Showing posts from May, 2012

Personal presence and germs

We discovered that one of the best cures for people who hover on the “germophobe” side of life is to go to Haiti. Dust is ubiquitous, and especially if you are playing with kids, “sanitary” is a relative term. At some point, you just decide you are either going to be present with a kid or try to protect yourself from one of many possible diseases. I do not struggle with germophobia, but one day on this last trip I had a couple of encounters that stretched my boundaries.

One afternoon we went into a tent city to visit and pray with people. In the first tent we entered, there was a mother and her son, who looked to be about ten years old. They were both burning up with fever, possibly from malaria. Mother was lying on her stomach on the tent’s only bed. She was covered with a white sheet. The boy was clothed but lying on a thin mat on the ground. I looked down at him and crouched to feel his skin. Hot as an oven. Then I thought, “Here goes nothing,” and I sat on the ground on the edge …

Jeannette was the one who brought me to tears

On this trip, I was struck by how much I valued people who have been with Child Hope for a long time. I especially felt this way toward the staff members. Haitian employees and American interns can come and go, and that’s why the people who are “old reliables” mean so much. This trip I felt so much appreciation for those people who were there before I started visiting Haiti (May 2009) and are still there, going strong.

Through all the goodbyes at the end of the trip, I didn’t cry. One of the older boys even asked me, "Why aren't you crying?" :-) It wasn’t until the very end that I teared up, and it was Jeannette, one of the cooks, who got to me. She has been with Child Hope for years, and she is a fixture at the Guest House. She comes in every morning with a cheerful attitude, and she loves to serve. Some mornings she is heavy hearted because a family member is sick (her grandson was sick the whole time we were there). Other days she might not have slept well. It does…

Reflections on our May 2012 trip to Haiti, post 1

This is my sixth trip to Haiti. I started going there in May 2009, exactly three years ago. It strikes me how every trip is different, yet certain themes tend to be similar. I have experienced Child Hope from both sides. Five of my trips have been with stateside mission teams, and one trip was as a temporary Haiti-side staff member. The latter was the emergency trip I took after the earthquake in January 2010.

Of the five team experiences, I have never been on a team that has been highly “project” driven. We have always done projects of some sort, but every time I have been to Child Hope, our team has concentrated on being relational. It was interesting to get to the mission in Haiti this time and have Tammi Jo, the Child Hope team coordinator, say, “We know your teams are going to spend a lot of time being with people and going out into the community.” Bingo. This team was comfortable being present with people, showing them attention, praying with them, encouraging them, and loving…

Wednesday in Haiti and more on Yooveline

Wednesday was one of those crazy days in this place when you set out to do one thing, and three hours later, you did different things. There's a saying for days like that: "TIH" (This is Haiti). In the morning, we expected to do projects. Half of the team succeeded in getting to their projects. The other half (the half I was in) got to do some things we didn't expect but were glad for.

We found out Yooveline was baking at Brittany Meadth's house, so Susette took us over there. We got to talk with Yooveline again and watch her bake some chocolate chip cookies. She is trying to build a business baking. Brittany says she catches on quickly, and she has a good chance to be successful. Since she is spending time with the Meadths and Manasseros, Yooveline is also learning some English. That will help her market baked goods to Americans in the Child Hope network. While we were talking with her, we placed an order for some treats for our team and the resident interns. We…

Tuesday in Haiti

Sorry for being a day behind. It's a very full schedule every day, and writing posts can be a real challenge.

Tuesday was a day that was described by one teammate as a day marked with celebration and another as a feast. What an awesome day! We had three major activities.
In the morning, our team went to the Manasseros' house and prayed over the staff. I served as a Child Hope staff member for a little over a month after the earthquake, and I thought it was a highly challenging but deeply rewarding role. Our Sanctuary team wanted to support the staff, because they are the ones really making this ministry happen. The staff is mixed between Americans and Haitians. At the end of their staff meeting, we encircled them, and each of our team members read a passage of Scripture as a prayer over the staff. The passages were not discussed ahead of time, but they sure seemed to dovetail nicely with each other. I was deeply blessed by watching the team act as one in encouraging the hearts…


This morning (Monday) we prayed as a team that God would surprise us with opportunities to serve people. This afternoon he answered.

I had been talking to Susette Manassero (one of the host missionaries) about things the team had on its heart. She knows Sanctuary teams as teams that want to do something impactful for individual families, one at a time. On past trips, we have been privileged to have three houses built for Haitian families displaced from their homes by the earthquake in January 2010. This time we lack the funds for a house. But it looks like God is opening another door for us. The following idea was voiced by Susette, but it really seems like it has come from God.

Yooveline is a young woman who, at age 18, is already a single mother. She has bounced around from place to place and is living in the nearby tent city. Both of her parents have passed away. She has felt like she has been at the end of her rope in recent weeks. As of today, she didn't even have diapers for…

Monday in Haiti

Since blogging time can be hard to come by, I want to do a quick recap of yesterday and a little longer recap of today. Yesterday (Sunday) we got up, ate breakfast, and went to church with the Manasseros at Port-au-Prince Fellowship. It is a church with a mixture of ex-pats from other countries and Haitians. We heard a sermon about not growing bored with the basic good news of being reconciled to God through Jesus. After church we came back to the Guest House, ate lunch, and had about a two-hour block to take naps and chill. After a grueling travel day on Saturday, the rest time was a tonic for the soul!

Sunday afternoon we finally got to see more of the kids, as we rounded up the girls and boys and went to Quisqueya Chapel and played soccer in their open field. For those of us who have been to Haiti before, this was a time of many happy reunions with Maison de Lumiere kids who are dear to us. For newcomers, the process of meeting people began. Sunday afternoon was sweet in its laid …

Haiti team post from Miami, May 11

"The Airport of Matching T-Shirts"

One of the distinctive features of Miami airport... Terminals with flights going to Haiti turn into gathering places for people with matching t-shirts. Yellow shirts that say "Love a Child." Blue ones that say Hattiesburg. Medical team shirts. American college and university shirts. it's like being in the narrow part of a funnel where humanitarian and mission workers get squeezed together before being scattered out again. It is an odd sensation. 

On the lighter side, Bret said he wants to join one of the teams that has matching t-shirts. :-) He also says he just saw Van Halen and Britney Spears in the airport.

Haiti team post from Miami, May 11

7-hour layover? Piece of cake. Not only did our team not kill each other, it seemed like the LA layover went quicker than we expected. We passed our first test! Onward to Haiti. 

A quick review of airports... 
Sacramento: small, easy to get around in, nice
LAX: small terminal, not enough restaurants to choose from, wifi service so bad we couldn't even use it, but good star watching
Miami: lots of room to roam (even stairs to run!), lots of restaurants, good wifi, lots of Creole spoken :-)

Our final plane boards in a half hour.

Haiti team post from LAX, May 11

FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2012
The layover of doom? We are in terminal 4 of LAX. We are excited, because we have already passed 3-1/2 hours of our 7 hour layover.

My theory is that this layover will make or break the team. Once during college, I drove across the country with three friends. We drove about 20 hours, and we only stopped when necessary. All night it was rock music and my friends' voices. By the time the drive was over, I wasn't sure I liked those guys anymore.

Seven hours in LAX. Then a red eye across the country. Then a couple hours layover in Miami. Will it be like that drive across the country during college? If we all start posting ungracious things about each other, you will know. Haha!

Haiti team post from Friday, May 11

We are back in Haiti! below is a repost from our Haiti team blog, You can follow the trip from either blog.Haiti team, May 2012! 14 bags packed full of donations at Maison de Lumiere in Haiti... Each bag packed to the limit of 50 pounds... This time we majored in school supplies, musical instruments (percussion, to be specific), and supplies for Haitian artisans.

8 team members making last-minute preparations... Jim Quayle, Pam Fuhrman, Derek Connor, Bret Widman, Hannah Widman, Rose Adamson, David Beck, and -- joining us from Switzerland -- Erick Soderlund.

The plane leaves Sacramento at 1:40!

In Haitian Creole: "Ann ale fe sa!" (pronounced "ahn al-AY feh sah")
In English: "Let's do this!"