(December 29, 2009)

I told you we were going to have a fun day today. I feel somewhat strange that the first day of our "mission trip" that we rested and drank grapefruit juice and the second day we went to Xaragua. I guess Clay and Robert have been here for 2 weeks now, and I'm sure Gersan (our Haitian pastor) needed the break, but Erin, Daryl, and I sure feel strange about this.

What is Xaragua, you ask? Well first of all, its pronounced "Zar-ah-gua." Go ahead, try it out loud! Its the most beautiful beach I've ever seen! I've been to Galveston, Destin, and Virginia Beach, but this tops it all. Maybe because its in the Carribean? Haiti was once called the Jewel of the Carribean. I've always thought it was beautiful, but wow!

This was incredible. Am I on vacation or a mission trip? Basically we just relaxed all day. I enjoyed God's creation and had a lot of time to sit, think, drift in and out of napping, and play 'chicken' with the waves.

Apparently I forgot to bring my tennis shoes AND my swimming suit. I didn't want to get my clothes all wet and sandy for the ride home, so I sat on the beach teasing the ocean. I sat as close as I possibly could so that each wave would get my feet wet, but not my shorts.... A very daring game requiring lots of skill!

I found out today that Gersan loves the ocean. As soon as we got there, he went off to find a shady spot under a palm tree and took a nap. (Maybe it was a coconut or passion fruit tree... I don't remember. But it was something exotic, I'm sure.) He laid down, plugged his headphones in his ears and turned on the "Sleep machine" app.

...Wait a second... Don't people have sleep machines that sound like the ocean?

When I teased him about it, he said he was listening to 'Spring Birds' or something like that. He assured me that he had the volume so that he could hear both the birds and the ocean, but not me talking. Then he laughed at his joke and closed his eyes for his nap.

In the evening he gathered us all up to share some words of wisdom and encouragement as the sun set. God had taught him early in his ministry that He didn't need Gersan's help to accomplish His purposes. Just like He didn't need my help. Gersan wanted all of us to be sure that we were in Haiti to allow God to teach us and shape our hearts.

If by doing so we shared His love with others, then Hallelujah! Gersan knows the power, and importance of a humble spirit. I still have much to learn.

I mean, of course God is going to teach me things about Himself, and of course I know He doesn't NEED my help, but I'm still going to accomplish a lot for the Lord on this trip... right? I had, (and still have), much to learn about the topic of humility. More on that later.

We got back in the car and drove back to PAP. And we drove by Global Outreach, where I will be staying from January 10-16! It looks neat!

Tomorrow is Erin and my 1st day at the Hospital!
We are going to be working with Dr. Rachel Coq. (Pronounced 'RaA-shell'.)
Betty told us over dinner that we will be going to the General Hospital. I don't really know what that means, but judging by Gersan's reaction I think its going to be an experience.

He tried to prepare us a little bit: "Don't expect much. I've been there one time and I swore I would never go back unless I absolutely had to." He said it used to be a half decent hospital, but they they had so little money and resources and the infrastructure was just too bad to really help anyone.

Well, I'm up for anything! I'll be glad to do something tomorrow anyway. Maybe save the world, one patient at a time! I'll let you know how it goes. (Be sure you read tomorrow... by the way!)


Meanwhile, in real-life time (June 29th, 2010):

Here is a small picture of what my day at Mugwalls cafe entailed.

Blender Explosion (x3). Not only do frappes/smoothies like to shoot out the top of our new blender, they also like to shoot out the bottom. The perfect recipe for a fun-filled day.

I was draining the water out the spigot on the igloo where we store our ice, and a customer came along, so I went to help him. The bucket that I was draining into was apparently ineffective, so I turned around and found a small puddle/lake made by the igloo. (If a puddle is make of ice water does it count as a glacial pool like they have in Montana?)

Fetching the mop...

So the mop was full of soap, which I couldn't see cause it was all dry. But when that mop got wet... Let me tell you, things got exciting. Good thing I was wearing my Sperry Top Sider shoes, which prevent slipping. No falling for me!

I did a little washing of the dishes and other coffee equipment. That sprayer has a lot of water pressure! It had no problem cleaning those dishes and then bouncing right back at me. I got back sprayed numerous times and felt somewhat like this...

Ok. Maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but still. It was an eventful day!

The good thing was that I laughed it off. Every time something new and exciting happened in my day I couldn't help but laugh. I don't know that I could have handled Blender Explosion #4, but thankfully I didn't have to!

Thanks for reading. Be sure to come back and find out what happened at the General Hospital!


Finally Here!

(December 28, 2009)
I'm finally here! Port-Au-Prince, Haiti! After all the waiting! I feel like I've been waiting a lifetime for this minute.

Let me give you a little background on my trip and how I got here. It began last May (2009) I met with Pastor Gersan Valcin at Frontier Camp to talk about the camps' trip to Haiti that was being planned. I told him that if it was possible I would like to spend the majority of Christmas break in Haiti with his family. In July I purchased my tickets. I was scheduled to fly out of Houston IAH on December 27th and into Port Au Prince (PAP), Haiti on the 28th. I assumed I'd just sleep in the terminal in Miami waiting for my early flight. I would fly out with my dear friends Erin Veronie and Daryl Thompson. We would then meet up with two other "interns", as we were being called, and spend a few weeks with the Valcins. I was told that the larger team from camp was going to return on the 16th. PERFECT! That was 3 days before school started and that way I wouldn't have to fly home alone.

... Ticket purchase: Check!

27 hours after I purchased my ticket my boss at camp called:

"I hope you haven't bought your ticket yet..."

They were actually going to be returning on the 10th... Leaving me ALONE in HAITI for 6 days. I was under the impression that the Valcin family was going to be busy so I needed to change my ticket. I don't know how much you've dealt with airline companies, but its usually not very pleasant. Instead of changing my ticket I decided to explore other options.

I didn't want to just leave an entire week before school started and I was really hoping to be in Haiti for as long as possible. One of my roommates told me that she knew of someone who had a burn clinic in Haiti and it might be worth checking out.

I got Sheryl Brumley's information from Raquel, my roommate, and it turned out that they were on furlough in the states at the time, so it was incredibly easy to get in touch with her. She is the nurse at the burn clinic on the Global Outreach compound. I told her who I was and asked if I could come spend Jan 10-16th with her... So we were all set.

Lots of preparation and fund raising was done this past fall semester. I worked on my Kreyol and excitement started to build. Soon, inadequacy and nervousness set in. This always happens before I come to Haiti. I get so antsy. I think its just all the anticipation and preparation building and knowing I still have to wait until I can finally get on that plane and come down here.

So the day finally arrived! We were in Galveston and my dad drove Erin and I to Houston to catch our flight! I was all packed and ready to go... except for my tennis shoes... oops! Good thing I had my Chacos with me!

Erin and I landed in Miami and Daryl flew in from Wyoming and met us there.

Long story short, we had some trouble with the airport, and our bags, because we had an overnight layover. Our flight flew out at 6:45am, but we weren't allowed to check our bags until 4 hours before our flight. But the counter didn't open until 6. Perfect!

We ended up at a Days Inn and walked to the 711 across the street to get Nilla wafers, Ritz crackers, and sprite for dinner. We ordered pizza that took 2 hours to get there and was $17 instead of $7.99. I was too tired to fight it. We should have known... We were in MIAMI they advertised that they spoke English. Isn't that our language?
We spent plenty of time playing "What does that mean in Kreyol?" We would look through our dictionary or whatever and say a word and the others had to guess. Very educational!

We woke up early, caught the shuttle to the airport, filled our water bottles with American water, and boarded the plane! Once we landed in PAP we did what all Haitians do best... Wait.

We walked outside to wait for the Valcins to come pick us up. That was a mistake. Not only was it 800 degrees Fahrenheit, but everyone was offering to call a cab for us. All I could think to say in Kreyol was, "We have friends coming." I said that probably 100 times. Even though we were being yelled at to let them help us I was enjoying every minute. Oh, how I've missed Haiti. The sounds, the smell, the language all around you. Its one of a kind.

If you've been to Haiti you probably know what smell I'm talking about. I would want to use it as air freshener, but I sure do love smelling it... Because that means I'm in Haiti!.... or behind a trash truck.

Finally the Valcin's arrived. They had gotten a flat tire on the way to the airport and had to stop and change it. According to Gersan it was the first flat tire he'd ever had in PAP.... little did he know what was in store for him!

As we were greeting each other the keys got locked in the car... So more waiting, trying to break into the car, getting questioned by the UN and police about breaking into the car, etc. That gave me time to catch up with Gersan's wife, Betty.

Once we got to the Valcin's house Betty served us fresh grapefruit juice! It was like a taste of Heaven!

Now we have the rest of the afternoon to rest!

We have a fun day tomorrow. I can't wait to tell you about it. So glad to be in Haiti.

Bon Nwi! (good night!)



I have sat for altogether too long trying to decide how to begin this. Blogging is intimidating. I feel this great pressure to be funny, readable, relevant, grammatically correct, cool, etc. So forgive me if I'm not those things. Instead of trying to make it eloquent I will dive right in...

There are many reasons that I have started this blog. First of all, This blog is my Ebenezer. No, not the grump that underpays Bob Cratchit at Christmas. I mean Ebenezer as in, "Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I've come; and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home." If you have never heard that term, or don't know the background behind it, check this out!

This is my monument unto the Lord because He has delivered me and brought me to this place in life. He is writing my story... I am just walking the road.

Today is a monumental day for me. Which is why the blog begins today.

6 months ago this very minute I was sleeping in a dingy little Day's Inn in Miami, Florida on my way to Haiti. 6 months from now I'll be either moving or preparing to move to Haiti. (At least that's the plan.)

Many interesting things happened on my past trip to Haiti. Life altering things. I have now had some time to sit, think, journal, weep, pray, talk, write, cry, rest, and begin to heal. I want to bring you down that road with me.

So here's the plan: I'm going to write as if it were 6 months ago. I will keep you updated on my current life too, but I want to bring you on this journey with me, only 6 months late. By the time we catch up to now (June 27th) I will, God willing, be moving to Haiti again... In which case I'll just write in real time. Sound good?

I'm not even going to pretend that I have all my thoughts and emotions figured out. I will never know God's full plan, but I have had some time to see Him work all things together for the good of those that love Him, and I hope to share some of that joy with you.

So.... Here I raise mine Ebenezer; Hither by His help I've come...


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