Monday, November 02, 2009

I remember...

When AIDS became personal to me. It was about 3 years ago, and my life has never been the same since.

I remember hearing about HIV/AIDS when I was a little girl, and probably the biggest difference it made in my life then was that Magic Johnson made his announcement and wasn't going to continue playing for the LA Lakers. Even then it didn't change my life much. It was a distant disease, one that had very little effect on me.

But in East Africa it hit home. It became personal, because as I developed friendships with other Tanzanians it meant developing friendships with people who were living with HIV/AIDS. The crisis was no longer distant, it was very close to home, it was affecting people who had a place in my heart.

I remember visiting homes with Mama D. She had a ministry among those living with HIV/AIDS in her community. I remember walking into a small shack that housed a family of four to pray with a woman who was dying. I had never before encountered someone so close to death, and here I was, kneeling beside the bed of a woman my age who had withered away to nothing, death creeping at the foot of her bed. While I sat there with her husband and parents I was moved to tears as I noticed her lips moving. Although there weren't any sounds, I recognized her words as she praised God, who would heal her when death came. I stood there speechless. Mama D encouraged me to pray, I was an honored guest, I should bless this woman, but I could not catch my breath, and was utterly speechless.

I remember, when HIV/AIDS became personal. It was a season of life when a lot of things became personal. It was in that time when starvation became reality, where malnourishment was the norm, where myths about curing diseases caused diseases to spread. It was in that time that my heart started to become angry, and frustrated, and so disappointed with God and I began to ask "why?" It was then that I became comfortable asking God the hard questions, and also became comfortable with not hearing any answers. It was then that my faith became more real to me, and life, much more valuable.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

22 days...

I overslept this morning.  

Kind of.  

I don't ever set an alarm.  My brain has a clock that wakes me between 6 and 6:15 every morning.  It is somewhat awesome as I hate the sound of alarm clocks, but annoying because it makes "sleeping in" a little difficult at times.

Not today.  I woke up at 8 am.  I think my body is sick of me going going going, and I can't blame it.  A glimpse of the last three weeks:

  • Monday June 29 drove to DC to get that Kenyan Visa.
  • Tuesday June 30 drove back to Raleigh from DC, with a Visa and a migraine.  (not recommended by the way.)
  • Wednesday July 1, flew to Kenya, via Dubai (also not recommended.  LONGEST flight in History.)  Traveled around Tanzania and Kenya for 10 days.  Most of those days spent on the road in some capacity.  Yes I was tired of sitting. :)
  • Monday July 13 arrived back in Raleigh.  
  • Tuesday July 14 I took the day off to recover. 
  • Wednesday July 15, I probably should have taken another day off to recover but I didn't set good boundaries.  
  • Thursday July 16 I signed the lease on the new apartment.
  • Friday July 17 I started moving and interrupted the move with a trip to Dr. Bloom for these darn headaches that seem to be plaguing me.  He game me some ideas, and reprimanded me for only taking 1 day off after Kenya/Tanzania.
  • Saturday July 18 finished moving with the help of some great friends.  Well, finished is a loosely used phrase...everything is IN the apartment...put away is a different matter...
  • Sunday seemed like the longest day in history.  I walked around the church most of the morning for fear that if I sat down I would crash.  I took a 2 hour nap in the middle of the day and my body groaned when I made it wake up.  I still managed to go to bed and sleep 9 hours sunday night.
  • Yesterday seemed brighter, but my body kept begging for sleep.

Tomorrow begins a much needed break.  My Matt, Jennifer, Connor and I will meet up at the Fort Lauderdale airport to celebrate Connor's first birthday (not in the airport of course!) and visit dad for the weekend.  I have already warned them that I might sleep a lot and that sitting on the beach is high priority.  I'm thinking that some good family time, and a few days on the beach might be exactly what my body needs to stop the eyes from burning and the head from aching.  Cause I mean really...

Doesn't this face look like the picture of rest and relaxation???

Now to find that swimsuit and towel...




Thursday, July 16, 2009

Moving day...

So I took Financial Peace University this past spring, and am making some money saving decisions.  One of which is downsizing to a smaller (and cheaper) apartment so I can pay off debt faster and move onto saving more.

So this Saturday is moving day.  And a while back, several people mentioned they could help, but summer has set in, and so have summer schedules.

Basically.  I need help. So if you live in the RDU area, or even if you don't and you feel like traveling, I will welcome you.  We will start at 9am saturday morning loading the Uhaul.  The Uhaul has to be returned by 3.

Comment or email me, and I will owe you huge!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Grace

I am sitting in Java House, one of the most "American" places in East Africa.  While enjoying my french fries and guacamole I am humbled to be here.  

I know many of you have been praying, and we are all SO INCREDIBLY thankful for your prayers.  They are felt.  There have been difficult parts to our journey, but we know that potential roadblocks have been lifted because of your prayers.  One thing I am incredibly thankful for is the prayers for health.  In the two weeks before leaving for Kenya I had 4 migraines, more than I had had in the last two years combined.  Thanks to Dr. Bloom I have an arsenal of medicine, and have only had to use it twice, and both times the relief was quick.  Our travels in and around Nairobi have been smooth, aside from one minor run-in with the police...but again God got us through.  Our travels to the bush have been uneventful, most often one of us falling asleep in the 4 hour journey.  

That being said, the week has still been a challenging one, and it is not over.  We came into Nairobi yesterday afternoon for some meetings, and are heading back out to the bush for the day tomorrow.  Please continue to pray for us as we continue to discern how God would use us to bring the light of Christ and His freedom to the community of Kamonong (Cheppema.)  

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Home.

First a warning:  This might very well be the last blog post until I return.  Not sure what kind of internet access I will have after tonight.

My senior year of high school I moved to Northern Michigan to live with my Aunt.  It was such a great year I stayed with her my first semester of my freshman year.  But then I went home.

I remember going home, and how odd it felt.  I remember that strange feeling some describe, it is home, but it isn't, things look similar and smell similar but yet it is different now.  Something changed.

And so has Arusha.  I called this place home for two years.  I poured my heart into the people, many hours of sweat, many tears, and so much of my soul.  Returning brought some strange emotions, emotions similar to my returning home after being away in high school.  It felt familiar, looked familiar, smelled familiar but yet, it felt so different.  This place is no longer home, and I am honestly not sure why that surprised me, but it did.


Even though Arusha isn't "home" today was filled with all those things you do when you first come home.  Finding old friends, reconnecting, laughing, listening to what has gone on in their lives, seeing the changes in town (they added another stoplight, and some streetlights for driving at night!) and laughing, laughing a lot.  Today I was able to see many old Tanzanian friends and boy were those hugs great to receive.  I was also able to see many old expat friends, and the tea we shared on their patio didn't even compare to the sweetness of being in their presence.


I am thankful for the last 24 hours.  I am thankful for the conversations I was able to have, the people I was able to see, and the healing that has taken place in my heart.  I am grateful for open communication, sharing visions, dreaming, and remembering where we have come from. It has been a joy to return and visit old friends, hear their stories, share mine, and relish what God is doing in and around us.  It has truly been an incredible day.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Hospital Visits and Old Friends...

I was in Arusha less than half an hour and already taking advantage of my white skin to make a hospital visit.  I know, it seems wrong to me too, but mostly I was along for the ride, literally.

A precious Barabaiq woman who was attending the CHurch planters training here at the CMF training center fell ill weeks ago, Annelle asked if I didn't mind stopping by the hospital since she was already in town.  Of course I didn't.

So off we went, and I marvelled as we didn't turn down the road I expected.  I have to admit that my memories of the Arusha hospital weren't the greatest, so when we went in another direction I was confused and a little relieved.  Instead we went to the new hospital.  It was finished in the year I was gone and when we arrived I was in awe of its modern look.  It was clean.  It smelled clean.  It was amazing!

Our visit was a good one, yet sad.  The woman we were visiting is in need of a miracle.  Her husband was there with her and she was in terrible pain, and really, there isn't anything anyone can do for her, even if she was in the USA there wouldn't be an option.

After the visit we headed out to the CMF center where I was warmly greeted.  I surprised a few Tanzanians who did not know I was coming, and a few others who were dear friends who knew of my arrival.  It was precious, incredibly sweet, and heartwarming to talk to them...in swahili...and hear of all of lifes happenings, their kids growing, their churches growing, life as parents etc.  

Tomorrow promises more.  My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for this leg of the journey. It has felt good to come to a place that I once called home, and to be embraced so warmly.   

Tomorrow I will try to remember to bring my camera...I will blame my lack of photography today on jet-lag and five days of travel.  It is shocking to me to think that every day this week I spent hours either in a car, a plane or a bus....it was all worth it.

Kreyol...and Kiswahili...all in one day...

I don't even know where to begin....

3:30am Wednesday came way too soon, mostly because I was up later than I should have been.  I got to the airport and soon was on my way...

I arrived at JFK on time and clueless.  I asked a few of the workers where I needed to go and they were short and all said "Emirates...Terminal 4."  Problem was, I didn't know where Terminal 4 was or how to get there. While meandering and wondering I hear this tiny voice...

"H..e...l...p... P...e...a...s..." And I couldn't resist.  I turned around and saw the most precious elderly woman speaking broken english with as much courage as she could muster up, and having been the person who was lost and confused in a foreign land I couldn't help but stop to help.  She handed me her boarding pass and again asked for help.  She couldn't find the gate, and seeing as I was having trouble following the directional signs I really couldn't blame her, at least English is my first language!

So I take her bag, and her passport and boarding pass and notice that she is Haitian.  I smiled on the inside.  I asked where she was from, she didn't understand, I told her I had friends in Haiti, she smiled, again did not understand, and I was reminded that I really need to start studying Kreyol.  I took her bags, and walked with her to her gate.  It was endearing as she approached the escalator with fear and trepidation, and humbling as I stuck out my arm for her to hang on to.  It was sweet to guide her to the gate at JFK that I have been to on multiple occasions, and to sit her next to someone who was from her home country.  I then vowed to start working on Kreyol...right after I remembered some swahili for this week. 

Our flight in JFK boards on time, we pull away from the gate, and then we sit. And sit.  And sit some more.  I will remind you that our flight was already to be just under 13 hours...and we sat...and sat...and sat on the tarmac...for 2 hours!  13 hours on a plane seemed unbearable...I wondered what 15 was gonna feel like, in the middle of the row, next to a man who smelled like he hadn't showered in weeks, and a woman who couldn't sit still...the migraine meds I took to kick the migraine out of gear came in handy and knocked me out for a bit of it.

We land in Dubai...and I am pretty certain I have missed my connection.  I had a 3 hour slot between take off and landing, that now was half an hour since we not only were delayed 2 hours but somehow took even longer to get there in the first place.  I start wondering how I will communicate with folks in Nairobi, where I am gonna sleep, and who is gonna pay for it.  And then realize, that being stuck in Dubai on the airlines dime might not be so bad.  I suck it up and join the herd of people trying to deplane.

As I walk up the ramp I hear "Nairobi...passengers going to Nairobi."  I tell her I am and the Emirates attendant tells me to wait, there are others.  So after about 6 or 7 of us are identified we are swiftly taken down a secret hallway via one of those handy motorized carts, rushed through security and the next thing I know I am on a plane.  In my seat.  Again.  Thankful, yet I have to admit, I was a wee bit tired of sitting.

Landed in Nairobi on time, was the first in line and out of the airport in less than half an hour and my heart smiled as I took in the gust of African air.  I listened to the hustle and bustle, overheard and understood the conversations in "African English" and Swahili, and smiled.  


Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Long Journey...

Well folks I made it to Nairobi all in one piece.

All in all today I have spent about 30 hours sitting on planes, and 3 hours in a car in traffic. I am gonna walk to dinner with my hosts and probably collapse afterwards. My phone is still not working, but I am hoping to get that figured out soon.

Will try to update more later this week but thought this might be the best way to let everyone know I am on the ground.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Travel Interruption...

I feel it necessary to mention that I just noticed that the flght from JFK to Dubai is 12 hours and 45 minutes.  Yep.  Read it again.  Holy Smokes!  Thankfully they offer gluten free meals to passengers who reserve them ahead of time, and thankfully the travel agent thought of that.  

12 hours and 45 minutes.  That is a LOT of time to catch up on sleep, organize the ol' inbox, and catch up with myself....and a few in flight movies too.

On the way home, we get an extra hour of traveling time!  I might be so excited about it then.  

Journeys...

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, and it shows no signs of stopping.

I thought my travels were to begin tomorrow, but, in typical Pam fashion, they started...yesterday.

July 29 make 5 hour trip to DC.
July 30 obtain Kenyan Visa and make 6 hour trip from DC with visa and an unwelcome migraine.  How I made it home, I don't really know.  What I do know is that I have an awesome Family Practice Doc who talked me through my trip home and waited for me to arrive at his office at the end of the day so he could set me up in case another one hits while I travel.  This was migraine 4 in 12 days.  5th in a month.  Not sure why the sudden onset.  Up until then it had been 5 years....anyhow I digress...back to the journey...

July 1:  Depart Raleigh
July 2:  Arrive in Kenya
July 3:  Depart Kenya for Tanzania
July 3-7:  Visit friends in Tanzania
July 7: Depart Tanzania, return to Kenya
July 8:  Depart Nairobi for trip to the bush.
July 11:  Return to Nairobi.
July 12:  Depart Nairobi, Kenya.
July 13:  Arrive back in Raleigh.

This trip is a big deal.  I am realizing how pivotal it is for our Church, and for me personally.  It isn't just a physical journey but also a journey of the heart and spirit.  Not sure if blogging will be possible, but I will definitely share when I am able.

I should mention the little detail that before this trip was planned, I had planned to move to a smaller, cheaper apartment.  The move date is July 18.  All help is appreciated.  Email me to volunteer or leave a comment.

And then I should mention that my travels don't end there.  Before Kenya was planned I had planned a mini vacay to visit my nephew for his first birthday (it was actually my birthday present from my brother, but who's keeping track?)  So July 22-26 I will travel to FL, to visit the fam.

July will be a blur.  Wonder what August has in store?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Miss Fancy-pants...


Sunday morning before we headed back to Raleigh we decided to take a short hike to see the wild ponies.  While on the Appalachian trail we ran into a few people, one of which will forever be a part of my memory...she calls herself...Fancy-pants.

While we were watching the wild ponies Fancy-pants came upon us.  She was carrying her pack with all of her supplies, her bedroll, clothes food etc.  She was getting an early start to the day, and had completed 2 miles already.

I was amazed as I listened to her talk about her adventure.  She mentioned she "only had 8 more miles to go today," that "she started a short while back in Georgia," that she enjoyed hiking this trail on her own as it gave her a lot of time to think," that she "had to take a day off from hiking to recover, but other than that she has hiked every single day since she started," that she "meets a lot of interesting people," and "that she has plans to hike the Appalachian trail up to Pennsylvania."

Georgia to Pennsylvania people.  

As if that wasn't amazing enough.  Miss Fancy-pants finally shared with us her age.  Miss Hike-by-myself from Georgia to Pennsylvania just because it sounds fun, I can, and I will meet interesting people is...drumroll please....65 years old.

Thanks Miss Fancy-pants for giving me a good reason to work out every day even though I hate every last minute of it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fill her up.

This weekend I took some time out, as mentioned in my last post I am learning that I need to take time to feed and nourish my own soul.  And man did I feast this weekend.

One of the many things that refuels my soul is to be outdoors, and to be outdoors in a place where there isn't cellular reception is almost magical.  After a four hour drive, setting up camp at midnight, a short nights sleep and a quick breakfast, the real fun began.


A 13-15 mile hike (there is still debate about how far it really was) through wilderness is always incredible.  There is something breathtaking about being on top of the mountain and looking across valleys, something spectacular about climbing a rock and peeking over the side, and something inspiring about a small plant growing out of the side of said rock.  Beauty, in the harshest conditions is something that we should always take note of. 

Take all of those experiences that throw them right smack in the middle of a sea of wild rhododendrons and you will likely be made speechless.  I marveled as I walked through this indescribable sea of pink flowers that often times soared above my head.

Yep.  Incredible.  Absolutely incredible.

It was an awesome weekend.  I repeatedly found myself amazed by God and many times found myself reflecting on the beauty He has placed in my life, both in harsh conditions like the plant on the rock, and in more fertile places like the valley's between the mountains.  I truly am on an incredible journey in this life, one that I sometimes miss out on because I don't stop and refuel.


It was definitely a "fill me up" kind of weekend.  It took some work to make it happen, but the depths to which my soul was refreshed reminded me of how necessary it is to make things like this happen.  I arrived back in Cary yesterday ready to pour into others again, excited to show up to Crosspointe, and eager about what kinds of mountains I will get to climb with others this week.  I really need to do this more often.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Full

Full:  containing or holding as much or as many as possible; having no empty space.  Having eaten or drunk to one's limits or satisfaction.

I have been quiet, I admit it, but I have another confession:

I have been starving.  I somehow got myself into this really poor rhythm of life where I was regularly pouring into others while somehow forgetting to pour into myself.  It has been one full year.  An awesome one, yet a cram packed full one.  I have loved my experiences and have grown in ways I never thought imaginable.  In April I celebrated 1 year at Crosspointe Church, in a week I will celebrate having lived at the same address for 12 months straight (A record since 2005) I have enjoyed being an aunt, and have cherished time with family.  I have fallen in love with another country when I didn't think my heart would ever have room to share.  Who would have known that I could fit a love for both Haiti and Africa within this soul of mine.  And while we are at it, when I am in both places I continue to grow in admiration and fondness of the USA, and my heart for the poor here is fueled...

Yet I so often forget to nourish that heart.  It is energized, excited, sees needs and tries to meet them, and fails to meet its own.  I noticed this a few weeks ago when I sat on my bed nearly in tears because I was so tired yet couldn't fall asleep.  I had been through a very difficult few weeks and for the first time ever in my life I said the words, "I just don't think I can handle another person in need, there is just too much, too much need in my world these days..."  

But there isn't.  There was just nothing left in me to address another crisis.  And it was then that I realized that I had gotten myself into this crazy rhythm and that over the last several months I had slowly forgotten about my need to refuel and refresh.  When I don't refuel and refresh my ability to think through ideas is hindered, sometimes greatly.  If I can't think things through my ability to process what I have seen and heard is greatly impacted, and when I can't process...well writing just doesn't happen, let alone ministry.  Yeah, I get by, but getting by is not usually my first choice for how things should be done.

Thankfully things don't have to stay this way.  I have learned this lesson (and I admit will probably have to learn it again) and have started to carve out time in my weeks, months and year to pour into me, to do the things that fuel my heart, to take time out, to hear God and to just chill and relax.  I did so this weekend...and as you can tell by the fact that I am actually writing...it worked wonders.  After this weekend I am quite full.  At one point I literally thought to myself, "I just can't take anymore, my heart is overflowing and overwhelmed with joy."  

But that friends is a different post.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Odd.

I found myself consumed with a strange, indescribable feeling today as I put life back in order from being gone the last week.

This Haiti trip was the last one scheduled on my calendar for the year...I know, most people only get to go once in a lifetime, but I find myself grieving a little bit and hoping for one to pop up.  In addition there aren't trips to Kenya planned as of yet, and the same deal there, I am hoping for one to pop up.

I had a physical today and Dr. Bloom asked if it felt strange to know that there aren't any plans for me to encounter the third world in the next several months...and my oh my it does.  Strange doesn't even begin to describe it.  I am not quite sure how I will deal.  

Thursday, April 09, 2009

North Carolina Bound...

We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.  We would appreciate any prayers as we make our journey towards Cary, NC.

Here is our plan:
5:30am breakfast
6:00 AM board bus for Port au Prince
12:00PM depart Port au Prince for Miami
3:15 PM arrive in Miami
9:00 PM depart Miami for Raleigh
11:00 PM arrive in Raleigh

We hate to leave Haiti, it seems like we just arrived, which, we sort of just did thanks to all of the chaos of trying to get here.  Pray for smooth transitions, both between buses and flights, and also for the transitions of our hearts.  We are about to be jolted back into the reality we left a week ago, and it is far different from the reality we have lived this week.


Thoughts on Unity...The Courtney's


Hi!  It’s the Courtneys’!!!! (Courtney squared)

It’s also Thursday and our week is coming to a close. It’s bittersweet because we’ve all fallen in love with Haiti and the wonderful people and relationships here. But, we are stoked to share all our experiences and the ways God has worked through us and taught us so much in these few short days.  Anyway, you may be wondering why we’re blogging together. Well, it has a purpose. It’s a metaphor for our unity as a team and body of Christ.

            When we first came together about six months ago, we were all pretty hesitant and unsure about all the differences between the people in our group…. So many different personality types…how in the world could we mesh?!??! Well, this week has disproved that theory. We are all such a huge family now. God couldn’t have planned a better team for this trip! We all encourage and build up everyone. It’s splendid because one of our goals was to work together as a team.

“As a prisoner for the lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4: 1-3).

            As you already know, we have had a lot of trouble getting here and we really felt Satan working against our plan and pushing us away from our destination.  However, we also could feel God working through it all and in the end, the enemy was defeated.  Without each other, our joy and our successes this week would not have been possible.

God has used our team’s unity this week to help us unite this culture in Jacmel, Haiti through a soccer camp. And hopefully, people here will continue to unite in Christ.

-Courtney Shepard and Courtney Stoner

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A part of me...Ken Marshall


As another day goes by, I find myself falling in love with this place more and more. The people, the culture, the food (which I love J) but there are these two things I can’t stop thinking about. Their names are Vania and Tina Pye; they are the kids of Danny and Leanne Pye. These two beautiful girls happen to be the kids my family sponsors from the Haitian Children’s Home. Back at home on my piano I have their pictures sitting on top of it with all their info, so every time I would go to play the piano I would see their faces and read about them. I never would have thought in my lifetime that I would be here in Haiti playing with these two young gals. I always looked at those pictures and wondered how they are doing and how I could always help, it never hit me when I signed up for this Haiti mission trip I would be seeing them and meeting them but as it got closer I realized that I would be seeing them. When I first got to see these two girls the first thing I did was show them the pictures I had of then, I don’t speak their language but I sure did know how to say “YOU”. Tina’s reaction was her hands going over her face and laughing, and then walking away. She probably was thinking “why does that “Haitian” have a picture of me.” Vania’s reaction happened to be the same. As my trip went on I got to spend more time with them I feel God had called me to meet these girls and make a little dent in their lives. I have only been here for three days and I feel like Tina, Vania and I have known each other forever. Today after we finished at the Soccer Outreach it was the Pye kids and our team cleaning up the fields. Tina, Vania and I decided that we wanted to play and not work, so we did. We ran and threw water on each other and it felt like it was just us. I mean  you couldn’t tell me anything, I felt God all around us watching over us and  it just felt  so right. Tina and Vania have been blessings in my life and have made a big impact  in my life. Just to see a picture become reality is a blessing in its self.

Living To Make Him Famous

-ken a. marshall

 

Learning to Trust...Kelsey Stoner


So our week in Haiti is coming to a close. Unfortunately, it has gone by way to fast. But it has been another eye-opening experience I will never forget. Over the past few weeks, God has been teaching me the importance of trusting him fully with everything in my life and showing that He is the one that I need to rely on in any situation.

When we started our journey, there were so many roadblocks along the way that were keeping us from making our way to Jacmel. Our flight was delayed a whole day. Once we reached Miami, our flight to Haiti was delayed 3 hours. And when we got to Haiti, the roads were literally blocked to Jacmel (another night away from where we believed we were supposed to be). It was so hard for me at first to comprehend everything that was going on. Why was God keeping us from Jacmel? Why was Satin interfering with this great opportunity? It was frustrating. But I realized that in every situation we were put in, the only thing our team could do, at that time, was pray and trust that God had everything under control. His plan was not our plan and we had to understand that those are not always the same.

Every soccer season, each player on my team memorizes a verse that pertains to their life at the moment - a verse that demonstrates what God is teaching them. I chose Psalm 63. The beginning of it says, “God, you are my God. Earnestly I seek you. My soul thirsts for you. My body longs for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water”. It goes on to talk about the rest of the body and that without God, it is like living without water: impossible.
So it was amazing to see how God was preparing me for my trip to Haiti. Nothing made sense at the beginning. But, I realized how trusting in God can be difficult, but rewarding at the same time. I have enjoyed coming back and spending another week in Haiti. Even though it was short, it has been a blast. I love the team I get to be apart of. And this trip has been another unforgettable experience that will always stick with me.
- Kelsey Stoner

***Editor's note: Kelsey wrote this on Wednesday but poor internet connection prevented us from uploading until today.  

Unexpected Birthday gifts...Breanna Rohde


            April 8th is not just another day in Haiti, but it also happens to be my birthday.  Before this trip I was kind of disappointed I wouldn’t be able to be at home with my friends and family and basically a day all about me.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but to be honest I had a very unexpected birthday. 

            This week has been amazing on so many different levels.  But I also think that since today was my birthday it made me think about things differently.  This whole week is about serving God and giving to the Haitian community.  Each day at the soccer outreach we serve the players and other community members a meal with juice.  Yesterday everyone sat down and somewhat waited patiently for their food.  Once they got it though they pretty much ate it soooo quickly.  Since today there was more people it made things a little bit more difficult.  I was on water duty today which meant when each game was over Valarie and I passed out the small water bags.  We were bombarded after each game.  It was amazing to see that almost half of the people would stand around and try and snag another one.  I got so frustrated because I couldn’t speak the language and couldn’t tell them to sit down and that they could only have one.  These people don’t get very much water throughout their everyday lives and when they get the opportunity to get free water they take advantage of that. 

            I didn’t really think about the fact that it was my birthday today.  The only times I actually remember thinking about it was when Stephen randomly came up. to me and would say “Happy Birthday!” I was simply too busy to think about myself and I think that’s what this week is about for me.  I consider myself a very selfish person and complain when I don’t get what I want.  Going back to when we gave out lunches, that’s when I realized how selfish I was.  After we gave out food many would continue to get closer and closer just to get more food.  I watched them somewhat beg and say they hadn’t already had food when they really did.  It kind of made me sad because we have it so good and pretty much get what we want when we want it, but this is sometimes the only meal of the day for the Haitians. 

Overall this week I think I have done pretty well on not complaining and being selfish.  I just realized that in this country it’s not all about you.  One last thing that struck me today was we went to the pool with the HCH kids.  At one point we had French fries and drinks.  We let the kids get what they wanted first before we ate.  Two of the girls got their food and still came over to me and another girl and offered us a fry before they even had one.  Just something about that made my heart jump even though I’m not quite sure what it is.  These kids are so loving and so caring for everyone but themselves.  It pretty much made my birthday and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week. :]

***Editor's note:  Breanna doesn't know it yet, but in a few hours she will celebrate her birthday Haitian Children's Home style with a cake made by Sandra and some cards from home!

Tuesday in pictures...

Can it be Wednesday already?

Tuesday was an awesome day!  It was in full Haiti fashion and very hot and humid day, but we had a blast.  The key events were feeding about 150 people from the community a hot lunch, registering the kids for the soccer outreach, and helping Dr. Teresa (who we stayed with sunday night) prepare for the medical clinic she will do while we are doing the soccer outreach.  And, there was a spur of the moment soccer game of the "whites" vs the Haitians in the afternoon. Let's just say we weren't as lucky as UNC...we lost miserably, but it was a lot of fun, and we are pretty sure the Haitians enjoyed it just as much if not more...

Lisa, Olivia and Magdalene helping prepare for lunch

Ken, Courtney, and Courtney getting the kids excited while they wait in line.


Kelsey and Nicole registering the kids.


Eddie and Valerie helping sort medications for the clinic
Breanna and Rachel helping to sort medications for the clinic
Courtney, Ken and Kelsey helping with lunch prepration

Thanks so much for praying for us. Please continue to pray as we have another day at the open field.  The sun is hot, we aren't quite used to it, and it is also intense and a few of us are learning lessons in re-applying sunscreen!  Nobody got burnt badly yesterday but some of us definitely came back to the home a little pink.  Today is the first day of the soccer outreach, and we are looking into the possibility of treating the HCH kids to a dip in the pool, some fries and cokes at the end of the day.  Who would have known that serving and blessing could be so much fun!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Being a blessing...Stephen Smith

So, each day Pam has one of us led devotion, either in the morning or at night. This morning I was awarded the duty of leading. Honestly I had no idea what I was going to talk about or anything. I prayed for a while about it last night, and the only thing I kept thinking was about how blessed I am to be here. Seriously I had no idea how amazing this trip would be, and I feel extremely lucky to be here.

Not only am I blessed to be in a group like ours, but also just to be able to here at all. About two months before we left Eddie came to me and told me that I hadn’t raised enough money, as a matter of fact I wasn’t even close. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to come, and since I didn’t know what to do I turned to God and a few good friends of mine. 

That week I received multiple checks from friends, and even some anonymous checks. That was my first real feeling of blessing on this trip.

But, what does it mean to be blessed. According to my Bible, the definition of bless is when God makes things go well for a person. As you probably know things didn’t necessarily go well for our group at the beginning (or so we thought.) 

Throughout all the layovers and delays we had the opportunity to grow as a strong group, and we have agreeably been blessed with this time together. As God has blessed us, it is our duty to bless others, whether it is others in the group, our leaders, or the kids we are here to impact. While ‘researching’ last night for my devotion, I ran across Deuteronomy chapter 30. It says “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to posses.” (Verses 15-16)  That really motivated me to do whatever it takes to bless those around me. To help when asked, or not asked. And to be a blessing to the wonderful kids here. I didn’t know who or how to bless, but I found the answer in Romans 12: 14-21. It opened my eyes and encouraged me to be a blessing, while I am being blessed.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers as we travel further in our journey. Knowing that there are people supporting us back home helps us in more ways than you could imagine. Among all of the blessings God has given us, family and friends seems to be one of the greatest.

-Stephen

Sometimes seeing is believing...

We've told you everyone is healthy and strong and doing really well.  Here are some pictures to reassure you.  We are having a blast.  









Monday, April 06, 2009

Patience is key, Prayer is life... Rachel Brown

***You all get to hear plenty from me...so we thought this week we would let the students take over my blog.  I hope you enjoy hearing about our trip from their perspective... -Pam


These past few days have not only been long and stressful, but also enlightening. With all of our traveling issues and delays I was sure that we’d never arrive in Jacmel, but we did! Before this trip, I had never really considered praying a daily part of my routine. Sure, I prayed right

 before a big exam or when a family member was sick but it really wasn’t a big priority in my life. Not until this past weekend, that is. This is my first trip out of the United States, and I admit that I’ve been a little bit nervous and apprehensive. I’m not typically a shy person but for some reason I didn’t feel like I was myself. Today, when we went to Danny and Leanne’s place, the Haitian Children’s Home, I felt lost. There were so many kids and it was overwhelming! I couldn’t understand them because they all spoke Creole and even though many knew English they felt more comfortable in their own language. The language barrier really stressed me out and while I wanted to talk to those kids, I had a hard time picking up key words and phrases (I speak Spanish, not Creole!). For the first hour I meandered throughout the house trying to figure out what I should do. My other teammates were absorbed in hand clapping games and futbol (soccer), and I didn’t have a clue as to what I should have been doing. So I did what I had learned to do best during this trip: I prayed. I asked God to give me an overwhelming excitement for the kids in the Haitian

 Children’s Home, and I prayed that he would somehow use the language barrier for good. I spent 5 minutes asking God for guidance and afterwards I actually felt a lot better. 

After that it was as if God had transformed me into a completely different person. I was happy and even a little excited about getting to know these kids. While we were at the beach, without sharks of course, I even met a little girl who actually talked to me in English! Throughout these past few days I’ve learned that patience is key and prayer is life. If you don’t pray, you won’t go anywhere. If people hadn’t been praying for us last night it’s possible that we could have been stranded on the way to Jacmel still 3 hours out. Even though I’ve been frustrated and disappointed, I know that God always has a plan. We just have to know how to ask what it is.

-Rachel

The Long Story...

For those of you who have been praying...THANK YOU!  We have felt your prayers and been incredibly blessed by you.  When I shared with the students how many of you were praying, and that in service yesterday you took time out just to pray for us, a few of them were in shock, a few got teary, and all of us felt loved.

Here's the skinny...

Weather in New York grounded us in Raleigh for another 24 hours Saturday morning.  We made the best of it, and looking back, we are thankful for the extra time to bond as a team.

Sunday morning we take off on the 6am flight to New York (JFK.)  We arrive and we are stoked!  We are going to Haiti!!!  About half an our after arriving at JFK, our gate changes and we notice our departure time had changed too.  What was a 2 hour layover ended up being about 5.  We were originally flying on a 767, but due to equipment failure our plane was not an option.  Kudos to American Airlines for not canceling the flight but instead finding another plane.  The delay came in that the replacement plane was larger, and required different certification, thus we had to wait for different flight crew.  Eventually, after our crew arrived, and after a mix-up with the in flight meals not being delivered, we were able to board, and we were on our way.

Due to our late departure we were unable to catch our charter flight from Port au Prince to Jacmel.  The latest a charter flight can take off is 4:30pm.  We landed at 4:15, and by the time we had our bags and had made it through customs flying to Jacmel was not an option.  This meant a last minute rental of a charter bus.  Danny Pye was able to get one, and a driver to meet us at the airport.  

Then we arrived in Laogane.  Jonathan emailed the parents and leadership team but the short story is there was a party with parading in Laogane, and well, road passage was NOT an option. After making multiple attempts to pass through the town via different roads we concluded that the best/safest/wisest decision was to stay with some other missionary friends in Christianville.  So we turned around, made a quick 10 minute drive to Christianville and after some time of prayer and quick devotions our heads hit the pillows.  

At 4:45 this morning we woke our students, and by 5am we were again on the road, and we had shouts of celebrations as we passed through Laogane without any "parades" and then 2 hours later some more shouts as we passed over the bridge into Jacmel.  We finally arrived, at around 7:30am Haiti time...50 hours later than our original scheduled departure from Raleigh.

NEVER have I heard of a team having SO MUCH trouble getting into Jacmel.  Danny himself commented on how crazy it was, and we are all thinking that God must have some amazing things planned for the community of Jacmel and for our team.  We are thrilled to be a part of it and can't wait to get started.

Since our arrival, we settled into our rooms, ate an awesome breakfast and have started preparing the packets for the soccer outreach that begins tomorrow.  The students, they are astounding.  It is a rare thing to have 10 teens so eager to go with the flow, so quick to be patient, so determined to trust their leaders and God.  They have made the last 48 hours of hurdles easy to wade through.

The rest of the day will be doing the work that was planned for Saturday night, yesterday and today...after all we did come here for a Soccer Outreach that starts tomorrow!  The students are cranking through it now with amazing speed.  Our thoughts are that they are working so fast they will get three days' work done in 3 hours, we will then head out for prayer on the site of the Soccer Outreach, come back to the mission house for lunch, then spend the afternoon playing with the kids of the Haitian Children's Home and touring the land that was purchased last summer.

Thanks for praying, please keep it up.  We have made it to Jacmel, but our journey is far from over.  Pray for hearts that were discouraged, hearts that are overwhelmed with what they have seen, heard and smelled.  


We made it!


It has been a long long long journey, but we finally made it to Jacmel this morning.  Will share the long version later, but for now, here's a picture of the team, thrilled to be in Jacmel, Haiti!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

So far so good...

Well we all fell into our beds at an insanely early hour last night, but seeing as most of us had slept less than 3 hours in a 36 hour period...that's not too hard to explain.

My phone just rang, American Airlines confirming that we are flying at 6am this morning.  So far things are looking good.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

In a New York Minute...

Everything can change.

We all went to bed last night planning to wake up and meet up at church at 3am for our carpool to the airport.  Our plans were to depart Raleigh Durham Airport at 6am this morning, head to New York City JFK then on to Port au Prince.

That is, until my phone rang at midnight, with the lovely sound of the automated system letting us know that our 6am flight was delayed and would now take off at 10:30am, an hour after our connection in NYC.  

For a bit, we thought our trip was toast, I was agonizing over having to tell these awesome students that our trip was cancelled, cause you know it is Spring Break, getting 13 seats on a plane is IMPOSSIBLE.

But nothing is impossible with God.  

After many phone calls, and an awesome customer service representative, after being told there was no way we could get our entire team there before Thursday, we somehow managed to be in a position where we could 10 there sunday and 3 monday, and then, out of the blue we had 13 seats on Sunday!  Even the service representative said it was a miracle.

So our team was a little bummed this morning when we met at the church and I informed them of our 24 hour layover in Raleigh, but we are making the best of it.  We are sticking together as a team, and will have some adventures around town, and try again tomorrow morning.

Thanks for praying, keep it up.  

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

2 days...and counting

Our trip to Haiti is fast approaching!  Myself, Eddie Mullins, Lisa Smith and 10 students from Crosspointe Church will head to Haitian Children's Home in Jacmel, Haiti on Saturday!  As long as the internet is functioning, we will share stories and prayer requests here during our trip.  In the meantime, you can be praying for our hearts to be ready, travel safety, the Holy Spirit to lead and guide, and for good health.  

Monday, March 30, 2009

He's not getting any younger...

My brother turned another year older today, and again I find myself thankful to be a part of his life.  He is one of my favorite people in the world, one of my hero's and that status has little to do with his profession of serving in the US Navy (although I am proud of that too!)  He is all around awesome, and I love him, and I am glad I have the priviledge of being his sister.

Thanksgiving 2004

His wedding day almost 4 years ago!

Hanging in the park Christmas 2008

I wouldn't ask...it's a McKerring thing!


Questioning God...

I used to read quite a bit, but honestly I find America to be full of distractions (mainly the metal box in my living room,) and well, it seems now that most of the reading I do is either from a variety of blogs, articles or online magazines.  That is ok, for a season, but I lately I have been starving for mental growth.  

So I went to Steve Daugherty's bookshelf and borrowed this book.  And I am hooked.

So far I am stuck on the first chapter, and the idea that it is OK to ask God questions.  Some of you might be rolling your eyes but hang in there.  How often to we ask God the hard questions? I have a few stewing in my soul these days, but hesitate to even utter the words...why?

In my world, there are two answers to that question.  I either don't ask because I feel like by asking I might be demonstrating a lack of faith, because people who really believe in God don't ever ask questions right???  HA!  The second reason, is more of a harsh reality that I need to recognize...I am not ready for an answer.  I know that I am asking the question because I want to know the answer, but often times,  I am only prepared to receive one of the answers (the one that lines up well with my plans and dreams.)  

There is something freeing about recognizing that even Moses asked God questions and lived, and was considered a faithful man, as did Abraham, so maybe I could be known as someone who asked a lot of questions and not have my faith questioned.

And maybe I could start asking questions with a grimace on my face as I anticipated possibly not getting to hear the answer I was hoping for.  Because ultimately, I know I want what God wants and what is best for me, and the longer I wait to ask the question for fear of hearing a different answer, quite possibly the longer I sit in silence, and well, sitting in silence isn't any fun at all.

And about that metal box in my living room, I have been talking about turning it off for the last several weeks, and tonight in a gesture of reclaiming my space I moved it to the closet of the guest bedroom.   It's not a permanent switch, but something that needed to be done. 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Photos

The photos (all 1200+ of them) from the Haiti Medical trip in February are now uploaded to the Crosspointe Church  flickr account.  Not all teammates have managed to get their photos to me, but the photos that were passed along can be viewed here.

Enjoy!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I miss these guys...

I love what I do, and I love living in Cary, NC.  And I am SO proud of my big brother and his Navy career.  The downfall of what we both do is that we will pretty much never live in the same town, or State really.  And we are both pretty stubborn and sure we are where we should be, so I don't anticipate any changes in this current dilemma.

A few weeks ago the McKerring's met up in Charleston, SC for a family reunion, the first one in 19 years!  I still don't think Charleston knows what hit them, and I assume they are still recovering.  I was reminded that weekend how awesome a gift it is that my brother and I are friends, and his wife...well she deserves her own post because she is truly amazing.  In her I have gained a sister and a friend, and well, let's put it this way, spending 5 days with them reminds me of how great they are, and 2 weeks later I am reminded of how far away they live.  I miss them.  


Friday, March 27, 2009

Musings...

Silence does not mean contemplation is absent...in fact in my world it is really quite the opposite...some of the noise in my head surrounds the following:

1.  Social Networking and how I feel like my entire life is public...and how uncomfortable that makes me.  
2.  This single life...and how I don't know how to play the dating game...
3.  Tuning out...why I need to turn off my tv again.
4.  Intentional grace and why I need to do a better job of living it...
5.  Gluten free mess...its a daily adventure...you knew it had to be somewhere in the noise.

If I can simmer on one of these ideas long enough, I will pull the thoughts together here for you, until then its just Haiti stories and photos...I would really like to get Kenya in here as well.  

Which...for those who don't know, I head back next week with 10 high school students who thought that instead of spending spring break doing something that involved only themselves, they would head to Haiti, and love some kiddos.  I get the fun job of leading them...and there isn't a spec in my soul that isn't excited about it.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Celebrating the Gatlin Family

When the Gatlin’s moved to East Asia in 2002 to teach English to University Students they did not expect that fire that settled in their hearts to continue to burn and grow within them for years to come. While living in East Asia they not only taught English but fell in love with the people there. Through building relationships and spending time with their students they developed a heart for a country that is very lost spiritually.

Fast forward a few years, with different jobs, two beautiful boys, and once you meet them you will know that the Gatlin family was forever changed by the 6 months they spent in East Asia. They know that their time there made a difference in the lives of many but they grieve knowing that there really is little opportunity for others to meet Grace there, and they lose sleep knowing that there are many more people who do not yet know Hope, Trust, Joy, Grace and a Future without limits.

As a church we are excited about what God is doing in the hearts of the Gatlin family. Over the last year they have been taking steps, very exciting ones and very difficult ones of faith that will lead them to East Asia to share Hope with those left behind in 2002. While serving as Team Leaders and living as students they hope to build relationships with other students and families that will open doors for them to share their Hearts with others. Their desire is that through living Life with others, they will eventually be able to share the Hope and the Peace that they have with those who really have none. Once relationships are built they also hope to take things a step further than they were able to in 2002 and develop small groups and point people in directions where they continue to grow in the knowledge of Grace.

This journey is a very exciting one, but also one filled with challenges and change. The Gatlins are courageously embracing the many changes that lie ahead of them and are making them knowing that it is something they were born to do. They have already sold their home, and over the last year they have been navigating that long road of support raising. Crosspointe Church is excited to be able to partner with them in their journey as their sending church, and as part of sending them, thanks to the generosity of those in our church community we were able to cover all of their start-up costs. In 2008 we committed and provided all the finances necessary for travel preparations, training, moving and start-up expenses.

Please join us in praying for the Gatlin family as they continue on this journey. It is one that will have amazing opportunities, exciting experiences, and abounding stories of life change, but also is one that is full of change, transition, and will no doubt have difficulty ahead.

If you would like to follow their journey more closely or would like to receive their prayer newsletter updates, send them an email at kandl@teamexpansion.org

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dreams

Erwin McManus is the lead Pastor of Mosaic church in California.  This past week I was listening to a podcast from back in November and God stopped me in my tracks.

This past week I reached a new point of frustration with one of my projects.  An all time high in the realms of frustration.  I was angry, annoyed, discouraged, bitter, and well it wasn't pretty.   I was ready to throw my hands up in the air and walk away.  Although I knew deep in my heart that it wasn't the best decision, just the easiest, but in fact, it really isn't the easiest.  I know I am not making sense.  

And so I am driving the 50 minutes from Burlington back to Cary, I was reminded of the dream. The dream that was dreamed even before I arrived at Crosspointe, and the one that captured me when I started here.  A dream of connecting resources, and people to a place that needed those resources and people.  A dream of empowering people in both lands to go places they never even considered, both physically and spiritually.  A dream of God using both of us to teach each other and make His presence more widely known throughout the earth.

I was reminded of the dream.  And the attitude towards this project shifted.  The attitude this week was one of defeat.  I was ready to wave the flag of surrender.  When I was reminded of the dream, my attitude became one of triumph and determination.  Instead of walking away, my response to the challenges in front of our dreams are more like those of a stubborn three year old who firmly places her feet in the ground, looks you square in the eye and says, "I am not afraid of you."

So watch out land I love.  Watch out points of frustration.  I am not afraid of you.  I am not ready to wave that white flag of surrender yet.  I still have some fight left.

Friday, February 27, 2009

People focused vs task oriented.

I am learning new things about myself, that make me rather uncomfortable.

This last week I found myself asking forgiveness from those closest to me, quite frequently.

Almost daily I was going to one of my co-workers apologizing for my curt comment, my brevity, my not listening fully, my being distracted....the list goes on.  Usually I am a pretty kind and compassionate person, but these last two weeks I have been walking through a fog, and as I walked out of it I noticed that this was a trend.

It happens every time I visit a third world country.  I return to the USA and I go from my typically people focused self to a very driven, distracted, steamroller task-oriented being.  It is rather Jekyll and Hyde like and almost downright embarrassing.  First, the task oriented self is in part because of the need to catch up, but towards the end of the week I realized there was something else that caused me to lean into the task oriented realm.  It was safe.  It wouldn't hurt my heart any further.  It allowed me to feel like I was accomplishing a task, and I hated it.

It is hard for me to return to Cary, NC after spending a couple of weeks in Africa or Haiti.  I love where I live, but I L.O.V.E walking among the poor.  I know that I am where I am supposed to be, because now I get to teach and guide others as they venture in to walking beside the poor, but my favorite place any given day is the heart of a slum.  Weird I know.  When I am task focused, there becomes less risk for my heart to break, less risk of my soul being wounded, less danger. Because being people oriented is risky business.  It causes my heart to love, to embrace, to mourn and it is such a vulnerable place.  I am realizing that entering into task focused mode has become a way of coping with the ache I feel when I can process all that I see, hear, taste, experience when I return to the USA.

My heart simply doesn't know how to shift back to being in this place.  It doesn't know what to do with the vision of the malnourished 4 month old that I held two weeks ago, or the look of desperation on the mama's faces when they were so weary from survival mode.  I long to do more, and have a hard time returning to the grind.  And somewhere between take-off in Port au Prince and landing in Raleigh, in those few hours of transition, my heart shuts off.  Instead of aching, and wrestling, I am finding that I stop choosing people and start focusing on the task at hand.

Pretty nuts eh?  All this to say that I am still learning and growing, and even though I do this several times a year, it is still as hard as it was the first time to walk away from it.  I need someone to remind me when I land that it is ok to remain people focused, that I like that person much more than the steam-rolling task manager.  

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We're Home!

What an awesome week!  It was really incredible to see what God can do with a group of people who really didn't know each other 8 months ago.

We arrived in Raleigh around 11:30 last night in  need of showers and sleep.  Thanks for following us and encouraging us on this journey, you have been an incredible support!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Walking the Vision...

Today our team walked the vision of the future of Haitian Children's Home.  I missed out on it, but after talking with most of them they were in agreement that it was "amazing."  They were honored to be a part of our church community and it was fun for them to stand upon the rocks and terrain that Crosspointe helped Haitian Children's Home to acquire.

It is such an honor to be a part of a church community that will commit to doing life together in ways that will affect how so many Haitians will do life together in the future.  Last night as we debriefed we talked about how hopeless this place can seem, how difficult life here must be, how there just seems to be a dark cloud, and this morning, to stand upon land and hear Danny share his heart and then to trust God together that we all can be a part of changing lives together is spectacular to say the least.

The afternoon was spent experiencing the vision in a different way, it was spent playing soccer, in the sand and in the waves at the beach with the Haitian Children's Home kiddos.  Again, it was awesome.

Now the battle of the heart begins, where we must begin packing our bags, where we must figure out how our changed hearts fit into the world we left behind a week ago, and how we live as changed people.

Please pray for us as we make preparations to return and as we travel.  Our travels begin at 9am tomorrow morning, and we won't arrive in Raleigh until nearly midnight.  We look forward to seeing you, and sharing our stories with you in person.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

We interrupt this Haiti Trip...

To tell you about another one coming soon.

April 3-11, 2009 myself, two adults and 10 high school students will come to Haiti to help Haitian Children's Home reach out to the community of Jacmel with a Soccer Outreach.

This group is working hard to raise money for their trip and you can join in!

This Friday the group is hosting a Parent's Night Out at Crosspointe Church.

Here's the Skinny:
When:  February 13 6-10 pm
Suggested Donation:  $25 (but you can give more)
What you get:  You can drop off your kids anytime between 6 and 10 pm and they will watch/entertain/take care of them!

It's a win-win if you ask me.  You get a night out, your kids have some fun, and our teens get to get closer to their fundraising goal for the next Haiti trip.


The Patients...

The patients we have seen this week have so MUCH patience.  It really is incredible.  Of the 2000 or so people we have seen in the last four days (yes, you read that right) not one of them complained about having to sit in the sun, or wait, some of them having to wait 4-5 hours to be seen.  We have all commented on how this would not  happen in the USA.  
A few observations to note...

We packed up from clinic today and really, only had enough medicine left for 2 bins, we came with 20 suitcases.  That is ALOT of medicine!

We remarked on the incredible patience with us, with interpreters, with each other.

We noticed how Haitians come, dressed to impress, in their finest clothes to see the white doctors.  

We also noticed that it would be near to impossible to be extremely healthy in the type of setting they live in.

We experienced indescribable gratitude, uncontainable joy, and overwhelming love these last four days.  It is hard to believe we are done with clinics, and that we only have 2 more nights here.  Time has flown by so quickly.

Tomorrow we visit the new land (wonder how long we can call it new) and spend some time with the HCH kids at the beach, and then church tomorrow night.  Saturday will be another long day of travel, with us leaving Jacmel at 10am, and arriving at Raleigh Durham near midnight.  Most of us already made plans to be at church sunday morning, we can't wait to share stories!

In the meantime...here are some more pictures...including a better picture of Leann so she forgives me.  :)