Saturday, August 31, 2013

Romania...Packed and Ready to Go

Our team is all packed up and ready to leave tomorrow morning!  We meet this afternoon to weigh out all of our bags and most importantly, all of the donations that we were able to collect.  We are so thankful to the FBC family and our community for being so generous!  After we filled our four bags of supplies, we starting finding empty spots that we could stuff the rest.

Please pray for our team as we leave tomorrow morning at 8:30.  It will be a long day of travel and we will land in Romania Monday afternoon.  A few things to pray for:

-Our travel will be as smooth as possible
-The people we will meet, that the Lord would prepare their hearts before we arrive
-The missionaries and local believers we will work with, that we would be able to encourage them
-Our team would be encouraged and growth in our love for the nations!

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

-Revelation 7:9-12

Thursday, August 8, 2013


This morning it seemed like everyone woke up a little slower and probably a little more sore from the hard work on Wednesday.  After everyone got their breakfast and cup(s) of coffee we were ready to head out for the day.  Most were excited to put down the shovel and sanding block and go back to the House of Hope (HOH).  

It was great as we returned to see how good the work we finished on Tuesday had turned out after a full day to dry. The paint we have been using is very thin compared to what we are used to so we left a little unsure on Tuesday about how it would turn out even after multiple coats. But we were very happy with the finished job (except for the section or two we realized we forgot to paint...glad we got an extra day...). And it was encouraging to hear the staff tell us how much better and brighter they thought the new paint made the rooms.

Our job today was to continue to paint a bedroom, bathroom, and porch. It was time to get to work as soon as we arrived in order to fit in time for two coats in one day. But as we were working, we got another assignment: hang out with the kids in the afternoon. This made many on our team very excited. We had the opportunity to interact with them some on previous days, but never wanted to get in the way of the classes/schedule during the day. But after lunch half our group continued to finish painting while the rest had a great time with the eleven girls at HOH.  One thing is for sure, those girls love to play with cameras, to take pictures and to look at themselves afterward. There were probably 3-4 cameras and a couple of phones that they loved to play with. One girl was going through Ashley's phone and scrolled to a  picture of me and her as I walked up, got excited and started pointing at me and the camera back and forth. So for a couple of  hours we were able to watch them have their snack (including a really cool time of listening to the girls all bless their snack in Creole), play with cameras, blow bubbles and just hold them and walk around.

At the same time our team was finishing the painting job and working to clean up and make sure we were not making a big mess to leave them with. As we finished up our final work day, everyone reading should be encouraged about how hard this team has worked and how well they have worked together. It was neat to see that everyone certainly had times they were in their "element", whether that was in painting, shoveling, playing with kids or another thing, but no matter what we were doing everyone was working hard.

As we left I think everyone was sad to say goodbye to the HOH, but hopeful to be able to work with them again. They have a great staff who obviously love the girls there and are soon going to be able to expand and increase their capacity. Pray for them as this project continues, for the workers and their challenging job, the girls who live there and for our group as we think about how to partner with them in the future.

It was another great day, but everyone was very excited to see our pool when we got back this afternoon and relax. After dinner we spent time praying together for our church, each other, HOM and Haiti. It was great to hear the students in particular pray for a heart for these people and the nations.

The rest of our night was similar to the others, finish devotion time, play the couch game  and learning new card games. Again, this group (students and the adults) take their games serious which makes for an eventful night. But by now I think everyone is talking to each other again, ready for bed and excited to spend the day together tomorrow relaxing and seeing more of Haiti.


(Sorry for the delay in this post, we lost all Internet access Wednesday night and just returned from our job site today)

The heavy rain continued for a lot of the night and most everyone had to brave the storm to get back to their rooms. The rain brought in a cooler night and many people talked this morning about how cold they got during the night, not something we thought we would be saying but with nice air conditioning working efficiently and the fact that our beds have only one sheet on them it did get a little chilly. Nothing to complain about for sure!  We awoke to the sound of roosters which is a normal occurrence but the roosters here seem to crow at many times not just in the morning. We seem to have a rooster right outside the compound wall which wants to make his presence known over and over in the early hours of the morning. Nothing that some headphones won't fix though!

We headed out at our usual time this morning at 7:30 after an oatmeal and fruit breakfast to what would end up being a very hard day.

We went back to Re Patriote which was our second stop for church on Sunday. They have a school there and are doing a lot of construction on the grounds. We split the group into guys and girls.

The girls job was to sand a ceiling in a large room which involved us climbing scaffolding all day. On top of the scaffolding were boards that we sat on to sand the ceiling with sanding blocks that they made us.  It was definitely a little nerve wracking although some were braver than others and some were a little nervous..ahem me..cough cough...It was very dirty as the ceiling we sanded was concrete. You can imagine the dust and dirt. We were very thankful that they did have masks available for us to use and most of us had sunglasses we wore to protect our eyes. We would sand as much as we could reach and then move the scaffolding over to the next portion until our girls group split into three teams covered the whole room which took a couple of hours. We were COVERED in dust and dirt from head to toe and we looked like we had gray hair by the end of the day. We did that all morning until we left for lunch at 11:45.

During that time the guys were outside moving rocks and gravel. And by move I mean break it apart with a pick axe, shovel it into a wheel barrow, and take it a couple hundred yards to de dumped put. It was great to see some of the guys really in their element here and how hard everyone worked. The sand its very helpful to hold all the loose rocks together that makes up the ground outside their buildings. It was a definite change from the type of work we had been doing but most thought it was good, but I think everyone was glad we were only scheduled for this worksite for half a day.

We headed back to lunch at the same place we did yesterday at HOM guesthouse and this time we were even able to visit their gift shop and purchase items that they make there which made them extra special. After lunch we headed over to an orphanage for the afternoon to play with the kids.

We knew that the orphanage had a special needs center at it as well but we weren't entirely sure what all we would be doing there. When we got there it was the kids lunchtime. Arnold our interpreter and head of HOM told us that we would be going back to the special needs section and helping to feed the kids lunch. We had no idea what we were walking into or what was needed of us. Many of the children were in wheelchairs although a good bit of them were able to walk. We grabbed bowls of food, picked a child and several of us began spoon feeding the ones that needed help. Let me just tell you the students did awesome and adapted very well, you all should be very proud. There was such a level of maturity that was required as the situation and reality of life for these kids was really really hard stuff to handle. Several of the students played with the kids and blew bubbles while others fed or pushed around the kids in wheelchairs to give them a change of scenery. There were kids with severe cerebral palsy, down syndrome, and malformations to name a few. The reality is that there will likely be very few of these children that will ever be adopted.  I think it was a huge stretch for the students to do something like this and a great opportunity to see and learn to love on the least of these in the worlds eyes but not to our Father who loves and cares for them. I will say for me personally since adoption is near to my heart I considered it such a privilege to feed these kids, look in their eyes and hold their hands even if it was only for a short time and as heartbreaking as it was.  It was a lot to take in and something I think our team will be processing for a while what we saw and did today. Things like that definitely make me long even more for the day when Jesus comes back to restore us and to make all things new.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


We were able to finish the painting at the girls home today. After it was all said and done it took 3 coats of paint to cover the green wall color that we started with and turn it to yellow. It definitely would have made things easier if we had a Lowes down the street to run and get supplies from! The "primer" we initially used on the wall we found out was not primer at all but just white paint so it was difficult to get the yellow to cover and not show the bright green through it. Also as I may have mentioned yesterday we did not have drop cloths available so a lot of time was spent cleaning the floor of paint splatters at the end of the day. Our team worked very efficiently together and we were able to knock out one coat of paint in the morning and one in the afternoon in both the common area and playroom. We may return on Thursday to paint one of the bedrooms. Marshall's motto is to be fluid here not flexible because being flexible means you can still break so fluid is the name of the game so we won't find out what we're doing until later as things can change.
For lunch today they took us over to the Haiti Outreach Ministry guest house. It also has a school, clinic, church, and trade school where they teach skills to the people here. The children that go to school do so through a sponsorship program they have set up. We ate on the rooftop under a screened in covering that had a nice breeze. And of course what mission trip wouldn't be complete without a friendly game of bible trivia with some cards we found up there!

We finished around 3:00 and headed back to our guest house. It is so nice to come back after a hot day to an air conditioned room and I know everyone is beginning to understand the principle of being thankful in everything especially the small things. Some people swam in the pool here or just relaxed until dinner time which is between 5-5:30. We had a beef and vegetable stew with rice and banana bread. The running joke has been that we have definitely BY FAR eaten better in Haiti than we did at Summersalt which was the student trip to white oak several weeks ago that will forever be marked by the awful awful food we had that week!

 After our group devotion time we played a group game and let me tell you no one in our group is competitive at all.... Currently we are all sitting on a covered patio at the main house where we eat our meals because we are all trapped here by torrential rains, thunder and lighting. Most people are playing a card game and several of the adults are ready for bed but right now the beds are pretty far away when a monsoon stands between it and you across the courtyard.

 Thankfully we have not had the power problems again that we had the first night probably in large part due to the fact that they got a new generator yesterday and they stopped running power through the oldest building on the grounds and moved almost all of us to the new building. We have all also come to enjoy the cold showers and find them quite refreshing :)

 Our team is doing quite well together and meshing very nicely. Everyone is in good health still and we have had no injuries. We pray that this remains through our next two workdays. Tomorrow will likely be a lot tougher since we will be digging ditches and moving gravel in the morning as well as visiting and orphange to play with the kids, it seems it may be a later night for us tonight so hopefully our sleep will be restful.

Pray for us tomorrow as we love on these children that don't have moms and dads and pray that they will feel Jesus' love through us as he is the Father to the Fatherless.

Monday, August 5, 2013


Workday 1 is complete. It was a tiring day but productive. We spent the day in Terre Noire at an orphange there. The orphange functions mainly as a girls home although they do have plans to build a boys home as well. There are 11 girls that live there. They are there for different reasons but mainly because in one way or another their parents can not take care of them.  They will live there until 1) their parents can take care of them again or 2) they turn 18. None of these children are adoptable. I think that was definitely a hard reality but as it was discussed in our group time tonight not that different from the children's home that is in our own backyard. Definitely brought home our discussion last night of living missionally at home. The goal for the day was to sand and prime the walls in the common area as well as their playroom. As we went along we also realized much of the old paint especially on the ceilings needed to be scrapped as well. It was messy and hot work but we were very thankful to be working inside instead of in direct sunlight. It didn't hurt either that we were working to the sound of little voices singing Jesus Loves Me just outside the walls. Throughout the day we were also able to take turns playing with the girls. Coloring, piggyback rides, bubbles, and picture taking were all big hits and I think we all loved seeing how much joy this brought them. Even though we don't speak the same language these things were definitely universal! We were able to get the walls all sanded, and primed in the common area. The ceiling in the playroom seemed to be in pretty rough shape. I think we were able to get it mostly scraped but there may be more tomorrow still to do. We're working with pretty good supplies. They have lots of paintbrushes and rollers. The only thing we are missing and could definitely have used was a drop cloth. By the end of the day we were scrubbing the floors with rags trying to get up all the paint that had dripped and splattered with rags, thankfully it did come up pretty well. We stopped for water breaks throughout the day and we also breaked for lunchtime. Everyone brought their own lunch that they either bought from the store here or brought with them from home. We ended our day around 2:30 before the worst heat of the day as instructed by the Haiti Outreach Ministry workers. Our team spent the afternoon hanging out at the pool or taking a nap. Our nights are similar each day: downtime for late afternoon, dinner, team devotion and intense card games. It is a great time to wind down and spend time together. We are excited to go back tomorrow and finish the work we started. Continue to pray for our team, the people we encounter, the work we do and that we would continue to develop a heart for the nations!

Sunday, August 4, 2013


We're winding down for the night and I think we're all pretty tired physically and mentally. It was a lot to take in today as we truly experienced Haitian culture today. But let's start with last night where we left off...

Well the power problems that I mentioned last night did continue for most of the night. It was very off and on and for most of our group it was more off. I think 2 of the rooms that are occupied by the student girls in the group had power and got pretty good sleep when the talking and giggling was over of course! For everyone else the night was hot and long with the rooms becoming like saunas at times. The staff was able to get the generator finally working around 3 am and thankfully more restful sleep followed. So far tonight we have not had NEAR the amount of power problems so hopefully tonight will bring much better sleep!

This morning we were met with cold showers which is completely normal here but after the hot night that many of us had it was welcome relief!  We left here around 7:20 after breakfast which consisted of watermelon, oranges, lunch meat, and corn flakes. Everyone found something they could eat or else ate things that they brought. We hopped into the "tap taps" (trucks that have an open covering on the back with benches on either side of the bed where we ride) which are our method of transportation for the week and headed to church in Cite Soleil about 20 minutes away. It is one of the poorest areas in then western hemisphere with around 400,000 people. But let me tell you, Jesus is there. We went to a church that had around 500 people and although we couldn't understand most if it we understand worship. They were so welcoming to us and made special effort to recognize us and thank us for coming to serve. They even pinned a flower on each of us who were first time guests. We stayed throughout most of the service but left right before the preaching to head over to where we will be working tomorrow to visit their church and see the school that is beside it. We got some beautiful rooftop views on top of the school.

We left there and headed up to the mountainous portion of Haiti to "the overlook" where we saw beautiful views of Haiti, the water, and where we got a much welcomed cool breeze. We also did some shopping up there for different souvenirs. Everyone got to practice their bartering skills so parents if your students come back and are eager to bargain with the TJMaxx employees at the end of the trip remind them they're back in the land of no negotiation pricing  :)

After leaving there we went to eat lunch at a bakery type restaurant. They had sub sandwiches, pizza, chicken fingers and fries for the most part. They also had ice cream which was definitely a group favorite! I think everyone had a cup....some more than others! The food was very good and we headed out to the grocery store. It had most of the same type items you would find in the states so everyone was able to find things they wanted. We made it back to our guesthouse around 3:00 and everyone quickly headed to the pool where we stayed until right before dinner. Dinner was good as well. We had rice and beans, chicken, salad, and spinach. We have eaten very well here and are all thankful for tasty meals that don't taste too out of the ordinary. We spent the evening hanging out, relaxing, as well as some time reflecting as a group. I think there has been some culture shock as Haiti is a very difficult place to live. Trash fills canals and lines the streets. Some people live in tents or in makeshift homes with tin roofs in parts that we drove through today. We were all so impressed though by how warm the people were to us at church and how neat it is to see us as one body united in Christ. We were reminded tonight in our group devotional that we need to practice missional living at home too. You don't come to Haiti to be a "missionary" and then stop when you get home, we need to be seeking out those around us and loving them just the same. Tomorrow we are leaving at 7:30 to head over to our worksite where we will be painting an orphanage. We're excited and looking forward to getting to play with the children as well. We will try to post some pictures on the blog but you can also check out the FBC Facebook page for some as well. The internet is somewhat spotty so if we get a chance to upload we try and take it! We hope you all had a great service together this morning and look forward to being back with you next week. We covet your prayers as we begin our workweek tomorrow. So far everyone is in good health and we're praying that it continues. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

We made it!

Hello from Haiti! We have all made it safely and with all of our bags thankfully. Although we were getting a little worried when it took 4 of the guys bags a little longer than the rest to show up. It's a good thing they did though so that the rest of us didn't have to worry about smelling them in their same clothes for days! Which also brings me to my next update is that it is H.O.T. definitely not as bad as it could be though so we're thankful for that. The guests house we're staying in has been very nice to us. The only thing is that there are some electrical problems due to overuse right now. It is a full house this week it seems and they just opened up a new part that they rebuilt from where it was leveled during the earthquake so we think they're working out some kinks. We're praying that the power stays on through the night so we can get some good rest in our air conditioned rooms.

Tomorrow we're leaving here at 7 am to go to church. And let me just tell you some of the students were SUPER excited about that departure time... We will be making stops at 2 churches followed by lunch and some sight seeing. We're looking forward to worshipping tomorrow with our Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ and getting a taste of what Heaven will be like when every tribe, tongue, and nation will worship together before our great God!
9After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,12saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”