Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Nothing like starting a day competing with the locals for a tap tap. They certainly have an edge on me. I wish I had a video of me trying to pretend like I know what I’m doing. But hey guess what, I got where I needed to be and that’s all that matters.
Once I got to the meeting place to meet Harry we headed to the school. I had a very busy schedule ahead of me. First off I had a meeting with two very good friends from another area. We spoke of problems in a certain village that we have no control over and how we might be able to overcome and move past the garbage. Ultimately we just let God have it and we know that He will make all cool.
We also had a very good meeting with Madam Fani and spent several hours with her. I really love this lady and I think all her motives for Croshie (a village that I talk about often) are right, she to is fighting the heart of man. We all face things things we must put aside at times and look at the greater picture. The cool thing is that her house is finally finished and she can at least turn the page on that part of her life.
From there we moved to the school and meetings with the teachers. It is so cool to see the school operating on its own. Praise God we are not so arrogant to try and implement American ways on a non American country. What we can offer are teaching strategies that may help propel their students to a new level of development. We meet with the teachers and they seemed to be in a place where our vision and their vision were the same. They are such a sweet eager group. I know it will take much time to make the thinking process of education change but I am willing to fight the good fight. One thing I wanted the teachers to understand is that we feel what they know and how they are teaching is great. We just feel that we might have a strategy in place to ignite these children into a learning fireball.
From there we got the stove to the FAVILEK ladies. OMG they were so stoked . I am not sure I have been around a more excited group of women than these. What a blessing it was to be able to help this group of ladies. I am so thrilled to have had the opportunity to meet Brent and to be introduced to the need. Man I just thank God that He has let us go down a little less traveled traditional “missionary” path. I am just glad that Jesus showed us what we are to really be. So when we screw things up we only have to blame ourselves (Phillipians 2:5-8). He laid it all out for us what we do with it is up to us.
Haiti Mission Trip Jan 20-22, 2012
My last few days in Haiti were filled with cyber cafes and wrapping up strategy meetings with Harry. We spoke about our continued vision of salvation through education. As I prepared to leave the guest house on the 21st Harry and I had one more powwow about our possibilities of becoming and official organization in Haiti. I packed myself into the guest house van that drove us to the airport and once again had to deal with the hassle of having people trying to help me with what little luggage I had so they could make a buck or two. I finally got through the circus and got checked in.
I saw Chuck in the airport and we had the same flight all the way back home. Once again I was going home the same way I came to Haiti, via NYC. I will be staying this time with my good friend Deborah Ottenheimer and her family. Once we touched down I was greeted with 3-6 inches of snow and 24 degree air temp. I left Haiti in doggers (surf trunks) but had the smarts to throw a pair of long pants and a jacket in my back pack. I hailed down a taxi and gave him the directions to Deborah’s house. It was about a forty five minute drive to Brooklyn from JFK where her family lives. I had my first warm shower in 8 days and she had prepared me a nice grilled steak. Awesome, totally. Got a great night’s sleep and got to play in the snow for a little while before Deborah and her 5 year old son Ben took me to the airport for my journey back to my home and family. It was another successful Haiti trip full of communication, relationship building, learning, giving and growing. I am already anticipating the next Haitian journey. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
We started off by buying a gas stove for the FAVILEK ladies. If anyone reading this is not sure what this is talking about they will have to go to an earlier blog and get the details.
Anyway we were talking to these women and this was something they said they needed for their work headquarters. So that kinda hit hard with me and I figured we can help make that happen. So Harry and I took off to hunt down the stove and found it at MSC Plus, Haiti’s version of Home Depot. We got a surprisingly good deal and good deals in Haiti are very hard to come by. Once we scored the stove we got it back to the guest house for safe keeping. From there we visited a lawyer friend of Harry’s to talk to him about Non Government Organization aka NGO status for Haiti. For a long time I have felt this is something we should do. We are dealing in education now so it is time to make the move. We talk to this one lady who was recommended to us and she quoted us a $50.00 consolation fee which I was cool with but when she found out I was a Blanc the price went up to $250.00. So we were obliged to tell her in a very Christian way what she could do with her consoltation fee.
Which brought us to to Harry’s connection. This guys name is Immanuel and is a lawyer for a law firm. Harry at first had a hard time getting in touch with the dude so that is why we went with the recommended office. Once we knew this person was gonna burn us we made one more call to Harry’s bro and got through. We went to his house and talked about what we were trying to achieve. He was kind and spoke very wisely to us. Money was never discussed. He said that he and his team would get together to discuss the stategy and when they had their “goats in a row” he would let us know what organizational info he needed and then he would give us a fee and we could make our own decision on what to do. That’s the kind of people we want to work with in Haiti. That was a heavy burden lifted from me and I feel very confident about this. Actually I am pretty stoked. Tomorrow we will deliver the stove to the FAVILEK house and that will be a blessing for all. Praise God From whom all blessings flow.
Today was one of those days that seemed like I got a whole lot of nothing done. I did not take one picture. I spent most of the day at Harry’s church and the school. I observed the school but for the teachers sake I kinda just blended in with the kids hoping to be unnoticed haha, yeah right. But I really did not want to distract the kids or teachers so I kept the soul catcher (camera) in the back pack. The school is going well but there is a lot of academia work to do and it will take time.
God is already placing people in the lineup to help and I am so thankful. Most know that sort of stuff is not my forte. We are really looking to ramp up the program. Thursday will be picture day at the school because I will be interviewing the teachers and I will surly be a distraction so I might as well take full advantage of my time. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
One day, maybe just one day God will provide us with some sort of transportation down here. I am tired of spending money on private drivers that in my opinion charge way too much. We can’t even catch a break from our
local bros. I know it’s a business but hey , cut me some slack. As much as I am starting to move around down here, good GMSM owned transportation will be crucial very soon. We wait on God. I guess we should concentrate efforts to get Harry’s house finished first.
So in the meantime I will switch from private transportation to the ever crazy local stuff. It is very cheap and can also be dangerous. So this morning Harry and tok off to Jacmel in a local tap tap. The last time I went to Jacmel it cost us $200.00 for a private driver. By going the absolute crazy scary way it only cost us $15.00 for the both of us round trip. Hey a brothers gotta do what a brothers gotta do. Two and a half hours in a 10 passenger van with 15 people packed into it going over a mountain range that rivals most that I have ever seen, steep and scary crazy. The reason I am writing this now is because we made it back. PTL.
We were in Jacmel to revisit the place were we ministered to about 15 children in December. This is where we bought food and left Christmas gifts at Christmas time. We had a meeting with Pastor Abel who is the man who is trying to help the children and also is planting churches in this area. This was the main focus of this day trip down south. We spoke of his vision for the area and tried to get a feel for how he was planning to accomplish this vision. Abel is tied closely with FBC of Provo, Utah. The Provo church is the one who asked me to help gather info and guide them in a relationship with this area. Our meeting went well and we bought some more food for the kids and then headed back toward Port au Prince.
When we arrived in Portay Leogone, which is not a real good area of Port to be in late at night, we had to get a tap tap quickly and get out of Dodge. Praise God from whom all blessings flow we finally did make it back. I would like to say safely but it was anything but safe. All is good, that is the Haitian way. When in Haiti do as the Haitians do.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. I caught a tap tap to Harry’s church and had a great time worshiping with his fellowship. After the service was over we had the Lord’s Supper. I was so stoked to have been invited to participate. It was such a beautiful thing and just confirmed how much God loves all people. What He did for us is for all and no one is more worthy than the next. We are all sinners like it or not and no one is excluded.
After all was finished at the church, Harry and his family, along with his brother James and church leader Adonai, went to lunch and had some serious food. We had a great time chilling and just hanging out. Harry took me to his house to see the slow progress. They say Rome was not built in a day and they also say good things take time. I was very impressed by what I saw. We are officially ready for the roof. There was much time and money spent on the foundation and walls and I am totally comfortable that we did what we needed to do to make sure that we have good strength throughout the walls and floor. Our next step is to start praying for the resources for a strong roof. God will provide I know and we will be patient. We head to Jacmel in the morning to check on the orphanage. Today was a great day.
What would a day in Haiti be like if you didn’t pursue something that was not gonna happen anyway. Big bummer, my internet connection has the windows boarded up and is no longer in business and as a good shop keeper. Sister Mary has a policy of not giving out the password to the holy grail. So I was totally bummed to find out about the closing of internet sanctuary.
There is a new company other Digicel that is called NapCom which has gotten good review from locals and blancs alike. So I figure hey what the heck let’s drive the 10 mile three hour trip to the NapCom store and get me all hooked up with a new air card for the IPad. First of all that sounds way too easy. I should have been skeptical but hey man it was a new day and I’m back in the saddle in Haiti ready to rock. Man I must be getting gullible in my old age. The NapCom dude tells me the air card won’t work on the IPad because mine is not the 3G version. That was not the answer I was wanting to hear, but he is right unless there is a 3G adapter. Sounds like I know what I’m talking about but trust me I am as lost as if I try to navigate my way through Port Au Prince by myself.
All is good, Harry had a beautiful baptism service at his church and it really confirms why I am here. Washing off the filth and coming out clean. What a true public profession of faith. Another very cool thing is, last night I met this cat named Brent Gibson here at the guest house. He is from NYC and works down the street from Jeremy. He has a PHD in…………can’t remember. Anyway as we talked it was pretty obvious we are both kinda traveling a similar path. We both are venturing into areas of grass roots type stuff. He has an organization called HaitCorps International. He is involved with a group called FAVILEK ( famn victim leve kampe ) or women victims get up stand up. This is a Haitian group that reaches out to rape victims and physically abused women. They have a headquarters where the women are taken to and they are teaching them to sew. Specifically to sew and make handbags. They are paid daily and have a lunch provided. Brent brought a purse designer from NYC to train the women. From what I understand she is a high profile designer. They bring in material from the states and they produce a nice product which is sold state side and the money pours back into the women. Harry and I had the opportunity to vist the house with Brent this morning before the rabbit chase. I am very moved and impressed with what we witnessed today. Awesome, praise God from whom all blessings flow. Give don’t take away !
It’s crazy the paths we take. GMSM has been blessed with some frequent flyer miles and the way they took me was Haiti via NYC, NY. The very cool thing was I got to spend time and the night with my dear friends Ava and Jeremy. They are not only tight friends but they also happen to be the first couple I married.. We took a tour of Manhattan at nighttime and I got to see the glitz and glamour of a world I’ve no clue of. I can see why so many people are there. I felt like I could be sucked right in and not even know it. I will say I thought it to be kinda’ cool. Jeremy produces and mixes music in a studio that has had some very famous bands cut tracks at. The Stones for one. Ava works at a vets office and loves on animals all day. What more can you ask for out of the city that never sleeps. They even named it twice.
So now I sit on a plane headed toward another city that will be far from glitz and glamour. Instead it will have heat, dust and incredible need. Haiti is also a place that will suck you in and you better be ready for it. I have come to know many clues of what awaits in Haiti. I don’t always understand but I love this place and its people. As inadequate as I am I know I must keep pushing forward until God changes the path I am on. Trust me I would not be on this path unless it was God driven. I look forward to seeing my friend Harry, the school, the church and all our friends. We will have another busy 8 days here. A much different busy than the NYC busy but a 24 hr a day busy never the less. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.