Thursday, March 4, 2010

home - and yet

The Haitian people are so amazing.   They are strong, resilient and so beautiful.  Their faces, struggles and stories are etched in our hearts.   Their faith has impacted us powerfully.  

We have had a few days to process and reflect on our experiences in Haiti.  To be honest, it’s a lot to process.   On the one hand the misery is so beyond description.  On the way home, the woman next to me on the plane asked twice, “so is it better now?”  I responded the same way both times, “No, the situation is terrible”.   

We will never forget the kids.  Children should never have to live through the horrors that so many experienced.   I wake up every day remembering the faces and voices of people who have suffered terrible loss.   I begin my day praying for God’s strength, for His presence with the hurting people of this oppressed nation.   The more I reflect, the more I pray for His justice to be brought to a nation ravaged by corruption and neglect. 

On the other hand, we felt so privileged to be there to witness the power of God, the hope and joy on the faces of His children.  I wish each of you could have been there to worship with God’s people over these past Sundays.   How can people who have suffered so much sing with such joy and confess with such faith the goodness of God?  This is the work of the Spirit of God.   When all you have is God, you have everything.   That’s easy to say, but I have seen the power of that truth in the faces and lives of my Haitian brothers and sisters.  To God be the glory.   I hope and pray that I will hold loosely all that is temporary. 

A German missionary friend of our once said that missionaries and their suitcases travel by planes, but their hearts travel by boat.   Linda and I sure feel that way.   I really feel like I’m not all here.   I am with the our team at HQ in Gressier.  I am still worshipping with my new Haitian friends.   I still see the rubble, feel the tremors and the heaviness of the hearts.  And I still see the eyes of hope.  Thanks for praying us home.   Pray that I never fully return. 


Sunday, February 28, 2010

day 19

Day 19

     Wow, what a great day.  We started off around 7:30am to drive to “Jesus in Haiti” ministries.  (Just a quick 2 hours)  We arrived in time to worship along with about 400 Haitians.  We felt like we were back in Brazil!  What a joy to sing and lift our hands to the Lord together with all our Haitian brothers and sisters.   There were a handful of people that went forward to receive Christ after the sermon – the healing continues.  One woman gave her testimony today at the end of the sermon.   She was pregnant and had been told that she was going to die in childbirth.  They told her the baby would die too.  Two weeks ago, she went to the service at “Jesus in Haiti” ministries and gave her life to Christ.  They prayed over her for safety in her delivery and for the safety of her baby. That afternoon she went into labor.   She went forward today with her little baby to praise God and celebrate with the church that both she and her baby are doing great.  The whole church rejoiced with her.  God is so good.

     After the service we went back to Tom’s house where he lives with the 29 Haitian children he has adopted or taken in.  Chaos is the first word that comes to mind- but love is the word the remains in our hearts as we left.  These boys are loved and discipled from the moment they are welcomed in the door.  Two of the newest members of his family came when their mother (who was the cook at the house) was killed in the earthquake.  Tom took in her two young children, and they were smiling and playing with the other children.  What a joy.  (But seriously, 29 kids and no Mom?  He really needs a wife!  J)

    On the way home we stopped at a headquarters for many different NGO’s.  So, many groups were there, my mind was spinning.  What impressed me was their passion for Haiti and their desire to help in any way they can.  It seems all the different groups are eagerly working together to be more effective in meeting needs here in Haiti.  One group today, offered us space to share with them to receive teams in the years to come.  The spirit of Christ is sweeping across this land, in every way. 

   We got home WAY past dark.  (A serious “no, no” )  But God is always good.  We leave tomorrow morning at 5:30am to catch our Missionary Aviation Flight to Cap Hatian in the North of Haiti.  Please be praying for the weather in the morning.  If it’s cloudy, the small plane won’t be able to fly.  If we miss that first flight, all the rest of the connections will be messed up.  We would like to make it home. J

   It has been a serious adventure.  One we will never forget.  We consider it a privilege to have been able to be in Haiti during this time of revival and “healing”.  Thank you for holding us up in prayer.  We couldn’t have done this without you all.  Please keep praying us home.  We are expecting to arrive in MN on Tuesday night.  

At the feet of Jesus, Linda


Saturday, February 27, 2010

day 18

Day 18

     Wow, what a change.  Our construction team is so awesome!  Check out the pictures of our bunk houses!  One fell off the roof today, he’s sore, but well.  (These guys are so tough, you can’t believe it! )  We patched him up, told him to stay on the ground, but 30 minutes later saw him up top again (the two nurses here are O.K. with this J).  What a blessing they are to all those who will go behind us.  We have named one bunk house “The Chick Coup” (alias “Chicken Coup”)  and the other “The Rooster Roost”.  The animal sounds outside are amazing.  We never knew how loud  roosters can be.  And we thought they just crowed in the morning.  Wrong! 

     We continue to pass what we know to the team that is replacing us.  (Handing over the baton of ministry, shopping and household procedures.)  They are more than capable and the Haiti field is getting toward full steam fast.  There will be many, many people and teams that will come through this house- we pray that Haiti will be blessed for years to come.

     We see the Lord providing, through His people, for the next phase of ministry.   One person gave $100,000 to purchase tents for those who need shelter (whoever you are, God bless you!!).  This is a beautiful gift.   We have seen so many people that need better shelter.   We have given every tarp we had, with more on the way, but the needs for shelter seems almost endless.  Our transition team will be creating a distribution system for getting these tents to needy people.   As we have written, God has connected us with many wonderful Christian pastors and solid believers that will make sure that tents and tarps will get to needy families.   We feel privileged to be part this amazing Pioneer Haiti team, creating infrastructure and building relationships with key leaders, ministries and special people.  

     Continue to pray for the Haitian people, for continued revival, for the discipling of new believers and that people’s needs (from the most basic to the most important – i.e. relationship with God) will be met. 

Mike and Linda


Friday, February 26, 2010

day 17

Day 17 What a great day!

We were able to visit an orphanage in the first week we were here in Haiti. But, we didn't plan that trip, so we didn't have anything with us to give the kids. Our suitcases were filled with goodies and fun stuff that we were just itching to give away. SO, today we went back to that orphanage to give love and give gifts. What a treat. When we first arrived the children all seemed so sad. They were filthy, no shoes, runny noses, and had sores on many of their legs and arms. Their diapers were full, and their hearts seemed empty. It just broke our hearts. We unloaded a whole bunch of baby food and formula we had in the back of our pickup. I had heard that this orphanage had lots of little ones, so I had packed a box of Froot Loops that would melt in their mouths. I was excited to start passing them out. Well, you've heard the trouble the UN has had with food distribution? Crowd control needs to be thought through before hand. Man, am I stupid. I started to put 3 or 4 Froot Loops in each little hand. Slowly it made it to their mouths and pretty soon I was swarmed with little hands. They started yelling "White Mama, white mama!" in Creole. Before I knew it, I just couldn't get it into their hands quick enough and they were all crying! "Stupid, white mama" is what I have to say! Live and learn. I had to call for help and find a plan B.

We got more organized and had them all sit down and we handed out a little plastic toy for each child and candy smarties as they left the tarp. Whew. Crowd control complete. We held some little ones for a while. They were clammering for love and affection. If we put them down they just cried. Their tears just broke our hearts. After a while, I just wanted to play with some of them, so I snuck away from a very sad baby and pulled out the sidewalk chalk and Barb started blowing bubbles. That was the true highlight of my day. To finally see these little precious children smile was so awesome. I drew a hopscotch board on the concrete and taught them how to hop through it. They caught on fast and were laughing and having so much fun. Then I started to draw around their little dirty feet, and that was the best! I think they all just needed to feel special. That the "white mama" would take time to draw around each one of their feet put sparkles in their eyes. Oh, the power of a little love and a box of sidewalk chalk. (Thanks for the donations, Eagan Hills) We wrote Jesus' name on their sidewalk and prayed that God would care for these special little orphans. It was time to go home. We left a few in tears, but all decided it was worth it for them to have a day of fun and love. As we're getting close to finishing up our time here, it was a real treat to be the arms of Jesus to some precious children that really needed a touch from the Master.

We got home to see our 2 bunk houses almost completed. The commando construction team worked so hard all day. They wouldn't stop until they couldn't see anymore in the dark. We're all going to sleep hard tonight. There haven't been any quakes at night in the last few days. It has made for peaceful sleeping . We are grateful. Thanks for those of you who have prayed for that. Both Mike and I are tired, but healthy. (Another huge answer to prayer)

We continue to be amazed at God's grace for the country of Haiti. Revival and growth are spreading and the church is bursting at the seams. The silver lining is there to see. God is truly healing their land.

At the feet of Jesus,


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

day 15

Day 15 - Stress build up
Well, we had 2 nights with back to back 4.7 earthquakes. That will shake you up! Mike and I were already sleeping outside under a tarp, but we had lots of friends with us last night! Even our big tough construction team dudes from Massachusetts slept outside with us. It was a big slumber party! That's the good news. The stress that those two earthquakes caused, and the subsequent lack of sleep created issues on our team. Patience runs short, and everyone had a different idea of how to solve our sleeping dilemna. It was an opportunity for the enemy to have a hayday. But God is greater and by the end of the day we were all sharing, laughing and praying together. Greater is he that is in us! And the earth was quiet last night, which also helps! :) Our guys are building us a bunk house of wood today. I think I might sleep off the ground tonight!! Yeah.

We invited Pat, a woman from Christianville, over for a tea party this afternoon. She really needed some female companionship and time to debrief what she has experienced over the past month here in Haiti. She is an American missionary, here for only 7 months with her husband. They are in charge of the missionary group near us, and it has been a heavy load to deal with all damaged buildings and emotional trauma of the others they are responsible for. Our goal is to be a support and encouragement to those around us. We hope to bring a cup of cool water for those in need.

Mike was scheduled to be out all afternoon with a Haitian Pastor who lost his son in the quake. Mike called a few hours back and told us to pray because this Pastor was asked to go down to the school where his son is buried to identify the body. Looks like they found his backpack. We wept and prayed for this pastor and all he has to face today. It’s after dark and Mike isn’t home yet. Keep praying.

Living at Jesus' feet,


PS Mike made it home just before dinner. Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

day 14 - I love watching God work

Last night Mark, our leader here and Trinity, our new friend, met with a few Christian organizations to assess needs and resources.   One of these groups is trying to distribute tarps to families in need.   Of course God had shown, through some of our pastor friends, some people that need tarps.   So this morning I grapped a phone and said to somebody, "I need to call O. Joseph about the tarps.   Just then the phone rang and I looked at the call recognition.   Guess who's name popped up?  Yes, you guessed it.   When I told pastor O. Joseph that we needed names and addresses of people that needed tarps he said, "I already have it.   We have a list of 80 families that need food and tarps.   I reiterated that we would need the addresses.  His response was, "we have that too."  I love this kind of thing.  God is so good!!  I think we mentioned in an earlier blog that God has really impressed on us that we need to help O. Joseph's neighborhood and now God has supplied some of the resources to help. 
I really sensed that people were praying today. 
Please pray that we can get the people these tarps before the rains come.
And praise the Lord we are all feeling better.  
Appreciate you!

Monday, February 22, 2010

day 13 - long, frustrating, yucky day we won't be complaining about

The day started with a 4.7 Richter scale earthquake at 4:30 in the morning. The good news is we are totally safe. Thank you Lord.

I called to confirm the kid’s club with the organizers last night, but when we got there we were told that it is next week. The good news is that we were able to deliver the food for the street the fell through the cracks.

A bunch of us have stomach issues now. The good news is we have medicine and enough food options to keep things bland. Who in Port au Prince can say that?

Our new generator stopped working, the wiring on the house is messed up, our construction materials didn’t show up, but our neighbors loaned us a generator, our amazing teammate Rob is making headway on the electrical system and the guys found other important things to do and had a productive day.

I spent about 6 hours in the cab of a pick-up truck today and came home wringing wet, dirty, hot and tired. The good news is I didn’t have to do it in a bus, walking, or pushing wheelbarrow on the hot tar. (I also got burnt. That’s good, by the way. (Remember, I’ve spent the winter in Minnesota).

When I try to complain, I am reminded of how amazingly blessed I am. I will sleep in a dry place tonight, with my amazing wife in the mosquito net next to me. My kids are safe and well in MN. And above all my Lord loves me, has given my life, purpose, joy and eternal life.

I will go to bed grateful to the Lord for His inexplicable grace.


PS Please keep praying. We’re grateful, but would rather experience “different” things tomorrow J.