  I would give a smile and say "good afternoon" in Creole and their faces would like up as they offered me a blessing of peace.  Haiti in general looks like a war zone with downed buildings, tent cities, and homeless everywhere.  Yet, they would still smile and laugh and play in the midst of all their struggle.  it changes me more and more every time I come.    

We spend some time working on the skit for VBS tomorrow (please don't forget to pray).  Before dinner Karlota had been meeting with some of the girls one-on-one.  As she was giving her findings it finally hit me how much trauma the girls have gone through.  It is hard to see when they are so happy to see you and smiling all the time but the truth is they are hurting and emotionally distressed to say the least.  The girls have been really opening up to her and she has been making a huge difference in their lives.  There is no way this can be her last trip.  She must come back and continue to work with these girls.  Pray that God would provide a way for her to return as soon as possible.  I believe after today that Karlota is the reason we came on this trip.

The Meaning of Connect

No matter what book I pick up, read, or hear right now always has to do with relationships.  The truth of the matter is that all of our lives are run on the basis of relationships.  We all desire them.  We all need them.  But relationship seem to be there very thing that we are not any good at keeping.  We struggle to find the right balance of how much to give away and how much to hold close to the chest.  Should I be my real self or just play a role that everyone wants me to play.  The truth is relationships are not that hard to have if you are willing to be honest and trust worthy. 

On the agenda for today was swimming with the girls from the house of hope.  You should have seen us walking 3 block hike to the hotel where we were going to swim for the day.  There was about 25 of us and everyone wanted to know what we were all doing walking down the back streets of Haiti.  When we got to the pool all the girls jumped right in and team was close behind.  This is a treat for the girls and not something that they do often or together.  It was a blast for everyone.

The most important thing I noticed was the difference in the girls and the team when we got back to the orphanage.  You would have thought that we had know each other forever.  The girls were wanting  me to color and jump rope with them.  They wanted to help us as we were cleaning up and taking out the trash.  (You have to remember some of them are less than 5 years old and were abused or abandoned.  This is a big deal.)  The truth is they want relationships too.  Someone they can trust and look up to.  Someone that will hold them when they hurt themselves and need a hand.  

At dinner one of the workers came and got Paul and Kate and said that one of the girls had fallen and then they called for Mittie, the nurse!  This wasn't sounding good.  So we postponed dinner to find that one of the girls had rolled out of bed and hit her head and was bleeding like crazy.  After Mittie got her cleaned up we realized it was just a scrape with a lot of blood.  But you would have thought that Mittie and that little girl spoke the same language as she comforted her and told her she was going to be alright.  It was a beautiful sight to say the least.  

When you understand that God is a relational god, it helps to understand the need we all have for strong relationships.  Open up to someone today and let that relationship go a little deeper and you will see the joys of sharing life with others.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Service for the Servants

Last night we set a call time for breakfast at 7:30 am.  If you've been on a missions trip with me before you know that we are not going to be sleeping around all day.  You can do that on your vacation.  Mission work is different, you are usually going to help someone with the mission that God has placed on his or her heart.  It is important to them.  It matters.  As I was rounding everyone up about 7:45, Charlie began making pancakes, the problem was we didn't get the kind that you just add water.  We had the kind that required milk (which we didn't have) and eggs (which we didn't have).  So, we found some powdered milk and just went without the eggs and believe it or not, I couldn't even taste the difference.  They were good or I was just that hungry, but either way, we worked it out. 

Then it was time to bless the orphanage with some good old fashioned hard work.  We took on the project of painting the kitchen for the orphanage.  And the team did great.  We had it knocked out before lunch and was able to play with the girls and watch them paint rocks in the afternoon.  Some had talent and some had paint all over them but all had a good time. 

I had the opportunity to go to the store today to buy some new mops for the orphanage and the traffic was crazy.  No order only means one thing: Chaos!! As I was driving with Paul, the American that runs the orphanage, he was sharing with me how excited he was for the devotion times because he could tell that our team was hear for others and not for ourselves.  I don't believe I could have received a better compliment about our team.

After practicing our skit for Monday's VBS we got ready or dinner and watch the girls play hide and go seek in the court yard.  I was blessed to know that these girls get to experience some of the pleasures of childhood that most other Haitian girls don't get to enjoy.

My First Trip to Haiti

As I went to bed last night at 12:00 am. I knew it was going to be a rough day having to get back up at 4:15 am.  When I got to the Church a little after 5:00 the team was there and ready waiting in the limo that would take us to the airport.  I'm still not quite sure how that happened but off we go.  Riding in stile and trying to stay awake. I did however, have everyone hold up their passport so I could see it before we left.  We got to the airport with not much said (the girls were sleeping) and we headed off to our gate.

It's amazing to me that we, as americans, can get on a plane and travel around the world the way we do.  This though lead me on a mental journey for the rest of the day.  Scriptures were coming to my mind about the great commission and our ability to actually fulfill it, and to who much is given much is required.  The end of that thought provoking journey was this: when we leave Haiti will be have left a tangible gospel or just felt good about the fact that we were willing to go.  

As we got to Haiti is was the same scene that have seen many times, people begging to help you with your bags for a small tip, crazy traffic, bumpy streets with no order, riding in the back of a compact truck with all the luggage.  The complex was not quite what I expected.  I was expecting an american oasis in the middle of Haiti but not so.  It is very much under construction and the girls and one litttle boy are the gems of it all.

We had dinner and sat on the roof top sharing our first impressions of the place and God was in our midst.  it was a blessing to see how God works all over the world.