A Day At Church On The Beach

Bonjour Canada,

2 more sleeps until we leave to come home.  I can’t believe it is coming to an end.  Leaving will be bittersweet.  I am looking forward to seeing my loved ones but will miss life here in Haiti.  God has created a real treasure here.  I have seen His face in so many of the Haitian people we have had the privilege to meet and seen His handy work in the landscape.  Sometimes a little too much handy work especially the day we had to move rocks on the property.  TRANTULAS!!!! I am sure you have seen the pictures by now.  Yes I did see one but unlike the rest of my team, except my Katie, I chose not to get up close and personal.   I came, I saw and I ran!!!

When I first decided to come on this trip I came with the intention to help save the poor, to serve and make a difference and yes we have done all those things but I am now see that the poor have saved me, have served me and make a huge difference in my life.  Last night as we finished dinner, I looked down the table to where Gaylee, our Haitian friend was sitting and eating with us and it struck me that after we leave he will go back to his life and having shared that some nights all he has is water for dinner I was overcome and wept.  I wept not just because he would have to face that again but because I knew that when I got home I would never have to face that kind of reality.  It was very humbling.  This young man who has served us so wonderfully, who has protected us and made sure we had everything we needed.  The world is out of balance.  It has been very humbling. 

There have just been so many things that have come my way.  Watching my girls worship, hearing them pray…what a gift.  Working alongside these incredible men at the Joy and Hope property  who work so hard for so little,  the eyes of the children and their touch….heaven sent,  meeting Sarah who runs the pre-natal, midwifery clinic….awesome. 

We have driven around standing on the back of a truck in traffic I would never see in Canada, I have eaten things I would never have eaten back home, I have peed in places you just wouldn’t believe, sweat in places I didn’t know you could, had table talk around bathroom habits that I know for sure would not be discussed at any of our family breakfasts, I have gotten to know a wonderful group of people of all ages.   I have said it before but I will say it again…parents you have some inspiring and beautiful young people here with me.  It has been such a gift to be on this trip with them.  Incredible worship, prayer, laughter, a few tears (I think those may have been mine).   And a great group of adults so caring and willing.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  Thank you God and all those who  helped my girls and I get here through prayer and financial help. 

Please continue to pray for us over these next few day and we will continue to pray for you. 

Josh is patiently waiting to use the computer so he can blog so good night Canada.  We shall continue to suffer through Haitian winter here and as you suffer through Canadian winter there. Hahaha

Kyle and Alex hope all is well at the house.  We are all looking forward to seeing you at the airport on Monday night.  Now Alex if you can’t make it we will come and see you.  Our flight should be in around 6:50pm but we will still have to get through customs. 

Blessings to you all.

We love you Pam and are praying for you!!!  We love you too Jennifer and are praying for you as well. 

Ann

Hello Family and Friends!

I hope you all back home in Canada are doing well.  I hear that there is a fair bit of snow there.  I must say I am not looking forward to returning to that.  Being here in Haiti for 2 weeks the weather has been unbelievable.  It has been sunny, blue skies and hot every day! My kind of weather!  We have honestly been blessed by this weather; it has been so enjoyable for us all.  Many of us are tanned nice and brown and some are tanned more red….haha.  Today, we did the VBS down at church on the beach.  What a whirlwind that was, lots of fun, memories and smiling.  It was a great turn out of kids that came, many of them were really young girls and boys and they were all so cute.  We did many activities and crafts and you could see the joy it brought to all of the kids.  I was very impressed to see how many kids all climbed onto the seasaw.  The kids are like monkeys, they all love to climb, swing and hang.  Our team worked so well together today.  I loved how we all served and everyone was busy playing with the kids.  It was a definite success.  This afternoon we went to Ramone beach with the Mangins one last time.  This beach is absolutely gorgeous.  I had a great time wave surfing and playing Frisbee with the kids.  The Mangine kids all have such fun spirits.  All in all it was an amazing day.  Throughout this Haiti adventure God has been so real and evident to me.  I have learned and learned so much.  God has shown me to completely trust him and allow him to do whatever he want me to.  God works in each of us in different ways.  He shows us things in different ways and reveals himself to us in different ways.  I am so thankful and blessed to be a part of this team.  I have built lasting relationships and memories.  Tonight when we had our group worship I was so moved.  We sang the song “the stand” What a powerful song that is as it is about surrendering everything to God.  It was cool because at the main chorus our entire group stood to their feet with arms high and worshiped our Lord.  I am looking forward to seeing you in just a couple of days.  It feels like I have been away from home for awhile but in Haiti for only a short time.  Pray for travelling mercies as we make our trek back to Canada. God Bless you all !

Josh Cavanagh

It’s a rainy warm evening as we are winding things down here.  This is our last night at our hotel, we will be heading to Isaiah house tomorrow, I’m looking forward to being there again.  Things here have become routine for us, we just now seem to be getting used to the culture, not much surprises us anymore…or so I thought until this afternoon.  Sara took Janet and I to visit a maternity ward at the local hospital, we actually had another purpose in mind for the outing, but Sara had to drop off supplies that she had picked up in Port-au-Prince.  The ward was located steps away from the parking lot on street level, seated on a bench outside was a handful of pregnant women, I suspect were in for check-ups.  The doors were wide open and flies flying in and out at will.  The narrow room consisted of a desk and approximately 14 beds within sight, we were told this was the labouring room, I considered how I’d feel if I was in labour with no privacy, never mind I thought.  Sara dropped off her supplies and we started to head out when Sabine, a Haitian Mid-wife who had accompanied us, asked if we’d like to see the delivery room.  Janet and I looked at each other and without hesitation said yes.  We squeezed by 6 or 7 staff, some nurses, some students, and entered the next room.  The room was dark and sparse, the labouring woman was squatting on a pail…really a pail, apparently that is the normal method of labour.  Made me think of the story Sara told us earlier in the week where a woman about to deliver and decided she needed to get up and walk around, her nurse told her that if she didn’t get back on the bed she was not going to help her… so the woman ended up delivering the baby onto the floor, Sara said the nurse did not go to help her right away, she stood and watched, the baby was in respiratory distress, Sara said she picked up the unresponsive baby, suctioned the airway and the baby cried…  what a sight that must have been.  So, back to the maternity ward, the second delivery room was smaller, just as sparse and dark, I was taken back at the sight, I saw a woman in labour, obviously in pain, her legs in stirrups and alone… yes alone.  I wanted to jump in and wipe her sweating face, guide her through breathing and just be there for her…but that wasn’t my place. I felt intrusive to have walked in on her, I had my camera but no desire to take a picture, that image will be etched in my mind.  We shuffled past the nursing staff in their pristine uniforms… and headed back home. 

As I contemplate our experience I have trouble understanding why there is unnecessary suffering, there is no cost for love and compassion. 

Love to all at home,

Carrie

Hey guys!

It’s the final days here in Haiti. It is definitely a bittersweet moment. I can’t wait to be home and see everyone I miss and love (K.P). Haiti has a way of changing the way you think and feel. This place left a mark on my heart the last time I was here and now its pretty clear that Haiti isn’t finished with me yet and I’m not ready to finish with it. I have learnt so much about my self by being here; like when things don’t always go the way I planned its okay, and all be okay. It just wasn’t the plan God wanted for me. The main thing I’m so thankful for is the relationships I’ve made since being here, and the relationships that got stronger since being here, especially the one with my sister.
Today we had our VBS it was incredible to see all these little smelling faces laughing and playing around. It was one of the highlights of the trip. I was soon disappointed because Duane told me that the kids aren’t allow as a carry on.  Last thing we did was go to the beach with the Mangine kids and that is always fun. They are all amazing kids and such a joy to be around.

That’s all from me.

with love and blessings,
Katie Lynch

Tide

Each evening as we gather to reflect on our day we hear the waves crashing on the shore. The tide coming in and out throughout the day alters the waves. The tide is reflective of our time here. There are high tide times. The moments of connection with the men who have taught us how to work more effectively communicated with simple gestures followed by a smile when we succeed. After making their hand print shirts, the gentle twinkle of the children’s eyes was like the glitter of the sun on the particles of sand as the waves recede. The receding waves also make me contemplate the ingenuity of the Haitians as things are left behind. There seems to be ongoing recycling constantly and re-creation from the old… the remaking of a tool, a homemade kite made from plastic bags that flew much better than one that was made for that purpose, the beads made from sea glass that washes ashore and made into jewelry that we purchase at “the Mall” with the now familiar face of the woman who runs the stand. Sometimes the tide is low and might reflect our mood as we contemplate missed opportunities to serve or be an example because our eyes are focused on the little things.  As the water rushes away from the shore it exposes things we may not otherwise see. We have seen things that we don’t want to see; people hurt by other people, children asking for things we cannot provide. The receding waves leave behind garbage.   A trip like this shows us the garbage our own lives, habits we need to get rid of, things we need to change. The rocks being carved and shaped by the ocean waves are like our lives in the Lords hands if we let Him shape us for his purposes.  As we refocus our attention from the small scene of water ebbing and flowing and gaze into the sea I know that there is a bigger picture waiting. Our Lord takes our face and redirects our gaze into His eyes and we can know that He sees the whole picture. He loves this land, these people and His ways are far above our ways. As we start to transition back to our life is Canada I pray that what I have learned here won’t be washed away but continues to mold and shape us for His purposes. After you read our blogs today take some time to digest Job 38- 42 (yes I know it is a lot…read it in small bits!!) and come ask me how that passage was given to me to read when we get home!

Sherri

As we are nearing the end of our trip here in Haiti, it has given me time to reflect on some of the amazing experiences we have all had while being here. Today was supposed to be our last work day since we saw the beautiful Basin Bleu yesterday, but instead we had to sort through all of the team supplies and deliver them to where they needed to be. Josh, Ron Dunning and I had the privilege to go to the market with Gayly to pick up water, juice, and food for the VBS tomorrow. Driving through the busy streets along the way it gave us an extra chance to see the people and places going about their business. One thing that broke my heart again was seeing a river on the way in Jacmel that was all black and garbage everywhere. The smell was not pleasant and it just reiterated some of the living conditions here. I thank God for the people like Nick, Gwen, and Sara who have committed their lives to transforming this beautiful country for the better. On the way home from the market as Gayly was practically trying to knock us off of the truck, we pulled up behind a cab with one of the workers from the jobsite on the back. When he saw us he waved at us with a big smile and then hopped off the cab to come on the truck with us. He was holding a paper in his hands saying that he had just adopted a son. I thought that it was so amazing and the fact that we got to see the worker one last time even though we didn’t get to the jobsite was incredible. It’s awesome how God orchestrates things. I was very thankful to see him again especially on an occasion like that. The rest of the team delivered and unpacked supplies for the Mangine’s as well as Sara. We are checking out of this hotel in the morning to setup at the property for the VBS. Everybody is really pumped and certain it will be an amazing day. Thank you all for your    prayers and mom come on-I talk all the time.

Daniel 

Hey friends and family!

This is Cady Matthews blogging. Our days in Haiti are lessening and soon we will be returning home. Most people on our team are very eager to get home and some people want to stay longer. The more the days of our departure come closer the more I want to stay here longer and continue to learn, experience, see, interact, and look for Gods hand at work. Haiti has become a home to me and I feel like I am exactly where God wants me. Earlier this week I prayed for rain. Yesterday evening God answered my prayer. The rain poured down all throughout Jacmel. As I admired the rain I imagined that the rain was God’s grace and I danced in it with such joy. Many people joined me and we all soaked in the beauty of God’s grace amongst us. I felt cleansed and purified for all the times I have fallen short of God’s glory. Being here has helped open my eyes to Gods spirit moving and looking and searching for where God is at work in little things and also big things. Today, was our VBS camp, it took place right across from the beach. Many children came and most of them were from orphanges. There was also a couple children there that were just neighbours from the area. The children made shirts with fingerprints of paint on them, they colored, they sang worship songs, they heard the bible story of Zeuceaus, and we also had the opportunity to feed them lunch. Our team led the children in songs about Jesus. After singing the children started to share songs with us. They sang, “ Our God is an Awesome God” and “Come now is the time to worship.” Some children sang it in English and come sang it in Creole. I was so moved by their voices and the words of the powerful and impactful songs they were singing. While I listened, it reminded me of kind of music and words we will here when Jesus returns and when we are reunited with Him. I felt the spirit and presence of God throughout our VBS camp. One thing that was really difficult and broke my heart was the fact that we could not let the neighbour kids partipate in the activities of the VBS or let them eat the food we were serving. It felt almost impossible to tell them they were not aloud to be apart of our VBS. Also when we served food, I had to tell a little boy that I could not give him any food. I saw the sadness in his face and I longed to feed him.  Also what struck me was that all of these children are orphans. Either there parent’s have died or they have been abandoned. I reflected on a verse from John that says, “ I will not leave you as orphans I will come to you.” I know that those children may never have earthly parents but they have a heavenly father who longs to father them. He is the father to the fatherless. He will be the role of a mother and father to those who have none. God has been teaching our team so much each day. Please keep praying that our hearts will be open to receive and respond on everything God wants to show us especially in these last few days. With much love and blessing,

Cady Matthews

Hello everyone,

One of the activities during our VBS this morning was putting the children’s hand prints on their own T-shirts. After one little girl finished her handprint, I was wiping her hands with a baby wipe. As I finished she took the cloth out of my hand and started to clean my hands. She was so gentle and so focused to take off all the paint. I felt like  Jesus was washing my feet, it was such a touching moment for me.

Blessings,

Janet

10 Responses to “A Day At Church On The Beach”

  1. Jessica Agnew says:

    As I read your posts outloud to Stef Murphy and my sister tonight before we went to sleep in our hotel room in Saginaw, Michigan I was moved to tears at the experiences you all have shared. I am moved not only by the team’s faithfulness to pursue and follow after the example of Christ, but also by God’s faithfulness to allow my brothers and sisters to share in such beautiful and tender moments;orchestrated to bless you and to bless others. How amazing is it that while He has the ability to provide for under privileged in His own power, He allows us to be apart of His redemption song. I love the song ‘The Stand’ and I think from the way it sounds, this trip has lead each and every one of you to stand in awe of the way that Jesus has given it all to love even the least of these.

    Again – I am so very sad to have missed this trip, but Dan you will be happy to know I graduated well.. and didn’t trip or anything.

    Our prayers are still with you on your travels home. Not only for travelling mercies, but so that you might all have the words to share with as many people as will listen, all that God has done in you and in Haiti in the past 2 weeks. We have missed you all very much, and I know I am so very proud to call you my brothers and sisters.

    Much, much love,

    Jess

  2. Jean Taylor says:

    Good morning! Your blogs give a further picture of the importance of your being there. Thank you for keeping us in touch.

    Duet.4:9 ‘Be very careful never to forget what you have seen the Lord do for you. Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.’

    Haiti Team 2013 – You have had a unique opportunity to see the Lord at work. The above Scripture reminds us to absorb it – learn from it – be strengthened by it – grow through it – then pass it on. We pray the Lord will continue to guide and use each one of you in the days ahead. Monday -WELCOME HOME!

    Adam T. You Dad is in London, Mom will meet you. We are all eager to see you and hear details of this trip. jT

  3. Jane D. says:

    Great blogs everyone. You will have to find a way to save all these blogs into a group journal for future reflection. I’m looking forward to seeing you at the airport tomorrow – tears and all!

    Jane D.

  4. Kathy says:

    I don’t think I can say anything other than “wow, God is really working in each and every one of you while you are there”. I am sure the first timers now see why so many members of the 2011 team wanted to return to Haiti again on this trip. I am so looking forward to hearing more of your challenges, joys and personal changes over the next few weeks.
    See you all on Monday evening!

  5. Greg Taylor says:

    Thanks for the great reports God bless you as you spend your last day in worship and praise to the God who makes all things and watches over all things

  6. Tyrone says:

    Your blogs and pics today r amazing. Well this is it your final full day in Haiti enjoy it to the fullest team :)

    God Bless all the Haitians Children at your VBS. you hosted I’m sure you put so many smiles on children faces and your own. Hope everyone had an amazing journey in Haiti can’t wait to hear your stories there. hoping to B at the airport on Mon.
    Have a safe trip home Team!!

    God Bless Haiti Team

    Love…T…xo

  7. Janey Bordihn says:

    You have all done an incredible job with these blogs! It’s so interesting to hear each days events from different people with different perspectives, moments, and lessons learned. Your pictures and descriptions have made the country come alive to us at home, many of us who have only seen from TV the ugly and the broken. You have given us all a vision for a country, a people who are beautiful and strong, a place where God is everywhere. In the hard work of restoration which you partnered in, in the beauty of vistas you experienced which were so eloquently described by many of you, Janet at the top of the hill, Sherri in the tides, and many more. You’ve shared with us personal lessons and insights you’ve learned. You’ve seen hope and love with the Mangine family and God himself in the eyes of the children. Know the blessing that you have given and received. Remember you ARE blessed by God – Christians have a way of saying they were blessed when something good happened – but God is always blessing his children – even in the rain, or sick stomachs, or as you experienced there – in brokenness, in poverty, in filth, in a dysfunctional country. As Jess commented you have had the privilege of working with God in his beautiful story of hope, love, restoration and redemption. And remember that different chapters of the story are going on everywhere, and with eyes focused on God and hearts full of love and compassion you can take what you have received from God from this great adventure and continue to live out your part in his story. Safe travels home! Can’t wait to see you Daniel and hear all your stories – and your laugh! With love and prayers,
    Janey

  8. What heart-moving and insightful reflections and amazing descriptions characterize your last Sunday blog in Haiti! God bless all Team members for sharing so intimately your thoughts and emotions.

    Some of your observations beautifully underline God’s goodness in the midst of poverty and squalor, like Daniel’s blog: “One thing that broke my heart again was seeing a river on the way in Jacmel that was all black and garbage everywhere. The smell was not pleasant and it just reiterated some of the living conditions here. I thank God for the people like Nick, Gwen, and Sara who have committed their lives to transforming this beautiful country for the better.” Reminded me of a moving experience viewing a garbage-filled river in a slum of Chenai I had on a mission trip to India with SCAW.

    Josh, loved your summary of your mission’s spiritual impact on you: “Throughout this Haiti adventure God has been so real and evident to me. I have learned and learned so much. God has shown me to completely trust him and allow him to do whatever he wants me to. God works in each of us in different ways. He shows us things in different ways and reveals himself to us in different ways. I am so thankful and blessed to be a part of this team. I have built lasting relationships and memories.” Gran and I are looking forward to giving you a great big hug when you get home. We are praying that you and all the Team members enjoy “travel mercies”.

    With love and prayer for all the Team — Gray and Esme Cavanagh

  9. Cheryl says:

    I’m crying. That’s all.

  10. Kathy says:

    Isn’t it amazing how these honest, open blogs describing the way God is working in our family members can bring us to tears every day!

Leave a Reply