2004. My first trip to Haiti.
I left forever changed. Haiti, a country that I could not point out on a map had indescribably and inexplicably forever changed my life and my heart. I left Haiti fully knowing my life would never be the same. God had postured himself in such a way that I knew I had no other choice but to serve and to follow. Haiti changed how I love. Haiti was undeniably engraved on the palms of my hands; in the walls of my brain, as if the blood of the country coursed through my very veins.
I joined G.O. in 2007 and moved to the Dominican Republic. I traveled back and forth from the DR to Haiti many times. I was full and very satisfied.
And then nothing.
3 1/2 years passed and the land that I loved remained nothing more than a figure in my dreams. Photos on my computer. In 3 1/2 years I had gotten married and had twins. A lot of changes. My heart was full in a new way. But that longing remained.
In January of 2011 Alan and I had the chance to return to work in a fishing community on the Northern coast of Haiti known as Phaeton.
This guy didn't leave Alan's side
hand in hand
There are no paved roads, no electricity, no showers (unless you count 2 pieces of tin and a bucket full of water a shower) and only outhouses. Dusty children lined the streets running up and down shouting at the "blans" (white people) to come and play. The ran as hard as they could pulling each other in an old broken suitcase, laughing so contagiously that it was hard for them to stay upright while others were busy trying to fly a kite made from a trash bag. Not far from them, a group of men sat hovering over a dominoes board with clothes pins hanging from their faces signifying how many times they lost the game. While still, women were busy washing clothes, preparing food, fish lay drying out in the sun on the cacti walls which served as perimeter walls for their mud hut houses.
And I breathed. Deeply. A sigh of relief.
I was home.
This is Phaeton, Haiti.
Pastor Lucner and Marie
Typical houses in the community
the day's catch drying out in the sun
Not sure where they are going... someone said it was possible they were trying to sail to the US... I doubt it though.
a sweet boy down by the docks
Fishermen, making their nets
bringing in the catch at sunrise
Phaeton will launch our new hub of ministry in Haiti. We have built a temporary church that is filled to the brim with worshippers and many others standing outside of the church and peering in through the windows listening intently to the message.
The temporary church (the tin structure on the right was the building project we completed while there)
In addition to a church that proclaims the gospel and frees from oppression, we have a feeding center which feeds the neediest of children one day a week. Our goal is to have the nutrition center running 6 days a week breaking the chains of malnutrition and the diseases that go hand in hand with it.
Feeding beauties like this one.
G.O. is in the process of acquiring land that will serve as the site for a dormitory, new church and nutrition center, local farm, and it will have a well on site able to distribute fresh and clean water to the community.
Watering hole where we went to get water to mix concrete for our construction project
We spent 4 days in Phaeton as a staff, building showers for teams that will come and work here and digging a hole for a toilet (that may even flush, the first and only flushing toilet in the community). We host so many teams in the Dominican Republic and we are so used to leading, it is often hard to remember what it feels like to go to a foreign land where you don't speak the language and are drinking in everything as you go. It was a great experience to share with friends and co-workers.
Alan mixing concrete
They were heavy buckets :)
God is at work in Phaeton. Once a vibrant community known for it's rope manufacturing it seems all but deserted now as their are only the broken walls of what once remained. Hope would seem fleeting, but just as Haiti was engraved in heart, how much more would our heavenly father know the pains and anguish of His people. Being engraved on the palms of our Father is an eternal promise to save. The broken walls of this small fishing community are ever before Him and He is mighty to save.
The once functioning smoke stack
Ruins from the rope factory
Haiti needs our Lord, and we need YOU! Yes, we need you. We need you to pray for the people of this land. To pray for an awakening of the gospel in this place.
We need you to GIVE. Financially, you can help make a difference in the lives of kids, men and women. The battle against Cholera is raging in Haiti and a donation of 12 cents could save a life.
We need you to GO. We invite you to come and see the great work that is being done in Haiti through G.O. There are so many ways to serve and "spend your lives for the poor."
We say at G.O. that 100% of what you give goes towards where you give it. I had a chance to personally see that happen while in Haiti. I blogged here about sending Amelia and Stella's clothes to Haiti as an offering to those without. The first night in Phaeton at church I caught a glimpse of this little one...
She is wearing one of the girls' dresses
She was a doll
And the next day at the job site she came to visit donning another of the girls' dresses.
Over the course of our time there I realized she only wore our girls' clothes. I was incredibly thankful to see God's love in action. When you partner with G.O. you partner with our Lord and have the opportunity to witness His love in action.
Haiti is waiting for you. How will YOU respond?
"My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm." Isaiah 51:5
**My camera was broken in Haiti so I wanted to give the photo credits to Amanda Braisted, our ministry photographer!!