To stay united and updated about this process of getting to One Mission Society, what's happening throughout this support-raising journey, and where I am in the meantime!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

HAITI- One Wild Ride...

My first morning in Haiti, I packed a small backpack of clothes and jumped on the back of the truck below.  This truck bed is where I rode for 9 hours to Port au Prince with 10 Haitian seminary students and two young women, who are missionaries here.  It was an awesome opportunity to see a lot of Haiti from the truck—both different cities/villages and the countryside.  The ride was so bumpy that I couldn’t take a lot of pictures or write, because we had to hold on to stabilize ourselves.  I wasn’t expecting Haiti to be so beautiful—the natural parts are just gorgeous, but the roads were really rough on our drive to Port au Prince.

These little bags of water were all we had for drinking water.  They are just like the sacks of milk at elementary schools in the U.S., but instead of poking them with a straw, you rip one of the corners with your teeth and drink straight from the bag.  They taste dirty—probably partly because our hands are so dirty before touching the outside of the bags—but at least it was safe water.

This trip was roughing it.  I stood for most of the first 5 hours—it’s fun to have the view and it’s easier for your body to absorb the shock this way, but the sun was also really hot, so towards the end, we all started taking turns sitting under a tarp that covered half of the truck bed.  We stopped once and bought lunch from a woman in a hut in a village we passed through.  It was a rice and vegetable mix with a fish laying on top.

Driving through Port was a whole new level of destruction and poverty compared to Cap Haitien.  There were so many more people.  Everywhere was crowded and dirty and the roads were horrible.  We traveled through Port and up a mountain to a tent community in Diquini, where the seminary students would be doing a crusade.

I wish I could’ve communicated with the seminary students more. They were so nice and spent a lot of time singing during our trip.  One of the students, who spoke a little English, tried to translate a couple of the songs meanings for me, while they sang, which was so nice.

As soon as we parked, the people in the tent community welcomed us.  They were so happy to see the seminary students.

We’d made it…nine hours and finally to a place with bathrooms—no running water…The guesthouse pictured below is where we stayed.  It had been abandoned by another mission, and one of the Haitian students got permission for us to stay there.  The house looked like it had been straightened up, but it was still pretty dirty and moldy…it looked…well, abandoned.  But all the seminary students and two missionaries said it was much nicer than the last time they had come.  One of the seminary students that came ahead of us, set up an inverter, so we could have water to shower, which was great!  Even showering in this dirty bathroom, I felt so much cleaner than when we arrived.

The abandoned guesthouse where we stayed.

View looking out from the guesthouse.  The blue tarps are some of the relief tents sent after the earthquake.

View from the back of the truck during our drive.

Passed this on our way to Port- SO beautiful!

Riding in the truck bed to Port.  The seminary students sang and used coolers and plastic bottles for instruments.
Riding in the back of the truck to Port au Prince

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

HAITI- Day 1

We made it to Haiti and it has already been an adventure!  I'm loving it!

Our plane neared the landing strip and alongside the runway was a grassy field maybe 100 or 200 yards wide.  I was so surprised to see children playing, cows grazing and people hanging laundry-- all so close to the planes.  The Cap Haitien airport is the smallest international airport I've ever been to, but it was more than sufficient.

The OMS field director, Brett, loaded our bags into the back of a truck, where we stood as he drove us to the OMS compound.  This was awesome!!  You could see so much and it was just fun...I was standing at the front of the truck bed, so I could see every truck coming straight at us, before Brett veered to the right.

As soon as we arrived at the compound, Brett told me I'd be leaving the Columbus team in a few minutes to stay at the seminary tonight.  Praise God- the timing worked out for me to go to Port au Prince tomorrow with the seminary students!  We'll be leaving at 5:45am.

Brett and his three-year-old, Christina, drove me to the seminary, where the other missionaries had already come from the compound for a prayer meeting.  The seminary buildings are beautiful. Modest-- but nice finished floors and running water.  I'm sleeping in a bed at least for tonight, which is really nice and unexpected!  But the small bugs running across my computer screen remind me that I'm far from home :)

Looking forward to tomorrow and what's in store.


On Our Way...

We had a great first day of travel and are now in the Ft. Lauderdale airport waiting for the flight to Haiti.  Everyone has been great, and it already feels like we're a team.  Thankful for that!  I'm the only one on the team not from Community Church of Columbus, but it turns out most of these people didn't know each other before this trip either.  It's been great to travel with them.

Our leader, Storly, is Haitian but now lives in the U.S.  I talked with him a lot waiting for our flight in Indy.  It was awesome to hear from him about Haiti's history and how that impacts the culture there today.  I have so much to learn and am really thankful to be going.

We didn't get much sleep last night, but the accommodations were great for the few hours we were there.
It was my turn to lead devotional time this morning... we talked about Isaiah 51 and Jeremiah 31 and God as our Restorer.

We'll be in Cap Haitien in a few hours, and I still don't know how I'm getting to Port au Prince, but I'm okay with that.  Hopefully, it will work out.  I'm ready to jump on a truck or plane as soon as we get there if needed or I might be going another day.  Hope to have the internet access and time to keep you posted once we get there!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Hungary, Haiti prep and Headquarters Pics

(From Saturday...)

I just got off the phone—well, skype—with a Canadian woman, who lives in Hungary, serving with One Mission Society.  We’d never met before, but I was asked to write a story about the “Baba Mama” ministry she started as a way to minister to young moms in Budapest, so we set up a video interview today.

It was such an encouragement to talk to her.  She continually gave thanks to God, saying, “He is just so kind” or “He is just so gracious.”  Funny after just yesterday, I was asking God to help me trust His love and kindness more.  It’s really amazing how God can use one person so far away, as Kelley blessed me when we were half a world apart.

I’ve been running lots of errands today to get ready for Haiti… I’ve never gone shopping for a mosquito net before.  But I’m ready with the net, repellent and anti-malaria meds.  I found out this week that I’ll need to wear long skirts or dresses during our whole trip.  My friend Sarah graciously lent me hers, what a relief … where do you find summer dresses in October?

Tonight, my neighbors Kyle and Amanda are giving me a Creole lesson :) But first, here are a few photos from some headquarters fun…

Celebrating National Punctuation Day!
Colon cookie, anyone?

Jessica, my lovely cubicle buddy, celebrating in style

This is our department cheesing for a present for our videographer Mark!
Pray for him and his wife Michelle as they move to Taiwan this week.

Thankful today that God heals our waywardness and loves us freely (Hosea 14:4).  Hope you’re feeling His love, too.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Heading to Haiti

I’m going to Haiti on October 12!  This will be my first trip with One Mission Society.

OMS has been serving in Haiti for over 50 years!  During this trip, I’ll be visiting different ministries to write about what God is doing there, as well as serving alongside a team from Columbus, Indiana, who will be working with Radio 4VEH, a radio evangelism ministry of OMS.

I’m so thankful that it is working out to visit these different ministries, and I can’t wait to get a first hand look at what God is doing in Haiti!  A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to start serving as a liaison for Starfish Kids, which is One Mission Society’s child sponsorship program in Haiti.   Basically, I’ll be a contact at Headquarters and a go-between for the Starfish Kids coordinator, Jane, who lives in Haiti, and whoever needs information here.  This trip to Haiti will be a great opportunity to see this program in action and visit one of the schools where Starfish Kids is sponsoring children.

OMS has also just launched a project called Homes for Haiti, which is providing permanent homes for some of the families who lost their homes during the January 2010 earthquake.  Click here to read more about this project or see a video with the family who received the first home.  I’m so excited- it looks like it will work out for me to visit this area and see the Homes for Haiti project firsthand.

While in Haiti, I’ll also be learning more about the Bethesda Medical Clinic and Emmaus Biblical Seminary!  I can’t wait to share with you as I learn more :)

I really appreciate your prayers as I’m getting ready to leave Tuesday!  Thank you for your support and encouragement!