Friday, February 8, 2019

Day Two of Sheltering in Place

Today started out promising. Our translators arrived indicating that the roads they came on were going to be passable. Consequently, we loaded up and were headed to Little Children of Jesus. Our optimism quickly turned to frustration. As we tried to pull onto the main road from Santo #3, there were the barriers. We immediately turned around and returned to Hope House. Rob let LCJ know we wouldn't be coming which they completely concurred with as there were several roadblocks around their compound, plus gunfire. Fortunately, nothing bad happened and we made the best of another day at Hope House. Unfortunately, not a lot of jobs remained since we finished them yesterday. Time was spent in fellowship, reading, and enjoying each others' company. There was also a cornhole tournament which Tim and Will won. It was a beautiful day!

The plan for tomorrow is to get the airport and make our flight! Rob has plans to get us there safely and we trust him completely.

It was another awesome experience. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Shelter in Place

Today was a major adjustment to our planned schedule due to the protests. We were required to stay at Hope House for the entire day. While not what we were hoping for, and certainly were sad about the unrest here in Haiti, we are safe and we managed to accomplish a lot of meaningful work at Hope House.

We split into two teams - we had the plumbing group and the medicine baggers. It seemed we were destined to fix the plumbing problems here at Hope House in the kitchen, which was no small task, requiring five or six great minds - LOL. A project that Rob said would take 30 minutes was finished about 6 hours later.

The other team spent time bagging meds for mobile med teams. For those not familiar with mobile med teams, the VoH has a health center and a pharmacy. Part of the job of mission teams is to ensure that medicines are packed and ready for the mobile med teams. They serve about 1200 Haitians in a week in the field.  Preparation is key for these teams.

We listened sporadically to what was happening around the country. There were certainly instances of rioting, however, they were fairly isolated and not near us. We are hopeful that tomorrow we'll be able to return to our planned schedule which is visiting Little Children of Jesus, an orphanage we support, and the metalworks area. It's another opportunity to put money into the economy.

Continue to pray for the people of Haiti as we near the end of our week here. Pray for the long-term interests of the Haitian people and the safety of those near the rioting.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Another Day of Service

Today started out much like yesterday - slow - as one of our translators, who is usually punctual, was not here on time. There was much concern given the threat of protests, the gas shortage, and general safety. Thankfully, Jennifer arrived after we had just left the compound and we were able to scoop her up. She had been unable to find a tap-tap (cab) and took a moto instead. We had another "haha" moment when we arrived for VBS and discovered we had forgotten the 125 peanut butter sandwiches. This same team, two days before, forgot the arts and crafts. What we lacked in planning, we made up for with an awesome VBS. There were 65 kids and several adults that attended. The translators got everyone's attention as usual and built up excitement. We followed up with our skit and the kids re-enacted it with help from the interpreters. Then there were crafts and sports. Since we forgot the sandwiches, Bensound was sent out to get what he could find as we could not leave without giving them something. We ended up handing out crackers with the juice and then their goody bags.

We returned to the Village of Hope and had lunch. We enjoyed rice and beans today with fish sauce and pikliz (pickled, spicy veggies). Some of us stuck with the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Everybody then broke up into their teams - outside painting team, the inside painting team, and the hook hanging team. The external painting team used a vibrant, Caribbean blue which can be seen from a distance. The inside painting team finished the interior walls of the upstairs, this time with less help and less mess! The hook team was unable to finish today but the teachers in the rooms where they did finish were thrilled with the hooks and the organization they provide.  We had to leave early due to rumors that protests had begun near our route home and we wanted to be safe in the compound. Fortunately, we made it back with no troubles, just a lot of traffic.

A peaceful protest has been planned for tomorrow so we will be staying in the compound. We will stay busy with bagging meds, plumbing projects, and whatever else Rob and Trish can find for us to do. We will most likely not have internet tomorrow since the government controls it. Remember, no news from us is good news. Please include the country of Haiti and its people in your prayers.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Solid Day of Service

This was a terrific day of service, sharing Bible studies at Village of Hope School with 3rd and 4th graders, as well as numerous projects to include building the coat hook racks, painting the health center, as well as painting the security houses.

However, the day started out a little dicey. Our 8:00 departure turned out to be 8:30 which was surprisingly good considering a set of keys which was the only set, was locked in a room and needed to be retrieved.  After that bit of anxiety and excitement, the van needed the battery jumped. Needless to say, the group in the van had quite a silent ride to the Village of Hope. By the time the group arrived at VOH, all was good with the world.

We lead VBS with the 3rd graders - doing our Joseph skit (this time the Oscar goes to Timothy) and then crafts. The best costume designer award goes to NILAH PUTNAM! She sewed stoles for everyone in our skit, including the slave traders; made crowns for the Pharoah and Joseph, and a prison window. All were a big hit with the kids who re-enacted the skit. The St. John's servant team is getting pretty good at this skit! LOL!

Then we had lunch with the kids. This time it was cornmeal and beans which really was a big first for us. It was still enjoyed by most! Following lunch, we did VBS with 4th grade following the same format. Then most of us who sponsor a child were able to meet with them. A few students were absent so we'll hopefully see them tomorrow.

Then we broke into teams. Scott, Sarah, and Jim were asked to lead teams and find members. There was some poaching of team members and rules had to be made but it all turned out well. Scott's team consisted of Tim, Ken, Richard, and Greer (plus Michelene, the student he used to sponsor at VOH) and they worked on the coat hook project. Sarah's team gained members and was Alli, Audrey, Lisa, Will, Tara, little Paul, plus the translators Valery, Bensond, and Evans. This team painted the front of the health center and the interior walls of the lower level. Jim's team was Cassie, Mary, Jamie, and big Paul. Jim would like you to know that Alli joined Jim's team and was much happier with them. Just sayin...

Our time at the school ended with a basketball game between Will, Tim, and Lisa against Evans (who prefers to be called Kobe Bryant), John Robert, and Bensond. It was very entertaining for everyone. There were lots of great stories today, far too many to record here. As we started, we had a terrific day sharing the joy of our Christian faith.

Monday, February 4, 2019


First, sorry for the late post. No internet then an intense game of Spoons got in the way!

Today we drove about 20 minutes off the main road for our first VBS. We learned we have to be very flexible in Haiti. They didn't seem to know we were coming so kids from the local school were rounded up. We had planned for 125 kids but ended up with close to 160. We danced and sang songs lead by our interpreters, Evans and Pierre. Then we did our skit to tell the story of Joseph and His Multicolored Coat. Rob won Oscar for Best Supporting Actor playing the part of a slave trader. Who knew?  The kids then enjoyed re-enacting the story. They were an energetic ad well-behaved group. Some of us even got to snuggle a sweet baby whose mom was there. Unfortunately, we forgot our crafts but it was okay because we wouldn't have had enough materials or time to complete them. We then passed out the peanut butter sandwiches - a half to each instead of a whole - and a cup of Kool-Aid. No goody bags for this group, as we didn't have enough for everyone.

Following VBS, we drove back to the school where we enjoyed a delicious meal of rice and beans with a fish sauce. As usual, frisbees were used in place of plates! Then there were three tasks - bagging food for the malnutrition clinic, painting the guard house, and prepping for putting up coat hooks for the kids. There was a slight glitch with the rice... When we were almost done, we found out we were supposed to be putting half as much as we had been in each bag. We jumped into action and quickly rectified the situation. Three sweet kids whose mom was at the clinic being seen by the doctor entertained and helped us.  The guard shack was painted quickly with just a little paint getting on the painters. The last project group got the wood cut and painted in preparation for completion tomorrow - all while dodging soccer balls!

After watching the kids play soccer and basketball, we've determined that Haitian kids are much tougher than American kids! One kid, playing soccer, did a baseball-like slide into a concrete wall, knocking blocks off of it, and just got up, brushed himself off and kept playing!  Will enjoyed connecting with several Haitian boys through playing basketball with them. Let's just say, they don't seem to care much about fouls.  They were very dramatic, however, when they fell down, much like FIFA soccer players!

We returned to Hope House, had a great dinner of Haitian chicken and rice, did devotions, and spent time socializing. An energetic game of Spoons was played to end the night. Paul S. again proved he's cut out for other pursuits. 

Tomorrow we will do VBS at the school with 3rd and 4th graders and then do some painting!  Remember, if you don't hear from us, it's because the internet is not working.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Preparing for the Week Ahead

Sundays are generally a low-key day as we prepare for the week ahead. We attended church at Port-au-Prince Christian Fellowship followed by lunch at the Observatoire. It's up in the mountains and has a spectacular view of all of Port-au-Prince. You have to have patience, though, because it does take several hours of time, but it's worth it. Then we went to Giant grocery store to buy some of the local products like vanilla, coffee, and plantain chips to share with our family and friends back home. We like to put money into the economy.

We returned to Hope House and prepped our goody bags and made peanut butter sandwiches for our Vacation Bible School (VBS) tomorrow morning. Our goody bags have toothpaste, toothbrush, raisins, a mini Haitian flag, and bubbles. We did 360 goody bags and 135 peanut butter sandwiches. The assembly line at peak rate, completing all this in an hour and a half.

We experienced our first Super Bowl Party in Haiti with hamburgers, cheeseburgers, potato salad, chips, and for the older crowd - Prestige. During halftime, we did our devotions and practiced our skit. This year we are doing the story of Joseph and his multi-colored coat!

Tomorrow we look forward to VBS then out to the Village of Hope School where we'll prepare bags of beans and rice for distribution, paint, and do some other odd jobs.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Wheels Down - Haiti 2019

The Haiti Servant Team has landed and all went well. One suitcase arrived late, which made everyone a little anxious, but it's the first time in 11 years that has happened. We made it to Hope House from the airport in record time! The temperature here was 91 degrees which is a temperature change of 118 degrees from where Richard came from (Minnesota)!  It's been an interesting start so far with five team members under the age of 18. It's adding an entertainment value we haven't experienced in 11 years! Tim, for sure, is a comedian. We spent the afternoon unpacking our 28 suitcases totaling about 1400 lbs in record time and repacked them according to where they need to end up. We then enjoyed getting to know one another, telling stories, relaxing, drinking Prestige (Haitian beer), and snacking. The night ended with devotions, thanks to Greer. Our song selections were done by Alli and Tim which makes it more contemporary rather than the 17th-century classic hymns that are normally part of our repertoire. Trish and Rob are very thankful. :)

Tomorrow we will go to church, out to lunch, the grocery store, and then prepare for Monday's VBS.