His Heart for Haiti

Giving Hope Through Child Sponsorship


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Highlights of the First Week

Madame Yadley  is really a bright spot in our day!

Madam Yadley is really a bright spot in our day!

1) We met our Haitian cook (Madam Yadley) who calls me Madam Mike. That is going to take awhile to get used to! She cooks lunch for us four times a week for extra money. It is expected here to provide jobs for the Haitians. Otherwise, you would be looked down upon from the start. We get along really well and had some good laughs already! She eats lunch with us. She knows a little English and we know so little Creole, so our conversations are not too long yet.

2) Star gazing on a hill surrounded by mountains and cows, singing hymns, and getting to know one another better. (We got such a kick out of a cow who started bellowing when we sang!)

3) Tarantula hunting – the kids found some big ones!! Mom screamed when they brought one back and it came towards her. : )

4) Going  downtown to transfer our US dollars to Haitian Goudes and to the market for some groceries (not like Walmart!) Sure is a different world with all the crowds of people everywhere! It is very unfamiliar ground and out of our comfort zone, especially when you don’t know the language. The driving is always chaotic, dangerous, and the sights eye opening!

5)  Four-wheeling is how you get around on short trips! We will all be driving those soon to get around (except for Grace I guess).

6) Taking time out to play basketball and volleyball with the missionaries.

The water was diverted so no falls to see...but more climbing was possible.

The water was diverted so no falls to see…but more climbing was possible.

7) Hiking up the mountains (Rock climbing is more like it). The kids enjoyed swimming in a natural spring and jumping in. The water was such a clear blue that you could see your toes when you looked down! It is so neat to see the world God created – especially one that is new to us.

8) MEBSH (Mission Evangelical Baptist South Haiti) church – First time for kids to experience church the Haitian way. It was so amazing for the kids to see them sing and praise Jesus with their whole hearts while they have nothing! They sang so loud into the microphone we almost had to cover our ears!

9) Beach at Port Salut (45 minutes west of Les Cayes) to enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon and some seafood on the Caribbean Sea with the missionaries.

10) Christmas Eve Outreach – On Christmas Eve, we went with Tim and Joan Reinhard on their annual outreach with the street boys. Wow! What an eye opening event that day! We picked up the kids on the street that Joan had on the list. There was 38 boys. The names were picked by a street mom who supposedly takes care of these kids, since she had been a street kid herself. Each one of these kids had to have their finger spray painted so they wouldn’t have any tag-a-longs and would better be able to keep track of them. There were so many street kids that wanted to go along but only the ones on the list were able. It was a sight to see! Both Tim and Joan were surrounded by many, many kids while we all waited in the vehicles.

Once all the kids were in the vehicles and on the top of the vehicles, they sang loudly as we drove toward the shoe market where each one picked a pair of shoes that fit. (We parked the cars and then walked to the shoe market. The streets were so crowded with people, we could hardly stay together. It was quite an experience!)
We could never figure out how they found the match!

We could never figure out how they found the match!

Having shoes in Haiti is like having a good set of tires on a car. Obviously Haitians mostly get around by walking and do make first impressions (measure each other) by what kind of shoes they have on. So these shoes were a gift that these boys appreciated!

After they got their shoes, and we were driving along, Tim and Joan realized there were too many kids. There were now 41 kids instead of 38! We watched as Tim pulled one boy off the top of the vehicle because he didn’t have a spray painted finger. He had a pair of shoes. Mike and I happened to see the expression on his face when he realized he was caught. His face showed a look of horror and he looked as if he wanted to cry. Tim and Joan finally decided that it was all right for him to come along, knowing how much he needed the shoes.
These boys love "Mr. Tim!"

These boys love “Mr. Tim!”

The sandwich pile kept getting bigger...and so did quite a few eyes!

The sandwich pile kept getting bigger…and so did quite a few eyes!

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They took these boys to a field to play soccer and then we fed them pork sandwiches. They loved it! Another part of the outreach was to bathe them and hand out health kits. Only half of them wanted to be bathed so we took them to a nearby spring. A few of us were sitting on the hill by the spring and I must have been sitting in a cow path. Suddenly a big cow came running down the hill right toward me! I had my back turned so I didn’t even know until Mandy, one of the missionaries, cried out. The cow just missed me by a few inches! It turned the very last minute. That was a little scary! To think I almost got ran over by a cow! I can just imagine that I would have just tumbled down the hill into the spring. Oh how I thank God for sparing me! Only in Haiti, you know?!
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Settling In and New Adventures

There is a lot to learn about Haitian culture! Obviously we are enjoying the warm weather, but we are also learning to enjoy the area and new culture we find ourselves planted in. We enjoyed a trip to the foothills for some hiking/climbing to reach a series of natural pools where we swam. We also enjoyed a Sunday afternoon trip to Port Salut to eat on the beach and swim.

The Haitians and local missionaries are very friendly and helpful with all our questions! We constantly have to convert money and figure out the proper price of things in their barter system. We have vendors coming to our door to sell anything from bananas to rocking chairs. We have to communicate with our “house help” while our Creole is very limited at this point! The internet is very frustrating, but we will eventually get used to how things work and make adjustments. Patience!

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Discovering the beach at Port Salut, 45 minutes west of Les Cayes


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Moving Day!

Arriving at the Akron/Canton airport for a long day of travel.

Arriving at the Akron/Canton airport for a long day of travel.

Tuesday, Dec. 17. This was the day that our nine months of planning finally became reality! It was a whirlwind to get out of our house by 3:30 a.m., but the Lord was faithful in giving us the strength to get it all done by early morning! When Bill and Monica (my sister) came to take us to the airport, we quickly loaded 22 pieces of luggage. There was no time to spare! It was a cold, snowy early morning as we drove to Akron/Canton airport. The roads were slippery. It was hard to say our goodbyes but we knew the time had come, and this was God’s doing. We felt His strength.

When we finally got on the plane, which was headed to Charlotte, NC, we all collapsed into sleep zone. All of us slept on that flight except Grace. She was amazed by the view of the moonlight over the clouds! In Charlotte, we had only 45 minutes to the next flight into Ft. Lauderdale, FL. So at 9:00 in the morning we were eating pizza. It was going to be awhile until we ate pizza again in the States like that!

No pizza for awhile?

No pizza for awhile?

We arrived at Ft. Lauderdale around noon. We didn’t have much time until the next flight to Port-au-Prince. And then in our haste we read the board wrong and ended up walking through an exit to the gate of a later Haiti flight! When we realized the error and returned, we discovered we had to go back through security of course. Mike was really sweating now, realizing what little time we had before the flight! After Mike got through he went on ahead (with Grant and Grace) to ask them to wait. The rest of us were still at inspections. Wouldn’t you know it, two bags got held for further inspection. We all made it to the gate just as the last people were boarding. That was close!

On this flight I sat between two Haitians. This was a good introduction to Haiti. One was a lady who was a doctor from Northern Haiti, and the other one was a single man, living on the west side of Port-au-Prince, who was a construction worker. Both of them could speak a little English and they both helped me with Creole.  It was a very interesting flight!

Once we reached the Port-au-Prince airport, the kids liked the band that was welcoming travelers. Our boys just got big smiles! We had made it to Haiti! Trinity was extra excited too along with Grace who didn’t know what to expect, but felt the excitement from the rest of us. It took awhile to get all our many pieces of luggage. A Haitian had been assigned to meet us and get us through baggage claim. Our luggage was finally piled up on three carts and it was a sight to see!

When Trinity saw the Haitians standing about ten deep all along the sidewalk outside the airport door she gasped. “You are making us go out there? You didn’t tell me we were going to walk through a parade.” When we got out there, Evan said, “This is like a zoo and we are the animals in the cage being stared at.” It was very uncomfortable feeling for all of us, especially with so much luggage! When I saw ALL those faces this verse of the Bible came to mind: “Look on the fields, for they are white for harvest.” Haitians had been assigned to meet us at the fence and then at the van that took us out to the bus station, so it did proceed smoothly after all, except for the two times all the bags went tumbling! We were all quite ready to get on the bus and we also had paid quite a bit to get that far!

Our luggage filled almost half of the bus storage space. It was embarrassing to stand next to that pile in full view of the entire city!

Our luggage filled almost half of the bus storage space. It was embarrassing to stand next to that pile in full view of the entire city!

The bus ride from Port-au-Prince to Les Cayes was uneventful overall because it got dark after one hour, but it was fun for us to watch our kids look with unbelief at the street scenes and people walking everywhere. Trinity said, “This is so sad. It is so eye opening and unreal. I never knew this existed.” She could hardly comprehend so many living in tents. Grant said the same and added what stood out to him was the trash everywhere in the streets, in the river beds, etc. It was unreal! Evan said it was hard to describe and the sight was overwhelming. He couldn’t believe all the people everywhere, the trucks/vehicles filled with overflowing people, and down every street the Haitians are selling something. The kids found out quickly the biggest truck goes first! It is a pecking order.

The bus stopped often in Port and then picked up speed later and we all slept a lot during that five hour trip to Les Cayes. We arrived at our new home and sure had a warm welcome. Even our home was decorated! Everything was unloaded in the living room before we knew it with the help of the missionaries. It was hard to believe we were finally here! We were very thankful how everything went and how God provided each step of the way.

We really appreciate all your prayers!

Seeing our new home for the first time was exciting!

Seeing our new home for the first time was exciting!

We really appreciated the great decorations and the wonderful meal that was all ready for us!

We really appreciated the great decorations and the wonderful meal that was all ready for us!

 


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Saying Good Goodbyes…

In the endless routine of packing our things we were reminded many times of what really matters…relationships. Loved ones near and far who mean so much! Jesus always took time to stop what He was doing to listen to and care for others. Thanks for all the special moments you have shared with us and the love you send us off with! We won’t see you as often as we did, but you have left your footprints in our heart!  Even dog ones… 

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Jasper has found an extra-special new home!

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Grace’s class made her a farewell book!

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Special moments with special friends!

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Getting together one last time!

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Birthday parties and family time!

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Putting the last of our stuff into storage!

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Some of our things heading for Haiti tomorrow!

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Change Ahead!

Three days to go! If you could say an extra prayer for our kids…they have never been to Haiti! There will be a cultural shock as well as a temperature shock. We know that change affects each person differently, but God carefully designs changes into our life so we don’t get too comfortable here on this earth. He wants us to look forward to that final change that He has really made us for…”We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”  1 Corinthians 15:51-52

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Enjoying snow for the last time! It is currently 88 degrees in Les Cayes!