It was a wonderful mission trip. Read all about it in our blog!
Had the best sleep since I have been gone. I awoke to a very familiar soulful sound of waves crashing on the beach that just happens to be about a two minute walk away.
I checked out the beach scene and did some praying and meditating and just took in the moment. We did some cruising around the area and then I was off to the Puerto Plato airport to catch my flight. I hated to say good-bye but my family needs me. What an answered prayer this has been. A direction from God and not man. This has by far been one of the best times in Haiti I have ever had. No stress or confusion, just resting in vision that God is giving us. So the good-byes really mean “hello, I will see you very soon again.”
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
We did meet back up with Joselita at the border and with all his effort the head border dude would not give us the time of day. We shook the dust off the town Elias Pena and hired a ride to the next town to catch a bus for Santo Domingo. We left Fede’s car at the border and continued on our trek to Matt’s house in close to Cabrera on the north coast. Once we got to Santo Domingo we rented a cheap ride and headed north.
There is such a vivid difference in the landscape between Haiti and the D.R. Look at it how you may, but the transition from one to the next is crazy. Matt’s place is about 3 hors north and the ride was great as we all tried to fix the problems of Haiti in our conversations. What a blessing it is to be with these three guys. We arrived well after dark and met Matt’s wife Kelley and his brother and sister-in-law. Awesome group of folks who treated us with such kindness. Had some killer grub then sacked out for the night.
We woke up early to get all to the airport in plenty of time to be herded like cattle into the proper stalls to be delivered back to the states. After a quick bite we loaded up on a bread truck and negotiated down the roads of chaos. It really went smoothly and as we got to the drop-off zone there was hardly anyone in line. That made the entry into the departure area quick and easy.
After saying good-bye to all our friends, Fede, Harry, Matt and I took off to the Dominican Republic border via Mirebalais. We took the road, very rough road towards the border. It took almost 3 hours to go 60 miles. When we arrived at the border our crossing problems were just about to begin. This was another vision part of the trip that was to see the best way to get across to the D.R. for future possibilities. We found out that the border does not let Haitian vehicles cross on the weekend. That is what they said anyway. I will tell you something for sure: the Dominicans as a whole are very prejudiced against the Haitians. They are mistreated very much over here.
After many run-a-rounds we finally got our bodies across but had to let the vehicle stay ay the migration office. After finding a $7.00 a night place to lay our head in Elias Pena we met up with the Good Samaritan Joselita. This guy was a saint at the border. This dude has a Haitian mother and is a Dominican border guard. He moved over to the D.R. to go to college for social services and decided to join the D.R. army to work the border to help Haitians as they cross. He dialed us into the hotel then came and picked us up and took us to a killer chicken place. After tons of conversation and chicken we parted ways for the night only to meet back up in the morning. God is so cool, praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Wow what a quick time passage through an area of Haiti with good friends, gringo and Haitians alike. I think the key to working in Haiti is to understand that God created man in His own image and not the image of the great American hero. I have seen, do see and will unfortunately see prejudice at its finest no matter how subtle or blatant it may be. When one can realize what is brought to the table should be shared equally as possible with the giver the last to receive, then the gaps can start to be filled in. After all, the disciple Peter was shown that nothing God creates is unclean. Man makes things unclean with his self serving agendas.
This is the day of tears and joy as I take my cousin Jeff and his crew from IUMC and my good bro Dale back into the mass confusion of PAP to a new guest house closer to our work called God’s Planet. On our way down the mountain we were invited to have breakfast with the Napalese U.N. at there compound just outside Mirebalais. Almost the moment we entered the city area you could feel a pressure that does not exist in the province.
Before we got to the guesthouse I took the team to Harry’s property and his church at Savon Blonde. This gave everyone a different look at the challenges between country and city.
The amount of blessings one can receive in a day is incredible. God has been so gracious to GMSM to have allowed us to come along the side of Matt Ashkoff and James Fede to partner together with Peligre Hope Partners for the common goal of life quality in a remote area. Two great dudes God hooked me up with who have true hearts of compassion. Tomorrow we drop the crew off at the airport and Matt, Harry, Fede and I head off to the D.R. for a new adventure. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
I guess I would be lying if I said I had a good night’s sleep. I seem to really never get that real good zoned out sleep in Haiti. Between digesting the day and all the extracurricular sounds that are dealt with just keeps my mind so occupied. We traveled by boat and oar across a lake to visit a village that is pretty much cut off from the surrounding villages. This place is called Malantial and it is where Fede’s wife came from. They have a small school and just a few traditional Haitian homes scattered about. Again we were treated with such a gift as the children welcomed us with song.
They put on a small assembly and then we all just kind of hung out for a while playing with the kids. Soon came the locals with what is always a joy, fresh coconuts with the milk. A couple of quick whacks with the machete and instant, natural liquid nectar. The boat ride back was awesome. It is such a beautiful place up here and I am blessed to share it with such a cool group of folks. The rest of the day was spent with everyone chilling and doing their own gig. Good night!
Today was a beautiful day of sharing the gifts that so many people provided for the children in Peligre. We where able to distribute the dolls that were made by Jennifer Ogilvy and her family from Ft. Walton Beach , FL., over 200 sandals collected by Ardith and Quentin Davis , dresses provided by Matt’s church for the girls, shorts and school supplies provided by IUMC. It was such a joy to see how so many hands were in the process of making all this happen.
This brought such joy to the faces of these children. Fede had scheduled a party for the children at 4:30 p.m. so we made up about 250 mayonnaise sandwiches for the kids. The UN graced us with there presence and stayed for several hours. The kids put on such a beautiful show with singing. It was so cool and special. Afterwards we fed them all the sandwiches that we made and called it a night.
After a somewhat good night’s sleep I awoke to the sweet sound of roosters, dogs and goats. Praise God for earplugs because there was plenty of log sawing going on. Today would be a day of orientation and just getting familiar with the mission at hand. Fede has an orphanage with 36 children and a school with 150 students. He has great vision for the ministry that God has given him and I am praying that God will allow us to continue to work side by side with Fede and Matt.
Matt is the young man that turned me on to this place and a big part to an answered prayer. This place is clean and you can tell that Fede and his wife Darlene work very hard here. These are such sweet people. After some breakfast and more surveying I went over to the dam to get a cell signal. I called my sweet dear wife Kim to check in and was greeted a total bummer. She told me that my friend and brother waterman Yancey died while out in California surfing. He was doing what God put him on earth to do. This dude had such an impact on the local and national surf scene. He was someone I looked up to so much when I was a grommet. Over the last several years we started growing closer together. He loved our ministry and supported it monthly. I was so stoked when he got on board with us and he constantly encouraged me. We talked often on the phone and were surfing some together. I had just spoken to him and he told me he was heading out to California. Man I am so bummed because I am here in Haiti and cannot be there for his funeral on Saturday. The only comfort I have is that I know he is living the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ that is given to all who believe and call on his name. I also know that he would rather me be here serving the people of Haiti.
It’s been so cool watching the team go through all realms of emotions, from culture shock to total amazement. What’s even cooler is being down here with my cousin Jeff. He and the rest of the crew from IUMC have just fallen in place like they have been here forever. Jeff, Dale, Christen, Fede and I had to run up to a town 45 minutes away called Mirebalise. We went there to pick up some food supplies for the orphanage. The rest of the crew stayed and enjoyed the kids.
We had a beautiful church service with the typical 2 hours of worship. This is a Baptist church too. That would not fly in most if not all SBCs. Some purse string puller would be calling for someone’s job. Praise God they do not let junk get in the way of true worship. I have always loved to worship here in Haiti. It helps me to understand the way I feel about most corporate worship in the states. Pastor Kelly lit it up from the pulpit. He had fire in his eyes but spoke with a gentle humbleness. We were blessed with great singing from several groups. Praise God from whom all blessings flow, He gave us a great first day.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. The answer to a prayer has finally been answered. We have been praying a long time for a new direction in Haiti and God has opened a door that I am stoked to step through with Immanuel United Methodist Church out of Lakeside Park, Ky.
I am traveling with Kelly McClendon (lead pastor), Jeff Poland, Joe and Amy Jackman, Kristen Getsy, Quentin and Ardith Davis. Dale Winslette has tagged along to assist with GMSM and help with the mission at hand. All has gone fantastic thus far.
All our oversized gear was loaded with out incident and extra charge. Thanks go to American Airlines for helping us with all our big stuff. Believe me the charge for oversize stuff can be ugly. We are on our way to Haiti as I chicken peck through this blog. We will meet Harry, Matt and Fede at the airport. From there we will load up our gear, change money, get groceries and head up the mountain to Peligre. This will be an exciting time for all and I look forward to seeing all my new friends.
Wow! Things went incredible well for Haitian standards. Our luggage dude was there waiting. His name is Chery and it would not have been easy with all our gear had Harry not set this up for us. He got us through the maze of craziness that is typical of most places that is lined with people looking to make a buck.
Once through we were met by Matt and Fede. What a blessing to have things run smoothly this far. From there we hooked up with Harry and got our gringo dollars changed into Haitian goudes. We stopped by the Deli Mart that has recently reopened since the earthquake and got all our groceries. Now starts the 2 ½ hour drive up to Peligre.
So far the team has been fantastic. I love this drive. It has been a very long, hard day and was dark when we arrived at the orphanage in Peligre. Word is that it has been raining at night up here which is unusual for this time of year. We unloaded all our chum and started getting everyone situated when all of a sudden the bottom fell out of the sky. PTL that it did not happen any sooner or it would have been ugly. Fede’s wife cooked a fantastic Haitian meal that stands up strong to any I have had. I am beat, good night
GMSM is partnering up with Immanuel United Methodist Church out of Lakeside Park, Ky. We will be going to Peligre Haiti to an orphanage. IUMC will have 7 members joining GMSM one being the lead pastor Kelly McClendon. This will be the first time that we have taken a group to this area. Continue reading “Mission to Haiti this Week”